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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Autumn leaf at lake in Coombe Country Park

Awesome things to do in Coventry and Warwickshire this Autumn!

Everyone loves taking a wander through their local woods or around Coombe Country park to catch sight of the glorious Autumn colours.

Woodlands at Coombe Country Park in Coventry
Autumn walk through Coombe Country Park, taken by Regan Thacker @duskyblueskies

But, what are the other awesome things to do in Coventry & Warwickshire this Autumn?

Do you know what’s happening in Coventry & Warwickshire?

There are plenty of different things you could do every weekend in Coventry and Warwickshire this Autumn, not convinced yet?
Take a look at this list below.

Here’s a list of awesome things you could do:

22 October: Family fun day at the Belgrade Theatre

The Belgrade Theatre are hosting another Family Fun Day from 10.30am – 4pm. There will be arts and crafts tables, games, storytelling and a dressing-up station with real stage costumes.

Entry is free – just turn up on the day.

Image courtesy of Emily, who is one of our Amazing Authors and blogger at Coventry Life.

25 October: Deer at Dusk

Catch a glimpse of the fallow deer or the bucks bellowing or sparring as part of a guided tour with the Park & Gardens team at Charlecote park. Tickets are £20 each

Charlecote Park in Warwickshire
Stag at Charlecote park captured by Trevor Price

26 October: Coventry Continental Food Market

Join Igers Coventry & Warwickshire for a foodie themed instameet at the Coventry Continental Food Market as part of the Festival Before the Lights.

Coventry BID team are veery kindly providing 30 instagrammers with a complimentary food voucher! Never been to an instameet before? Well now’s your chance. Make sure you book your free ticket via this link to secure your food voucher!

27 October: Pumpkins R Us

Dawn, Life of a Midlander at Pumpkins R Us

If you haven’t picked your Halloween pumpkin by now, you best hurry!
Dawn, who is another one of our Amazing Authors, recommends picking a pumpkin from your local pumpkin farm rather than the supermarket. You will find a much bigger choice of colours and sizes!

31 October: Dead of the Dead Festival and Bonfire party

Umberslade Farm Park are having a Day of the Dead Bonfire Party.
Gates open 4.30pm, Bonfire lit at 6.30pm, Fireworks at 7.30pm

If you go in Fang-tastic Fancy dress you will have the chance to win a Family Farm Pass!

Day of the Dead Bonfire Party

The Day of the Dead Bonfire Party will be a frightful delight for all of the family. There will be Dia de los Muertos Skeletons, fire dancers, their Dead Famous Family Silent Disco and a Live Mariachi band.

Be quick to buy your tickets from the Umberslade Farm Park website
An Advance Family Ticket is £20 + £0.50 booking fee.

2 November: Kenilworth Castle Bonfire Gala

The Fireworks & Bonfire at Kenilworth Castle is organised by the Kenilworth Round Table.

It is one of the largest bonfire & firework displays in the Midlands. This means that there are a lot of people there and it can feel quite crowded. There are a number of food stalls in the grounds, but these can also tend to have long queues.

Check out parking/transport options and make sure you purchase your ticket in advance.

There are also a few vantage points from outside the castle grounds, but these are usually commandeered by photographers with tripods trying to get that perfect shot.

Despite the crowds and issues around limited parking, it is worth noting that in 2018 Visit England listed it as one of their Top 5 firework displays.

If you have never been, it is definitely worth going to see it at least once.

Fireworks at Kenilworth Castle, taken by Regan Thacker in 2017

3 November: Carnival of Lights

The Carnival of Lights is a new event for the calendar this year!

It is a Lantern Procession which starts at Foleshill Community Centre at 5.15pm. The Lantern Procession will head into the City Centre and finish in Broadgate. There will be floats, live performances, and Bollywood dancers with LED umbrellas. It sounds rather fabulous!

This is a free event, and you can watch the procession from various points along the route.

16 November: Fargo Winter Chocolate Festival

The Winter Chocolate Festival at Fargo Village will have plenty of fudge, cake, cookies, and brownies for you to indulge your sweet-tooth and/or start getting ready for Christmas.

Chock Shop captured by Regan Thacker

17 November: Leamington Christmas Light Switch On

The Leamington Christmas lights switch on event takes place along the Leamington Parade on Sunday 17th November 2019 .

There will be a Yuletide market, fun fair rides, a traditional carol service at the Town Hall, and Touch FM stage.

The brand new lights will be switched on at 5.30pm.

