Crafting fans, this event is for you!

Crafting fans, get ready!
Following on from a series of successful pop-up shops throughout August, on Saturday 29th August, Belgrade Theatre will be holding its first Outdoors Makers’ Market from 11am-4pm. A free event for all of the family, the Outdoor Makers’ Market has been organised by Belgrade’s resident needlework for wellbeing group, Craft On. Outside the theatre in Belgrade Square, 16 local artists and makers will be selling an array of handmade items, including wall plaques, greetings cards, paintings, jewellery, dolls, dreamcatchers, felt and fused glass ornaments, knitted baby clothes and accessories, and much more. Take a walk around the square and you are bound to find the perfect crafted item for you.
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After browsing the many wares, the Belgrade café bar will also be open throughout the day and serving up a selection of drinks and snacks which you can enjoy inside the theatre’s foyers or outside.

In the event of wet weather (always a risk with the British summertime), a contingency plan had been put in place, with the market taking place inside the theatre while maintaining social distancing.thumbnail_Pop-Up Craft Shop 1

Niki Doughty Lee, leader for Craft On and the organiser for bookings the pop-up shops, along with organising the Makers’ Market, said: “We’re grateful to the Belgrade Theatre for all they’ve done to accommodate our weekly craft sessions and to support and promote our work, so we’re delighted to be able to help them in return as Covid restrictions start to lift. We hope events like this will send a clear message that the theatre is now open and accessible to the community, even if shows are still unable to go ahead.

“I set up Craft On with the aim of reducing isolation and promoting mental wellbeing in Coventry – something which has never been more important than it is now that we are beginning to emerge from lockdown. Theatres like the Belgrade play a vital role in holding the community together, so we want to do everything we can to help keep them going through this difficult period and ensure their work can continue in the future.”

An event that is sure to be enjoyable for any crafting fan, do not miss out on the Outdoor Makers’ Market. Whether you are looking for a gift for yourself or starting that Christmas shopping early, there will be an item (or 10) for you.

For any enquiries, please email needlecraftforwellbeing@gmail.com.

SeaView digital TV series seeks West Midlands based talent for new writing opportunity

Belgrade is offering up yet more exciting opportunities for the community, as they have teamed up in partnership with Strictly Arts Theatre Company, Fix 8 Films, Run Home Productions and Audio Bassment to discover emerging writers to be part of the writers’ room for their upcoming urban, sci fi digital series, SeaView.
SeaView pilot still 2Set to premiere at the Belgrade Theatre in 2021, followed by a digital release, SeaView draws on inspiration from the working class and is looking for Midlands based talent to write the series collaboratively.  Up to seven of the region’s up and coming writers will have the opportunity to be a part of Belgrade’s first writers’ room, just in time for Coventry’s City of Culture 2021. Working alongside playwright Sophie Ellerby and the Belgrade’s 2021 Co-Artistic Director Corey Campbell, each writing will have the exciting experience of writing an episode each.
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If you are successful, writers will be taught key screen writing skills and will supported to further develop this, as well as being provided with a space to create. The successful applicants will be a part of an exciting  project that will merge theatre and film production.
The writers’ room will run from 6.30pm-8.30pm every Thursday from Thursday 16 July 2020 – Thursday 15 October 2020, with the final read-through taking place during the week commencing Monday 19 October 2020.
The first few writers’ sessions will be held via Zoom, eventually moving onto in person sessions at Belgrade Theatre, so applicants will need to be Midlands based and be able to travel.
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Information from Belgrade Theatre:
We would like to assure all applicants that we will be closely following government health and safety guidelines and all writers chosen will be given a full briefing before the Writers Room begins. Writers will also be informed in advanced as to when in-person sessions will begin. To apply, please send an example of your work to Sofia Stephanou at sofia.producer@gmail.com by 5pm on Monday 29 June.

This can be in any form you choose – a script, poetry or prose – but it should show a clear journey and give a strong sense of your writing style.

