Burn those Christmas calories by getting out and about on a winter walk at National Trust places across Warwickshire.

Written by Cathy on .

baddesley-clinton copyThere are miles of pathways to enjoy offering people the chance to get out and about in the fresh air and take in the beautiful surroundings. 

The excitement of Christmas may be over but now is the perfect time to try out those new walking boots or a new camera and capture family moments or stunning landscapes on an invigorating winter walk.

Andy Beer, Director for the National Trust in the Midlands said: “Whether you want to get fit, spend time with family, or just admire the beautiful countryside; welcome in the New Year with a visit to your local National Trust place.

“Why not mull over this year’s resolutions while rambling along wooded paths or through country gardens; or get the children planning which ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities they’re going to complete in 2016.

“Even if it’s grey outside, just wrap up warm, pull on your wellies and plan your adventure.”
The special places the National Trust looks after are packed full of walking trails and great views that look even better with a dusting of frost. 

Here are some of the best places to walk in Warwickshire to put a spring in your step during the cold winter months.

There's plenty of wintery adventures to be had at Baddesley Clinton.  A variety of different walks and trails offer panoramic views, a range of wildlife, and the opportunity to learn about local history.

Packwood house is perfect for families.  Don your wellies and get muddy on the Welly Walk or go for a longer stroll taking in the Stratford upon Avon Canal. Four legged friends are very welcome in the park too.

The tranquil parkland  of Charlecote Park is a great place to enjoy a close encounter with wildlife. The fallow deer are often easier to spot in winter and the Jacob sheep that help to maintain the parkland ecosystem are never far from view.
Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/midlands to find a winter landscape to explore.

Search for a (local) star!

Written by Cathy on .

GGLOS Landscape Flat 640x278How would you like to dance your way into David Walliams’ acclaimed show for children, Gangsta Granny? Have you eaten enough cabbage soup to give you the courage to have a go?

Milton Keynes Theatre has joined forces with Birmingham Stage Company to offer you the chance to perform on our theatre stage in all of the live shows of Gangsta Granny in February 2016!

The auditions are looking for a female dancer to play the role of a 16-18 year old in the show. You must be no taller than 5ft 2ins (157.5 cm), available to perform in all the shows, from Tue 9 – Sat 13 Feb, 2016, and aged 18 and over.

During the show you will get to perform a short solo dance number in the Strictly Come Dancing scene of the play.

Applicants interested in auditioning for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity will need to choreograph a two minute dance routine (music will be provided) and then send a video of your choreography to Birmingham Stage Company who will decide on the winner.

To apply just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the music and an application form.  Deadline for applications is Sat. Nov. 28.

From Paris to New York

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RPO 8 Nov Alexander ShelleyThe Royal Philharmonic Orchestra returns to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate for their 2015/16 Orchestral Season on Sunday 8 November, with a concert inspired by the bright lights of Paris and New York.

Led and curated by the Orchestra’s Principal Associate Conductor, Alexander Shelley, the concert’s programme balances driving intensity with the playful humour these cities are known for.

Writing masterpieces from opposite sides of the world, the four composers featured in this programme – Gershwin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bernstein – were inspired by the two great cities, Paris and New York, and are among the most celebrated of the 20th Century.

Although each of these composers is known for their distinct styles, their music has one unifying characteristic in common: thrilling, irresistible rhythm. Prokofiev’s fiendishly difficult Piano Concerto No.3 reaches heights of almost frightening brilliance, juxtaposed against earthy lyricism, and will be performed by acclaimed pianist Boris Giltburg.

The star piece of this concert is Gershwin’s An American in Paris, which bursts with enthusiasm and excitement. Originally released in 1928, An American in Paris was crystallised in Hollywood legend after the 1951 film version was released, starring Gene Kelly.

The concert also includes a homage to the bright lights of Broadway with Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. The Tony Award-winning musical frequently tops best musical polls, while the 1961 movie version won 10 Oscars.

The concert starts at 7.30pm and concert-goers can hear more from conductor Alexander Shelley at a pre-concert talk at 6.30pm, hosted by BBC Radio Northampton’s John Griff. Tickets are priced from £15 to £33.50*, with tickets for Under 26s priced £11 as part of the Real Discounts scheme, and tickets for under 14s and schools at just £5 each. To book, call Box Office on 01604 624811 or go to www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

Half term at the Mill

Written by Cathy on .

