Sunday, 27 June 2021


West End smash hit theatre show Be Bop a Lula presents a slice of rock’n’roll history - starring giants of rock’n’roll – Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Billy Fury, and Buddy Holly.

In 1960 American rockers Eddie and Gene flew in from the States and were joined by British heartthrob Billy Fury for the UK’s very first multi-artist rock’n’roll tour, informs show producer Pete Tobit.

“Reviewers were appalled by the on stage antics. Audiences screamed their approval. British youth culture was born!”

Theatregoers are invited to relive these seminal concerts in the company of incredible singers and a band said to be “tighter than a pair of your tightest drainpipe trousers”.

“And there’s more,” promises Pete. “Buddy Holly’s live tours were equally responsible for introducing rock’n’roll to the UK.”


Friday 24th September 2021; 7:30PM

The Albany Theatre, Albany Road, Coventry CV5 6JQ                                                     

Box office: 02476 998 964

Prices £26.50

Cochran’s legendary guitar riffs, Vincent’s menacingly moody stage presence, Fury’s smouldering looks and soaring vocals, and Holly’s good-time rock’n’roll are promised. 

“Be Bop a Lula is a real doozer of a stage show,” says Pete.

Fire of Warwick History Walk

Lord Leyceter's Hospital

Members of Warwickshire Local History Society (WLHS) enjoyed a sunny afternoon and a successful outing recently as they took part in a Fire of Warwick History Walk.    

On 5th September 1694 Warwick experienced a catastrophic fire that destroyed hundreds of houses. Members found out more on a walk around the town centre with Sue Rigby and her colleague Paula Fletcher. The fire started when sparks from a lighted faggot caught a thatched roof near Lord Leycester’s Hospital. A brisk wind blew for hours along the High Street, encouraging the fire to spread from building to building. After six hours the wind dropped and the fire subsided, but many citizens were now homeless, although there was no loss of life. 

Stephen Wallsgrove explained the relief and reconstruction efforts, showing facsimiles of surveys, claims for compensation, and other documents held by the County Record Office. The response of the local elite seemed impressively swift. The very day after the fire, Lord Brooke of Warwick Castle and other wealthy people started a subscription fund to cover people’s losses. Commissioners were appointed to scrutinise the claims of inhabitants with a view to compensation. To reduce the risks of further fires, a local Act of Parliament established strict building regulations. Thatch and timbered construction were banned in favour of plain frontages in brick and stone. The process of rebuilding took years but enabled Warwick to establish wide straight streets and a co-ordinated classical style.  

Although the society has been active with online meetings recently, this was the first face to face outing since the start of the pandemic and members welcomed the chance to meet in person again, with one member saying “After so long, it was revitalising to be able to meet, interact and learn with real people in the flesh. Not only a physical tonic with the walking, but also a mental and spiritual one.” 

Forthcoming outings are open to members and will be largely open-air (with other COVID-related measures) starting with a trip to Napton-on-the-Hill on 17 July. Full details of events and how to become a member are available on the WLHS website, 


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Calling Older Singers and Musicians For A New TV Show

A poster advertising a call for older musicians to take part in a new TV show from the BBC.

For more details please email 


Saturday, 12 June 2021

Announcing the 37th Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival

With the shops, bars and clubs of Birmingham and Sandwell reopening and spring in the air, the Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival is counting down until it welcomes back music fans for another 10 jazz-packed days.

Photo credit to Merlin Daleman

In a flush of optimism about the return of live music to Birmingham's streets this summer, the Festival has published a brand new photofilm. Featuring the work of photographer in residence Merlin Daleman over previous editions of the Festival, the short video acts as a reminder of the enjoyment to be had at Europe's largest free jazz party.

See the film on YouTube:

Photo credit Merlin Daleman

Festival Director Jim Simpson commented: "from Friday 16th to Sunday 25th July we're looking forward to more than 100 live performances of hot jazz and cool blues across the region, with almost all of it free to the public"

The full programme of events will be published on at the start of June.

Photo credit Merlin Daleman

Cattle ‘let loose’ as part of natural care plan on meadows

Cattle at Ronkswood Hill Meadows

A 15-strong herd of hand-reared Hereford cattle has been released on Ronkswood Hill Meadows, as part of an annual conservation exercise by Worcester City Council.  The cattle will be allowed free rein on the local nature reserve site, to help preserve grassland and wildflowers.

The initiative is designed to act as a natural and cost-effective way of keeping the grass short enough to allow the vast array of wildflowers in the area to get sunlight to grow and hopefully thrive.

