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It’s June, baby! What’s on in Warks this month

It's officially summer, and we've got a jam-packed month to celebrate. From comedy festivals to classy exhibitions to world premiere dance shows, it's all happening in Warks this month.

UK CITY OF CULTURE LAUNCH: Coventry Moves, streaming online, Sat 5 June

Big up Coventry! Broadcast on the festival’s website and social media, as well as BBC coverage, the City of Culture launch will be a whole day celebrating Coventry’s pioneering identity, with playful evocation of the city’s past, present, and future.

Expect six local celebrities and public figures shouting their love for the city: paralympian Kare Adenegan, charity chief executive Sue Bent, poet and rapper John Bernard, singer and 2Tone legend Pauline Black, and singer-songwriter and artist Daniel Lismore. The climax of the day’s events at 8.21pm will see Coventry schoolchildren feature on an eight-minute piece from composer Dan Jones, inspired by legendary Coventry-born composer and mathematician Delia Derbyshire, called Coventry Moves Together. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be adorable.

THEATRE: Henry VI Part One: Open Rehearsal Project, RSC, online, 1–25 June 25

Ever wanted to go backstage and observe a production taking shape? For the first time the RSC is inviting the public to watch their full rehearsal process, culminating in a final live run through online on Wed June 23, available to watch until June 25. This innovative project sees RSC Artistic director Gregory Doran and Owen Horsley reunite to reinvent the Henry VI plays afresh. Share the excitement of watching actors grapple with the text and put the play on its feet, working out how to choreograph fights or negotiate intimate scenes under Covid protocols.

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Heartbreak ProductionsThe Great Gatsby , Mr Stink, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Wonder with Grimm, Jephson Gardens & Leamington Rugby Club, 2-12 June

After its 2020 tour was cancelled, Heartbreak Productions is finally able to return to open air venues across the UK with four fabulous shows: The Great Gatsby, Wonder With Grimm, Mr Stink, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We’re especially excited for The Great Gatsby: set at a garden party, this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic will take its audiences on a ride through Gatsby and Daisy’s romance with a generous splash of jazz (in Warks 2-3 June).

Littlies will be overjoyed by David Walliams’ family-friendly best-seller, Mr Stink, of course. Honouring the story’s theme of homelessness, many venues will be collecting for Shelter at the performances (in Warks 4-5 June).

See the whole list of Heartbreak performances here.

EXHIBITION: Mary Newcomb:Nature’s Canvas (until Sun 5 Sept) & Rebecca Louise Law: Seasons (until Mon 30 Aug), Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park

Nature’s Canvas features more than 50 work by natural scientist, farmer and artist Mary Newcomb, who died in 2008, displayed alongside extracts from her writing and work by the artists that inspired her. Filling Compton Verney’s largest gallery space, Seasons is a stunning site-specific installation commissioned by the Warwickshire gallery in 2019. It’s composed of thousands of preserved seasonal foliage and flowers collected by Rebecca Louise Law just before and during the pandemic, and is well-worth a visit.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Summer Screens 2021, Rugby School, 3-5 June

Summer Screens returns to Warwickshire and the West Midlands for the 10th year this summer in three fantastic locations. First up in June is Rugby School with a trio of their most popular films: Top Gun (Thurs 3 June), La La Land (Fri 4 June) and Dirty Dancing, (Sat 5 June). It will be returning to Coventry Cathedral Ruins (11-14 Aug) and Birmingham Botanical Gardens (17-20 Aug). Book here.

COMEDY: Funny Festival Live! RSC’s The Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 23-27 June

A brand-new four-day live comedy festival where you’ll be able to check out some of the best up-and-coming talent in-person alongside some established faces. Names include 2020’s Funny Women Stage Award runner-up Eryn Tett and Mock The Week’s Mark Simmons. Rounding off the week is Andrew Lawrence (Live at the Apollo) with his sell-out Pale, Male & Stale show. Tickets here.

MUSIC: Midsummer Music in the Gardens, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, Sat 26 June

Hill Close Gardens welcomes back the popular soprano Katie Leaver, accompanied by Emma Cockbill on piano, for a family-friendly performance of A Light-hearted Journey through the Songs of Stage & Screen. The event opens for 6pm, where attendees can picnic within the restored Victorian hedged gardens prior to the performance. Refreshments will be served in our Tearoom including locally made cake and a selection of hot and cold drinks. Tickets: Adult £15 Child £11.50. Further details here.

FESTIVAL: Bigfoot Festival, Ragley Hall, Alcester, nr Stratford, 18-20 June

Big on music, drinks and food? Welcome to the world’s first craft beer music festival! Primal Scream, Fat White Family, Hot Chip and Trojan Sound System are headlining, plus lots of local Warwickshire/West Midlands indie, artisan food and drink producers (as well as top chefs) will be serving up a varied and affordably delicious menu.

DANCE: Birmingham Royal Ballet: Curated by Carlos, Birmingham Rep, 10-12 June

Birmingham Royal Ballet is in for a treat with this one — two world premieres! The triple bill, curated by Carlos Acosta, includes the Brazilian/British choreographer Daniela Cardim’s never-before-seen Imminent, about a change for the better. Also premiering is Miguel Altunaga’s City of a Thousand Trades, a celebration of Birmingham’s industrial heritage. Spanish choreographer Goyo Montero’s Chacona, heralded as a thrillingly physical piece, will be a UK premiere. Details here.