Leamington Light Switch On captured by Richard Cunningham

28 November: Warwick Victorian Evening

The Warwick Victorian Evening & light switch on event takes place in Warwick Market Place on Thursday 28th November.

Carousel ride captured by Regan Thacker

There will be Victorian themed market stalls, crafts and Victorian fun fair rides. And, the lights will be switched on at 7pm.

30 November: Wreath Making Workshop

Wreath Making captured by Regan Thacker

The Herbert Art Gallery are hosting a wreath making workshop, you need to book tickets for this event. Tickets cost £26 but the Herbert Art Gallery are providing materials, and you will be able to develop your wreath making skills for every Christmas after.

7 December: The Snowman with Live Orchestra at Coventry Cathedral

The Snowman at Coventry Cathedral captured by Momma Mack in 2017

Who doesn’t love the animated film ‘The Snowman’?

This wonderful family event brings the snowman to life with a live orchestra at Coventry Cathedral.

6, 7 & 8 December: Stratford-Upon-Avon Christmas Market

There’s another festive Victorian Christmas market with a Dickensian theme in Stratford Upon Avon. It will have traditional gifts, street food stalls, vintage fun fair rides, and a variety of entertainment.

Stratford Upon Avon taken by Regan Thacker

14 December: The Snow Queen at the Albany Theatre

The Snow Queen is an epic adventure with spell-binding magic, action-packed excitement and heart-warming friendship.

In the story, Gerda must race through the four seasons to rescue her brother and prevent the Snow Queen’s terrifying plan to plunge the world into eternal winter.

Full Price Tickets: £12.00 – £16.00 and Child tickets: £9.00 – £11.00
Prices vary dependent on date.

Are there any other awesome autumn events or activities happening in Coventry & Warwickshire?

Be sure to share them with us in the comments, we’d love to hear about them!

Written by Regan Thacker
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Belgrade Theatre: Frankenstein [Gifted]?

Coventry Bloggers were invited to the opening night of Frankenstein at Belgrade Theatre and I decided to go for it as I haven’t been to the theatre in ages and I love a good horror (it’s especially perfect for October with the run up the Halloween).

I arrived a little early so I had a bit of a wander of the theatre, it was so cosy with the bad weather and darker nights drawing in and I ended up with a glass of wine, sitting at one of the tables just observing what was going on before heading over to pick up tickets.

The show is in the B2 auditorium which I’ve not been in before, it’s much smaller than the main stage but I really liked it, it made the show more intimate and really suited what we were there to see. The stage was set up to encompass a variety of landscapes (office, house, boat, forest) with books and a wingback chair ready for the performance.

From the moment the show started it managed to capture an eerie atmosphere which maintained throughout but also had humour to it. The story was being told from the perspective of the writer which wasn’t what we were expecting but worked well. A fact I know but always forget is that Frankenstein is the creator not the monster! It had its jumpy moments but I’d say not to be put off if horror isn’t normally your thing, it was creepy without being terrifying and we had a great night out.

I don’t want to give away any details of the show because it’s one that is much better to watch than be described and I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anybody going to see. It is one I would recommend seeing whether you are somebody going to the theatre regularly or someone like me that wanted something a little different to do with my evening.

Dawn

Life of a Midlander

You should be dancing…at Saturday Night Fever

If you are heading to Saturday Night Fever anytime soon, then make sure to put on your Boogie Shoes, as you won’t be able to stay off your feet for long.
Set in Bay Ridge, Saturday Night Fever follows the journey of Tony Manero, a young man stuck in a dead end job dreaming of his weekends when he can go to the local disco where he truly shines as the renowned dancer of the venue. Throw in many electrifying dance numbers, The Bee Gees impersonators who could pass for the real thing and a bit of a love triangle and you have the wonder that is Saturday Night Fever.

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From the first dance number, I knew that we were in for a treat. Everything about the stage screamed the 70s, from the mirror disco ball to the flared trousers. Richard Winsor, playing Tony, perfectly embodied the role with his slick dance moves and flawless accent. You would have thought that you were in Brooklyn during the 70s, rather than Coventry in 2019. Alongside Winsor, Olivia Fines did a magnificent job of playing Stephanie Mangano, a young woman desperate to leave Bay Ridge and make it big in Manhattan. The chemistry between the pair was electric and I completely fell in love with their story. Their first dance together in the diner was a beautiful scene that set the tone for their initially cautious relationship, showing how much the pair wanted each other secretly (well, on Stephanie’s part anyway, with Tony obviously besotted from the start).