Nick McGowan, Conservation Officer at Worcester City Council, said: “The cattle will graze at this site for around six months, helping to manage the grassland and encourage wildflowers whilst protecting the reserve’s ridge and furrow landscape and ant hill colonies.”

The meadows are home to a wide range of wildflowers including black knapweed, cowslips and birdsfoot trefoil but if grass grows too high these flowers will not flourish. 

The cattle will therefore play a pivotal role in boosting the flora and fauna as well as producing other positive spin-offs such as an increase in butterflies and improvements to the natural soil environment.

The City Council will put up signs on Newtown Road and Tolladine Road to warn walkers and dog-owners to take a little extra care and keep dogs on leads or under close control when cattle are nearby.

Nick said: “The sudden re-appearance of cattle may take a few people by surprise but the animals will be too busy chewing the cud to take notice of any passers-by.”

New CEO at iSE - Cathy Brown


You may be aware that iSE's founder and CEO Sarah Crawley MBE is stepping down from her role at the end of June following 20 years of leading and growing iSE. It will be a sad and emotional farewell for many in the sector who have worked closely with Sarah to bring social enterprise to the fore in the city, region, nationally and internationally. Sarah leaves a huge legacy for the sector through her work at iSE and will be greatly missed. 

The board welcomes Cathy Brown as iSE's new CEO. Cathy brings 30 years of experience across the public, private and third sectors including delivering strategic transformation programmes for a FTSE 100 company and engaging audiences around business change, leadership and innovation. We are sure Cathy will lead iSE positively into the future. 

Cathy says “the opportunity to join iSE, at such an important time for the city of Birmingham and its people, is one I am thrilled to be taking on. There are challenges ahead, but some great opportunities too and I look forward to working with our West Midlands social entrepreneurs to strengthen the local social economy".

Cathy will be working alongside Sarah throughout June as she 'hands over the reins' and will take over as iSEs new CEO on the 1st of July. We hope you will join us in wishing Sarah farewell and welcoming Cathy to iSE. 

A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s

A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s  
18 June - 30 August 2021 

Mark Wallinger, Self Portrait as Emily Davison (1993).  Colour photograph on aluminium. 
Courtesy of the British Council Collection. Photo: ©The British Council.

Ikon presents A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s, an exhibition featuring 40 artists from the gallery’s 1990s programme. It comprises work by those who featured in exhibitions at our venue on John Bright Street during 1990 - 1997, and at Ikon’s current premises in Brindleyplace until 1999. The title A Very Special Place is from a visioning document produced at the time, imagining Ikon’s future. 

With Elizabeth Macgregor as Director, Ikon’s outlook was increasingly international with a particular emphasis on the Americas and Australia. Concerning the representation of British artists, she resisted the fashion for ‘Young British Artists’ in favour of an eclecticism ranging from painters such as Basil Beattie and Lisa Milroy to the more overtly experimental practices of Georgina Starr and Mark Wallinger. Ikon’s 90s programme also featured a number of local artists associated with diaspora communities, including Permindar Kaur, Keith Piper and Donald Rodney.

Press Release

Worcester Life Stories

      A delivery cart on The Shambles in 1951 
©Worcester City Historic Environment Record

 New exhibition shines a light on the history of Worcester


  • New exhibition at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum chronicles the history of the changing face of Worcester and its residents through photographs
  • Includes a nostalgic testament to Worcester’s lost pubs and how Worcester people prepared for the visit of Winston Churchill
  • The project is a collaboration with the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, funded by partners including the National Lottery Heritage Fund


Worcester Life Stories shines a light on the history of Worcester through the words of the city’s residents and a vast array of photographs taken over the last 70 years, which have captured snapshots of the streetscapes of Worcester and how they have changed. Worcester Life Stories opens on Saturday 12 June at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum and runs until February 2022.


From 1950s shop fronts and forgotten landmarks, to communities that were migrated as the city developed, evocative images in the exhibition unlock memories of days gone by. The images were taken by staff of Worcester City Council, including health inspectors, archaeologists, conservation officers and planners to inform their day-to-day work, capturing building use, living conditions and heritage. They tell stories of lost industries, of hardship and poverty followed by regeneration and redevelopment, some of which still divides opinion today.


