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What’s On This Week?

MON MAY 20 - SUN MAY 27

THEATRE: Bells & Spells, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Tues May 21 & Wed May 22

BELLS AND SPELLS. Photo by © Lucie Jansch

Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, the daughter of actor/ filmmaker Charlie Chaplin directs her own daughter, Aurélia Thierree, in a surrealist piece of theatre, Bells & Spells, much raved about across Europe in a rare UK performance. Aurélia gets inside the skin of a kleptomaniac and finds herself manipulated by the objects she steals. A coat rack gets up and walks. Chairs and a table slide and slip away, while a wall opens, and a pair of dancers emerge. A dress suddenly takes on a life of its own. The show received its UK premiere as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival (May 17). For ages 11+, warwickartscentreTel: 024 7652 4524.

 

**NEW**THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri May 24 – Sept 7

Prasanna Puwanarajah in rehearsal. Photo-by-Helen-Maybanks-_c_-rsc

Actor/Director/Writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, who recently appeared in Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose, directs a dark, dystopian production of this rarely-performed Restoration thriller by Thomas Otway, playing in the intimate setting of the Swan Theatre. Tickets here.

 

COMEDY: The Guilty Feminist Live, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 24 
Comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests explore the noble goals of 21st-century feminists, whilst confessing the insecurities, hypocrisies and paradoxes which undermine those goals. Aged 16+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

ART: Bridget Riley, The White Room Gallery, Leamington Spa, Sat May 25 – Sat June 13

Coloured Greys, 1972, All images © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London.

 

An icon of contemporary British art, Bridget Riley has work on display in many of the world’s most important collections. Her style is instantly recognisable, exploring the relationship between colour and form, creating images which almost dance on the paper. How fortunate for art lovers locally that this Leamington gallery is showing this fantastic collection of work spanning her illustrious career.

Further details here.

 

THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thur May 2 – Sept 7

Caroline Quentin in The-Provoked-Wife. Photo-by-Pete-Le-May

Comedians Rufus Hound and Les Dennis, are joining Alexandra Gilbreath (Lady Brute), Caroline Quentin (Lady Fancyfull) and Jonathan Slinger (Sir John Brute) in a riotous new production of the outspoken restoration romp that shocked 17th century society, directed by Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Merry Wives of Windsor), rsc.org.uk 

 

EVENT: Gin Club featuring Devonshire distillery Salcombe, Fizzy Moon Brewhouse, Leamington Spa, Thur May 23
Enjoy a cocktail on arrival, meet the brand ambassador, taste all 6 gins in the portfolio, enjoy a selection of tapas and live music, from 7pm. Plus there’s a luxurious gin hamper to be won on the night!
Email info@fizzymoonbrewhouse, Tel: 01926 888717, fizzymoonbrewhouse

 

MUSIC: Rita Ora, Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, May 25
With a staggering 7 million singles sold, actor, model, brand ambassador and pop star Rita has produced 13 top 10 singles and a no.1 platinum-selling debut album. She’s touring following the release of her long-awaited and well-received second album, Phoenix with special guests Moss Kena and Four of Diamonds in Brum. Tickets here.

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

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
 

FAMILY: Designer Week, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Sat May 25 – June 2

May half term is all about car design. Families are encouraged to discover the fascinating stories behind the Museum’s most famous cars and their designers, and then design a car of their own in the pop-up studio!  Have a go at the Back to the Drawing Board MiniTrail is inspired by the legendary Sir Alec Issigonis, who designed the Mini. Visitors can pick up a trail board and explore the Museum, seeking out different pieces of the drawing board jigsaw to design their own Mini.   Every day at 1.30pm costumed characters Victor or Patsy will lead a fun family tour of the Museum, sharing their knowledge of car design in a relaxed and informative way. Families can also Design a Car in the studio – take inspiration from British legends and choose a cut-out design template of a Land Rover, Mini, Jaguar or Metro 6R4, then use imagination and creative flair to personalise your own design icon.

