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43 fabulous things to do locally this June

It's officially summer, and we've got a jam-packed month to celebrate! From Jubilee parties to foodie festivals to jaw-dropping dance, it's all happening in Warks and the West Mids.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH

THEATRE: May Queen, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, from 25 June to 2 July

This one woman show had a successful run last summer and we can’t wait for it to return to the stage. Frankie Meredith’s play May Queen centres around 16-year-old Leigh, who heads up Coventry’s 2022 May Day parade in what should be the best day of her life. But, things soon take a dark turn. Leigh must face up to what has happened to her, digging deep within her past and her city’s history in the process. Here’s why you can’t afford to miss it.

PLATINUM JUBILEE

Incase you missed it, it’s the Queen’s Jubilee at the start of the month, and there’s heaps going on locally. Best china at the ready, let’s start with the foodie offerings. In Leamington’s Pump Room Garden’s there’s a Right Royal Picnic on 4 June – take your own hamper packed with food and drinks (don’t forget the champers) and then spend some time enjoying the live music and entertainment, fairground rides and activities.

If being wined and dined is more your thing head to The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon (review here) on 5 June for a Platinum Jubilee picnic party including food prepared by chefs at the hotel’s award-winning 2AA Rosette restaurant, and live music by local acoustic duo Bird & The Bad Man. Head a bit further south and The Fuzzy Duck in Armscote (my review here) is holding a four day party in its marquee from 2 June. There will be live music, Prosecco, Pimms and real cask ales, along with homemade treats like sausage rolls and cream teas. Race you there. 

The RSC is getting fully into the Jubilee spirit with free family craft workshops on 1&2 June between 2pm and 4pm in The Dell Forest Garden. There’s also a Picnic in the Park being held in Bancroft Gardens on 3 June. Send the kids off to take part in one of the flag-making workshops while you lay out your feast. There’s also a more relaxed and accessible picnic being held in The Dell Forest Garden on the same date, with activities including a scent garden.

FUNKY FESTIVALS

Whether they’re nine or 90 the Midlands Air Festival is a blast. It’s held in the stunning grounds of the Ragley Hall Estate 2-4 June and will include funky shaped hot air balloons, helicopters, aerobatics and displays from (gasp!) The Red Arrows. Make sure you’re there in the morning or evening to catch the breath-taking mass descent of up to 100 hot air balloons taking to the skies at the same time.

Pull on your heels (who am I kidding – comfiest dancing shoes only for this one) when top DJs Paul Oakenfold and Eddie Halliwell headline the Music Live event. It’s being held in Coventry’s Assembly Garden’s on 17 June and there’s also Paul Morrell, KKlass and Heather Small on the line-up.

Listen up foodies, this one’s for you. Coventry Food Festival will be held in the city centre and around Broadgate from 17-19 June. Top local chefs Glynn Purnell and Paul Foster will lead the event which also includes cooking demos, a packed food market and cook-off competitions.

Also one for the cooking (or if you’re like me, eating) enthusiasts is Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park from 10-12 June at Warwick’s St Nicholas Park. It sees top eateries including The Cross at Kenilworth and The Butchers Social serve up mouth-watering menus. There’s live music too by the likes of Lightning Seeds, McFly, Natalie Imbruglia and Sophie Ellis Bextor.

The Birmingham European Festival of Performing Arts returns this month and includes a large-scale arts installation by Fabrice Mazliah. Garden State will see plants from local residents take over the stage at Midland’s Arts Centre from 8-11 June. The space will host events including a performance by Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey and Musical Toy Orchestra – which sees children’s toys used to create music.

TAKE TO THE STAGE

Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta has taken inspiration from the upcoming Commonwealth Games for his latest piece On Your Marks. It’s on at the Hippodrome from the 23-25 June and celebrates the energy and gravity-defying athleticism of the company’s world-class dancers.