Other images capture a more domestic view, especially those images taken by Chief Public Health Inspector Tom Marsden. It was Marsden’s role to ensure that housing conformed to the 1957 Housing Act which called for houses to be fit for human habitation and led to around 3,500 properties in Worcester being condemned as unsanitary and unsafe. His incredible photographs capture the conditions that many families experienced after a half-century of neglect, economic depression and two world wars. Rising damp, rat-infested courtyards and cramped, airless spaces were just some of the scenes captured as he surveyed the city. What followed was the mass demolition of many areas, including the tenement houses of the Blockhouse, Tybridge Street, The Moors, and Dolday. 


Visitors can see nostalgic images documenting almost a century of changes to the city of Worcester, original items from Worcester’s Social History Collection and follow a Worcester Life Stories trail around the Art Gallery & Museum which will test how well they know their faithful city. They can also share their stories to be preserved for future generation.


A view along Sidbury c1960, shortly before widening works 
had taken place © Worcester City Historic Environment Record

David Nash, Social History Curator with Museums Worcestershire, says“This exhibition is a fascinating window into the past, inviting residents of the city we live in now to see how it has been shaped and changed over the past 70 years. Our cities are constantly evolving beneath our feet and it’s enthralling to see how past generations lived and to see how the streets we are so familiar with have altered through time.”


Anne Jenkins, Director Midlands and East, National Lottery Heritage Fund, says:  “We are delighted to support this project which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect, and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep.” 


Worcester Life Stories exhibition is part of a collaborative project bringing local people together through shared stories of the City of Worcester. It is led by Worcester City Council and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, with funding thanks to National Lottery players. The project brings together archived heritage, digital technology and community events to promote public health and wellbeing. Thanks to a wide range of partner organisations it has been made accessible to local people of all ages, including those living with dementia, their carers and people who are socially isolated.


The exhibition is free and runs from 12 June until mid-February and more information can be found here:


Please note that social distancing measures will continue to be in place when the exhibition opens and we will be managing visitor numbers, reminding visitors to remain socially distant and to wear a face covering for a safe and happy visit.



To India With Love




Birmingham Indian Film Festival brings audiences back to cinemas


In a challenging year for India and South Asia, BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL, part of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival and sister festival in Manchester, will be a love letter to the homelands, continuing to premiere the very best of new indie and classic films from the Indian subcontinent and diaspora, from Thursday 17th June to Sunday 4th July 2021.


Supported by the British Film Institute (BFI) using funds from the National Lottery, this will include the festival's Opening Night Midlands premiere of  WOMB (Women of My Billion), an inspirational feature documentary telling of one woman, Srishti Bakshi, who walks the entire length of India (nearly 4,000 kms), over 240 days to explore the experiences of other women in its billion plus population. Srishti will be live in conversation at MAC Birmingham following the screening.  Our closing film, Flight, will showcase British Asian film makers and actors and their continued contribution to British cinema’s success, often depicting realistic stories of British Asian immigrant experience. 


Festival Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE says"Last year we grew our audiences quite substantially by going online and UK-wide. With the UK scene improving, we are delighted to not only offer a strong high-definition online experience on but to also welcome our audiences back to the big screen at MAC Birmingham, Millennium Point, and, for the first time at Everyman at The Mailbox.   We will this year be showcasing the best of British Asian filmmaking, plus exciting premieres in over 7 South Asian languages. Of course, we are working with cinemas to ensure the safety and comfort of all our audiences".



One of Satyajit Ray's greatest actors, the late Soumitra Chatterjee is also profiled in the premiere of Abhijaan, while light-hearted moments are brought with the premieres of Bengali drama Searching For Happiness and black comedy Ashes On A Road Trip. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's Kayattam (A’hr) in Malayalam, starring one of South India's most decorated actresses, Manju Warrier, , makes its UK debut at the cinema as does Iram Parveen Bilal's Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award nominee at South By Southwest in 2020, I’ll Meet You There, which examines the immigrant life of a Pakistani American family in Chicago, USA.


The Festival's new strand dedicated to ecology-related films, called ‘Save The Planet’, brings stirring features that in different ways reflect lives affected by deforestation and rising sea levels, and how people are meeting the challenge. As Bangladesh marks the 50th anniversary of its independence, BIFF celebrates the country's giant strides in global cinema with special screenings of the lyrical The Salt in Our Waters. Films are in languages such as  Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Urdu, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati et al, all with English subtitles.


Online In Conversation events will take place at where we’ll be speaking to Bollywood actor, producer and director, Karan Johar as well as pan Indian actress and musician, Shruti Haasan and Jahnvi Kapoor, daughter of the late Sri Devi and Boney Kapoor who is making big strides in cinema. In a unique and rare interview, Pam Cullen talks to Nasreen Munni Kabir about her life including working with Indira Gandhi, how she befriended the shy young Satyajit Ray on his early visits to London, rubbing shoulders with such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin and managing Raj Kapoor’s press schedule in the

golden age of cinema.


