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What’s On This Weekend


Edited by Rhiannon Pursall


FESTIVAL: Pub in The Park, St. Nicholas Park, Warwick, Fri 5-Sun 7 Jul

Tom Kerridge’s popular pub roadshow rolls into Warwick this weekend. Hosted by the popular chef, the foodie fiesta includes a dazzling array of pop-up eateries, from premium gastropubs to Michelin-starred restaurants, including The Hand & Flowers (Kerridge’s own), The Churchill Arms, The Cross at Kenilworth, Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu, Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano and more. There’s also be artisan stalls galore and roaring music including Tom Odell, Razorlight, Will Young, Stereo Mcs, Scouting for Girls. Tickets and full details of the splendid programme can be found here. 


FESTIVAL: ALSO Festival, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, Fri 5 Jul-Sun 7 Jul

Ditch all preconceptions that a festival is basically live music in a field; the Also festival, back for its 6th year, specialises in the ‘and the rest’ side of things. An amazing array of over 200 cool, kooky and spontaneous activities await, including Salon London style talks, ‘Campestre’  style communal feasts, supper clubs (including Northampton’s infamous Clatter Club) and sustainable dining with Cabrito founder and ethical dining expert James Whetlor. Plus, wild swimming, fabulous new bands, artists and audio adventures, wine tastings and cocktail makings, a disco bunker, dining delights, forest bathing, and have-a-go workshops. The Hippy Heights Hotel pops a posh cherry atop of your seriously classy festival experience. The ‘hotel’ is a network of spacious bell tents, complete with everything you need (proper beds! Bedding!) and dreamy views of the lake. Tickets are available for separate days or the whole weekend, with various accommodation options – book online.


FESTIVAL: Godiva Festival, Coventry, Fri 5 Jul-Sun 7 Jul


A highlight in Coventry’s calendar, the Godiva Festival promises multicultural fun and discovery with a family-friendly atmosphere. From sport to a petting zoo to live music from the likes of Feeder, The Levellers and Busted above, (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ) to Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Melle Mel and Coventry’s own Two-Tone legends The Selecter! Tix costing £2 have been introduced for the first time, book online here. Children under 5 free but will still need a ticket.


FESTIVAL: Stratford River Festival, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sat 6 Jul-Sun 7 Jul

Roll up for a rollick by the river! This annual family knees-up is in its eleventh year and its popularity never dwindles. Along with the array of festooned narrowboats to admire, there will be a wealth of stalls and a craft area to explore, all to the sound of live music. Plus, a great range of food on offer, local beers and cider and a Prosecco & Pimms bar. The riverside location provides a gorgeous backdrop, but the fun doesn’t end there; Bell Square, up in the town centre, is transformed into an English seaside paradise. The firework finale gives a glittering finish to a wonderful free family day out. More info here.


THEATRE: Be Festival, Birmingham REP, Tue  July 2 – Sat 6 Jul 

Birmingham’s European arts festival celebrates its 10th anniversary (2 – 6 July) with a fabulous programme of performances, talks, live music, workshops and visual arts. Along with consuming culture, you can enjoy delicious food in a theatrical setting with ‘Interval Dinner’ – every night, ticket holders can enjoy a dinner served on the REP’s main stage after the first half of the evening performances at approximately 8.15pm, lasting an hour. Tickets and full programme here.


GIN FEST: Stratford upon Avon Topiary Gin Festival, Billesley Manor Hotel, Stratford upon Avon, Sun 7 Jul

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), alongside chef’s selection of locally sourced food. A fantastic live music line up tincludes the return of last year’s talented Andrew James – winner of the Cotswold Musician Award. £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


THEATRE: Crooked Dances & Beware the Cat, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, until Sat 13 Jul


A compelling, modern play that addresses time and attention in our rapidly evolving, ever-frantic digital age by award-winning playwright and screen-writer Robin French, co-writer of BBC3 sitcom Cuckoo. Joining Crooked Dances is Beware the Cat, a one-hour performance inspired by the first ever English novel by William Baldwin on Sat July 6 at 5pm. It’s a tale of witchcraft, religious controversy and talking cats. Tickets here


EXHIBITION: A Tea Journey – From the Mountains to the Table, Compton Verney,  Sat 6 Jul – 22 Sep

Ever wondered how the nation’s favourite brew goes from plant to pot? Or how this Chinese tradition became to be to treasured by British society? Learn all about the humble cup of tea, from history to ecology. Be absorbed by The Tea Sensorium – a multi-sensory experience incorporating olfactory and visual exploration, plus workshops and discussions. Rare teaware from China, Japan and India is on display, with responses by contemporary artists including Robin Best, Adam Buick, Phoebe Cummings, Charlotte Hodes, Takahiro Kondo, Ian McIntyre, Bruce Nuske, Selina Nwulu, Bouke ve Vries, Hetain Patel, Paul Scott, Julian Stair and Edmund de Waal. More information here.