Along with your writing sample, you should also include an up-to-date CV and a cover letter (one-page only) explaining how being part of the Writers Room will help you to develop you as a writer and what you hope to achieve.

SeaView synopsis: Inspired by a true story, the series follows Steven, a young man destined for great things who finds himself trapped by the destiny of others.
Tormented by his gift for prophecy and haunted by his dreams, Steven tries to break the cycle of lies, crime and violence that has ensnared his family, but finds himself in an impossible position. The way seems unchangeable, the decisions they make irreversible.

Good luck to everyone entering and we cannot wait to see the premier of SeaView in 2021.

Belgrade Theatre Autumn 2020 line up announced

Get ready for Autumn 2020, because Belgrade Theatre is launching lots of new productions for the new season!
Although all theatre venues across the UK have temporarily closed, Belgrade Theatre continues to keep in high spirits, revealing their new Autumn line up, as well as a variety of online activities to keep you entertained during lockdown.
From Tuesday 28th April, tickets will be on sale for a brilliant range of shows, varying for all ages and interests. Whether you are looking for a musical or serious drama, Belgrade Theatre has you covered.
In order, shows include:
Sat 5 Sept- James Rowland’s Songs of Friendship

24-26 Sept- Ifeyinwa Frederick’s Sessions

10-12 Sept- SHE

20 Sept-3 Oct- Dougie Blaxland’s Getting the Third Degree

23-28 Sept- The Crown-Live!

28 Sept-3 Oct- Groan Ups

7-10 Oct- Noughts and Crosses

14-17 Oct- A Splinter of Ice

20-24 Oct- Horrible Histories

30-31 Oct- Adam Z. Robinson’s Upon the Stair

Sat 31 Oct- Fascinating Aida

3-7 Nov- The Cat and the Canary

4-14 Nov- Lola Chakrabarti’s Calmer

Tues 10 Nov- Hazel O’Connor

12-14 Nov- Russian State Ballet with The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake

12-14 Nov- Santa’s Christmas Rescue

28 Nov-9 Jan- Beauty and the Beast

Sat 23rd Jan- Sing-a-long screenings of The Greatest Showman and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

While you are waiting for all these exciting events, be sure to check out the wide range of online activities while the theatre is closed for the rest of the current season:

  • Streamed versions of Original Theatre Company’s The Croft and The Habit of Art

  • Emma Rice’s Wise Children, co-produced by Belgrade Theatre, is available to steam via BBC iplayer
  • Monday Makes: Craft activities curated in partnership with the Belgrade needlework group Craft On

  • Storytime: Children’s storytelling performed by Belgrade Staff and guest storytellers
  • Pub Quizzes: Every Tuesday evening on Facebook
  • Weducation: Educational videos and activities every Wednesday
  • Podcasts: Featuring 2021 Co-Artistic Directors Balisha Karra, Justine Themen and Corey Campbell
  • Saturday Shout-Outs: Spotlights on other local happenings in Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Sunday Showtunes: Musical Theatre playlists to enjoy throughout the weekend

For more ticket information, visit www.belgrade.co.uk. Bookings are currently online only, as the building is temporarily closed.

Like There’s No Tomorrow: Coventry’s Young actors take to the stage to combat climate change

Coventry has yet another exciting opportunity arising, as the talented young performers of Belgrade Theatre have the opportunity to perform in an original play, commissioned through National Theatre’s NT Connections project. Bringing together many brilliant writers, the NT Connections project will give the theatre makers of tomorrow the chance to star in ten commissioned plays, working with 300 youth groups and over 6000 young people.

With climate change being a more relevant topic than ever, Belgrade Theatre’s talented young performers have taken inspiration from Climate Activists to create Like There’s No Tomorrow, alongside Belgrade’s Young Company with the support of expert theatre practitioners. NT Connections project not only gives young people the opportunity to act, but to tell the stories that are important to them.

