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This Weekend in Warwickshire


Hope your weekend goes with a bang! Get ready to crane your necks – here’s a guide to some of the county’s best bonfire, fireworks and light displays in rural villages and towns across Warks…

Gunpowder, BBC 1 (full series on iPlayer)

Kit Harrington as Robert Catesby in BBC 1’s highly-rated three-part series Gunpowder

Catch up on this very timely big budget, glossy but gruesome seasonal drama about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot starring (and produced by) Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington playing his Warwickshire ancestor Robert Catesby who actually orchestrated the conspiracy. Not only is it pretty good but is set heavily in-and-around Warwickshire with moated National Trust manor house, Baddesley Clinton – famous for its priest holes –  featured in the first episode. It makes you wonder why the Guy Fawkes story hasn’t been told more often…

In-Light II and Museums at Night, Compton Verney, Sat Nov 4 & Sun Nov 5 

The combination of dark autumnal skies and a rural location makes Compton Verney the ideal place to experience a spectacular and contemporary ‘son et lumière’. Celebrated light artist Luxmuralis will draw upon poetry and nature to create a series of stunning light projections. Wrap up warm and prepare to see the written word and a colourful palette projected onto the famous house’s Georgian façade.


Annual Bonfire and Fireworks Gala 2017, Kenilworth Castle, Sat Nov 4

Kenilworth Round Table’s annual Bonfire has grown into one of the top firework displays in the region set against the wonderful panorama of the Elizabethan castle and gardens, floodlit in a mass of colour for the evening. Gates open at 5.30pm and shortly after the Bonfire is lit. The main display lasts for around half an hour, and is one of the biggest in the Midlands. As well as the entertainment there’s food stalls and warming drinks available.

Bonfire and Fireworks Display, The Bell Alderminster, nr Stratford, Fri Nov 3

The Bell’s annual bonfire and 18-minute fireworks spectacular returns with BBQ food and drink available from 6pm. Featuring the Shakespeare Hospice Firewalk at 7pm; lighting of the Bonfire at 7.30pm; fireworks at 7.50pm followed by live music from Stephen Steinhaus and Dos Gastos Band. Face-painting and glow sticks will be available from the Shakespeare Hospice. The bonfire is a free community event. Donations are welcome and go directly to The Shakespeare Hospice.

Free admission. Gates open from 6pm,  thebellald

Bonfire and Firework Display, Bishops Tachbrook meadow, nr Leamington Spa, Fri Nov 3

Held on the meadow of this pretty village there’ll be children’s rides, stalls selling doughnuts, glow sticks, burgersand hot drinks on the night, 7pm.

Fireworks Display, The Red Lion, Hunningham, nr Leamington, Fri Nov 3

Fireworks, an outside kitchen, bar and live music at this very attractive recently revamped riverside village pub with an extensive garden. Adults £3 and kids free.

Main Street, Hunningham, Leamington Spa,Warwickshire, CV33 9DY, redlionhunningham

The Lost Words & Inside Stories, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 21-Dec 17

Two brilliantly family-friendly exhibitions celebrating the best of British illustration and literature with The Lost Words based on the new modern spell book by writer Robert Macfarlane, and Birmingham-born artist Jackie Morris (The White Fox, Tell Me a Dragon); alongside Quentin Blake’s Inside Stories – a very personal and insightful ‘behind the page’ look at Britain’s best-loved illustrator’s work including Roald Dahl’s The Twits, David Walliams recent The Boy in the Dress and Michael Rosen’s Sad book.  In The Lost Words Macfarlane has created a series of 20 spell-poems – one for each lost word from a junior children’s dictionary – while Morris, inspired by her lifelong passion for Britain’s landscapes and wildlife, has painted more than 50 beautiful watercolours – using gold leaf. Families can venture out on Spell Walks in the grounds of this stunning country mansion via two specifically commissioned digital trails that can be downloaded straight to your smart phone.

Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, Thurs Nov 2- Feb 24 2018

Photo by Paul Stuart (c) RSC

How times change! Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson transformed from punk Vyvyan in the Young Ones to dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy alongside Kara Tointon. It’s directed by Christopher Luscombe who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing in 2014 & 2016Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.


 Warwick Town Bonfire & Fireworks, Warwick Racecourse, Sat Nov 4
This year the town’s annual bonfire is moving into the main Warwick Racecourse grounds. There’ll be two fireworks display’s – a small one around 6pm followed by the main display around 6.40pm; two children’s fun areas, hot refreshments and free parking. Gates Open at 5pm.

