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What’s On This Week


FOOTY: World Cup Screening, Hampton Manor, Hampton-in-ArdenWest Mids B92 0ae, Wed July 11

This gorgeous boutique hotel is screening the England vs Croatia game on big screens in the Courtyard. You can just turn up, no tickets required. Enjoy 2: 4: 1  pints and Prosecco during Happy Hour, 5.30pm – 6.30pm. It’s a 7pm kick off, plus after party with £4 pint or Prosecco.



Head Gardeners Evening Tour, Packwood House, Wed July 11

Head Gardener Mick Evans reveals the history and planting secrets of Packwood gardens.

 Tickets are limited, 7 – 9pm. Tel the property to book a place on 01564 782024. Tickets: £15 per person including a glass of wine, nationaltrust


FILM: Incredibles 2 – from Fri Jul 13 nationwide

They’re back and in a nod to modern life, Mrs Incredible (aka Elastigirl) is tasked with bringing back superheroes whilst dad stays at home and looks after the kids. Humorous, delightful and great fun for kids and adults, this is perfect for the hols.


COMEDY: Laugh it up, The Benn Hall, Rugby, Thurs July 12

Laura Lexx

As part of 2018’s Rugby Festival of Culture you can catch witty comedienne Laura Lexx – a rising star of the UK comedy circuit (Best MC in the 2017 Comic’s Comic Awards), comic musician Duncan Oakley and trained medical doctor/comedian Paul Sinha (Sinnerman on ITV’s The Chase) in one of the town’s biggest stand-up comedy events. There’s also a surprise special guest comedy headliner. Tickets £16.



THEATRE: Matilda, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 3 – Sat Sept 8

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it!



MUSIC: Summer House Sounds – Sir Tom Jones, Madness & Il Divo, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Thurs July 12 – Sat July 14

The Welsh sex bomb is the first of three big artists performing at this Warwickshire stately homes on July 12, followed by Madness and The Lightning Seeds on Friday July 13 and multi-national classical group Il Divo with Michael Ball on their Castles and Country tour.



ART: The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Sat June 30 – Sun Sept 30

Rowland Emett’s A-Quiet-Afternoon-in-the-Cloud-Cuckoo-Valley-photographed-by-JamesBastablecouk-cloudcuckoovalleycom.jpg

Roll up, Roll up for two stunning new exhibitions at Compton Verney’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum! 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 and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley (above) 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.



MUSIC: The Breeders, O2 Institute, Birmingham, Wed July 11

I love this iconic American indie group formed back in 1989 by trailblazing Kim Deal of Pixies and Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses – two of my fave student bands. They’ve been going for 25 years now with a critically-acclaimed new “intimate and raw” Breeders album All Nerve, tour and a return to the lineup of their classic 1993 Last Splash.



ARTS: Rugby Festival of Culture, Sun June 24 – Sun July 15

Heartbreak Productions’ The Railway Children

This cultural feast features 100 arts, comedy, music, film nights with Flatpack, open-air chess and a Rugby School science festival over three weeks. Highlights this week include the second of two family-friendly open-air productions in Caldecott Park by Leamington’s national touring theatre company, Heartbreak Productions: The Railway Children on Tues July 10 (6.30pm – 8.30pm). Also on offer is a Cider & Rum Festival at The Merchant’s Inn (Mon July 9 – 15), The Greatest Showman sing-a-long at Rugby Theatre (Fri July 13), Saturday morning live music from 60s influenced Dukes Jetty, St Andrew’s Church Gardens (Sat July 14, 10.30am – 12noon) and ‘Make it Saturday’ crafts at Rugby Art Gallery.

For the full line-up of events visit here.


THEATRE: Miss Littlewood, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon,until Aug 4 

Clare Burt as the mature Joan. Photo by Topher McGrillis.

Clare Burt makes her RSC debut as one of seven actors playing the charismatic revolutionary 1950s and 60s British theatre director Joan Littlewood at different stages of her life. She is joined by Aretha Ayeh, Sandy Foster, Amanda Hadingue, Dawn Hope, Emily Johnstone and Sophia Nomvete. With book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon and directed by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, Miss Littlewood tells the story of Joan Littlewood, the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre whose theatre workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage. Funny, insightful and hugely entertaining.


Afternoon Tea In Iris’s, Upton House and Gardens, Fri July 13

Enjoy a traditional spread of scones with jam and cream, a selection of finger sandwiches and some dainty cakes of the season, all washed down with a pot of your favourite tea.  You’ll be pre-booked into the vintage tea room , Iris’s, originally the kitchen in the Bearsted’s 1920s house. £15 for adults; £10 for a child. Times available 2 – 3.30pm & 4 – 5pm. Booking essential.

Tel: 03442491895nationaltrust


Ronnie Scott’s ‘Sinatra at the Sands’: performed by Curtis Stigers and the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band, Birmingham Town Hall, Fri July 13

Internationally acclaimed US vocalist Curtis Stigers channels the hip, swinging chemistry of Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra in celebration of the classic album Sinatra at the Sands, joining forces with the U.K.’s favourite, the world famous, and absolutely masterful Ronnie Scott’s Big Band. SOLD OUT!