Like There’s No Tomorrow will be showing 9-14 March on Belgrade’s brilliant B2 stage, addressing climate crisis concerns, following the story of a teenage girl, Maru. Having worked hard for their money, Maru’s parents have earned their right to little comforts: the latest mobile, a second car, a new party dress. Yet Maru cannot focus with the pollution so bad that she can hardly breathe and no one else seems to be seeing the connection. To make matters even worse, the newly elected mayor is planning to build on the park she always visited as a child. And to top it all off, a mysterious cracks splits through the town and she decides enough is enough, somebody needs to take notice and Maru will be the one to take the lead.

Following the performance of Like There’s No Tomorrow, the final script will be submitted in May to the National theatre, which hopefully will be selected to be performed at NT Connections in 2021.
The young people of Coventry are truly inspirational and we wish the best of luck to them!

Like There’s No Tomorrow shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from Monday 9 until Saturday 14 March. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055, or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are cheaper.

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Take a pizza of your time and go to Basement Browns- Gifted experience

Coventry is so full of amazing restaurants and Basement Browns is no exception!
From the moment I walked in, I felt immediately welcome with the aroma of delicious pizza and the friendly staff. With the rustic décor and warm lighting, Basement Browns had a relaxed atmosphere that makes you want to stay for hours.
Coventry Bloggers were invited to try the menu, offering up either an Individual pizza with a side or an Inbetweener pizza, and a drink.

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Looking at the menu, the choice was almost overwhelming. Everything sounded amazing, from The Cowboy to the Super Mario (yes, I was tempted to order that pizza purely for the name). The sides looked equally fantastic, sweet potato fries and houmous with flatbread being just some of the many options. Between the food and an extensive alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktail menu, I was spoilt for choice.
Starting with a non-alcoholic cocktail, I had the Mango and Pineapple Crush, which was fruity and delicious. If I could have ordered pint sizes of the drink, I would!
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After deliberating for quite a while, I chose to order the brand new pizza, The Cowboy (pepperoni, beef and sausage), with a side order of skin-on fries. As soon as it arrived, my mouth was practically watering. From the tangy tomato sauce to the soft base, the pizza was perfection. All the ingredients were fresh and you could really tell, as it was some of the best pizza I have tasted.
A quick food photo shoot from all the bloggers and we were ready to tuck into our pizzas. What can I say, except that everything was amazing?!
An Individual pizza and fries was the perfect amount of food for one person (though I could have happily taken more boxes home to eat the day after). With vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options also available, there was something there for everyone.pizzas
The staff were helpful and attentive with any questions we had and always had a smile on their face.
For the perfect, relaxed evening out, try Basement Browns in Coventry. It was a brilliant experience and I cannot wait to visit again!

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The Gift

The year is 1862 and Sarah Bonetta Davies (Shannon Hayes), an African girl adopted by Queen Victoria and raised within her circles, resides in Brighton on the eve of her return to Africa. The question: will she go?
Opening up on a picturesque scene of a pristine white apartment, two young women sit perched on the sofa in flowing ebony gowns, a tea set before them. Straight away, they looked like a painting from the Victorian era. The perfect picture soon became one of the funniest scenes of the play, with the maid, Aggie (Donna Berlin), learning how to be a hostess. With her exaggerated laugh and comments on the weather, Aggie took the lead as the comedian of the scene, much to the dismay of her teacher, Sarah. The back and forth between Hayes and Berlin was brilliant, having the audience laughing one moment and cringing for them as they muddled through the lesson the next.
The tone soon shifted, as visitors arrived with preconceived perceptions about Sarah, from overly familiar questions to casual racism. A particular credit to the play was how seamlessly it moved between comedy and the darker subjects.
Fast forward to present day and Sarah, a middle-class black woman has come to stay in a Cheshire village with her husband, James and young child, Victoria. Intertwining with the past, the modern day setting also looks at cross-racial adoption, but reversed with Sarah Bonetta Davies who was adopted by a white family, while modern Sarah and James have adopted a white child.
The modern day storyline immediately drops hints about the underlying mystery of the scene; why does James have a broken arm and cuts on his face?
A visit by supposedly well-meaning neighbours may have something to confess, but not before they have given their own opinions on race and political correctness. Much like the scene from 1852, the audience was almost crying with laughter at outrageous dance moves and uncomfortably listening to Ben (Richard Teverson) explain why he thinks modern Sarah’s opinions on how she feels about her own race are wrong the next.
The second half of the play leads to an almost surreal scene as both Sarahs have tea with Queen Victoria, though only Sarah Bonetta Davies can be seen by her majesty. Though it is not explained how modern Sarah has come to be in the scene, she encourages Sarah Davies to stand up to the Queen and confront the racist attitudes that have been placed upon her from childhood.
Throughout the play, The Gift explores topics of race, cross-racial adoption, imperialism, cultural appropriation and of course…tea. Every scene includes some kind of tea party and gave thought provoking glimpses into both a historical figure and fictional character’s lives. It gave an interesting insight into the prejudices that people had to deal with both in the past and today.
The Gift is an important play that should not be missed.

