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What’s On This Week?



THEATRE: Kunene and the King, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, ends Apr 23


This touching  “beautifully written two-hander” (The Times), about a renowned but ailing actor taking on the role of King Lear, marks 25 years since the first democratic elections in South Africa. Written and performed by renowned South African actor, John Kani, opposite one of the finest actors of his generation Antony Sher. A co-production with Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, it’s directed by the ‘doyenne’ of South African theatre Janice Honeyman.

Tickets here.


COMEDY: LOL (Ladies of Laughter) with Noreen Khan, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon Apr 8

Noreen Khan

DJ and stand-up Noreen Khan, a radio and TV presenter on BBC Asian Network, hosts a night of comedy with some of the UK’s top female acts including Esther Manito, Glenda Jaxson and Sukhb Ojla for ages 16+, limited availability, belgrade


THEATRE: The Mousetrap, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon Apr 8-13

Gwyneth Strong. Photo © Johan Persson

 Agatha Christie’s long-running whodunit is headed to Coventry this Spring in a gripping production by Adam Spiegel and Stephen Waley-Cohen.  Following its record-breaking 60th anniversary tour in 2012, the unstoppable West End hits the road again. Casting includes Gwyneth Strong as Mrs Boyle. Best known for her roles as Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses and as Geraldine Clough in EastEnders. It’s directed by Gareth Armstrong, former Artistic Director of Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre, Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


MUSIC: The Lexicon of Love, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Tue Apr 9

ABC will be touring across the UK in 2019 performing their iconic 1982 debut album The Lexicon Of Love in its entirety plus all the greatest hits with the Southbank Sinfonia and longtime collaborator Anne Dudley, who will conduct the evening,


FILM: Us (15), out in cinemas now 

Jordan Peele’s new horror is “a worthy and creepy follow up” to his Oscar-winning debut Get Out starring 12 Years a Slave actor Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elizabeth Moss.


THEATRE: Glory, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed April 10 – Sat Apr 13

Joshua-Lyster-as-Ben, a British soldier, who turns to wrestling as a physical outlet for pent-up anger and emotion after experiencing a devastating loss.

A sweaty, gutsy, painfully funny new play by Nick Ahad exploring the resurgence of grassroots wrestling, men’s mental health and what it means to be an outsider in 21st-century Britain. Hot-on-the-heels of the Belgrade’s own production Under the Umbrella, by Amy Ng, Glory is the second play to be hosted by the Coventry venue as part of Tamasha’s IGNITE programme, supporting emerging producers to develop work in regional theatres. This fusion of sport and theatre fusion coincides with Coventry’s Year of Health and Wellbeing and its year as European City of Sport in 2019. Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


THEATRE: The Half God of Rainfall, The REP Studio, Birmingham, Apr 13 – 20





This looks really excellentt! Multi-talented Nigerian-born poet, graphic artist and playwright Inua Ellams’s (The Barber Shop Chronicles) much-anticipated contemporary saga weaves poetry with storytelling in a majestic, chaotic journey across mythologies that transports us from a tiny village in Southern Nigeria to the home of the Gods and beyond. Box Office: 0121 236 4455 /


RSC: Easter Holiday activities & Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wed Apr 10 – Mon May 6

Children can take part in a fun introduction to As You Like It currently showing at the RSC on Wed Apri 17. Photo-by-Topher-McGrillis-_c_-RSC

A host of super-cool family-friendly activities ranging from vocal warm-ups, exciting open set changeovers (Tues Apr 23 & Thur Apr 25), BSL interpreted events including Kate’s Storytree (Apr 19), Blood Guts & Gore with former RSC Head of Wigs & Make-up Brenda Leedham, costume design workshops, mini set design, Easter trail and a Tulip Festival at Morton Hall (May 4, 5 & 6), raising money for the RSC’s Stitch In Time campaign to restore and redevelop of the company’s new Costume Workshop. See the full itinerary here: rsc, Tel: 01789 331111 to book.


COMEDY: Emily Atack – Talk Thirty to Me, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Fri Apr 12

Actor and I’m A Celebrity contestant Emily Atack, who played Charlotte Hinchcliffe in The Inbetweeners, takes to the stage in her debut comedy show – a live memoir of anecdotes, impressions and tales of an actor in her 20’s. A tongue in cheek look at turning 30 and “having it all” in the millennial age, Emily will be unraveling today’s anxiety-inducing world of social media slimming apps and the never-ending search for “the one”. For ages 14+,

COMEDY: Stuart Goldsmith – End Of, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Fri Apr 12