FOOD & DRINK: After hours Ale tasting with Bob Yeats Tunnel Brewery, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat July 14

Bob Yeats Tunnel Brewery will present a collection of hand-crafted ales for tasting. A mixture of popular craft ales, Traditional Beers and a Mulberry Ale made with mulberries from the famous Mulberry trees at Shakespeare’s New Place, 5.30pm – 7.30pm. Ticketed event, £10.



OPEN-AIR CINEMA: BrindleyPlace Film Festival 2018, Birmingham, July 16 – 22

This popular free outdoor festival is now in its seventh year. This year’s line-up of nine films opens with La La Land on Mon July 16. It is followed by classic black-and-white wartime romance, Casablanca (Tue July 17); Back to the Future (Wed July 18), Rocky Horror Picture Show, (Thur July 19), Black Panther (Fri July 20), Mary Poppins (Sat July 21), The Greatest Showman (Sat July 21), Coco (Sat July 22) and Grease (Sun July 22).

Real Bodies, The Exhibition, Hall 4, The NEC, Birmingham, until Sun Aug 19

A powerful and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy taking visitors on a journey, exploring the human body through physiology, culture and emotion by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and over 200 anatomical specimens.



DANCE/THEATRE: Read All About It! Coventry Evening Telegraph Building, Corporation Street, Tues 10 July – Sat July 14

Retold in rehearsal

A site-specific performance at the city’s 1950’s former newspaper offices and print room created by the Belgrade Theatre and Mercurial Dance. It’s been inspired by real-life stories across 50 years in two separate shows. In RetoldMercurial Dance take over the foyer area with an interactive, cabaret-style performance, uniting three skilled professional dancers with a local musician and composer, and 4 emerging dance artists. And in City Final, the Belgrade Theatre’s 9 youth and community groups present a series of snapshots of local history, popping up throughout the building.

belgrade Tel: 024 7655 3055


DANCE: Kevin and Karen Dance – The Live Tour 2018, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Sat July 14

Strictly sweethearts Kevin and Karen Clifton are back with a sultry, hip-swinging new show, backed by a supporting cast of dancers and 12-piece show band.



YOGA: Outdoor Yoga & Brunch, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, Sun July 15

Held in the beautiful grounds of Hilltop Farm, overlooking scenic countryside views, yoga instructor Kerry Palmer will guide you through an energising 75-min yoga practice (10am -12.30pm). All levels including beginners are welcome, yoga mats are provided though feel free to bring along your own if you have one. Having worked up an appetite, you’ll head inside to the Hilltop Cafe where you’ll be treated to freshly prepared smoothies, a meat or veggie option breakfast plus teas and coffees, £21.50.

Book here.



MUSIC: Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxon, Fri 13 – Sun 15 Jul 

guitar grass summer

There’s eclectic music across four stages, including Amy MacDonald, Squeeze, UB40, Alanis Morissette , plus top notch comedians like Katy Brand and Phil Wang at this civilised festival that prides itself on being quintessentially English. Think country fair with a rock’n’roll twist. Children’s workshops, a fairground, therapy zone and disco shed are the tip of the iceberg with roaming entertainers and a huge range of great food and drinks, including this year The Hairy Bikers’ Pop Up Wood Fired Restaurant AdventurePricing: from £180 (adults) to £30 (small children). Scenic campsites are dotted among the estate’s rolling hills.


FESTIVAL: The Henley Festival, Henley, Oxon, Weds 11 – Sun 15 Jul

Put your Daisy Dukes away, this is a strictly black tie affair. Well, it is Henley, darlings. This massive five day bash is chocka with live music, contemporary arts, comedy (Paul Merton, Mark Watson, Rob Brydon, Lucy Watson), street theatre and food glorious food, with 12 restaurants and nine bars. Rita Ora, Grace Jones, Nile Rodgers and The English National Opera are among the headliners, plus there’s the massively popular Family Sunday. Renowned local chef Paul Clerehugh and his team from London Street BrasserieReading are running a pop-up in the Spiegeltent – and even more spiffing, mention Muddy Stilettos for a free flute of champagne. Never say we don’t look after you, dear readers! Family tickets start at a reasonable £35 but this only allows you to wander around the event and hear the concerts. To see the floating concert stage you need to buy lawn (from £55 to £110) or grandstand (undercover) tickets from £70 to £130.


EXHIBITION: Michael Jackson: On The Wall, The National Portrait Gallery, Thurs June 28 – Oct 21 

The exhibition marks what would’ve been MJ’s 60th birthday and features artwork inspired by Andy Warhol and Grayson Perry among others.



THEATRE: Queens of the Coal Age, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, to July 21

Maxine Peake: Happy Days

The formidable Maxine Peake, an associate artist at the theatre, has written a play full of Northern wit, telling the remarkable story of four ordinary women who occupied a Lancashire mine in 1993 to protest against pit closures, stuffing their bras with nicotine patches and wet wipes to survive 80 metres underground. Directed by Bryony Shanahan.  The month-long run began just five days after she starred in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days.



Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, (sponsored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland), V&A, London, June 16 – Nov 14

Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine, 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

This summer, the V&A will explore how Frida Kahlo (b. 1907), one of the most recognised and significant artists and women of the 20th century, fashioned her identity. More than 200 previously unseen personal objects will be on show including her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish, outfits, medical corsets and even a painted prosthetic leg! They were discovered in 2004, 50 years after being sealed in the Blue House, Mexico, by her husband Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, following her death in 1954.

Find more ideas here

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