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Reader Treats Just For You!

This weekend

FRI FEB 14 - SUN FEB 16

THEATRE: The WhipSwan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sat March 21

Photo by Steve Tanner

This new play about the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act by award-winning playwright, journalist and University of Birmingham creative fellow, Juliet Gilkes Romero has already has attracted a real buzz. It’s set in 19th Century London as politicians of all parties come together to abolish the slave trade. The price of freedom turns out to be a multi-billion pound bailout for slave owners rather than those enslaved. Two women navigate their way to the true seat of political influence, challenging members of parliament who dare deny them their say. Directed by the super-talented Kimberley Sykes (Dido, Queen of Carthage, 2017; As You Like It, 2019) with a sensational cast.

 

BALLET: The Red Shoes, Birmingham HippodromeTues Feb 11 – Sat Feb 15

Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed stage adaptation of  set to romantic music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann. The story follows a girl’s dream of becoming the greatest dancer in the world, and it’s Matthew Bourne, so there’s no doubt the moves will be excellent.

 

THEATRE: UK premiere of Crongton Knights, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry,  Sat Feb 8 – 22

What do you get if you bring together an award-winning YA novel, an inventive beatbox soundscape by Edinburgh Fringe rising star Conrad Murray, six courageous kids and the producing powerhouse behind 2019’s sell-out production of Noughts and Crosses? The answer is a new staging of Alex Wheatle’s explosive coming of age adventure. Adapted for the stage by acclaimed playwright Emteaz Hussain, Crongton Knights is co-directed by Pilot Theatre’s Esther Richardson (Noughts and Crosses) and the Belgrade’s own 2021 Co-Artistic Director Corey Campbell (Club 2B, Freeman). Box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade.co.uk 

 

THEATRE: Revenge, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Thur Feb 13 – Sat Feb 15

Coventry audiences will be among the first to experience a brand new on-stage thriller when Robin Hawdon’s Revenge comes to town. After opening at London’s Greenwich Theatre, the suspense-filled production is now embarking on a UK tour. Directed by Louise Jameson, the play tells the story of Bill Crayshaw MP. Hailed in the corridors of Parliament, lauded in business and loved at home, Crayshaw seems to live a charmed life – until he returns from a business trip to discover that his party agent has been killed. Best known for her acting work, director Louise Jameson starred in Doctor Who as Leela with Tom Baker, Tenko, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. Soap fans will also recognise her as EastEnders’ Rosa DiMarco, a part she played in over 200 episodes. Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055, www.belgrade.co.uk

 

THEATREThe Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sun 8 Mar

Toby Mocrei as Dennis in The Boy in the Dress. Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

This exuberant, beautifully directed and moving new musical, based on the best-selling children’s novel by David Walliams, is only on for another month *sob. It features 16 original songs by Robbie Williams and his long-term writing partner Guy Chambers. It’s directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran and adapted by former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill. You’ll be toe-tapping and singing the songs for weeks after! Tickets are half price for children – up to four can go with one adult and if you like to live on the edge how about a last minute Friday Rush tickets. Tickets are put on sale every Friday from midday to 4pm only, for shows the following week. There’s a limited number of tickets from £10 or £20, for selected performances!

Box Office: 01789 331111, RSC

 

MUSIC: Kodo: LegacyWarwick Arts Centre, Fri Feb 14

Japan’s breath-taking Kodo drummers latest tour finds the powerful percussionists combining exciting new works with signature pieces from across their 40 years of touring.

 

THEATRE: King John, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon now until Fri 20 Mar

King John production photo by Steve Tanner with Rosie Sheehy

Catch one of Shakespeare’s rarely-performed works as director Eleanor Rhode makes an “engrossing” debut in the Swan Theatre. Stirring an uneasy semblance to the present day, King John tells of a nation in turmoil and a preening king, played by Rosie Sheehy, who will stop at nothing to keep the crown. The Guardian says the production “tingles with a tangible sense of spontaneity”.

 

BALLET: A Valentine’s Celebration of Music and Dance, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat Feb 15

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s A Valentine’s Celebration of Music and Dance

If you prefer something a little more romantic, join Birmingham Royal Ballet’s world-class dancers and acclaimed Royal Ballet Sinfonia as they make their Warwick Arts Centre debut. Expect exquisite extracts from Swan Lake, Giselle and Don Quixote, plus stunning orchestral passages from Puccini, Strauss and Tchaikovsky.

 

OUTDOORS: Fresh Air February Weekends, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Sat Feb 15 & Sun Feb 16 

Compton Verney in spring

Wrap up warm, pack a picnic and head to Compton Verney for two special open weekends. There will be family-friendly, outdoor activities at the Forest School and playground and plenty to explore throughout the park, with an opportunity to try a new history trail. Look out for snowdrops and maybe some daffodils, 10.30am – 3pm.  **New for 2020** dogs will be permitted to join their owners on a visit. Access will be restricted to certain areas to protect the art gallery and the local ecology, and there will be a code of conduct for owners to follow. February Half Term is the perfect opportunity for dog owners to be among the first to test out pooch-friendly paths and walking routes. Admission: £5, Under 5s free. Forest School: £3 per child. Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ, comptonverney / 01926 645500.