The Gift is currently on tour around the UK until Wednesday 11th March 2020. Look on eclipsetheatre.org.uk for further details.

Lunar New Year Celebrations at Belgrade Theatre!

Get ready to celebrate the New Year again, because the celebrations are just about to begin with the Lunar New Year around the corner, starting Saturday 25th January to Saturday 8th February.
Also known as Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is widely celebrated across East and South East Asia, along with diaspora communities around the world. This year, the Belgrade Theatre will also be getting festive with a brand-new production of Madam Butterfly, retold from a female, East Asian perspective.
Premiering 6th February at the Belgrade Theatre before touring the UK, critically-acclaimed Ruth Chan has re-orchestrated this new English translation of Puccini’s work with a diverse cast of singers.
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But the celebrations don’t end there! After last year’s highly successful collaboration, the Belgrade Theatre will be teaming up with Coventry University’s Confucius Institute to offer an exciting range of activities on Saturday 1st February, all for free!
From 9am-12pm practice your hand at Chinese Calligraphy, perfect your Traditional Crafts skills and learn and relax at a Thai Chi Taster Session at this drop-in event. Try as much or as little as you want! With the Year of the Rat being said to be auspicious, what better time to learn something new?
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There’s no need to book, so turn up on the day with family and friends for an experience you will not forget.
February is an exciting month for The Belgrade and everyone in Coventry as you can access so many free events. You do not want to miss out!
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Chinese Crafts for Lunar New Year takes place at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry on Saturday 1 February, followed by OperaUpClose’s Madam Butterfly on Thursday 6 February. Tickets for the show are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk for cheaper prices.

Come along and join the Lunar New Year celebrations!

Buddy-The Buddy Holly Story

I have never heard so many people singing along to a show that was not a concert and I loved it!
A multi-award winning West End show, we follow the life of Buddy Holly and his phenomenal rise to fame in just 18 months, culminating in his astounding final performance at Clear Lake Iowa.
thumbnail_62 L-R Hannah Price, Harry Boyd, Christopher Weeks, Rhiannon Hopkins, Joshua Barton, Ben Pryer
What a show! With so many talented actors and musicians, it’s hard to know where to start. Everyone flawlessly played their roles, embodying stars of the past and the people around them. While all the actors shone, a particular mention should go out to Harry Boyd, our narrator who played multiple roles from the radio host to the producer who gave Buddy his big break. He moved seamlessly between roles and a range of accents, making the transitions between roles effortlessly and believably.
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Christopher Weeks, playing Buddy Holly, was an uncanny likeness to the late star, his voice and musician skills perfectly embodying the role. He brought an innocence to the role that truly presented Buddy as he was, believing that his talent was made for more than small time music, while remaining humble when he reached fame. Between the friendships, romance and passion, Christopher Weeks portrayal of Buddy made him endearing and admirable.
Along with the actors, the music was brilliant, making me want to jump out of my seat and dance. Thank goodness we finally got that chance at the end, when everyone in the audience was up on their feet and singing their hearts out.
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From the 50s costumes to the sets, it felt like I was really at a concert back in the day, especially during the second act.
Whether you are a Buddy Holly fan, a lover of the 1950s or even don’t know anything about him, go Johnny go to the Belgrade Theatre and watch this show.