Tel:01926 641188, britishmotormuseum.co.uk/events/family-activities

 

EAT: Warwick Food Festival, Market Place. Warwick, Sun May 26

A mouth-watering line up of more than 90 local food and drink producers,  bars, live entertainment and kids activities, as this popular festival returns for its 5th year.

localfoodfestivals

 

NEW EXHIBITION: Living with HistoryHall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, May 18 – Sept 29

Photo © William Mulryne

Fourteen photographs by William Mulryne offer a fresh perspective of Stratford-upon-Avon – after the tourists have gone home! They include this lovely portrait of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s honorary presidentProfessor Stanley Wells in his office. Professor Wells is a Shakespearean scholar, writer, editor and professor emeritus at the University of Birmingham. Stratford-born William, who has Asperger Syndrome studied photography at Stratford-upon-Avon College and documents everyday life in the town. He said, “Stratford-upon-Avon is an amazing place with a special feeling. Asperger Syndrome made growing up a series of experiences, everything was 100% interesting. I experienced cars, music, elevators: the sounds and the way they moved, working out how they worked and being mesmerised by the visual movement.”
Living with History at Hall’s Croft café is free, shakespeare.org.uk/visit/halls-croft/living-history
THEATRE: On Golden Pond, The Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Fri May 17 – Sat May 25 
A touching, funny and warmly perceptive comedy-drama about a spirited elderly couple facing their twilight years performed by a six-strong cast. Conciliatory wife Ethel (Pamela Hickson) and cantankerous retiree Norman Thayer (Philip Hickson) return to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 44th year. The 1981 film adaptation famously starred Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn.  Time: 7.30pm start with matinees on Sat May 18 & Sat May 25 at 2.30pm. In support of the British Heart FoundationFor more details and tickets see here.

UK FILM PREMIERE: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Thur May 23

If you haven’t seen it performed live, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake comes to cinemas and is ‘as bold and beautiful as ever’.  This thrilling production is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a male ensemble. Filmed live at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, it stars Will Bozier as The Swan/The Stranger, Liam Moweras The Prince and Nicole Kabera as The Queen.

Tickets £12.50 (£10), macreadytheatre

 

KIDS: ZOG by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 24 – Sun May 26


Another imaginative and colourful 60-minute stage adaptation for children of all ages based on a book by Julia Donaldson by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston (they currently have 4 on the go – ZogTabby McTatStick Man and Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales). Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know! Timings: Fri – 4.30pm; Sat & Sun -11am, 2pm & 4pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

 

FAMILY:  May half-term activities at Stratford Butterfly Farm, Stratford upon Avon, Fri May 24 – June 2

A Swallowtail butterfly

I was here a couple of weeks ago for a visit with my 10-year-old and her friend – they had a great time squealing at all the creepy-crawlies and checking out the butterflies. The landscaped gardens were looking very colourful too. Back in residence this half-term is the Orb Web Spider, also known as Nephilia inaurataUnusually this spider is not displayed behind the safety of glass but can be found in a hoop suspended from the ceiling of Minibeast MetropolisTheir wheel-shaped web is so strong it can even catch birds and bats! All visitors will receive a complimentary marble heart on Mon May 26 May. In return, the Butterfly Farm is urging visitors and their families to get involved with the Year of Green Actionand make a green action pledge to connect with natureChildren and adults can take part in the popular Meet the Mini-Beast handling sessions daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm and hold creatures such as a giant African Millipede, African land snail, Stick Insects and even a Madagascan hissing cockroach!  www.butterflyfarm.co.ukTel: 01789 299288.

  • On June 8 & 9 Stratford Butterfly Farm is celebrating World Swallowtail Day with interactive demonstrations in the Discovery Zonetwice daily. The Education Team will be highlighting these amazing species of butterfly and how we can help save and protect them for future generations. Special guest and swallowtail/birdwing expert Charles Dewhurst will be joining the team on June 8. 

 

MUSIC: Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems, The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Sat May 25

Bringing you all the best tracks from the decade that brought us Blur vs Oasis, Fatboy Slim, Primal Scream, The Verve, The Chemical Brothers, Faithless and The Prodigy, eventbrite

 

FAMILY:  Woolly Week, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat May 25 – June 2

Check out the revamped children’s play area, rare breed Ryeland sheep, and a new peasants’ hovel at the 23-acre Tudor working farm this spring. Ryeland sheep are one of the oldest English breeds – and see their first lambs! The popular Woolly Week takes place from May 25 – June 2, and on June 23 celebrate the longest day, Midsummer Day where you might even meet the farm’s own magical unicorn! Two new events have been added to the Tudor calendar this year: on Aug 1 to make your own mini lammas loaf out of salt dough reviving the tradition of Lammas Day, with storytelling and music. And at Harvest Home on Sept 15, try your hand at traditional crafts, like candle-making, willow weaving and wool crafts, while enjoying puppet shows and Tudor music. Open daily until Sun Nov 3, check out shakespeare.org.uk/visit/mary-ardens-farm. Book online.

