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What’s On This Week


 Celebrate Twelfth Night with a special RSC-led Wassail and procession, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Jan 6

The RSC’s winter production of Twelfth Night on now at the RSC. Photo-by-Manuel-Harlan-_c_

Coinciding with the RSC’s Twelfth Nightfamilies are invited to a lovely celebration of the actual Twelfth Night with choirs from across the Midlands who will sing traditional wassailing songs and carols followed by a winter procession and special ceilidh, 2pm – 4pm. This free event will include 4 specially commissioned arrangements from ex-Bellowhead member and choral arranger Paul Sarti. Wassailing is an English tradition taking place on the Twelfth Night of Christmas. The procession is followed by a festive ceilidh, similar to a barn dance where a caller explains the moves, at The Other Place with music provided by English folk band Faustus. Hot dogs, mulled cider and non-alcoholic festive punch will also be on offer as part of the ticket price, £12. The event runs from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

New Year’s Walk, Canons Ashby, Sun Jan 7

Start off the New Year with a refreshing morning walk to blow away the cobwebs after the indulgent Christmas season and get some fresh air in the beautiful Northamptonshire Countryside. Meet in the car park by the shepherd’s hut to set out on a ramble in the local countryside, finishing back in the car park. A National Trust Event with no booking needed so just roll up with your walking shoes. Although this is a free event, the normal admission charges still apply,  9:30am – 12:30pm,

Canons Ashby, Canons Ashby House, Canons Ashby, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3SD

Live Music with the Hatstand Band & food, Three Cafe Bar, Bistro & Cakery, Rugby, Thurs Jan 4

The Hatstand band is playing this Thursday from 7pm and pre-bookings for foodl They will be serving: Spicy chicken thighs with rice & raita  £8.95; Spicy pulled chicken, flatbread & salad £7.50; The ‘three’ dog: Hot dog, onions, sweet Jalapeno relish and mustard in a Brioche bun served with a salad garnish £5; Nachos: Corn chips, salsa, sourcream,  Jalepenos, cheese £7; Hummus & flatbread  £3.95 or Antipasti:  Proscuitto, Italian salami, gherkins, salad, Mozzarella, bread £7.95. The Hatstand Band will be playing tunes with guest musicians. Just turn up to drink and/or be merry, 7-10pm

To book a table or preorder food call 01788 544782 or email

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, until Sun Jan 7 2018

An intrepid family and their musical dog will take you on an incredible quest through the swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud filled with catchy songs and interactive scenes. The stage adaptation of Michael Rosen’s award-winning book is brought vividly and noisily to the stage by Sally Cookson and accompanied by Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. For ages 3+


Stratford Butterfly Farm, every day

Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm has unveiled new pathways designed by artist Madeline Smith who illustrated the Farm’s garden mural and Explorers Guide. Inspired by tropical rainforests, the new pathways are bright and colourful, incorporating tropical leaf prints and animal footprints. To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from 10am to 5:00pm, last entry 3.30pm every day of the week.

butterflyfarm, Tel: 01789 299288.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In the  opening weekend after it was released on Dec 14 the sci-fi blockbuster latest earned a staggering £337m globally – and £27.5m in the UK! The 8th instalment in the Star Wars saga, which stars Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and the late Carrie Fisher, opened in more than 700 sites – making it the widest cinema release of all time in Britain. It’s also been getting top reviews from national film critics, however there’s been a backlash from some fans.

A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Feb 4 2018 

The Ghost of Christmas Present Photo-by-Manuel-Harlan-_c_-RSC_

Bah humbug! The RSC’s new eagerly-awaited stage adaptation by David Edgar of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic starring the excellent PoldarkSherlock and Quadrophenia actor Phil Davis as Scrooge. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, who brought The Wind in the Willows to the London Palladium earlier this year, starring Rufus Hound as Toad.

Book here.

Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Feb 24 2018

Dinita Gohil as Viola. Pic credic: Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production, Twelfth Night, sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, playing Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. 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, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola.


Cinderella, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until Sat Jan 13 2018

Two tartan panto dames for the price of one: seasoned panto actor Greg Powrie, left, joins actor, writer and director Iain Lauchlan, right

‘Loch’ up your men – Cinderella’s raucous Scottish step-sisters Dyspepsia and Listeria, played by the brilliant panto legends Iain Lauchlan (who has the best laugh!) and Greg Powrie are looking for no strings attached festive fling! Iain worked on BBC’s PlayschoolFingermouse, BBC Playdays, Storytime and Fun Song Factory but is perhaps best known as writer of the BAFTA award-winning children’s TV series, The Tweenies. Fellow Scottish actor Greg Powrie’s TV and film credits include Outlander, Taggart, River City, Still Game and Dr. Finlay. Craig Hollingsworth returns for his 6th Belgrade panto, and Alice Rose Fletcher will be putting on her glass slippers as Cinderella!


