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What’s On This week


Words by Catherine Vonledebur & Rhiannon Pursall


(Un)leashed, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Wed June 12 – Sat June 15

Sense of Time: dancers Celine Gittens and Brandon Lawrence Photo by Ty Singleton. Courtesy of BRB

Very excited to be going to see this on opening night. Birmingham Royal Ballet is doing its bit for gender balance with a triple bill by female choreographers which includes homegrown talent Ruth Brill and her brand new take on Sergei Prokofiev’s classic, Peter and the Wolf.  Jessica Lang’s returns with the beautiful Lyric Pieces, originally created for the Company as part of International Dance Festival Birmingham 2012 and the world premiere of Sense of Time, the third Ballet Now commission by Didy Veldman, with a score by Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei Prokofiev – composer of Romeo and Juliet. The triple bill is then transferring to Sadler’s Wells, Tue June 25 – Wed June 25.


EVENT: Boe Gin Tasting and Cocktail Exhibition, Ape Hangers, 66-68 Clemens St, Leamington Spa, Tues June 11
 An evening of delectable spirits and delicious canapes, all perfectly justified by the fact it’s educational too? Um, we’re in! A ticket includes Boe’s supreme gin tasting, a lesson on how Boe’s is made (and why everyone loves it) and a cocktail exhibition, 6-8pm.

MUSIC: The HEARD Collective, The Big Comfy Bookshop, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sun June 16

Singer-Songwriters Daisy Chute and Cerian co-founded the collective HEARD to promote and support women in music after they first met in the studio recording vocals for Radiohead album A Moon Shaped Pool in 2016 and then singing Ilan Eshkeri’s score for the Burberry fashion show shortly after. They quickly became friends and started performing together on the London circuit. On Sun June 16, the duo will be performing at Coventry’s Big Comfy Bookshop in Fargo Village. HEARD will be talking on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on the same day, so tune in and you can also look out for them at Glastonbury Festival. Three more female singers will be performing at the bookshop’s Comfy & Acoustic night the following Fri, June 21: Tilly Moses from Norfolk will be debuting her new album live supported by Sam Lyon from Cheshire who played over 250 gigs last year and Djana Gabrielle, a French-Cameroonian singer-songwriter.

Tickets for HEARD are £10 in advance HERE. Tickets for the  Comfy & Acoustic night: HERE. Check out forthcoming events here:


FESTIVAL: Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, June 15-23

This year’s galvanising festival features exciting new writing from Ted Hughes Award winner Raymond Antrobus (pictured above), Julia Copus and Michael Rosen, as well as new music by Nancy Kerr and Will Pound, workshops led by specially-commissioned poet-in-residence, Romalyn Ante, Young Warwickshire Poet Laureate Hannah Owens, and opportunities to learn more about the craft of writing and speaking poetry in new weekday workshops.

Check out the full programme and ticket details here: shakespeare


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 cross-class love story by Thomas Otway, playing in the intimate setting of the Swan Theatre. Tickets here.

THEATRE: The Wizard of Oz, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry June 12 – Sun June 16
Award-winning Coventry-based musical theatre society, Three Spires Guildhall, is staging The Wizard of Oz in homage to the 80th anniversary of the release of the film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. If you fancy joining them down the yellow brick lane book here.
ART: Warwickshire Open Studios, in 151 venues across Coventry & Warwickshire, Sat June 15 – 30
More than 300 amateur and professional artists are this month opening up their studios, workshops, garden sheds, spare rooms, caravans and canal barges (!) to the public. The emphasis is on making art accessible to all and although participants make sales and take commissions, they are also just as happy to have a cuppa and chat about their work. A wide variety of disciplines include illustration, ceramics, jewellery and silversmithing, photography and textiles, warwickshireopenstudios
ONE-MAN SHOW: Woke, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat June 15 (two performances)


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,

THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until 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), 


CIRCUS: Gifford’s Circus, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Thurs June 6 – Mon 10

Gifford’s Circus pitches up its Big Top once again at Blenheim Palace, on its summer tour with a brand new (and by the look of it, messy) show Xanadu– the theme this year is the Summer of Love, set in Hyde park 1973, so expect hippies, hipsters, rock stars and all-out grooviness alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated circus acts.