Mr Tiger Goes Wild photo 4 copyWhat’s On This Half Term @ The Mill: 25th – 31st October
Tuesday 20th October
If you’re struggling to find classes and workshops for the little ones whilst you’re at work this Half Term – or will be in need of a well-deserved break by the end – take a look at the wide array of activities on offer for children this week at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, as well as some great big-named acts for yourselves to indulge in.

Tuesday 27th October
10:30AM – 4:30PM: Young Performers Workshop
Through a variety of fun drama games and workshops, children will spend the morning creating their very own alter ego superheroes, villains and sidekicks. After lunch children will be watching superheroes in action in Disney’s box office hit Big Hero 6. £25 per child.
Big Hero 6 will be showing in the theatre at The Mill Arts Centre at 12:30PM and is also open to the public. Adults: £6 / under 16’s: £4.

Thursday 29th October
11AM & 2PM: Mr Tiger Goes Wild (a show for ages 3+)
The Goblin Theatre Company are making a much welcomed return to The Mill Arts Centre this Half Term with their adaptation of Peter Brown’s best-selling picture book, Mr Tiger Goes Wild, after The Ballad of Rudy went down an absolute treat last Christmas! Mr Tiger Goes Wild tells a story of friendship between a Mr. Tiger and Mr. Deer in this hilarious show that has original rock ‘n’ roll music included. £8.50 per ticket.

Friday 30th October
10AM – 12 NOON / 1PM – 3PM : Mad Hatters Family Workshop
This Christmas, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, is celebrating the festive season with Creation Theatre’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland titled ‘Alice’. In the run-up to their shows (Dec 8th – Jan 2nd), there are a series of Alice themed activities. This Half Term, the family can get involved in the Mad Hatters Family Workshop, which is a 2 hour long session that will be spent constructing the most wackiest of hats that would later be used in our ‘Alice’ exhibition, throughout December. £13 for 1 adult and child / £5 per additional child.
7:30PM: Paul Daniels & Debbie McGee
Back on tour due to massive public demand, one of the world’s most entertaining magicians, Paul Daniels, along with assistant and wife Debbie McGee, will be returning to The Mill Arts
Centre for a night of magic and comedy. Suitable for the whole family. £21 each.

Saturday 31st October
10:30AM – 1:30PM: Spooky Shadow Puppets: An Animation Workshop
Half Term doesn’t finish on Friday at The Mill Arts Centre this year! On Saturday 31st October, Join Tom Cross, professional artist and animator, for a morning of spooky fun. In this 3 hour long workshop children will make their very own moving shadow puppets before creating a looped animation that works by capturing images of your puppet creations. Please note: this is a family workshop and children must be accompanied by an adult. Recommended ages are between 8 – 14 years. £18 per adult & child / £6 per additional child.
8PM: Sean Hughes: Mumbo Jumbo
Multi award winning comedian Sean Hughes is back with a new show called Mumbo Jumbo. Throughout his life, he has been battling to stay on the right side of sanity, because, now he’s reached that middle aged point in life, he has realised that the two sides of the brain are in constant conflict. There is common sense against mumbo jumbo and mumbo jumbo seems to have the upper hand. Tickets are still available for Sean Hughes: £16.50
To book tickets please contact the box office on 01295 279002

A fabulous and funny frozen adventure takes to stage at Royal & Derngate this Christmas

Written by Cathy on .

The Snow QueenThis Christmas, Northampton’s Royal stage will be transformed into an icy, magical kingdom for an enchanting new version of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Snow Queen. This fabulous and funny frozen adventure can be seen from 25 November to 3 January. Featuring memorable new songs and hilarious characters, this mischievous retelling of a timeless story will melt audiences’ hearts.

In a frozen land far away, a Snow Queen kidnaps a young boy named Kai. His best friend Gerda, a stumpy, grumpy, determined little girl is the unlikely hero who sets out to rescue him. On the way, she finds friends who will help her, and discovers the truth behind the mysterious Snow Queen’s identity and why she lives locked up in solitude in her icy palace.

This festive production is written by multi-award-winning comedy writer Georgia Pritchett (Miranda, The Thick Of It, Veep and Wallace And Gromit: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit), and features original songs by Dougal Irvine, who was the composer for The Bacchae and Blood Wedding at Royal & Derngate in 2012.

An ideal Christmas treat anyone aged 4 and upwards to enjoy with their family, The Snow Queen runs at Royal & Derngate from Wednesday 25 November to Sunday 3 January, with tickets priced from £9.50 to £24*. For full details of performance times, call Royal & Derngate Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.