The Comedian’s Comedian host and comic is back with a witty odyssey on how it works out in the end, and whether anyone cares. Intelligent stand-up comedy for everybody, but of particular interest to people over thirty who’ve lost touch with all their old friends and can’t eat just the one pain au chocolat. Featuring ultimates, absolutes and surprisingly few conclusions. He’s has appeared on the CBBC sci-fi gameshow Mission: 2110, and CBBC’s children’s panel show The Dog Ate My Homework. For ages 16+,


MUSIC: Diane Click & Wes Swing, The Tin Music and Arts, Leamington Spa, Fri Apr 12


American “intuitive” folk singer-songwriter Diane  Charlottesville, Virginia, contributed to New York’s burgeoning Antifolk scene in the early 2000s. Since then, Laura Marling, Florence Welch (of Florence And The Machine), and Sharon Van Etten have cited Diane’s work as influential. She is currently on a Spring 2019 UK tour and also hosting 5 Singing & Collaborative Songmaking workshops including London and Oxford. Tickets here.


THEATRE: The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31

Photo by Ikin Yum (c) RSC

The reviews are now in after last week’s press night for Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles. It’s set in the 1590s and England is a matriarchy. National critics said:  a “landmark production” (Evening Standard ****);  “an interesting but underpowered exercise in gender-swapping” (Daily Telegraph ***) and “Getting their hands on the best and biggest parts for once, the female performers savour every syllable”, (The Times, ****), rsc

ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, opens Sat March 16 – June 16


Compton Verney new spring exhibition takes a fresh and moving look at childhood over the last 500 years boasting masterpieces such as Van Dyck’s The Five Eldest Children of Charles I (1637) from the Royal Collection, Hogarth’s The Graham Children (1742) from the National Gallery, and Millais’ Bubbles (1886) from National Museums Liverpool together with some fo Queen Victoria’s sketches of her own children. This is the first time these iconic paintings will be paired with the preparatory sketches that informed them. Alongside ‘Painting Childhood’ is the expressive, idiosyncratic sister exhibition ‘Childhood Now’ with three contemporary artists – Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu – who have used their own children or childhood to depict modern youth.  comptonverney


FOOD: Gin & Tapas Evening, Pastelaria Portuguesa, Coten End, Warwick, Fri Apr 12 & Fri Apr 26

This friendly cafe and bakery brings a taste of Portugal to Warwick, with regular authentic Gin and Tapas evenings and evening dinners. Their best-selling cake is the Pasteis de Nata pastelariaportuguesa


EASTER HOLS: Shakespeare’s Family Homes, Sat Apr 13 – 28

Easter egg decorating at Mary Arden’s Farm, 12 – 4pm, April 13-28 daily.

There’s lots of egg-citing and fun-filled family events taking place across the famous Shakespeare Family Homes this Easter: make an origami swan, decorate an Easter egg, go on a journey with Prospero from The Tempest, and sit on a jury as The Reverend Francis Gastrell goes back on trial 260 years after knocking down Shakespeare’s New Place.


EASTER HOLS: Spring Spectacular, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick, Sat April 13 – 28

Younger children will love seeing all the super cute spring new-born animals including chicks, ducklings, piglets, bunnies, lambs and kid goats, and even get the chance to feed and handle the animals within Farmyard Favourites. More new arrivals are expected over the coming weeks, some lucky visitors may be fortunate enough to see a live birth! Easter activities include a daily Easter Egg Hunt at 12:30pm and 2pm; the famous springtime Tractor Safari; Sheep Racing held daily at 1:45pm plus Falconry Displays at 11am, 2pm and 3pm. Other attractions will be a daily Magic Show at 11:30am and 3pm, a Puppet Show at 1pm,  Outdoor Laser Combat ( 8yrs+), and the huge indoor soft play area ‘Snorty’s Superslide Mania’, or Tel: 01926 843411.


THEATRE: Keeping Our End Up, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, until April 13

Actors: Joan (Wendy Morris), Jan (Sam Harris), Fi (Lesley Wilcox and Ronnie (Sue Moore)

This is the first airing of a brand new play written by Stratford-upon-Avon-based playwright Mark  Carey, whose previous works have been aired on Radio 4 and across the country. Also an accomplished actor he’s worked for Trevor Nunn at the National Theatre and appeared on TV in Doc Martin, Casualty and Luther.  It’s an action-packed comedy-drama about surviving life at the bottom of a local women’s bowls leagueThe inspiration came from a local indoor bowling arena, where Mark noticed that while the men focused predominantly on their bowls match, the women talked in a much more honest way about life, relationships, health, growing old, families and politics. Email:; Tel: 01926 830680, lofttheatrecompany


EASTER: Adventure Quest, Kenilworth Castle, April 13-28 

Join the hunt for dragon eggs on a legendary quest this Easter holiday. Crack the clues as you and your family follow the trail through the castle. Intrepid adventurers who track down the dragon egg will get a certificate and a sticker to prove it, and there’ll be a chocolate treat too!  You can get questing at Kenilworth Castle every day of the school holidays. It costs just £1 per child, and there’s no need to book, 11am-5pm, english-heritage


