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This weekend


Kenilworth Arts Festival, Thurs Sept 20 – Sat Sept 29

Ruby Tandoh

Newly-wed GBBO finalist Ruby Tandoh, MOBO award-winning pianist Zoe Rahman and Man Booker Prize nominated Irish author Donal Ryan are among the guests lined up for the third Kenilworth Arts Festival. Joining them on an eclectic bill are more than 40 acclaimed writers, musicians and artists including US songwriter Bon Iver associate S Carey whose growing fan base includes Sufjan Stevens and Taylor Swift no less, and the very best writers from the region such as Kit de Waal and Mike Gayle. Events will be taking place in Priory Theatre Kenilworth Castle. The festival kicks off with an appearance from Great British Bake Off 2013 finalist and food writer Ruby Tandoh on Sept 20 at the Talisman Theatre who will be talking about her latest book, Eat Up! celebrating the fun and pleasure of food, and arms readers against expensive fad diets and food crazes.

Tickets range from £7 (for one-off events) to £45 (for a Literary Weekend Pass). For the full line-up, see: kenilworthartsfestival


The Stratford Town Centre Food Festival, Sat Sept 22 & Sun Sept 23

This bustling food festival in the historic streets of Shakespeare’s birthplace has a producers’ market organised by Cotswold Market featuring more than 100 stalls including some of the region’s finest food and drink producers, free cookery demos at the Waterside Cookery Theatre ranging from a cheese demo by Paxton & Whitfield to wine tasting with Vin Neuf. The ever-popular Food and Ale Trails also returns, giving visitors the chance to try out tasty treats from around 20 town centre restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Loxleys restaurant in Sheep Street celebrates its fourth year as sponsor by hosting a champagne breakfast (£11.95 incl a glass of champagne booked in advance). On Sunday there’ll be an eclectic mix of stalls including craft, art and street food and In Bell Court, visitors will be able to enjoy free hands-on workshops. Enjoy live music on both days from 11am – 5pm.


FAMILY: Apple Days, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford, Sat Sept 22 – Sun Sept 23 


Celebrate the end of harvest at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Michaelmas fair.  Experience the hustle and bustle of a 16th century market as you meet Tudor characters and try your hand at traditional crafts, apple pressing, puppet shows, face painting and more.


THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until  Dec 1

Jude Owusu as the king of Persia, Tamburlaine Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Watch Jude Owusu’s chillingly charismatic portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s violent 14th century warlord, who started life as a shepherd, before conquering Asia. Directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012. A big critical hit.



Festival of Imagineers, Coventry, Mon Sept 17 – Sun Sept 22

Rear view of a customised bus as part of an outdoor city theatre installation

IOU-Rear-View-credit-JMA Photography

Highlights of Coventry’s annual festival celebrating art, design and engineering, include: NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse’s collaboration BLOCK – where 20 oversized blocks, fashioned to resemble giant concrete Jenga blocks, are deconstructed and reformed into an infinite variety of shapes for the performers to play on, move with and explore. (Sept 19, 8pm, Cathedral Ruins). Rear View from IOU, is a moving adventure about a woman’s life, led by performance poets Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot where the streets of Coventry become part of the performance with the audience on a custom-made conversion of a double decker bus (Thurs Sept 20 – Sat Sept 22 with performances throughout the day)The Festival culminates on Sat Sept 22 with outdoor arts company, Teatr Biuro Podrozy marking the WWI commemorations with Carmen Funebre, the company’s most iconic performance based on research with refugees from the former Yugoslavia during the brutal Bosnian conflict in the 1990’s. It’s a visceral and brutal expose of the horrors of war, performed in the Cathedral Ruins expect stilts, fire, searchlights, spectacular sets and bone-chilling music combine with arresting visual imagery to evoke both fear and compassion.

The full programme is available at festivalofimagineers


THEATRE: Hymn for Robots. Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Sept 19 – Fri Sept 21

Photo credit-Arnim Friess

Following 4 and 5 star reviews for performances at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Noctium Theatre return with their Delia Derbyshire-inspired Hymns for Robots. Described as the “mother of electronic music”, the Coventry-born musician is now best remembered for her work on the original Doctor Who theme tune. Raised in Coundon in the late 30s and 40s, she went on to study at the then-girls’ grammar school, Barr’s Hill, before winning a scholarship to Cambridge. Later, she joined the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where she helped to create the iconic theme music for Doctor Who. This was only the beginning of her career: less widely recognised are her massive contributions to electronic music, cited as an influence on bands ranging from The Beatles to The Chemical Brothers and Pink Floyd to Orbital. Now Noctium are joining a growing chorus of voices calling for her work to receive the recognition it deserves.

Tel 024 7655 3055,


Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert! Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Fri Sept 21

Starring Harrison Ford. © 1981 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Relive the magic on the silver screen with Spielberg’s great adventure… Raiders of the Lost Ark, with John Williams’ epic score performed live to picture by a full symphony orchestra!



Journeys with The Waste Land, The Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, Opens: Sept 15 – Sun Nov 18

John Stezaker Mask CCV, 2016 © John Stezaker. Courtesy The Approach, London. Photo: FXP photography.