EVENT: Summer Art Weeks, Warwickshire Open Studios, Sat 19 June – July 4

We hope you’re in the mood for art, because Artweeks is celebrating its 21st year with 320 artists exhibiting their work at 117 venues across Coventry and Warwickshire. From canal boats to churches, the oldest tennis club in the world to farms and barns, as well as the usual gardens, studios and homes… everyone’s getting involved.

THEATRE: Like There’s No Tomorrow, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, view online until Sat 13 June

The Belgrade has kicked off its City of Culture programme with this engaging online film about climate-change, co-created by 13-26-year-olds from their Young Company in 2020 and now available to stream online performed by Belgrade Youth Theatre. Free, but any donations to support the Belgrade and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust are gratefully welcomed. Book online.

FAMILY: Kid’s Rule at Half Term, Kenilworth Castle, Tues 1-6 June

Kid’s Rule at Half Term (Tues June 1-6) – meet the castle’s travelling knight and princess, take a look at medieval weaponry, and enjoy stories from the middle ages.

EXHIBITION: The Self-Portrait Prize 2021 & Concrete Collar, Coventry Cathedral, until 28 June

The Self-Portrait Prize 2021 from the Ruth Borchard Collection, which happens to be the only art competition of its kind to focus exclusively on self-portraiture, will run until 11 July. Photographer Tom Illsey’s exhibition exploring the ‘beauty and complexity’ of Coventry’s ring-road will run alongside until 30 June. To browse the cathedral’s Arts & Events programme, click here.

OUTDOOR DRIVE-IN CINEMA: Hatton Drive-in Cinema & Diner, near Warwick, until 25 June

Catch a range of family-friendly blockbusters at this 50s themed outdoor cinema, part of Hatton Country World. Titles include Beauty and the Beast (Fri 4 June), The Greatest Showman (Sat 12 June), Grease (Fri 18 June) and The Jungle Book (Fri 25 June). The diner menu includes burgers, hot dogs, kids’ meals, popcorn, ice-cream and drinks. £28 per car. Book here.

THEATRE: Mademoiselle F, Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, 9-12 June

A new play by Coventry playwright Vanessa Oakes, Mademoiselle F explores the links between mental health (OCD), isolation and the environment. It will also be the first live performance event at Coventry’s Shop Front Theatre this summer after 15 months of lockdown. Directed by Mark Evans, Professor of Theatre Training at Coventry University. Tickets are £10 (£8 concessions). Book here.

OPEN EVENT: Art in Dunchurch, Inglenook, Coventry Road, Dunchurch, various dates from Sat 19 June

Eighteen artists will be demonstrating and selling their work in the picturesque, historic village of Dunchurch in one of the biggest shows as part of Warwickshire Open Studios’ Summer Art Weeks. The talented local amateur and professional artists include print makers, weavers, painters, sculptors, potters and wood turners. Their work will be displayed in the tranquil walled gardens of Inglenook – a 16th century cottage – in the village’s conservation area. Chat to the artists and enjoy refreshments in the garden.

EVENT: Potfest by the Lake, Compton Verney, 25-27 June

Great plates, star vases, rock ‘n’ roll bowls, amazing artworks – Compton Verney is the place for dynamic ceramics in the Midlands’ biggest celebration of all things clay. Potfest will be located on the lawn, with 80 of the UK’s finest ceramic artists showing their work inside and outside several open-sided marquees, to make the most of the gorgeous surroundings. Tickets are priced from £5 for adults, with children up to 18 free, and must be booked in advance. Book here.

EXHIBITION: UnNatural History, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until 22 August

Featuring over 20 international artists from across the globe, this exhibition explores what artists have contributed to natural science throughout history. With an eye to containing the threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, UnNatural champions the world’s natural history collections for providing a rich record of how nature is changing. Free entry, no need to book.

Also on at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum from 28 May is the exhibition 2 Tone: Lives & Legacies, which is the first-ever major exhibition in the UK devoted to the 2 Tone music sensation that burst forth in the 1970s Coventry music scene. Featuring fashion items and memorabilia, it examines 2 Tone’s continuing influence on music, fashion, politics and culture. Free, but booking required.

FAMILY: The Wave waterpark, Coventry, now open

Grab the kids! Coventry’s award-winning waterpark The Wave is now open. We’re talking a lazy river, a wave pool, and six exhilarating slides to whoosh down again and again and again.

BALLET: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella, Birmingham Rep, 18-26 June

You don’t want to miss Sir David Bintley’s enchanting fairy-tale adaptation, complete with awe-inspiring scenery and costumes by John Macfarlane, the designer of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s famous Nutcracker. The music, composed by Prokofiev, will be played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Book tickets here.

SPECIAL EVENT: Dinner and Hidden Treasure Tour, Thinktank Science Museum, Birmingham, 12 June

Ever wanted to live that Night at the Museum reality? Then book yourself in for an eclectic tour of Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, complete with a dinner celebrating local traditional dishes (posh faggot and peas, anyone?). Including truly iconic objects, world record holders and specimens of great importance, this tour will introduce you to the scientists and inventors who changed the world with their creations, and how these collections came to live in Birmingham. Tickets are £30, and (most importantly) the bar will be open all night.

OUTDOOR CINEMA & EVENTS: Luna Springs, Digbeth, Birmingham, from May

Queen and Slim with Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith. Photo by Andre D. Wagner / Universal Pictures

Luna Springs is a new 80-seater open-air event venue replacing Digbeth Arena, and it’s bringing a full and varied programme of outdoor films to our fine region. Expect titles ranging from Wonder Woman to The Hangover and Queen and Slim, plus cool events such as bottomless brunches, cosmic disco, bingo, street food, and live music. Check out the film schedule here and see what else is on here.

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