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Pride and Prejudice, National Trust Coughton Court, Fri 5 Jul 

An evening with Mr. Darcy in the grounds of a country Tudor mansion? Just try and stop us! Chapterhouse Theatre Company celebrate their 20th year of touring in 2019 and this adaptation of Jane Austen’s loveable tale, by Laura Turner, is a long-established a favourite. Join feisty Elizabeth Bennet as she meets the grumpy Mr. Darcy, initially unimpressed but eventually discovering there’s a loyal, caring soul behind his surly exterior. 7.30pm-10pm. Adults £16, children £10, families £40 (2A+2C); £46 (1A+3C); £50 (2A+3C) Tickets here.


THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


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),


PERFORMANCE ARTISTS CALL-OUT: Applications for a three-year talent development scheme are now open at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, ends July 13

Springboard artist Maokwo-Laura-Nyahuye. Photo by Nicola-Young

Calling all emerging artists! The Belgrade Theatre is seeking another round of newly established performance companies and emerging artists to join the latest intake for its Springboard talent development programme. Successful applicants will receive tailored support over a three-year period, including advice and guidance from Belgrade staff, marketing support and space to create and rehearse their work. Richard & RishardUnderground Lights and Maokwo are the Belgrade’s current Springboard artists and two additional companies benefit from the scheme, beginning in Autumn 2019.

The deadline to apply for the Belgrade Theatre’s Springboard scheme is Monday 15 July. For more information and to download the application pack, visit belgrade 


CHILDREN’S OUTDOOR THEATRE: Gangsta Granny, Caldecott Park, Rugby, Fri 5 Jul

Take the kids on an after-school adventure and start the weekend with the cheeky charm of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. Friday nights at Granny’s were Ben’s boring nightmare…until he discovered his Scrabble-playing, cabbage-munching grandmother was an international jewel thief! Get swept away with their impish antics – the perfect elixir after a busy week. Performance time: 6.30pm. Tickets: adult £13, child/concession £9, family (2+2) £39. Book here or call 01788 533217. Suitable for ages 7+.


GIN TASTING: World of Botanicals gin tasting, Leamington Wine Co., Fri 5 Jul 

A Friday evening in beautiful Leamington, journeying through the intricate flavour profiles of a host of new gins. We’re there with bells on! Try up to 30 specially selected gins from around the world, from delicate floral numbers to heady ‘navy’ specimens. The event takes place between 7pm-9pm. For tickets call 01926 888994.


SINGALONG SCREENING: Grease Singalong, Gin & Jive, MacCready Theatre, Rugby, Fri 5 Jul

Fancy dress, a singalong and gin…a summer night of ultimate cheesy pleasure! With dancing encouraged too, you’ll be transported back to the fun old days of Sandy and Danny in this classic musical. Afterwards, boogie on into the night in the bar to all the favourite tunes.

Tickets £10, showtime 7.30pm.


POETRY/COMEDY: A Poet’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse/Poetry in your Pants, Temperance, Leamington Spa, Fri 5 Jul 

Inject your Friday night with a wry riot in Temperance, a forerunner in Leamington’s emerging Creative Quarter. The evening is part of the Leamington Poetry Fesitval and features two hilarious acts that’ll unwind you nicely for the weekend. First, A Poet’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse – an Edinburgh preview show – explores a strategy for coping with political meltdown and a crumbled economy, with lefty-larfs-a-plenty from Emma Ireland, Spike Pike, Sophie Sparham and Mike Took. The second lark sees a poetry tag-team comprising Heather Bryson-Banks, Dan Webber and Black Country legend Spoz performing a stand-up spectacular of irreverent rhyme and rude wisecracking. Showtimes: A Poet’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse 7pm-8pm; Poetry in your Pants 8.30pm-10.30pm. Tickets for first event free, but you need a ticket to enter; tickets for the second event £5.95.


THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


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.


WILDLIFE: Bat Walk, Charlecote Park, Sat 6 Jul

As dusk descends, don your walking boots and discover the elusive world of these captivating creatures. Warwickshire Bat Group experts leads the tour, flinging fascinating facts over their shoulders as you meander around the magnificent Charlecote park. Detecting equipment is available, to get even more up close and personal! 9.30pm-11pm, £7.50 – booking essential. 