Bonfire Night, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, nr Leamington Spa, Sat Nov 4 (now Sold Out!)

Fireworks will start at 7pm and gates will open for parking from 4pm.

 Living with the Lights On, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Nov 1-Sat Nov 4

A darkly comic solo show written and performed by RADA trained Mark Lockyer, who was in The Alchemist at Stratford last summer about the RSC actor’s mental breakdown 20 years ago and anecdotes depicting his bipolar disorder. Over the last 30 years Mark’s worked at the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Old Vic, Young Vic and the Royal Court working with Ken Campbell, Mark Rylance and Sam Mendes.


5th New Black Showcase, B2, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Nov 1- Fri Nov 3

4 new plays by emerging talent, across 3 nights. Script-in-hand readings by a professional company of actors in the theatre’s B2 auditorium begin on Weds 1 Nov at 6pm, with  Erinn Dhesi’s play, #ADJUSTMENT followed by The Merchant of Port Royal on Thurs Nov 2  at 6pm, written by Angela McNab and directed by the Belgrade’s Associate Director, Justine Themen. Fri Nov 2 sees two new futuretheatre works in progress directed by Jouvan Fucinni: Invisible by Daniel Anderson set in a new super max prison in Birmingham 2025 and Ninety Days by Ashok Patel a tense family drama in 1972, Uganda.

Tickets are ‘Pay What You Can’ and are available now, belgrade or the Belgrade Box Office on 024 7655 3055.

Crafts of the Punjab, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, Sat Oct 20 – Jan 21 2018

A rare opportunity to view these stunning works from the V&A’s South Asian Collection outside London. Discover the skilful art of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculpture, Amritsar’s delicately carved ivories, Hoshiarpur’s elaborate musical instruments and Sialkot’s gold-inlaid steel artefacts. One of the most extraordinary pieces on show will be the Golden Throne made by a Muslim craftsman in Lahore for Ranjit Singh, the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab.


Phill Jupitus: Juplicity, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Nov 5

Join stand-up comedian, poet, improviser, and team captain on BBC2’s pop quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks Phill Jupitus for over an hour of tales, laughs and diversions. Watch in delight and/or horror as this experienced funny man drags laughs out of the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that surrounds it. 14+

  7.45pm (Temporary Theatre), warwickartscentre, 024 7652 4524 

Fireworks night, The Fleur De Lys, Lowsonford, South Warwickshire, Sun Nov 5

A village pub fireworks extravaganza on the banks of the Stratford Canal, 4 miles north-east of Henley-in-Arden. Tickets tend to sell out quite quickly for this

Tickets available at the bar: £6 for adults and £3 for children, 6-9pm, thefleur

Kaleidoscope: Colour & Sequence in 1960s British Art, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Thur Oct 5-Dec 9

I popped along to the private view last and this touring Arts Council Collection is definitely worth a visit. It features lots of fun brightly-coloured abstract New Generation sculpture, Op Art including paintings by Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley and Pop art. Among the 20 artists there’s also work by David Annesley, Anthony Carol, Robyn Denny, Tess Jaray, Philip King, Kim Lim, Mary Martin, Eduardo Polozzi, Tim Scott, Richard Smith, William Tucker and William Turnbull. Free.

Noel Coward’s The Vortex, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Wed Oct 25-Sat Nov 4

Leamington’s Loft Theatre Company’s season continues with a story of Sex, Drugs and Rock-and-Roll in the Roaring Twenties.  Noel Coward wrote The Vortex at 24 and when it first performed in 1924 its tale of London High Society’s promiscuity shocked many. It proved a huge commercial success, making the author an overnight sensation. The play marries Coward’s trademark wit and one-liners within an emotional whirlpool – the vortex of the title.


Picasso: Linocuts from the British Museum, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry until Dec 3

Image: Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Jacqueline Reading – 2nd plate, July 1964. © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2017.

Showcasing works created in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this exhibition explores the artist’s expressive and experimental works with linocut techniques and ceramics. Produced when Picasso was over eighty years old, Still Life under the Lamp, Jacqueline Reading and Nude Woman at the Spring highlight his skilful yet risky approach.


Nativity! The Musical, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Fri Oct 20-Sat Nov 12 

The Christmas season as begun in earnest with the stage musical version of the hit film by Birmingham-born and Coventry based Debbie Isitt. Expect a whole lot of sparkle and shine – um, that’s 500 glittering stars, 50 kilograms of glitter, 40 oversized Christmas presents and 14 Christmas trees! Plus, 27 local children from across Birmingham and the West Mids  aged 8-11. Following its premiere in Birmingham Nativity the Musical is touring.