EASTER HOLS: Mini-Madness, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Sat April 6 – 28

The Museum kick starts its Mini 60th celebrations with a host of themed family activities. Families can enjoy tours with a Mini mad mechanic character at 1.30pm, follow a Mini Trail and make a Mini using air dry clay in drop-in workshops from 10am to 3pm. Over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (Apr 19 – 22)  there’s a traditional Easter Egg hunt with a Mini twist – collect eggs around the Museum to claim your Mini Egg reward. The ‘Back to the drawing board’ Mini trail is also available daily, taking inspiration from Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini. 01926 927823.


EXHIBITION: Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, until April 27

This exhibition tells the story of the creation of Beatrix Potter’s most famous story character. It includes original, rarely exhibited artworks and manuscripts. Younger children will enjoy the activity play room where they can help Mrs Tiggy-Winkle hang up the laundry, plant carrots in Mr. McGregor’s garden, visit Mrs. Rabbit in her burrow or curl up with one of the books in the story corner. A Peter Rabbit themed spring activity family programme runs through to Easter with events including The Wonderful World of Hedgehogs with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Senior Hedgehog Officer on April 5. See here for the full spring programme.


 THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Aug 31


 What can you look forward to this season? Well, three Shakespeare gems, two Restoration classics and a stunning new two-hander! The new 2019 season opened with Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It with fabulous critically-acclaimed performances by Worcester actor Lucy Phelps as Rosalind and David Ajao as Orlando, also look out for LAMDA-trained Leamington Spa actor Amelia Donkor as Silvia! rsc, Tel: 01789 403493. 


EASTER HOLS: Daily ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ sessions and see tropical butterflies hatch, Stratford Butterfly Farm,  Sat April 13 – 28 

It’s all about the Egg at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm this Easter. Discover the freshly laid eggs from tropical Butterflies and Moths and see the Caterpillars hatched out of them. You may even see a butterfly hatch from its pupa!   Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions take place daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm in the holidays with the Education Team – and hold creatures such as a giant African millipede, African land snail and a variety of stick insects.  The latest new residents include the ferocious looking Dragon Headed Katydid from the forests of Borneo in South East Asia and a pink and white insect from Malaysia and Indonesia that looks remarkably like a beautiful orchid flower – the Orchid Mantis, butterflyfarm, Tel:  01789 299288.


EASTER HOLS: Warwick Castle, Warwick

Last summer’s Dragon Slayer digital installation

It’s a jam-packed Easter over at Warwick Castle with the brand new Falconer’s Quest- the biggest Birds of Prey show in the UK, with 70 majestic birds taking to the skies and doing all sorts of aerial acrobatics. Plus world exclusives! The world’s largest siege machine fires twice a day in a brand new show as well as the Horrible Histories adventure maze featuring fun challenges, Terrible Tudors, Vicious Vikings,  Storming’  Normals and more- a guaranteed winner with the kids.


EASTER HOLS: Twycross Zoo welcomes a critically endangered black rhino this Easter, Atherstone, from Sat Apr 13

Visitors will be able to say hello to a new arrival at the zoo this Easter Holidays – a rare female Eastern black rhino called Nandi, soon to be followed by a male companion. See how many zoo babies you can spot including Molusc the penguin chick, two wallaby joeys and a Kirk’s Dik-Dik fawn. You can also enjoy walking around Chimpanzee Eden built last year, feeding the lorikeets, petting the goats, exploring Butterfly Forest, splashing around in the Wet ‘n’ Wild park and brand new for 2019 electric Safari Cars for 3 – 10-year-olds. Best ticket prices for the Easter Holidays are when you book online by midnight the night before  your visit,


ART: Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Fri Feb 1 – May 6

Leonardo da Vinci, The head of an old bearded man, c.1517-18 RCIN 912499

12 of the Renaissance master’s drawings from the Royal Collection will be displayed at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as part of 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. Revered in his day as a painter, Leonardo completed only around 20 paintings; he was respected as a sculptor and architect, but no sculpture or buildings by him survive. Drawings on display will include the Head of an Old Bearded Man (c.1517-18), and A Map of the Valdichiana (c.1503-4). Free, birminghammuseums