WARWICKSHIRE: Art in Dunchurch, Fosse House Gallery, The Old Post Office and Inglenook Dunchurch, nr Rugby, June 15 – 30

Art in Dunchurch

This historic Warwickshire village, famous for its connection with the Gunpowder Plot, will be the venue for the largest gathering of local artists in this part of the county as part of Warwickshire Open Studios 2019 –  26 in total! Three fab venues include the lovely Fosse House Gallery, which opened nearly three years ago, where artist/owner Shenac Rogerson will be showing her own original prints and ceramics. Across the road, at the Old Post Office, are artists Jo and Adam Sheridan of Mud and Wool. Jo weaves beautiful freestyle Japanese Saori cloth, while Adam creates ambitiously grand terracotta and stoneware pots in his idyllic garden studio. They’ll be working alongside 4 more artists. Then at Inglenook, a fascinating house dating back 400 years, next to Fosse House Gallery, Julia Sanders, will be exhibiting her innovative textile work which redefines recycled raw sheep fleece into both useable and visual pieces, alongside the work of 15 more artists in her wonderful walled garden. Check out their art on Insta: art_in_dunchurchfosshousegallerymudandwooljuliasandersartist 

Dates: Saturday June 15, 22, 29Sunday June 16 & 23Wednesday June 19 & 26, 10am-4pm. Email:  Jo Sheridan:, warwickshireopenstudios


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

Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles has been largely very well received. 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: Bridget Riley, The White Room Gallery, Leamington Spa, ends Sat June 15

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 that 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.

EVENT: Swingtime in the Gardens, Ragley Hall, Park & Gardens, Ragley Hall, Alcester B49 5NJ, Sat June 15
A jolly jamboree in the lakeside field of Ragley Hall, bursting with nostalgic, quirky charm. This family-friendly vintage festival features live bands over 2 stages, swing dance classes for all levels, a choir workshop, great British street food, vintage traders, fairground rides and the ultimate kitsch fave: a tombola. Don your best swing dress and retro shades and boogie on down! 10.30pm-9.30pm.
Warwick Art Centre’s Family Day, University of Warwick campus, Father’s Day, Sun June 16 
Perfectly timed for Fathers’ Day, a great opportunity for the whole family to get together and experience sports, arts and creativity in one place, across the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry, from 10am to 5pm. Enjoy a good old bop with Baby Loves Disco’s Baby Rave and Bhangra Tots, or jump on the Land Train to investigate what’s on offer at the campus’ incredible new world-class £49m Sports Hub, complete with indoor climbing and bouldering experience, and 25m 12-lane swimming pool. See the latest production from Strictly Come Dancing stars Candoco Dance CompanyA Graceful Act of Stupidity, or celebrate the 80th anniversary of The Wizard Of Oz with a colourful new all-singing all-dancing stage production of the iconic movie by Coventry’s acclaimed Three Spires GuildhallPop Chorus, vintage vocal harmony quartet The Boogaloo Babes, and The University of Warwick Flute Choir will be on the music stage. Look out too for Bubbleology, storytelling sessions, science talks for ages 6+, face painting, cupcake decorating, classic board games, a Sensory Zone for little ones to get messy(ish), rocket making, tennis, and much more. Kids can also shoot some hoops and bounce on the trampolines at the Claycroft Activity Zone. The day-long event is inspired by the theme of movement, so scooters, bikes and rollerskates are all welcome too. Full list of all events and activities here:
FATHER’S DAY CHARITY SPIN RIDE: Tackle Prostate Cancer’s Cycle to the Moon, The Leisure Centre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sun June 16

South Warwickshire Prostate Cancer Support Group ‘tackle’ Prostate Cancer this Father’s Day

South Warwickshire Prostate Cancer Support Group Aims to “tackle” Prostate Cancer on Father’s Day and Save a Dad with a 45-minute charity spin ride at 11am. The Support Group is joining Tackle Prostate Cancer’s Cycle to the Moon, Save a Dad campaign, a major fundraising initiative that will encourage people of all ages to get on their bicycles or motorbikes and raise awareness and funds to fight against prostate cancer. The ride has been organised by Doug Badger, chairman of the South Warwickshire Prostate Cancer Support Group and many of those riding will be members of the group or their families and friends, but they still need more sign-ups. The group supports people whose lives have been changed by prostate cancer. They meet at The Shakespeare Hospice, Shottery and wives/partners are welcome to attend. The group is supported by the specialist nurses from the Urology Department at Warwick Hospital.

Anyone can get involved – please contact Doug Badger on mobile: 07784 545513 or email: Doug and go to for more information.