Ben Luxford, Head of UK Wide Audiences at the BFI, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the festival again this year. Thanks to National Lottery players we’re able to help bring this exciting programme to cinemas and households across the UK. The focus on British Asian filmmakers this year is a particular highlight.” The National Lottery raises £30 million each week for good causes across the UK.

Professor Rajinder Dudrah, Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries, Birmingham City University said: “In another challenging year all round, not least for our Indian friends and families, we need the possibility of the new, to be able to look at things differently, for hope, and to create and tell our stories in a myriad of ways. This summer of BIFF 2021 promises to do just that with a range of stimulating films and events that deal with the topical, to the practical and the uplifting. Birmingham City University, as in previous years, is pleased to be a partner to this venture that brings thought, escape and creativity to our city and online platforms.”

The lights are back on at Wolverhampton's Light House

It’s been a long 14 month wait, but film lovers will be able to visit Wolverhampton’s landmark Light House cinema from Friday 11th June when the doors reopen for the first time since the COVID pandemic forced its closure in March 2020.

Light House CEO Kelly Jeffs says:

‘It’s a really exciting week for us here at Light House. The place has come to life as staff are preparing to welcome our customers back. We’ve got a great programme of films lined up, starting this week with Oscar winners Sound of Metal and Nomadland. The schedule for the rest of the year is looking spectacular as the backlog of releases comes through, with blockbusters such as the latest Bond and Marvel films due later in the year, as well as a great selection of independent films and theatre screenings. Arts and culture really helped people through lockdown and will play a vital role in the country’s recovery, and we’re grateful for a safety grant we received from the BFI that has helped us prepare to reopen as a key part of Wolverhampton’s cultural offer. We can’t wait to see the big screen light up. Chatting with our loyal customers is something no one at Light House will take for granted again.’

The complete cinema programme can be found online at, and visitors can subscribe to an email newsletter via a link on the homepage to receive regular updates. Light House is advising customers to book tickets in advance through their website due to capacity limits in the auditorium.

Victorian Christmas Fayre to make its comeback

 As Worcester recovers from the pandemic, plans are being put in place to make sure Christmas 2021 will be one to remember.


After being cancelled last year, the traditional Victorian Fayre will be back from December 2 to 5, with unique traders in place across the city centre alongside music and street entertainers. It will be awash with all the Dickensian festive flavour that people love, helping to bring a welcome boost to local businesses after the impact of Covid.


But this year there will also be more. For the first time, there will also be a month-long yule market in the city centre, with 30 wooden chalets in place– all dressed and lit to add to the festive atmosphere, bringing a touch of Bavaria to Worcester’s own seasonal traditions.


The special Christmas market stalls will be in place from December 2 to 23.


The innovative plan has been approved by Worcester City Council’s Place and Economic Development Committee.


Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Chair of the Place & Economic Committee said: “The pandemic forced all of us to have a low-key Christmas last year, so I’m delighted to be able to announce the return of festive fun for 2021!


“With both the return of the Victorian Fayre and the city’s first-ever month long festive market, I’m confident Worcester people will be able to celebrate yuletide in proper style this year.”


Coventry Welcomes Festival for Refugee Week


Join us at Coventry Welcomes next week, part of Refugee Week 2021. 

The festival, celebrating the brilliant contribution that refugees and migrants make to our City, offers you a chance to celebrate Coventry's heritage, traditions and diversity.

Co-created with organisations and individuals with lived experience of seeking sanctuary or migrating to the city, we are delighted to present a programme of events both live and online – and mainly FREE!

Expect music, dance, drama, food, literature, poetry, workshops, storytelling and much more, embracing diversity in all its forms.

In-Person highlight events include Inini & Carag Zine LaunchCan You Hear Me, Now?No Direction Home: Coventry Showcase and the Still We Rise Live Podcasts Episodes 11 & 12.

We've also a range of online events as part of the festival including No Direction Home: Coventry Showcase (Online) ft Nish Kumar (27 June), Rosie Jones (26 June) and Kai Samra (25 June) and She Cannot Walk Alone. Plus film, audio and visual art installations too.

Featuring over 45 activities online, in-person and across the city there's something for everyone. 

After launching last week tickets for lots of events are selling fast so book yours before they're gone!