Box Office: 0121 236 4455,

Portrait of the Artist: Kathe Kollwitz, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, until Nov 26

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) – Woman with Dead Child, The British Museum

The Ikon’s new exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of Berlin artist and doctor’s wife Kathe Kollwitz’s birth, is already garnering 5* reviews. The emotional impact of her drawings of unemployment and suffering in particular, Woman With Dead Child (1903) is incredibly hard-hitting and poignant. The exhibition looks at her work through the exploration of three themes: social and political protest, self portraits and the role of an empathetic and suffering mother, resulting from the death of her youngest son Peter in 1914, shot in the First World War.

Sofia Hulten, Here’s the Answer, What’s the Question? Ikon Gallery, Birmingham until Nov 26

Sofia Hulten. Speculative Fiction 2016. Courtesy the…VG Bildkunst.

The most comprehensive exhibition to date by 45-year-old Berlin-based artist Sofia Hulten: scultpures, installations and films preoccupied with the material world and the way we navigate time. She uses discarded objects found on the streets encouraging the idea of looking twice at what is all-too-often taken for granted – as in Speculative Fiction (2016) where she recycles bicycle parts – locks, wheel-like hoops and frame.


Kwaidan, Pegasus, Oxford, Fri 3 Nov

I’m not a fan of anything too scary but this sounds good – an atmospheric piece for teenagers and adults inspired by Japanese ghost stories and horror movies featuring life-sized puppets, humanettes, shadows, acting and videos. Set in Japan in the early 1980s, Kwaidan tells the story of Haru, a young woman who comes back to her abandoned childhood home that seems to be inhabited by spirits and ghosts from the past.

The performance will be followed by a post show discussion. Suitable for 12+. Pegasus, Magdalen Rd, Oxford,

Joan, Cornerstone, Didcot, Sat 4 Nov

Anarchic Cabaret from drag king Lucy Jane Parkinson – drag king rather than a drag queen  because there’s no sequins or false lashes in sight, and she’s on stage with a whopping beard wearing Joan of Arc’s breastplate, defying the men in her path. A fearless solo show, with songs and mayhem, exploring what it means to stand out. You’re doing that Lucy, no doubt about that!

Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Rd, Didcot,

Leicester Art Week, Fri Nov 3 – Sun Nov 12 

Attenborough Arts Centre taken from

Enjoy a programme of free exhibitions and events delivered by Leicester Visual Arts, a collaboration between contemporary visual arts venues in Leicester. Members include, Leicester Arts and Museums, De Montfort University, Attenborough Arts, Studio Name, Two Queens, Soft Touch Arts and Khush Kali amongst others. There will be 8 exhibitions, 12 events across 7 venues and include performances, open studios, guided tours, poster print and family workshop and more.

Leicester Art Week

Two new public artworks by David Cotterrell and Bedwyr Williams, Chester Waterways & Storyhouse, Chester, from Fri Oct 27

Chester’s impressive new state-of-the-art arts centre and cinema, Storyhouse

If you’re heading up north there’s two new digital artworks in Chester – Bedwyr Williams’ Hypercaust which brings back to life Chester’s Roman Fortress Bathhouse recreated through historically accurate 3D renderings; and Maelstrom by installation artist David Cotterell, acknowledging Chester’s relationship with water as a whirlpool appears and disappears in the Shropshire Canal. War artist David Cotterell went to Afghanistan in 2007, spending time with British forces and documenting the medical treatment of casualties and their journey away from the frontline to medical treatment back in the UK. His  work Gateway II is on display at London’s Imperial War Museum as part of Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 until May 28 2018.

Hypercaust  (2017) is screened at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester,; while Maelstrom can be seen at King Charles Tower, Chester City Walls, 

Ghost Tours, Hampton Court, selected dates from 5 Nov – Jan 2018

Want to petrify your kids? Course you do! There are Family Tours on 5 Nov at 6.30 (and also 7 Jan 2018, but seriously I’m not even thinking next year yet!).  It’s a 75-90 minute  walking tour hearing stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity Minimum age is 8 years and a maximum of 3 children per accompanying adult.

Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, East Molesey,

Halloween Hoot, Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire, until Sun Nov 5

From face-painting in the Broomstick Barn to fright flights into the deep dark woods on a trailer ride, a visit by author Caryl Hart, storytelling, an abandoned tunnel and creepy crafts there’s frighteningly good half-term fun at the Derbyshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP,

Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, until Sun Nov 12

Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are brilliant at ringing the changes with their events and for this one the Great Hall will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!

Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden, 

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