FAMILY: Knights’ Tournament, Kenilworth Castle, Sun May 26 & Mon May 27

Go back in time and get closer to the action as rival knights compete in the ultimate test of strength and skill at Kenilworth Castle’s Knights’ Tournament. Arrows will fly, swords will clash and the winner will be decided in the Grand Melee finale. Immerse yourself in medieval life in the encampment, where you can meet people from the Middle Ages and try on a knight’s armour for yourself. Mini warriors can join in with drills out on the field, and even get a taste of medieval combat in the kids’ battle. There’ll be plenty to see and do throughout the day, before the knights’ battle for victory in the thrilling final competition, 11am-5pm,

 www.english-heritage.org.uk

 

FAMILY: Pirate Festival, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick, May 25 – June 2

The Warwickshire family attraction is again inviting budding Buccaneers, Long John Silver’s and Captain Jack Sparrow’s for some swashbuckling fun including pirate shows, treasure hunts and pirate battles. Each day entertainment will include a live Pirate Show in the family theatre at 11am, 1pm & 3pm, Pirate Battles at 12pm & 4pm and a Pirate Treasure Hunt at 2pm. Plus, there are all the usual activities including falconry displays, meet the reptiles, laser combat, pat-a-pet, tractor safari and Hatton’s grand national.

Tel: 01926 843411, hattonworld.com/adventure-world

 

FILM: Rocketman, in cinemas from May 24 

If you enjoyed the Freddie Mercury biopic, stand by for Rocketman, a film about Elton John, with Brit star Taron Egerton (above) donning the silly specs and Bodyguard star Richard Madden playing John Reid, the singer’s long-term manager and lover!

 

ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, until June 16

Chantal-Joffe-Self-portrait-with-Esme-at-bedtime-2018-ⓒ-Chantal-Joffe-Courtesy-the-artist-and-Victoria-Miro-LondonVenice

Compton Verney’s 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 of 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

 

GIN CRUISE! Shakespeare Distillery & Avon Boating launch their first Gin Cruise, Stratford-upon-Avon, from Sat May 18

All-aboard for a 40-minute gin cruise! Sail down the beautiful Avon through Stratford-upon-Avon with a glass of Stratford Gin in your hand. See all the riverside sights including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare’s burial place, while enjoying a tutored tasting of the craft gins produced by the award-winning Shakespeare Distillery, finishing with a glass of Gin & Tonic to toast your captain & crew! £20pp. Book here.

THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Feb 14 – Aug 31

Photo-by-Topher-McGrillis-_c_-RSC

 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! Read our review here, rsc.org.uk, Tel: 01789 403493.

 

MUSIC: Kitty Macfarlane, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 26
Kitty’s folk-inspired music is relevant and captivating, with sharply observed narrative songs. Be sure not to miss this phenomenal rising star, 7.45pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

FAMILY: Host your own Glamping Pod Pizza Party at Wootton Park, Henley-in-Arden

This enterprising family-owned Warwickshire rural business, which recently launched the UK’s first luxe treepods with hot tubs, has now launched ‘pod pizza parties’. Groups of up to eight people can get together in 4 glamping pods (Mistral, Sirocco, Meltemi and Zephyr), make or bring their own dough and have their own pizza party in a kiln pizza oven on site. These pods are set on the ground among the trees in a group and ideal for 4 couples each with a double bed, bedding, towels and bathrobes. A shower and toilet are nearby as a BBQ, fire pit and outside seating area. Perfect for a birthday celebration, family get together, anniversary or hen night /weekend. Quote Campaign Code PIZZA PARTY – and the cost is £460 for the 4 pods sleeping 8 people for one night. That’s £57.50 per person including breakfast. Price includes use of the pizza oven for a booked time slot and wood, (pizza ingredients not included).

woottonpark.co.uk/stay

 

ART: Compton Verney’s second ‘eyecatcher’ art installation Green Dwelling

Green Dwelling has been imagined by Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, and 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 explore over Easter! comptonverney

 

BOOK NOW!

