What’s on in our region


Joe Bonamassa  Saturday, 31 March 2012

Joe Bonamassa is hailed as one of the greatest young blues guitarists of his generation. Championed by Eric Clapton, and voted Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2009 Classic Rock Magazine Awards and voted ‘Best Overall Guitarist’, ‘Best Blues Guitarist’ in Guitar Player Magazine’s 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards, Joe is a living legend, one of the premier Blues/Rock guitarists on the planet and he is also evolving into a singer-songwriter of stylistic depth and emotional resonance.

JLS  16 - 17 March 2012 & Tuesday, 17 April 2012

After announcing that they are bringing their ‘4th Dimension’ tour to the LG Arena in March, JLS have now added a third date to their stint.In addition to 16 and 17 March, the boys will return to the LG Arena on 17 April to give fans a chance to see them live.

With five Number 1 singles and two Platinum albums already under their belt, JLS have secured their place as one of the UK’s biggest boybands. Their long-awaited third is album due out on 14 November 2011, giving fans the chance to get acquainted with their new material ahead of the 2012 tour.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Thursday, 1 March 2012

Since Oasis split back in 2009, fans have been awaiting the return of Noel Gallagher and they shall have to wait no more as he’s heading to the NIA next March with his solo moniker, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The Manchester band will roll in to the NIA in early 2012 as part of a seven date tour that will visit cities across the UK and Ireland.

The Wanted Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Wanted are the hottest thing in pop right now and we’re excited to be welcoming them to the LG Arena next year, as part of their first ever UK arena tour.

On 1 March 2012, Jay, Max, Nathan, Siva and Tom will wow thousands of fans when they take to the stage and perform their biggest hits, including ‘All Time Low’, ‘Glad You Came’, ‘Heart Vacancy’ the Comic Relief single ‘Gold Forever’.

JACK BRUCE & HIS BIG BLUES BAND UK TOUR Thurs, 29 March Birmingham Town Hall 0121 780 3333

Bruce (bassist, singer, composer and musician) has travelled the world and the decades playing diverse musical styles but has now come home to the blues.  The blues have always been the driving force at the root of Jack’s art: from his timeless compositions with Cream – “Sunshine of Your Love”,” White Room”, “I Feel Free” – to his new songs, Jack lives the blues.


24 - 27 May 2012 NIA, Birmingham

The UCI BMX World Championships are coming to Birmingham’s NIA in May for what organisers promise will be the biggest and best BMX show in 2012. The fast-paced event will host over 2,000 riders from across the world, including some of the best names in the sport. Olympic GB hopefuls, Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips will be hoping to achieve world titles in their last major competition before the London 2012 Olympics, with the event also providing the final opportunity for elite athletes to secure qualification points that will count towards the 2012 Games.

Ticket prices vary, with family passes (two adults, two children) ranging from £56-£66 and adult tickets priced at £21-£25 for the Friday and Saturday evenings (plus booking and transaction fees). www.bmxworldchamps.co.uk


CRUFTs - 8-11 March 2012   NEC, Birmingham  Tickets start from £10

The ‘greatest dog show on earth’, Crufts, is set to return to Birmingham’s NEC next spring offering dog-lovers four days of canine celebrations. From 8-11 March 2012, thousands of dogs will participate in the event swapping medals and world records for trophies and rosettes. The 2011 event saw Crufts celebrate its 120th anniversary with over 1,200 overseas dogs taking part, representing more than 50 countries in a wide variety of competitions and events. In total around 28,000 dogs participated in the four day extravaganza, which was attended by 135,000 people, cementing Crufts’ reputation as the greatest dog show on earth.

To find out more about the event and to book tickets, visit www.thenec.co.uk

Award-winning show’s sensational return to Stoneleigh in 2012

The Edible Garden Show - 16th - 18th March 2012

Award-winning grow-your-own spectacular The Edible Garden Show makes a sensational return to Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

There will be advice in spades from celebrity gardeners, chefs, growers and livestock experts. From bees, chickens, goats and pigs to seeds, sheds, wellies and wormeries – there is something for everyone. The 2012 show will boast an additional exhibition hall, larger animal marquee and food areas with a wide range of gardening and cookery demonstrations and interactive displays.