MUSIC: Quercus, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Feb 16

Three of the UK’s most creative, multi award winning musicians  – legendary folk singer June Tabor,  saxophonist and composer Iain Bellamy  and pianist Huw Warren – to create exquisite chamber music that weaves together the essence of folk and jazz.

 

ARTQuinn: A Journey, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, Feb 14 – Sun May 31

(Copyright Lottie Davies www.lottiedavies.com | www.whquinn.com)

An installation by Cornwall-based photographer, artist and writer Lottie Davies exploring ‘grief, loneliness and the human search for meaning’. Although a fictional story of a young man, William Henry Quinn, who walks from the south west of England to the far north of Scotland in post-Second World War Britain the work responds to the real-world experiences of young men and women post-trauma in the early 20th century and now. Her work has been described by former National Portrait Gallery Director Sandy Nairne as “brilliantly imaginative”. She uses large format photography, with Horseman or Wista 5×4 cameras.*There will be a talk with Lottie on Feb 19, 6-8pm at The Herbert; Quinn: Performance & In Conversation takes place at Coventry Cathedral, from 2pm on Sun May 17.

 

SNOWDROPS: Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, Sat Feb 15

This year’s programme at these stunning renovated Victorian gardens kicked off properly this month February. Find out about more than 130 different varieties of snowdrops grown in the gardens and there’s also a snowdrop trail, plus tearoom refreshments, shop sales, plants and bulb sale. This month you can still seek solace in the 16 different garden plots during winter opening hours (Mon-Fri 11am-4m). If you have pre-school children, pop along to the monthly Family Drop-In from 9.30-11.30am on the second Thursday of each month, for a wholesome morning of digging, planting and puddle-jumping!  Tix: Adult £4.50, Child £1(5-17) HCGT & RHS members free / donation. Hill Close Gardens

 

WELLBEING: LOW & NO The George Townhouse, Shipston-on-Stour & The Townhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon,  now until Thur Feb 13

Pop the biscuits away and hide the cheeseboards now the festive season is done and dusted! If you’re struggling to keep on that healthy lifestyle bandwagon, look no further than Brakspear’s new Low & No menu. At just 600 cals or even lower, their tempting dishes are perfect for a guilt-free treat out, Monday to Saturday, Low & No Menuhttps://thegeorgeshipston stratfordtownhouse 

 

VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER: Sky By The Water, Resorts World’s rooftop bar and restaurant, Sun Feb 16

A trio of local Midlands chefs are teaming up to treat loved-up couples to a six-course tasting menu. Rob Palmer, Matt Cheal, head chef of top fine dining restaurant Cheal’s of Henley, along with Aaron Darnley and Darryl Collins, the head chef and pastry chef at Resorts World’s Sky By The Water, come together to host a Valentine’s weekend dinner. Seats at the table are limited and can be booked via meet@resortsworldbirmingham.co.uk or by calling 0121 273 1000. For full details, see resortsworldbirmingham.

 

FURTHER AFIELD:

EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, 13 Feb – 11 May 

I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a SlaveSteve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty above. The show also coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3on show at Tate Britain until 3 May. tate.org.uk

 

THEATRE: Pretty Woman The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, London, Feb 14 – Jan 2 2021

This month I’m excited for the start of Pretty Woman’s West End stint opening on Valentine’s Day after it’s successful Broadway premier in 2018. The production has some major creds with choreography from two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray),  and an original score from Grammy winner Bryan Adams (yes, really!).

 

CONCERT: Madonna, London Palladium, until Sun Feb 16

Looking sultry Madge! This month you have 15 chances to see the Queen of Pop herself at the London Palladium. Dig out your 80s garb and snaffle tickets quick as it’s bound to be a sell out.

 

EXHIBITION: Tools for LifeModern Art Oxford, 8 Feb – 10 May

We’re excited for Modern Art Oxford’s Tools for Lifethe first solo show from Chilean artist Johanna Unzueta. The space combines art, clothing, a large-scale felt installation and a short film for a multi-faceted look at function and form.

 

Human Think Festival, various Oxford locations, 1 – 14 Feb 

Hosted by Oxford Brookes University, this annual event does exactly what it says on the tin – encourages us to think about what it means to be human in 2020, tackling topics and questions such as the refugee crisis, masculinity and global warming. There are 30 free events hosted in various locations around Oxford with highlights including  a seminar given by acclaimed actor Toby Jones on poet John Clare’s life and work (2 Feb), Stand Up for Human Suffering (7 Feb) and a performative piece entitled The Melting Arctic: a ghost sonata (13 Feb).

 

EVENT: Oxford Maths Festival, 15 – 16 Feb

Organised by the University of Oxford’s maths department this annual fest started in 2018 to encourage younger children to get into the subject with a variety of free talks, workshops and craft sessions across the numeric weekender.

 

Find more ideas here

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