ENGLISH WINE WEEK (May 25-June 2) Summer Wines, Slurp Leamington, Fri May 31

Find your new Summer go-to wine to enjoy in the sunshine! The team will be tasting a vintage Cava by Segura Viudas, a lively and zesty Albarino from Vionta in Rias Biaxas Spain, a lovely light and fresh Rose from Demorgenzon South Africa, a Nerello Mascalese and Carricante from Cortese in Sicilly and a Californian Zinfandel by Cline Cellars which would make the perfect match for those steaks and burgers on the BBQ. Tickets, £15pp, here.

 

ENGLISH WINE WEEK (May 25-June 2): English Sparkling Wine Tasting, The Leamington Wine Company, Leamington Spa, Thur May 30

Celebrate English Wine Week. May 25 – June 2, with a sparkling wine tasting. As an independently owned vineyard, Gusbourne is leading the way in English winemaking with vintage wines created from the estates own vines in Kent and West Sussex. Neil Irvine from the vineyard will be talking through Gusbourne’s latest releases of Sparkling English Wine. Get a glimpse into the impressive skill and dedication that goes into growing the grapes, terroir, and the delicate skill of winemaking. Taste their Vintage Brut Reserve, Vintage Rose, Vintage Blanc de Blanc, their Burgundian style still Chardonnay and a surprise bottle! Tickets £30pp, here.

FAMILY THEATRE: HONK! The Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues June 4 – Sat June 8

Photo by Scott Rylander

After a critically acclaimed London run, Olivier Award-winning musical Honk! is finally flying the nest and soaring into Coventry! This exuberant egg-stravaganza reimagines Hans Christian Andersen’s heartwarming classic The Ugly Duckling in a spectacular production bursting with puppetry, magic, illusions – and water guns! It’s been created by award-winning British writer and composer duo Stiles and Drewe – the team behind musical theatre hits Half a Sixpence, Mary Poppins and The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium.

Tel: 024 765 5 3055, belgrade.co.uk 

THEATRE: The Ladyboys of Bangkok – Greatest Showgirls Tour, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thur June 6

Cheekier, funnier and more spectacular than ever, this new production features 16 of the world’s most stunning showgirls – who just happen to be men. Packed with more big-scale musical numbers than you could point a perfumed glove at, The Greatest Showgirls combines the glamour of Hollywood with the glitz of Las Vegas and the humour and traditions of the British music hall in one glitzy night. The troupe have been touring the UK for 21 years since making their debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, drawing on a rich Thai cultural heritage. Expect flamboyant costumes, immaculate make-up and showstopping choreography!

**One night only** Tel: the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade

 

LeamGinton Summer Gin Festival (Part 1!), Victoria House, Leamington Spa, Fri June 7

Come along and meet Muddy Award-winners Leamington Wine Company’s very own gin experts, with more than 50 gins on the night to tantalise your taste buds, you’re sure to find a new favourite. Fevertree and a number of renowned distilleries will once again be supporting the event. Tickets £35pp, here.

ONE-MAN SHOW: Woke, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat June 15 (two performances)

Photography-by-Anthony-Robling-

Rapper, writer and beatboxer Testament unpicks his own prejudices in an intimate production with a dose of wit, self-deprecation and a truckload of honesty. World record-holding beatboxer Testament (aka Andy Brooks) reckons he’s a pretty right-on sort of guy. He’s had his poetry featured on BBC Radio 4 and collaborated with well-regarded companies on critically acclaimed theatre shows like Blake Remixed and Black Men Walking. But when his daughter is born, he suddenly finds himself questioning his own “woke” credentials. Woke is an unflinching and often funny look at the gendered assumptions underlying our everyday interactions, fusing elements of beatboxing, rap, storytelling, music, comedy and conversation.
Woke runs at the Belgrade Theatre at 2.30pm and 8pm. Tickets available by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade.co.uk
Festival on the Close, Rugby, June 24 – 27