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A particular stand out to mention was Jake Byrom, James Kenneth Haughan and Danny Knott, also known as the trio playing The Bee Gees. Each number was astonishing, their voices near perfect to the original trio. If you closed your eyes, I don’t think you would know the difference.
Saturday Night Fever is definitely not a show to be missed! The atmosphere was amazing, with the audience cheering along and tapping their feet to each song. I loved when we all got to get up at the end and dance along (though this may not have been the best for the people behind me with my lack of skills). If you have the chance, check it out for a fantastic night that will leave you grinning for hours after.

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5/5 stars

Saturday Night Fever runs at Belgrade Theatre until Saturday 21st September 2019

Photo credit: Pamela Raith

GODIVA FESTIVAL: Do we really need it? This will help you decide!

Godiva festival started in 1998, and for the last two decades it has been famous for being the Midlands biggest three-day free festival.

In 2018, Coventry City Council spent three times more than the original allocated budget! So, this year they introduced ticket charges for the first time. These additional funds are supposed to help manage some of the rising festival costs.

Now that Godiva is no longer the Midlands biggest three-day free festival, do we still need it? Is it still a good event for the City of Coventry?

5 Reasons why Godiva Festival is still great for Coventry!

1. Family-friendly fun

This year’s Godiva Festival provided plenty of entertainment and activities for families:

  • Fairground rides for all ages.
  • A mini-petting farm with rabbits, goats, etc.
  • A Community Circus where attendees could learn to could stilt-walk and hula-hoop, etc
  • An Experi-Tent which had a marble run, a VR experience, and lots of other digital technology.   
  • A wide variety of live musical Entertainment.

I think Godiva is good because it’s great to see so many families enjoying the festival, it appeals to such a broad age range. The size of the park means you don’t feel overwhelmed by huge crowds either. I must say my favourite part of the festival is the silent disco …. it’s just so much fun, if you haven’t experienced it before then definitely pen it in for next year!

Sam @Missb68

2. Amazing Artists

Over the last two decades there have been some amazing artists at Godiva, and this year did not disappoint with the likes of Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Dodgy, Reef, The Levellers, Busted, and Feeder.

It’s a low cost festival that offers music, fun and activities for all ages! There is something for everyone, whatever your taste.

It brings people to Coventry and promotes our ‘City of Culture’

It’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family in a relaxed environment.

Jane @joldbury

3. Godiva Supports Emerging local Artists

Every year Godiva runs a competition called ‘Godiva Calling’. This gives local bands and artists the chance to be selected to play at the festival.

It’s a showcase platform for emerging local musical artists

Wes @wesfinchuk

4. Cultural experience

People came together at Godiva Festival to listen to a variety of great music, laugh at comedy, get active with GoCV sports, chill out in the well being zone, learn new circus skills, dress up in silly outfits and have a generally wonderful time.

It’s a good opportunity for the people of Coventry to come together, regardless of social status. Godiva allows people on low incomes to have a cultural experience. It also promotes diversity, with acts from different groups

Rob @mrrjhopkns

This year, Coventry2021 brought the best Desi Music from across the Country to Godiva Festival.

What is Desi Music?

It’s a celebration of the music created, inspired or influenced by British Asian communities. Imagine artists performing a mixture of Bollywood, Bhangra, Qawwali, Reggae, Grime, Hip Hop and Folk-Electronica.

The UK Desi scene has created a unique fusion culture of art, fashion, food and above all music, which we celebrate in all its glorious diversity in the Rhythm Tent line up on Sunday.

Coventry 2021

5. Location

Godiva takes place in Coventry’s War Memorial Park, which is a great location!

If you have ever had to traipse across numerous farm fields or catch a shuttle bus just to get to a festival site due to limited onsite parking, then you will appreciate how easily accessible Godiva is.

A good location encourages more people from inside and outside of the city to attend.

Travel by Train: The Memorial park is only a 15-20 min walk from Coventry railway station, which is on the Main West Coast line.

Travel by Road: The Memorial park just off the A45, which also makes it pretty easy to access by road.

Godiva Festival is great for Coventry, it puts the city in the spotlight. I had friends travel from Birmingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Guilford for the festival and they really enjoyed the weekend.

JAMIE @JAMIE_PANOT

Godiva Festival Images Taken by Regan Thacker @duskyblueskies

If you would like to see more images from the 2019 Music Festival, check out my Photography pass for Godiva blog post.