This exhibition explores the contemporary significance of TS Eliot’s seminal poem written in 1921 in the aftermath of the First World War and the way it has resonated with artists over the years. An extension of the exhibition continues in Coventry Cathedral with John Newling’s ‘Eliot’s Notebooks and Eliot’s soil’. It’s been led by independent curator, Michael Tooby, and organised in collaboration with Turner Contemporary in Margate, by the Mead Gallery and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in association with Coventry Cathedral.




AL FRESCO POP-UP FILM SCREENING: West Side Story, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford, Fri Sept 21 

See an open air screening of the classic musical West Side Story based on Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo & Juliet in the stunning grounds of Shakespeare’s New Place (Extra charges apply), 7pm.


The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 4 – Sept 22


Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Craig to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).



TOP FILM CHOICE: BlacKkKlansman, out in cinemas now

John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth and Laura Harrier as Patrice in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a Focus Features release. Credit: David Lee / Focus Features

Spike Lee returns with this humorous, nostalgic 70s period piece based on the memoir of black police officer Ron Stallworth’s memoir about his experiences infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan – and a damning portrait of the USA under Trump.

SPOKEN WORD: An Audience with Simon Reeve, Town Hall, Birmingham, Sun Sept 23

The incredible popularly of this adventurous BBC globetrotter is evident by the fact that this Midlands date on his first UK tour is already sold out! Simon will be recounting tales from over 15 years of travelling to the most remote and extreme corners of the planet from being chased by pirates, hounded by the Mafia to being bombed by Colombian barons. The show includes a 20-min Q&A. You can check out other tour dates here including the Royal & Derngate, Northants (Fri Oct 19) and De Montfort Hall (Oct 22) here.


The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, ends Sun Sept 30


A rare opportunity to see an exhibition devoted to kinetic art and the history of automata. Almost 60 works, dating from 1625 to the present day, will – quite literally – come to life before your very eyes. The show includes loans from across the UK, including the smallest – a 4cm tall Fabergé elephant loaned from the Queen and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang designer Rowland Emett. You can also enter the magical world of mechanical toy model maker and children’s author/ illustrator Rodney Peppe.



Macbeth, RST, Stratford, until September 18

Photo by Richard-Davenport-

This compelling contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller with the fantastic Christopher Eccleston, brilliant in BBC 1’s The A Word, and revered Irish actor Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Directed by Polly Findlay has the eerie feel of a modern horror film. Super-handy for students studying Macbeth on their GCSE or A level syllabus!

Book here.


ART: Conscious Perception by Susan Laughton & Richard Miller, The Stratford Gallery, launching Sat Sept 8 – Oct 4

New Work: Susan Laughton, Balancing act II, 2018

An exhibition of new work by two award-winning artists. Architectural technician turned painter Susan Laughton and accomplished potter Richard Miller, the on-screen technician in BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down.


THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.


DANCE: Fagin’s Twist, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Fri Sept 28 & Sat Sept 29

Pic credit Rachel Cherry

Fagin’s Twist is the critically-acclaimed untold story of Charles Dickens’ notorious and complex Victorian villain told in a new light by risk-taking London-based Avant Garde Dance in 1hr 40 mins for ages 8+.  The narrative tells the story of Fagin and Bill Sykes’ childhood, imagining how it may have resembled Oliver’s. Avant Garde Dance flips your expectations of five familiar characters, with their unmatched contemporary hip hop style.



Mischief Festival October, Studio Theatre@The Other Place, Stratford, Sept 27 – Oct 20

Older man in glasses, plaid shirt and jacket sitting at a table

David Edgar in rehearsal for A Christmas Carol, 2017, Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

A new version of David Edgar’s 1983 award-winning hit play, Maydays, directed by Owen Horsley and three performances of his one-person show Trying It On in which the 70-year-old actor/playwright confronts his 20-year-old self.



Anna Calvi, Town Hall, Birmingham, Thurs Oct 4

The BRIT award and double Mercury Music Prize-nominated Twickenham-born singer has the most amazing voice. Hunter, her third album came out on August 312018 via Domino.



THEATRE: Evita,  Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue Sept 25 – Sat Sept 29

Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV). Both Swan Lake (below) and Evita are bound to be sell-outs so get booking.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


BALLET: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Birmingham Hippodrome, Feb 5 – 15 2019


Matthew Bourne’s menacing, witty and unique production of Swan Lakehas won tons of awards and rightly so. It’s best known for the all male corps-de-ballet – unheard of in the ballet world before – but it’s an all-round winner even if you’re not a ballet fan. Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV).



GIG: Jack White, O2 Academy Birmingham, Wed Oct 17

After string of electrifying, but intimate live shows earlier this year, the super-cool former White Stripes front-man is back and he’s bringing his full band and hugely successful new album, Boarding House Reach along for the ride.


ART: Future Knowledge, Modern Art Oxford,  Sat 22 Sep – Sat 28 Oct

This exhibition explores climate change through creative presentations and there’s an artists’ panel the night before it opens to discuss the works, followed by a performance by ballet dancer Eve Mutso. It’s a truly international affair with an epic timeline stretching back 750 million years by American artist Rachel Susan, Eline McGeorge’s weaving works from Norway, and Brit Tania Kovats’ vast steel and salt sculptures, to name but a few. I’m liking the sound of Lucy Kimbell’s wallpaper that changes colour over time in response to air pollutants – might save a trip to Homebase.


DESIGN: London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep

Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.


FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep

If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.

Find more ideas here

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