Runs at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry until Saturday 9th November 2019

Photo credit: Buddy-The Buddy Holly Story team

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Belgrade’s Puss in Boots Casting Announced!

The boots have been filled for Belgrade’s panto of the year, Puss in Boots!
Writer and director, Iain Lauchlan, returns with his 25th panto for the Belgrade Theatre, along with a brilliant cast that are sure to have us feline great during this festive season (it’s November, so basically Christmas and yes, do expect many cat puns to come).
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Lauchlan returns alongside Craig Hollingsworth, back on stage as Matilda and Simon Puddings, a son and mother duo journeying in search Puss in Boots to help them save their village of Baggy Bottom on the Bog from cat-astrophe, as it is threatened by a treacherous ogre and his notorious henchman, played by Peter Watts.
Cast in the infamous role of Puss in Boots will be Joanna Thorne, who Belgrade panto fans will recognise as Sleeping Beauty’s Prince from last year. Aiding our heroes will be Aimee Louise Bevan, acting as Fairy Flutterby who wants to defeat the villainous pair.
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Miriam Grace Edwards, a recurring actor in B2 alternative Christmas shows, will play the role of Princess Sophia, with her father being played by David Gilbrook, otherwise known as King Collin.
Along with the ensemble roles done by Ema Astarloa, Dylan Hones and Daniel Teague, they will be supported by a Junior Chorus of local children aged 9-16.
If it is anything like Belgrade’s previous pantos, then it is sure to be the purrfect event to get you feeling ready for the festive season. Full of hilarious hijinks, fantastical costumes and a classic story retold, Puss in Boots is not one to be missed.
With a cast like this, Puss in Boots is sure to be one that will leave you feline great!
Now the cat’s out of the bag, go and book your tickets today.

Puss in Boots shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from Wednesday 27 November until Saturday 11 January.

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Photo credit: Belgrade Theatre

My Beautiful Launderette

An emotional rollercoaster from the start, My Beautiful Launderette followed the story of Omar (Omar Malik) and Johnny (Jonny Fines), two young men trying to find their place in the world and prove what they are worth, all while previous feelings are being rekindled between them.
Set against the backdrop of London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Launderette explored sexuality, gender inequality, cultural conflicts and many other topics that were revolutionary for the 1980s, when the screenplay was originally released.
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From the moment I walked in the theatre, I was curious to know what was happening. Amongst the grey, graffitied set was a man in bed, while three other men lay on the floor, before the show even began. Everything about it was visually stunning, capturing the midst of London one minute and hopping to several different households the next. The set was brilliant, constantly being moved around and completely transforming the scenes.
The true stand out of the play were the actors. Each perfectly captured their role, whether they were playing one or multiple characters. Omar and Jonny played their characters in a way that slowly built up the romantic tension, making the audience root for them and eager to confess their feelings. Though their relationship was a secret, it was one of hope for a better future and showed the tender side of their characters, as well as laddish banter.
thumbnail_Kammy Darweish as Nasser and Omar Malik as Omar_ My Beautiful Laundrette_Photography by Ellie KurttzWhile the main focus of the play was their relationship and building up their business, the sub plots really stood out, each leaving you wondering how they would resolve throughout. From Tania (Nicole Jebeli) determined to break the traditional female role to Nasser’s (Kammy Darweish) unraveling affair, every moment challenged ideas of tradition, love and cultural tensions. Each topic was flawlessly dealt with and left me thinking long after the play was done.
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If you are a fan of the screenplay, romances or just looking for an enjoyable night out, go and see My Beautiful Launderette at the Belgrade Theatre. It is sure to leave you with a warm feeling and tears in your eyes.

5/5 stars

My Beautiful Launderette runs at the Belgrade Theatre until Saturday 2nd November 2019

Photo Credit: Ellie Kurttz