NATURE: Wilder side of Compton Verney Day, Compton Verney, Sun Jul 7

The 120-acre Capability Brown masterpiece that forms the grounds is Compton Verney’s largest work of art! Lakes, lawns, meadows and woodlands make for the ultimate English summer paradise and a wealth of activities and events are sure to mean you visit more than once this season. To begin your wildlife-tastic summer, join the celebration of National Meadows Day on 7 Jul to discover more about the importance of these natural beauties in our countryside ecosystems. Hushwings the Owl takes you on a virtual reality experience high above the grounds, whilst the Pollination Station and Forest School are educational, creative places to learn about insects and produce artwork. Follow badger trails, settle down at the bird hide or go pond dipping. Be inspired by the art of nature! Activities are included in the admission cost and take place between 11am-4pm.


RUGBY FESTIVAL OF CULTURE, various locations, Sun June 23 – July 14

An enormous variety of alternative culture to enjoy from a Cider & Gin Festival at The Merchants Inn to Artists at Work, outdoor theatre with Heartbreak Productions’ Wuthering Heights in Caldecott Park (Wed Jul 10) and Enterlude’s Three Indie Music Icons (July 5) followed by Laugh It Up Comedy Night (July 11). Over at the lovely Macready Theatre (opposite Rugby School) is a Grease Singalong – with gin  (Fri July 5); a chilled out Pizza & Jazz evening perfect for date night  (Sat July 6); a brand new family musical The Great Samurai  staged especially for the festival based on a play unearthed by Willis Hall – the writer of TV children’s favourite Worzel Gummidge (Sun July 7)! and two Edinburgh Festival previews by Morgan and West’s Unbelievable Science, (Thur July 11) and improvised, interactive detective drama for kids Bureau of Untold Stories (Sat July 13)There’s loads more on besides, check out the full festival itinerary here.


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


EXHIBITION: The Aerodrome: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Memory of Michael Stanley, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, now until Sun 8 Sep


Michael Stanley was Curator of Ikon before becoming Director of Milton Keynes Gallery and then Modern Art Oxford. He died tragically in 2012 and this exhibition is a tribute to a much-adored man. Co-curated with David Austen and George Shaw, the exhibition is loosely based on a novel that had a strong impact on Michael – Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome, published in 1941.The novel painted the struggles faced by a young war hero and had great impact on writers including Orwell, Burgess and Ballard. Given that it explores modern dystopias, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments, it seems pertinent to revisit this novel in the current turbulent times we live in. More information here.


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Various Performances at The Dell, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 1 Sep

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

Part of the 2019 summer series at The Dell, July offers a spectacular array of performances in this serene location on the banks of the River Avon. To kick us off, the first weekend in July includes Julius Caeser (6 Jul 12pm) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (6 Jul 3pm), both performed by The Brit School. The following day, if you’re still in the mood for another day of lounging on a blanket grazing a picnic (who wouldn’t be?), your appetite for all things theatrical is be stated by Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) (7 Jul 12pm) and Troilus and Cressida (7 Jul 3pm). All performances free – grab your sun hat and refreshments and you’re good to go.


The Imagination Statues, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Jul-Sep 

Be inspired by the Greg Wyatt statues in the Great Garden at Shakespeare’s New Place and act out your own versions of the plays that they represent using props, costumes and scripts provided. Opening times: 12pm-4pm.


THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until 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.


EXHIBITION: Living with History, Hall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, now until 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 president, Professor 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,



FESTIVAL: Cornbury Music Festival, The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, Fri 5 Jul-Sun 7 Jul

festival tent sunshine

Billed as a ‘very English open-air party for the whole family’, the very civilised Cornbury Music Festival returns for its 16th year with The Specials, Keane, KT Tunstall, The Beach Boys and Beverly Knight heading the bill. Dedicated teen and kid zones should keep everyone happy, as will a range of camping and glamping options. There’s also a pop-up wood-fired restaurant hosted by The Hairy Bikers. Call the ticket hotline on 0844 249 1000 or book online.

THEATRE: Annie The Musical , Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 1 – Sat 6 Jul

Looking, erm, good Craig?! Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood dons a wig and tights to play tyrannical Miss Hannigan in Tony Award-winning Annie The Musical.