Motionhouse: Gravity

This summer, Rugby School’s historic Close will once again be transformed into a buzzing hub of culture and creativity with the iconic, 2,000 seat outdoor Cemex Performance Arena on The Close playing host to comedian Jason Manford fresh from his current sell-out arena tour Muddle Class, plus special guests; Showstopper! the Olivier Award-Winning West End improvised musical, Showstopper!; My Kind of Michael written and performed by Nick Cassenbaum and a dance double bill – Gravity by Motionhouse. The festival is supported by an A-list line-up of patrons including Dame Judi Dench and author Anthony Horowitz in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Jason Mansford

Built on a programme of educational workshops for local school children, the festival is a celebration of creativity and culture in the local community with a full range of creative activities for school groups running throughout the week – from learning to dance flamenco to live sports commentary; from creative writing to Chinese dance; from fashion to stage combat. Hundreds of children from local schools and Rugby School will demonstrate their wealth of talent with free plays, concerts, dance shows, art exhibitions, poetry readings and much more. Festival Director Dr Tim Coker says: “Judi has always been very generous with her support of the festival and the work we are doing to offer opportunities to young people, regardless of background, to engage with the arts. We thank her for her continued support.”
Open to the public, tickets for the main events are now on sale at thefestivalontheclose

LITERATURE: Book Club LIVE! Also Festival, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Thurs July 4

Calling all Warwickshire book clubs – fancy having your July meet-up in the ground of one of the UK’s top boutique festivals, immersed in nature? BookClub.LIVE is TheAlso Festival‘s event to celebrate the positive social role the Book Club plays in people’s lives and this year will be held on the evening before the festival opens on Thursday, July  4 at Park Farm, Compton Verney. From 6pm the gates to this glorious 50-acre lakeside parkland will be thrown wide open for you and your gang to make it the location for your summer book group. This year Also Festival is working with writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes who will be at Book Club LIVE to talk about her novel A Thousand Ships (published early May.) Natalie, the author of three novels including The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, also presents the BBC Radio 4 Show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics.  She was awarded the 2015 Classical Prize and in 2018 took on Boris Johnson and won. Ten years as a stand-up comedian mean you can expect a highly entertaining performer.

Book Club LIVE is held in a beautiful canvas marquee with a bar with wines and beers, bar snacks and, tasty wines and non-alcoholic drinks. Booking has just opened this week here! Warwickshire’s Also festival runs Fri July 5 – 7.

 

Laugh it up ‘lite – Live Stand-up, Inside the 22, Rugby, June 14

Comedians Jenny Collier, who has written for BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, Huffington Post and Glamour Magazine, Jack Campbell (Winner of English Comedian of the Year 2014) and Northamptonshire’s Andrew Bird will be performing their latest material, plus MC James Cook, at this cool emerging social hub, bar and venue opposite Rugby School. A brand new quarterly comedy night, organised by Enterlude Events and Custard Comedy, that would not be out of place at Glee or the Comedy Store. Get your hands on the last few tickets!

Tickets here.

 

FESTIVAL: Pub in the Park, St Nicholas Park, Warwick, Fri July 5 – Sun July 7

Get yer glitter and denim hotpants out as festival season is upon us! Tom Kerridge’s popular gourmet scran meets live music fandango, Pub in the Park, comes to Warwick for the very first time with Tom Odell, Razorlight, Stereo MCs, Toploader and Will Young in tow, as well as cookery demos and talks from winner of The Great British Bake Off 2016 Candice Brown, Jodie Kidd, Fred Sireix the French Maître d’hôtel best known for Channel 4’s First Dates and Adam Bennet from Michelin-starred The Cross in Kenilworth  and Nick Deverell-Smith, owner and head chef of The Churchill Arms, in the Cotswolds (Fri July 5 – Sun  7).