BBC TV’s award-winning presenter James Wong is on a mission to tempt gardeners into becoming more adventurous by growing ‘exotic edibles’. The renowned gardener and botanist, who will be giving daily talks, says grow your own doesn’t have to be all about spuds and sprouts. James, who writes an exclusive monthly column with gardening tips and recipes for the show’s popular website, urges gardeners to explore the vast range of exotic fruit and vegetables that can germinate and flourish in the UK climate.

Broadcaster and writer Pippa Greenwood, celebrity chef Rachel Green and The Edible Garden Show’s own ‘Grow Your Own’ guru Paul Peacock will all be on hand to give invaluable tips and advice.

For more show information or to buy tickets visit: www.theediblegardenshow.co.uk or telephone 0844 338 8001



“Murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery… all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts”… so begins the international award-winning musical CHICAGO starring Ali Bastian as Roxie Hart, Stefan Booth as Billy Flynn, Tupele Dorgu as Velma Kelly and Bernie Nolan as Mama Morton.

Based on real life events back in the roaring 1920s, nightclub singer Roxie Hart shoots her lover and along with Cell Block rival, double-murderess Velma Kelly, they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth talking lawyer, Billy Flynn.

The National UK Tour of CHICAGO will be produced by David Ian Productions in association with the Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler.


Vaughan Williams: Extracts from Scott of the Antarctic - 8th February 2012 - 19.30

Cheltenham Town hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, GL50 1QA

Cecilia McDowall: Seventy Degrees  Below Zero world premiere

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 7  Sinfonia Antartica

Robert Murray tenor

Stephen Layton conductor

This landmark concert tour retraces the steps of Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in music, images and words. Excerpts from Vaughan Williams’s film score Scott of the Antarctic are interwoven with moving readings from Scott’s diary, along with the world premiere of Cecilia McDowall’s new piece setting music to words by poet Seán Street, who uses as his inspiration entries in the Scott journals.

In partnership with the Scott Polar Research Institute

Supported by Arts Council, England, the Colwinston Trust, the RVW Trust, the Summerfield Charitable Trust and the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust.

Tickets: £30.00, £25.00, £10.00, concessions available.


Mozart: A Musical Life

Saturday 11 February 2012 7.30 pm - Wotton Concert Series at  St Mary the Virgin, Culverhay,  Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7LS

Mozart’s inspired First Symphony, brimming with youthful optimism sits in marked contrast to hisRequiem in which the composer confronts his own mortality. Also in this concert, excerpts from Mozart’s rarely played but magnificent Thamos King of Egypt.


The Third Luxury Antiques Weekend at Tortworth Court - Friday 24 – Sunday 26 February 2012

The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited is returning to Gloucestershire to stage the third annual Luxury Antiques Weekend at Tortworth Court, Tortworth, near Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 8HH from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February 2012. The Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel is a magnificent Cotswolds country house surrounded by 30 acres of private grounds and an arboretum containing more than 300 rare species.


Cheltenham National  Hunt Festival 2012 - 13 - 16 March  Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, GL50 4SH Tickets from £20 Gates open 10.30am

The roar of the crowd as the tapes rise for the first race of the Festival each year tells you everything you need to know - 12 months of waiting is over!

Over the course of the week, around 230,000 people will be here to witness the action and soak up the atmosphere and across the country, well over £500 million will be wagered on the outcome of the 26 races.

The feature race on Tuesday is The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, the most sought after prize anywhere for 2 miles hurdlers. The Irish have won seven of the last ten runnings of this historic contest, but Katchit led home a 1-2-3 for Britain in 2008.

Russell Kane Wed 29th Feb 2012  Cheltenham Town Hall Tickets £17.50

Join Fosters Comedy Award Winner and star of loads of stuff on telly, Russell Kane as he mercilessly explores the ridiculous state of masculinity in the modern world. He shaves his chest fur; you watch and laugh.