Jeremy Edwards (of Holby City and Hollyoaks fame) is heading to The Belgrade to appear in political thriller Dead Lies from 29-30 June. If you’re looking for something a little more light-hearted head to Rugby Theatre from 11-18 June to catch 60s musical A Slice of Saturday Night, or there’s Playboy of the West Indies at the Birmingham Rep from 10 June-2 July.

Richard III which will run at The RSC from June 23 – 8 Oct. It has been directed by RSC heavyweight Gregory Doran and features disabled actor Arthur Hughes as Richard, following his unscrupulous rise to power. 

For something a little more family-friendly there’s The Wizard of Oz on at The Albany Theatre on 5 June, or head to Cov’s Assembly Gardens before 3 July to catch Dragons and Mythical Beasts. At the Wolverhampton Grand there’s the ever-popular David Walliam’s Billionaire Boy from 1-5 June.

FAMILY

First things first: don’t miss our definitive guide to what’s on over the Jubilee half term.

The Kenilworth Show is back after a three-year hiatus (thanks Covid!) and on June 4 will be held at a new site of Stoneleigh Park Estate. Events include a RAF Hurricane flypast, equine events, dog shows, classic cars and Jubilee cream tea – that should be enough to keep everyone happy.

Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary rescues animals on its Wooley Park Farm near Warwick. For the Summer Open Day on 11 June you can meet the four-legged locals, do some shopping on the stalls, play games and enjoy vegan refreshments. 

Not enough cute animals for you? Head down to Old Laurentian RFC in Rugby on 19 June where Pawprints Dog Rescue is holding its Fun Dog Show. There’s competitions all day, lots of stands, refreshments and a bar. Result. Your favourite Muddy editor (that’s me btw) will be working on the Lucas Helps Dogs stall at both events selling gorgeous dog collars, so stop by and say hello!

MUSIC

What’s better than enjoying some jazz in Warwick’s gorgeous Hill Close Gardens? On 18 June jazz, blues and ragtime band The FB Pocket Orchestra will perform raising money for the Hill Close Gardens Charity.

Everyone’s heading to the Utilita Arena this month. There’s Ashanti on 1 June, Alicia Keys on 9 June, Queen and Adam Lambert on 11&12 June, Billie Eilish on 15 June and Diana Ross on 20 June. Elsewhere in Brum there’s Run The Jewels on 7 June at the O2 Academy, and if you’re into some Irish folk music check out The High Kings on 10 June at the Town Hall.

There’s some good acts on at Cov’s Empire too. Check out Bombay Bicycle Club on 3 June, punk band The Undertones on 4 June and ska legends The Beat on 17 June. If you’re into local music then pop-punk band Arthur and the Invincibles always put on a stonker of a show and they’re playing on 18 June, and Idles are performing on 23 June.

Ever been to a gig in a forest? Forest Live will see acts perform at lush Cannock Chase, with ticket sales going to protecting and supporting the land. Texas and Sam Ryder are performing on 9 June, Rag’n’Bone Man on 10 June, Keane on 11 June and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on 12 June.

EXHIBITIONS

We love a good exhibition at Compton Verney, and this one running from 2 June – 16 Oct looks great. Magnum Photos: Where Ideas Are Born looks at where creativity takes shape and ideas are born – the artist’s studio. There’s images of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Tracey Emin and Yayoi Kusama at work.

Foodie fans and green-fingered gardeners, listen up! BBC Gardeners’ World Live and BBC Good Food Show Summer is back at Birmingham’s NEC from 16 – 19 June (click here to bag yourself some free tickets). Expect loads of inspo and a host of famous faces including Arit Anderson, John Torode and Nadiya Hussain.

SHOP ‘TILL YOU DROP

Ooh, this is exciting! Bicester Village has a new pop-up boutique that’s a collab between The Creative Spot and British Fashion Council, promoting innovative and sustainable British design. Showcasing 18 of the UK’s most exciting designers, some of the shop’s gorgeous stock is exclusively available at Bicester Village. So: see you there — no promises for how I’ll behave when trying to grab my size.

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