EVENT: Pugstock 2019, The Fat Pug, 23 Guy’s Cliffe Rd, Leamington SpaSun June 16 
Back by extremely popular demand, the annual PugStock street festival promises to bring hearty, laid-back, village-style fun to this leafy Leamington postcode. The line-up includes live music, spectacular street food and an outdoor bar. It’s all in support of Myton Hospice, so there really is no better way to spend a summer Sunday. Suitable for Dads of all ages (given that it’s Father’s Day, of course…) from 11am – 7pm.
THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Feb 14 – Aug 31


 Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It has 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,, Tel: 01789 403493.


EVENT: Royal Ascot Racing Live In Aid of Breast Cancer Care, Bedford Street Bar, Leamington Spa, June 21

 One of the most anticipated events in the British summer sporting and social calendar, one day of world-class racing, excitement, fashion and most importantly, drinks. Royal Ascot is always a stylish affair, high fashion and high stakes add to the atmosphere of this, so spend your day at Bedford Street. They’ll be Fizz on arrival, a Gourmet Lunch with Evening Canapes, live music throughout the day, all races shown on big screens, bookie Runners and the Best dressed lady receives a bottle of champagne. Tickets: £35. Limited tickets available so you’ll need to book early via email: concession rate on tables of more than 10

CHILDREN: The GruffaloBirmingham Hippodrome, June 25 & 26

There’s plenty of fun for all of the family as the classic children’s book The Gruffalo stomps on to the main stage packed full of fantastical creatures. Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Songs, laughs and monstrous fun for children aged 3+ and their grown-ups. Tickets from £15.


DRINKS: Stratford upon Avon Topiary Gin Festival, Billesley Manor Hotel, Stratford upon Avon, Sun July 7

Set in Billesely Manor Hotel’s 100-year-old Topiary garden is a celebration of local regional artisan gins run in partnership with Stratford-based Shakespeare Distillery. You’ll be able to meet and taste gins produced at 6 local gin distilleries including Puddingstone Distillery, home of Campfire Gin (Tring, Herts), Wood Brothers (Oxon), Sovereign Spirits (Mansfield, Notts), British Polo Gin (Bishop’s Norton, Glos) and Locksley Distilling Co (Sheffield) – all supported by Fever Tree. These will be served alongside the chef’s selection of locally sourced food. A fantastic live music line up includes the return of last year’s talented Andrew James – winner of the Cotswold Musician Award – plus, female singer and acoustic duo, Three’s a Crowd, and popular local acoustic trio Wired. A perfectly chilled Sunday afternoon! £20 tickets include a souvenir branded gin glass, Gin Menu detailing all flavours & cocktails available, plus a welcome Gin & Tonic supplied by Shakespeare Distillery. Ages 18+.

Tickets here: eventbrite

FESTIVAL: 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 & Gibbon by Leamington Spa based top UK contemporary dance company 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

DRINK, Slurp Wines’ first ever Gin Festival, Slurp Wines, Tramway Road, Banbury OX16 5TU (Next to the train station), Fri June 21 

Banbury and Leamington Spa based Slurp Wines’ first ever Gin Festival with over 30 varieties and 10 local producers including Cotswolds Distillery, TOAD and Salcombe Gin,  Shakespeare Distillery, Pickerings Gin, Foxdenton Gin, Twisting Spirits, Spirit of TOAD, Capreolus Distillery and Pinnock Distillery.  On the night food will be freshly prepared by the Muddy Warks double award-winning restaurant, Dough and Brew, purveyors of wood fired soughdough pizza in Warwick. With live music from the swing and jazz trio The Bluebelles. Tickets for £30 will include gin sampling, 4 perfectly served G&Ts, soughdough pizza and live music.


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

Fancy having your July book club 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.


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



THEATRE: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Kilworth House Theatre, until Sun 7 July

Full of unforgettable songs including ‘’Those Canaan Days’, ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door To Me’, this is a fantastic family musical filled with non-stop action, a kaleidoscope of catchy songs and colourful dance numbers, laughter and fun. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling musical brings to life the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours! With its family-friendly story, familiar themes and irresistible music, this musical is one of the most enduring shows of all time.

Kilworth Theatre


NEW EXHIBITION: Claudette Johnson: I Came to DanceModern Art Oxford, Sat 1 Jun – Sun 8 Sept

This powerful and moving new exhibition is an overview of artist Claudette Johnson’s life and features her early work from the ’80s when she joined the newly formed BLK Art Group at Wolverhampton University of black British art students, and the moving, political large-scale drawings of men and women she is best know for.


EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London

Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include Beasts of London, above, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals.


Masterclasses at Daylesford, dates in June

Join now for the best of the best in cookery courses, experiences and masterclasses. Includes Seasonal Dinner Party, Artisan Bread Making and Show Stopping Canapes. Dates throughout June.


Find more ideas here

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