ART: Compton Verney’s second ‘Eyecatcher’ art installation in the grounds

It may look calm and serene, but I took this photo of Green Dwelling by Dutch artist Krijn de Koning on a very windy day at Compton Verney. This new installation consists of a collection of differently-sized green blocks ranged across the Old Town Meadow. The blocks highlight the history of the land: once the site of the medieval village of Compton Murdak, the meadow was planted with elm trees in the 18th century, lost due to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Like a modern Stonehenge, the blocks playfully reference these lost histories. Paths and picnic benches are integral to the design, transforming the meadow into a destination to explore and enjoy. An exciting opportunity to re-frame familiar views of the Grade-I listed mansion house. Great for kids to run around and explore during the Easter holidays, comptonverney



FESTIVAL: Stratford Lit Fest, from Sun April 28 – Sun May 5

Former ballet dancer and ‘Strictly’ judge, Dame Darcey Bussell, Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis , Bake Off judge Prue Leith, actress Juliet Stephenson and Warwickshire screenwriter Andrew Davies, whose BBC 1 hit Les Misérables recently graced our screens, are among the top names visiting this illustrious 8-day spring festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. Award-winning writers including Ali Smith, John Lanchester, Tessa Hadley, best-selling novelist, Patrick Gale and Booker-prize winner Ben Okri will be discussing their latest work, as well as some of the most exciting debuts of 2019. Children’s Day this year rounds off the Festival on May 5 with Jacqueline Wilson, Francesca Simon and illustrators Lydia Monks and Nick Sharratt, along with stage shows of The Rainbow Fish and Aliens Love Underpants.

For the full line-up go to: stratlitfest Tickets go on sale on Feb 4,


KIDS THEATRE: The Worst Witch, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Apr 24 – 27

Photo by Manuel Harlan

Long before Harry Potter or Hermione Grainger there was Mildred Hubble – an ordinary girl who found herself enrolled in a school for witches. Based on Jill Murphy’s classic series of children’s novels, this action-packed production sees Mildred return for her final year at Miss Cackle’s Academy, where some big surprises are in store. It’s been adapted for the stage by award-winning children’s writer Emma Reeves, lead writer on the much-loved The Worst Witch series on CBBC. Tickets available here or Tel: the box office on 024 7655 3055.


COMEDY: Julian Clary – Born to Mince, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 12 

“Are you ready for some filth? I know I am. It’s been a while since I sallied forth to pleasure the provinces with my particular brand of saucy innuendo. Let me at them!”  7.30pm. Age 16+,


THEATRE: Heart of Darkness, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed May 8 – Sat May 11

Joseph Conrad’s seminal novel about lies, greed and the lust for power gets a modern makeover at Dicot’s arts hub by digital theatre maker Imitating the Dog. Video, projections and graphic images are fused with live performance in this bold new production. Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade


TALK: Margaret Atwood, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Mon Oct 28

To celebrate the launch of her new book The Testaments, a sequel to the totally brilliant The Handmaid’s Tale (which I am very excited to get my mitts on), author Margaret Atwood is going on a live tour- an evening of conversation, exclusive readings and special guests. She’s only touring for eight dates in the UK and our ‘hood is super lucky to secure a spot, so get booking if you fancy it as no doubt it will be a sell-out. The tour follows the book launch on Tues 10 Sept where Margaret will be speaking at the National Theatre – the talk will be screened to 1,000 cinemas worldwide with loads of West Midlands and Warwickshire cinemas taking part. Find your nearest screening here.



FESTIVAL: BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, London, Fri 12 – Sun 14 Apr 

Forget trashy telly (Love Island I’m looking at you), there are some mega Brit TV celebs attending this. The British Film Institute and Radio Times team up for the largest television festival in the UK with talks from the likes of Joanna Lumley, Jamie Oliver, Big Narstie (ask your teens), Suranne Jones and Dame Helen Mirren. You’ll also get an insight into what goes on behind the silver screen with The Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio (we couldn’t get enough of this in Muddy HQ), Derry Girls doyenne Lisa McGee and more, as well as loads of showings from the BFI archives. There’s a young adult programme too (for 16 – 25-year-olds) all at £5, including a Q&A with the cast of BBC 3’s university drama CliqueFull programme here.


EXHIBITION: Matilda at Thirty, Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden, until Sun Jun 2 

To celebrate Matilda’s 30th birthday, the Lower Babbling Room has a mini exhibition of eight new drawings by Roald Dahl’s illustrator Quentin Blake, each showing a different version of a grown-up Matilda.


KIDS: Southbank Centre, London, Sat Apr  6 – Mon 22 

Free fun by the bucketful if you’re heading to London this Easter with music from Camp Bestival regulars Dizney Rascal, cool folk singer London Rhymes and comedy theatre group Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band. Paid events include giant musical sandpits, an immersive colourful performance called Kaleidoscope and the brilliant Tabby McTat (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) Freckle Productions, the team behind Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Zog.


EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, from Sat Apr 6

This is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.

Tickets here


EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, until Tues Aug 27

This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. Over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artist  who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg.


Find more ideas here

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