Booking now: Set Your Career Compass Workshop, Heart of England Language School, Leamington Spa, Warks, Sat Jan 13 2018

Do you have a teen who’s struggling to know what to do in the future? Here’s the perfect Christmas present. Warwickshire and West Midlands based Teen Direct has a few places left on this course, ideal for unsure 15 – 17-year-olds wishing to develop and clarify their ideas of potential careers. Delivered by experienced, professional coaches, it gives teens the opportunity to discover where they could fit into the “World of Work” based on their own strengths, personality and interests. They will be asked to complete a questionnaire beforehand to identify certain characteristics and during the workshops, develop the skills and confidence to act on their chosen career action plan as well as creating a professional CV and learning dynamite Interview Skills, 9.30am – 3.30pm. £150.

email: or Tel 07901 517012, 


Imperium Part I: Conspirator, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, runs until Feb 10 2018

Imperium-Part-I: Photo-by-Ikin-Yum-_c_-RSC

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs Richard McCabe in the epic title role of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy along with Siobhan Redmond. It follows playwright Mike Poulton’s highly successful RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.


Christmas with Shakespeare, Shakespeare Family Homes, Stratford-upon-Avon until Jan 7


Feel Christmassy listening to the Peas Pottage group perform a selection of traditional and festive Jacobean Music in the stunning Jacobean surroundings of Hall’s Croft on Fri Dec 22 & Fri Dec 29, 12pm-4pm. Go on a Christmas Wassail Tour at Shakespeare’s Birthplace until Sun Dec 24, 12pm-4pm and make a Shakespeare-inspired Christmas decoration at Shakespeare’s New Place. Over at Shottery you can travel through time at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage discovering 400 years of Christmas within the Hathaway family, plus make your own paper lanterns and paper chains to help decorate the house. Children who break up by Thurs Dec 21 can see, meet and touch the animals that would have crossed Shakespeare’s path with the help of some curious creatures at a Christmas Critters with Zoolab UK Tudor Storytelling Workshop at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm & 3.30pm.

For more details see here.

Children go Free: The Play’s the Thing, the RSC’s family friendly exhibition, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Dec 23 – Sun Jan 7 (excluding Christmas Eve & Christmas Day)

The-Play’s The Thing. Image-by-Kossmann Dejong

Discover the secrets and stories behind the making of the RSC’s world famous productionsCheck out beautifully crafted costumes and props, try on virtual costumes, discover gory stage tricks and how sound effects are made, and experience how RSC productions are staged through interactive hands-on activities. Children go free throughout the Warwickshire school holidays.


The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Birmingham Rep, until Sat Jan 18

Gloria-Onitiri-as-Cruella-De-Vil. Photo credit: Graeme-Braidwood

West End Star Gloria Onitiri as villainous Cruella de Vil in furs. The Birmingham uni grad, who played Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard (The Adelphi) and Nala in The Lion King (The Lyceum), returns to her student city making her REP debut. This Dodie Smith stage adaptation by writer and director of the Nativity films, Debbie Isitt is sure to get tails wagging with its clever puppy puppetry! Running time: 90 mins. For ages 5+, Tel: 0121 236 4455

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, now until Sat 27 Jan & Birmingham Hippodrome Tue Feb 6-Sat Feb 10

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award. Book now for Birmingham Hippodrome (Tue 6 – Sat 10 Feb) here.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1, sadlerswells.combirminghamhippodrome.

Rugby Art Gallery Christmas Holiday Activities, until Sat Jan 6

Festive arty drop-in activities.


Admire the Penguins, Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos, open daily


Birdland Park and Gardens is open daily from 10am.

Rissington Rd, Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos, GL54 2BN, birdland, Tel: 01451 820480

Crafts of the Punjab, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until 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.



Christmas at Windsor, Windsor Castle, until Fri Jan 5
25ft lit christmas tree in the gothic surroundings of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Visit the post where Harry and Meghan will say ‘I do’ – currently all decked out for Crimbo. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Windsor Castle restoration following the fire of Nov 1992, the State Apartments will be dressed with gold decs inspired by the intricate gilding work that was undertaken to restore the Castle’s interiors to their former glory.

Modigliani, Tate Modern, now – 2 April 2018

The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.

North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, London, until Sun Feb 4 2018

Alice-Hawkins, LOVE magazine, ‘The Liver Birds’, 2012

Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the parts of our green and pleasant land beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville. You can also take a twirl on Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink until Jan 14. See review

The RSC’s Rome MMXVII, The Barbican, London, until Jan 20

This winter the RSC transports London audiences to Shakespeare’s Rome with Angus Jackson’s thrilling London season of 4 of the playwrights most gripping plays – Coriolanus has ended its run but Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus are now showing.

More info and booking info herersc

Codebreaker and Groundbreakers, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until Sun Feb 4

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, the Oscar-winning film about the life of Alan Turing

A pioneering exhibition to feed your mind celebrating the genius of Second World War codebreakers like Alan Turing at Bletchley Park with Michael Ventris who in the same year deciphered Linear B, the ancient Greek language.  It includes an Enigma machine, a rare loan from GCHQ, and unique archival documents held at the University of Cambridge, as well as encouraging visitors to explore ‘codebreaking’ in all its forms.


Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, until Sun Feb 4

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden,

Find more ideas here

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