Coventry - Belgrade Theatre

Stars in the Morning Sky - Sat 17 March - Sat 7 April 2012

What dream would you protect with your life?

Chris Hannan’s new adaptation of Alexander Galin’s Moscow Olympics drama, Stars in the Morning Sky, is a brand new Belgrade Theatre production directed by Hamish Glen.


Stratford- upon-Avon

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

SONG OF SONGS - 3 performances only 28 February, 1 & 6 March 2012

A combination of movement and text recreate the sensual world of the Song of Solomon from the King James Bible in an exciting new piece of theatre.

Directed and choreographed by RSC Head of Movement, Struan Leslie, the production will realise the energy, intimacy and eroticism of the poetry in this extraordinary old testament text.


Birmingham - Hippodrome Theatre

Birmingham Royal Ballet -

Hobson’s Choice - Wed 22 - Sat 25 Feb

A story of boots, booze, love and laughter from award-winning choreographer David Bintley.

Without doubt a classic of our time, don’t miss your chance to join the eccentric Maggie as she puts the world to rights, bags herself the perfect man and starts up her own business to boot.

www.birmingham hippodrome.com

Warwick - Warwick Arts Centre

Disney’s Beauty & The Beast - Wed 8 - Sat 11 Feb 2012

Be our guest and experience the magic of this spectacular stage adaptation of the classic film. Join the eccentric cast of characters from the childhood favourite, brought to life by Music Theatre Warwick. Based on the much-loved animated feature, dancing spoons, singing teapots and an ancient enchantment make this ‘tale as old as time’ family theatre at its best.


Orchestra Of The Swan to work with new ‘composer in the house’

Orchestra of the Swan has been chosen by two of the country’s leading music organisations to take part in a prestigious scheme to re-establish contemporary composers at the heart of the orchestra.

The leading chamber orchestra will be working with 35-year-old award-winning composer Huw Watkins for two years from 2012 as its new ‘Composer in the House’ after being selected by the Royal Philharmonic Society and PRS for Music Foundation.

Composer in the House was created by the RPS and PRSF in 2005 to enable composers to have more space to create new work and to engage audiences more actively with new music through long-term involvement with a composer.

Orchestra of the Swan, which has residencies and concert series in Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham, Bedworth, London and Loughborough, has followed the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Sinfonia ViVA in becoming a Composer in the House recipient.

Huw Watkins, who lives in London, is one of the UK’s most admired composers and pianists, with a body of  distinctive orchestral, chamber and vocal compositions.

Having won the vocal category at this year’s British Composer awards, Huw will be writing new works for Orchestra of the Swan including a major commission in Spring 2013 and pieces for community and concert performance during his residency.

The orchestra has outstanding young pianist Benjamin Grosvenor as its Associate Artist this year, following cellist Julian Lloyd Webber who is now a regular soloist. It is resident at the Civic Hall in Stratford, is Associate Ensemble at Town Hall Birmingham, and has other residencies and concert series at Cadogan Hall London, Bedworth Civic Hall and Loughborough Town Hall.

Vanessa Reed, PRS for Music Foundation Executive Director and Rosemary Johnson, Royal Philharmonic Society Executive Director, said: “Composer in the House provides real opportunities for long-term creative exchange between the composer, orchestra member and audiences - and an essential development of 21st Century orchestral repertoire. The RPS and PRSF partnership is committed to developing wider opportunities for composers.”

David Curtis, Artistic Director of Orchestra of the Swan, said: “We are delighted to receive this award, which recognises our long-term commitment to commissioning and performing new music, placing contemporary composers at the heart of the concert programme.”

He added: “Huw Watkins’ appointment as our Composer in the House will create extremely exciting and innovative opportunities for the orchestra, Huw, our partners in schools and at the Royal College of Music where he teaches, and of course our audiences.”



Huw commented: “I am thrilled to be starting this relationship with the vibrant and enterprising Orchestra of the Swan and hugely grateful to the Royal Philharmonic Society and PRS for Music Foundation for giving me the opportunity to do so.”


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