EVENT: Henley Royal Regatta, Henley, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul

The biggie this week across the border at Muddy Bucks Oxon is Henley Royal Regatta, straw boaters on, eyes on the lunch box (sarnies or Lycra bulges… they’re not mutually exclusive) and watch the rowing brawn from the riverbank. There are over 200 races to watch the smoking–hot rowers and enjoy your Champagne picnic.


EXHIBITIONS including A new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, London,  until Sun 1 Sept

Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives. Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.


ARTPaula Rego: Obedience and DefianceMK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until Sept 22

Over at Milton Keynes’ mega new MK Gallery you can see the largest retrospective of the political artist’s work in England for 20 years with pieces focusing on gender discrimination, violence, slavery, abortion and political tyranny.



AUDIENCE WITH THE AUTHOR: David Nicholls, Levi Fox Hall, Stratford upon Avon, Fri 19 Jul (Part of Stratford Literary Festival)

Can you believe it is 10 years since the release of One Day starring Anne Hathaway?! Since then, multi-million selling author and screenwriter David Nicholls has melted our hearts with Us, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and now he’s back with brand new novel Sweet Sorrow. In this one-off event, David will discuss his new book about first-love set over one life-changing summer, against a backdrop of rehearsals for a production of Romeo and Juliet.  Nicholls, who was awarded a BAFTA this year for his screenplay of the brilliant TV drama Patrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will be sharing the background to this much-anticipated new novel which brings teenage angst and the clumsiness of first romance beautifully to life. Starts at 7pm. Tickets are £10, or £25 including admission to the event and one discounted copy of the book. Student tickets are £8. Call 0333 666 3366 or book online.


MUSIC: Madeline Peyroux, The Glee Club, Birmingham, Thur 11 July

It’s 22 years since her debut Dreamland, but American jazz singer-songwriter Madeleine Peyroux, who started her career on the streets of Paris, continues to challenge the confines of jazz. New album, Anthem, finds the singer-songwriter collaborating with writers/musicians Patrick Warren (Bonnie Raitt, JD Souther, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Brian MacLeod (Sara Bareilles, Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Ziggy Marley) and David Baerwald (Joni Mitchell, David and David, Sheryl Crow), who are also the basic rhythm section players on the album. Together, they cast a sober, poetic, and at times philosophical eye on the current state of the world. Tix here:


FESTIVAL: Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick Racecourse, Thu 25 Jul-Sun 28 Jul


It’s the 40th year of this most friendly of festivals! International folk stars including Billy Bragg, Skerryvore, Karan Casey, Eddy Jay, Will Pound, Breabach and heaps more take to the stage to soothe your soul via your ears…and if you fancy getting jiggy, join in the dance workshops from Morris to Latin and absorb the joy from the rising English Ceilidh scene. Also check out the fringe, on the adorable streets of Warwick, for traditional folky fun. Full info and tickets here.


FESTIVAL: Solihull Summer Fest, Tudor Grange Park, Solihull, Sat 27-Sun 28 Jul

The Vamps, Scouting for Girls, The Proclaimers, Go West, The Human League and Trevor Nelson will be headlining alongside Heather Small and Ms Dynamite. A fab line-up for Summer Fest, returning for in its 4th year to Tudor Grange Park in Solihull.  A Hedkandi stage satisfies your inner raver, whilst outdoor cinema helps you unwind. Amazing street food ranges from fish ‘n’ chips and mac ‘n’ cheese to curries and noodles and there’s even a VIP area. Each day runs from 12pm to approximately 10.30pm. Tickets and full line-up info here.


EVENT: Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, Wed 7 Aug – Mon 26 Aug

You can read our review of the castle’s inaugural digital projection installation, Dragon Slayer here. It was pretty spectacular and jaw-dropping in parts! It’s returning with even more projection breathing fire into late summer evenings this August in a family-friendly show of jousting, pyrotechnics, stunt riding and stunning fireworks. The show stars live actors and an epic light projection onto the grandiose walls of the magnificent Warwick Castle.  There’ll be a choice of catering vans Tickets start at £20 for the show only, or various packages are available to include food and drink. Gates open 7pm; show time 8.30pm-10pm.


Professor Brian Cox – Universal: Adventures in Space and Time, Arena Birmingham, Sep 21

Champion of the lay explanation, Professor Cox, brings his brand new stellar show back to Birmingham Arena. He was here in February and achieved (yet another) Guinness World Records title for ‘Most tickets sold for a science show’ – so now, due to popular demand, he’s coming back to Brum in September!  Book up for a brainy, awe-inspiring out of this world experience here


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