FURTHER AFIELD:
FESTIVAL: All Points East, Victoria Park, London, Fri May 24 – June 2

The Chemical Brothers

 After last year’s debut, this 10-day festival returns with two weekends of lineups with every Spotify playlist mood catered for. Things hot up this Friday with The Chemical Brothers joined by Primal Scream, Kate Tempest, Spiritualized, and Little Dragon. The Strokes headline a big indie disco on Sat May 25 with The Raconteurs and then Christine and the Queens are the main attraction on May 26, joined by James Blake, Maribou State, and Metronomy, allpointseastfestival

 

NEW EXHIBITION: Mechanical Circus, Banbury Museum, north Oxon, Sat May 25 – Fri May 31

This brand-new exhibit explores entertainment before the age of iPads- optical illusions, over 40 automata and loads of interactive elements and games (you can even put your head in a lion’s mouth!). The exhibit also features the museum’s first ever international loans from Museum Boerhaave in The Netherlands. banburymuseum.org

 

EXHIBITION: Manga, The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, Room 30, British Museum, London, May 23 – Aug 26

Courtesy of the British Museum, Manga – Organised with The National Art Center, Tokyo and the Organisation for the Promotion of Manga and Anime

Enter a graphic world where art and storytelling collide in the largest exhibition of manga ever to take place outside of Japan. Now a multimedia global phenomenon, manga developed after the Second World War, but its artistic roots can be traced back to the 12th century. A fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture, this immersive and playful exhibition explores manga’s cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its influence across the globe, from anime to ‘cosplay’ dressing up, britishmuseum

 

EAT: Food Festival, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat May 25 – Sun May 26 

Blenheim‘s sixth annual Food Festival is promising a gastronomic weekender packed with talks, demonstrations, family friendly activities and a hearty sprinkling of celebrity chefs, including Raymond Blanc OBE, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Celebrity MasterChef champion, Angellica Bell. There’ll also be up to 160 local and regional foodie and drink stalls with artisan bakers, craft brewers, gourmet burgers, international cuisine and, new for this year, the Vegan & Veggie Garden. Go stuff yourself silly. blenheimpalace.com

 

FLOWERS: Covent Garden In Bloom, Covent Garden, London, until Sat 15 Jun

Miller Harris window display

Following their London debut in Covent Garden’s iconic Central Avenue last year, floral artists Fleurs de Villes will return to showcase the best floral designs in the Big Smoke and return Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. Covent Garden retailers and restaurants are all mucking in with botanical window displays, exclusive products and spring collections,  bespoke cocktails and dishes made with herbs and ingredients from Covent Garden’s veggie garden. coventgarden.london

 

KIDS: New Children’s Garden, Kew Gardens, London 

As if it wasn’t already a prime spot for day tripping, the clever sausages at Kew Gardens have added a brand new Children’s Garden just in time for May half term. Two years in the making, the interactive garden (aimed at ages 2 – 12) has over 100 varieties of mature trees, bamboo tunnels, hammocks and in-ground trampolines all under the cover of a huge 200 year old oak tree. kew.org

 

HOME & INTERIORS 

Image by Varana

In need of some home inspo? Clerkenwell Design Week – home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, this will be the 10th annual festival, which attracts some of the best of designers in the world, including a huge range of home-grown talent (Tue May 21 – Thurs 23).

UPCOMING ART: MUDSKIPPER – the grand unveiling and live demo of British artist James Capper’s walking boat, Battersea Park, London, Thur May 30 until June 21

©James Capper

British artist James Capper is set to unveil his new large-scale mobile sculpture MUDSKIPPER – a fully-mobile sculpture (9.2 metres in length and 12 tons in weight) which has the ability to move across water and land on-shore through the use of two step-type propulsion legs on Thurs May 30. The launch and live demo will take place at The Thames Path by Chelsea Bridge car park from 6.30pm – 9pm followed by drinks and talk by James Capper at Battersea Village Hall. The Times carries a great article about MUDSKIPPER and you can find a short film about the making of the work hereThe walking ship will take up residency at Battersea Power Station Pier directly in front of the iconic riverside building and is making special public performances:

  • Sunday June 9, 12noon, Thames Path near The Riverside, Hamilton House, 5 St George Wharf, SW8 2LE
  • Monday June 10, 1pm, Thames Path near Nine Elms Pavilion (opposite US Embassy), Riverside Walk (off Nine Elms Lane), SW8 5DF

See here for map and further details. 

 

CIRCUS: Gifford’s Circus, Sudley Castle, Thurs May 16 – 28 May

Roll up, roll up! Gifford’s Circus pitches up its Big Top with the stunning backdrop of Sudley Castle- this year’s theme is midsummer 1973 so expect hippies, hipsters, rockstars, and flower power. Groovy baby. sudeleycastle.co.uk

 

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire