Colors: Red Color

Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity. Now, that wish has come true for 27 local children who have been chosen to ‘Sparkle and Shine’ in Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s forthcoming world premiere production of Debbie Isitt’s NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL.

Cast from across Birmingham and the West Midlands as the children of St Bernadette’s School are:  Harry Martin, (age 9, from Tamworth), Fintan McGrory, (age 8, from Warwickshire) and Moosa Mostafa, (age 9, from Leamington Spa) who will alternate in the role of ‘Cute Joseph’.

Jasmine McKenna, (age 9, from Coventry), Layla Grace Quaid, (age 11, from Worcestershire) and Beatrice Schofield, (age 10, from Birmingham) who will alternate the role of ‘Cute Mary’.

Evie Bennell-Low, (age 9, from Coventry), Katelyn-Janet Rollason, (age 9, from Kidderminster) and Chantelle Jane Tonolete, (age 9, from Birmingham) who will alternate the role of ‘The Star’.

Gerald Ngwenya, (age 11, from Wolverhampton), Kheiri Isaac-Osmani, (age 11, from Birmingham) and William Redican, (age 10, from Birmingham) who will alternate the role of ‘Angel Gabriel’.

Oratile Chele, (age 9, from Birmingham), Chaelissa Gray, (age 9, from Birmingham) and Angelina Martin, (age 9, from Worcester) who will alternate the role of the ‘Shepherd’.

Layla Grace Gavin, (age 8, from Coventry), Betsy Jiggins, (age 9, from Solihull) and Lyla Peters, (age 10, from Coventry) who will alternate the role of ‘Child Jennifer’.

Alexander Hogg, (age 11, from Walsall), Joshua Millard-Lloyd, (age 9, from Sandwell) and Archie Turner, (age 10, from Sandwell) who will alternate the role of ‘Child Gordon’.

Jamie Bates, (age 10, from Leicestershire), Zak Lackenby, (age 10, from Dudley) and Nicholas Vakis, (age 10, from Burton on Trent) who will alternate the role of ‘Child Paul’.

They will be joined by Grace Green, (age 10, from Castle Bromwich), Amy Mulhall, (age 9, from Worcestershire) and Celie Newman, (age 9, from Coventry) who will alternate the role of ‘Feel Sick Girl’.

Debbie Isitt, Creator and Director of Nativity! said: “Birmingham and the West Midlands has so many talented children and I loved meeting all of them at our auditions. I’m absolutely delighted to be working with our sweet and funny young cast and the incredibly talented and hilariously funny musical theatre cast who are going to be brilliant. NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL is so full of joy and we’re looking forward to cracking on with rehearsals to create an unforgettable stage show.”

The full adult cast for NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL is: Simon Lipkin who will play ‘Mr Poppy’, Sarah Earnshaw as ‘Jennifer Lore’, Andy Brady as ‘Mr Shakespeare’, Jemma Churchill as ‘Mrs Bevan’, Jamie Chapman as ‘Patrick Burns’, and Daniel Boys who will play ‘Paul Maddens’. They are joined by Derek Aidoo, Jalisa Andrews, Andy Barke, Gary Davis, Jennifer Louise Jones and Katia Sartini.

Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they’ve decided to mount a musical version! Join teacher Mr Maddens and his crazy assistant Mr Poppy as they struggle with hilarious children, unruly animals and a whole lot of sparkle and shine to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true. Featuring all of your favourite sing-a-long songs from the smash-hit films including Sparkle and Shine, Nazareth and One Night One Moment. NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL promises to be the perfect feel-good comedy for all the family.

Written and Directed by Debbie Isitt with music and lyrics by Nicky Ager and Debbie Isitt, NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL is choreographed by Andrew Wright, designed by David Woodhead, with lighting design by Tim Mitchell, sound design by Tom Marshall and musical supervision and orchestrations by George Dyer.

NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday 20 October until Saturday 12 November.

Birmingham Royal Ballet is throwing open its doors for the spring 2018 season at Birmingham Hippodrome, with performances of The Sleeping Beauty accompanied by the return of innovative large-scale performance project Sleeping Beauty Dreams and the announcement of its first ever relaxed performance.

The Sleeping Beauty also represents the first time Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Hippodrome have presented a relaxed ballet performance. This exciting new initiative for both venues is open to everyone, but intended to cater for anyone who may find going to the theatre challenging. In particular, BRB’s relaxed performance is designed for people with an Autistic Spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder.

The Sleeping Beauty will be adapted especially for this relaxed performance (which takes place on Tuesday 20 February 2018), including a shorter running time, changes to lighting and sound levels to avoid sensory overload, and a flexible seating plan with plenty of room to move around during the performance.

Director David Bintley commented: “We want everyone to feel welcome at the ballet, which is why we’re so excited about our relaxed performance of The Sleeping Beauty. It’s a chance for family and friends to experience the magic of live performance together in an adapted environment where formal theatre rules don’t apply. We are proud to be working alongside our partners at Birmingham Hippodrome on this exciting venture, and can’t wait to welcome a brand new audience to Birmingham Royal Ballet performances”.

A second exciting initiative is Sleeping Beauty Dreams; a performance project for dance students of all ages which offers the rare opportunity to perform a full length ballet on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage alongside some of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s world-class dancers. This will be the second year of the inspiring project, which in 2016 saw 65 dancers from across the Midlands, with ages ranging from 8 to 76, perform alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet First Artists Karla Doorbar and Lachlan Monaghan in Cinderella Dreams.

Pamela Hawkins, who shared the role of Cinderella with BRB’s Karla Doorbar, commented at the time: “I would tell all young budding ballerinas to audition and take part in performances such as Cinderella Dreams. You meet and make so many new friends who also love ballet and it's just such a wonderful experience to share together. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever been part of.”

Sleeping Beauty Dreams will be a four-month quest to inspire and develop dance talent across the region, bringing big ballet aspirations to life and culminating in a performance at Birmingham Hippodrome on Monday 19 February 2018.

Both Birmingham Royal Ballet’s relaxed performance and Sleeping Beauty Dreams are presented as part of The Sleeping Beauty season at Birmingham Hippodrome. This classic fairy tale is transformed into of the grandest ballets ever created, with a classical score by Tchaikovsky and original choreography by Marius Petipa. With a marvellous mixture of virtuoso dance, dazzling spectacle and live music from the acclaimed Royal Ballet Sinfonia, The Sleeping Beauty is an enchanting experience for all the family.

Three University of Wolverhampton lecturers have booked their place in musical theatre history by contributing their expertise in a collection that has recently been published.

Sarah Whitfield, Sarah Browne and Demetris Zavros from the School of Performing Arts at the University’s Walsall Campus have contributed chapters to ‘Twenty-First Century Musicals’ – a book edited by George Rodosthenous, Associate Professor in Theatre Directing at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds.

The book explores the role of the musical in today’s cinematic landscape, looking at leading contemporary shows from stage origins to their big-screen adaptations. Each chapter offers a new perspective on a single musical, challenging populist narratives and exploring underlying narratives and sub-texts in depth.

Dr Sarah Whitfield, Senior Lecturer in Musical Theatre at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “This exciting project is just part of the wider research we are doing around musical theatre on stage and screen, and it demonstrates we are at the forefront of musical theatre research in the UK.

“The book is a must-read for any student or scholar keen to broaden their understanding of musical adaptations, and explores how the viewing experience changes from stage to screen. Research taking place at the University of Wolverhampton is part of a global conversation about the musical.” Sarah Whitfield has written Chapter 10 - ‘You wanna hear the real story? (Mis)remembering masculinity in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of Jersey Boys (2014).

Sarah Browne, Head of Music and Musical Theatre has written Chapter 12 – The Last Five Years (2014): Medium, Mode and the Making of Cathy.

Dr Demetris Zavros, Lecturer in Drama, has written Chapter 14 – London Road: the ‘irruption of the real’ and haunting utopias in the verbatim musical.

'The Sheldrick Trust – 40 Years On' is a poignant short film charting forty years of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The Trust, which was set up by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, DBE in memory of her late husband David in 1977, works at field level in Kenya for the protection and conservation of wildlife and wild habitats. The DSWT has pioneered hand-raising orphaned baby elephants with the Orphans' project receiving world-wide acclaim.

The UK public premiere of this special and very moving anniversary film, featuring Dame Daphne and footage from the archives, will be at the Royal Geographical Society on Thursday 12 October during the Explorers against Extinction event organised by the Real Africa Trust.

The event seeks to highlight the threat of extinction to many iconic species while also raising vital funds for conservation partners including DSWT.

Africa's wildlife is being pushed to the brink of extinction. Elephants are being killed for their ivory, and at one stage, one elephant was being killed every 15 minutes. Human-wildlife conflict is leaving behind injured and orphaned wild animals who would not survive without intervention and habitat destruction is endangering important biodiversity habitats.

The DSWT adopts a multi-faceted approach to conservation with teams working at a field level to put an end to poaching in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, and to preserve endangered habitats and rescue and care for injured animals so that they can return to the wild. To date over 200 orphaned elephants are living a wild life with 25 known wild-born babies.

Famous explorers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE and Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE will be headlining the Explorers against Extinction conservation event described by Travel Africa Magazine as,  'One of the most important conservation events of the year'. Event partners include Stanfords, the world's largest map and travel book store and Sotheby's auction house.

Kesha has announced that she will be returning to the UK this winter for a special intimate show at London’s Electric Brixton on Tuesday 14th November.

The show has been announced as part of her “Rainbow Tour”, which is set to start making its way across the states later this month. Kesha will perform her catalogue of global hits as well as songs from her highly anticipated new album ‘Rainbow’ for the first time with the London show being the first chance to hear them on our shores.

“My new album ‘Rainbow’ is dedicated to my fans. And I'm so excited to be able to invite you all to come boogie with me on my new ‘Rainbow Tour’,” says Kesha. “I would not have made it to this point without my animals and supporters so now come out and join the celebration with me.”

The Blue Port Hamburg installation designed by the light artist Michael Batz has been attracting international attention since 2008. Blue light once again transforms the Hanseatic city’s night-time port into a magically glowing stage. In 2017 the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and a number of the other buildings in the Northern European City are bathed in mystical blue light until 10 September. The light up of the Blue Port started a spectacular week full of cruise events: “Seatrade Europe” Europe´s biggest cruise industry meeting, and the “Hamburg Cruise Days”, the largest public cruise event in the world, will transform Hamburg into one big stage for the cruise industry. This week highlights again Hamburg’s reputation as the world’s number one in the area of maritime entertainment and cruise events.

It all began for Hamburg in 2006, when the FIFA World Cup took place in Germany. Light artist Michael Batz created “Blue Goals” – goal posts illuminated in blue, which public buildings, companies, and individuals used to decorate their roofs and show off their excitement about having the World Cup in their country. Hamburg then turned blue again in 2008, this time with the Blue Port Hamburg installation. This year, Michael Batz is bathing the port in blue light for the sixth time.

Blue Port: A masterpiece in artistry and logistics

The preparations took an entire year, and the installation spans 8.5 kilometers along both sides of the Elbe. 50 kilometers of cable were laid down, 15,000 cable ties and 900 sockets were used and over 20,000 blue light elements were attached to distinct buildings, industrial plants and ships within the Port of Hamburg. The installation team often had to work at dizzying heights to put this all in place. The highest point is the Elbphilharmonie, the new concert hall and landmark of the city, the 110-metre-height roof of which now glows in new blue light. Also involved in this dynamic, spectacular installation are the Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel districts, which have been awarded world heritage status from UNESCO 2015. The Blue Port Hamburg is a complex ensemble of stable elements (quays, pontoons, terminals, buildings, bridges, towers, cranes, etc.), mobile elements (ships, van carriers, passers-by) and liquid elements (water, reflections).

Light artist Michael Batz has a particular way of describing the fascination that abounds: “The port – a place where everything that appears only has value once it disappears again. Light installations, which in their very nature are temporary, belong to this category. They glow and shine the brightest once the light has gone out. As fugitive reflectors of the world and of life in general, they mirror their darkest melancholy. And their deepest longing.”

Orchestra of the Swan has teamed up with Stratford-on-Avon Music Festival to offer a week of exciting music-making by established musicians and members of BBC Radio 3’s new Generation Artists scheme.

22 years ago, the Stratford on Avon District English Music Festival opened its doors for the first time. In need of a conductor and musicians, David Curtis, viola player with the Coull Quartet, was invited to form an orchestra for the festival and Stratford’s own Orchestra of the Swan was born.

This year, after more than two decades, Orchestra of the Swan has formed a close partnership with what is now known as the Stratford-on-Avon Music Festival which takes place from 26th Sept to 3rd October. Newly appointed Festival Artistic Director David Mills is taking this 22-year-old festival back to its classical roots with a fabulous programme centred on Orchestra of the Swan and its principals. It will give some prominence to the wonderful and varied repertoire for wind instruments – the only national music festival to do so – and featuring familiar soloists Roderick Williams, Leon McCawley, Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Julian Bliss, alongside BBC New Generation Artists Pavel Kolesnikov (piano), Annelien Van Wauwe (clarinet), the Van Kuijk String Quartet and the Amatis Piano Trio.

With BBC Radio 3 recording two lunchtime performances and Classic FM recording the final concert with Orchestra of the Swan and Julian Bliss in the ArtsHouse, David Curtis, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Orchestra of the Swan, is thrilled to be launching his 22nd season of leadership of one of the most imaginative and successful chamber orchestras in the UK with an immersive week of music.

Five of the very best new and emerging comedians from the West Midlands region are in the running for the fourth Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award.

The prestigious annual competition aims to recognise and support ‘breaking talent’ from the region, offering the winner a vital step-up on the comedy career ladder.

A collaboration between Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club, the award officially kicks off the 10-day festival on Friday 6 October 2017.

The nominated acts are Alex Black, Rob Kemp, Gemma Layton, Eric Rushton and Kai Samra.

Having grown up in Huddersfield, Alex Black moved to the Midlands as a student and now resides in Hollywood, south Birmingham. He's been doing stand-up for two years, having been inspired by the likes of The Fast Show, Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan, Ross Noble and Bill Bailey. "I’m a musical comedian, telling stories about losing my youth set to the soundtrack of my long-gone teens," he says.

Wednesbury-based examinations officer Rob Kemp started his stand-up journey nearly six years ago. His second one-man show, The Elvis Dead, mashed-up horror flick Evil Dead 2 and the hits of Elvis Presley, to become a runaway cult hit at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. An admirer of Eddie Izzard, the Pythons, Dylan Moran and Daniel Kitson, his comedic style has been described as “quite smart” and “fairly leftfield confused whimsy.”

A former member of sketch group FunBags Comedy, Gemma Layton is a character comedian whose creations include Mercedes Benson. But it's her latest creation, Black Country cabaret singer Beverley Vegas, which has ensured her Breaking Talent Award nomination. Gemma cites The League Of Gentlemen, Victoria Wood, Julia Walters, Julia Davis and Steve Coogan as key inspirations.

Eric Rushton hails from Stone, Staffordshire, and made his stand-up debut with Warwick Comedy Society during his first year at the University Of Warwick. "Terminally unemployed" he reached the finals of the Chortle Student Comedy Award 2016 and So You Think You're Funny? in 2017. "My material is quite self-deprecating and depressing, with a little a bit of silliness to compensate for all the moaning," he says.

Born in Handsworth, Birmingham, Kai Samra grew up in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Though he only started stand-up in 2016, he's already opened for such acts as Paul Chowdhry (in front of 2,000 people). Kai describes himself as "an observational comic who tackles issues such as class, race and modern culture from a fresh perspective."

The five acts were nominated by a panel of comedy professionals based on live performances over the previous year.

A spokesperson for Birmingham Comedy Festival said: "The award features some of the very best talent from across the West Midlands, acts who are either in the early stages of their careers and show real promise, or who've seriously upped their game during the last 12 months.

"With observational, music and character comedy, this is our most varied Breaking Talent line-up, so it’s going to be a really fantastic show. We wish all the acts the very best of luck but, of course, there can only be one winner …"

The Glee Club’s Mark Tughan said: “The calibre of talent coming through in the last few years has been exceptional, and this year looks like another step up, both in quality and diversity of acts. It's become a must-see event for anyone who likes home-grown talent and live comedy.”

Participating acts have been nominated by James Cook (comedian, comedy course tutor), Adam Jaremko (The Glee’s comedy promoter/ booker), Maureen Younger (comedian, MY Comedy), and Josh Pugh (Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2015 winner and English Comedian Of The Year 2016).

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) today announced the launch of its Silver Swans pilot project featuring branded ballet classes created specifically for the over-55s and taught exclusively by Silver Swans Licensed Teachers. Specially designed for mature dancers, classes help improve mobility, posture, coordination and energy levels and, most importantly, impart the sense of wellbeing that dance brings.

Television presenter and dance enthusiast, Angela Rippon CBE, has been named as the RAD’s Ambassador for the project. Earlier this year, Angela attended a Silver Swans teacher training session and met with some Swans. She says:

“I’m absolutely delighted to be the Ambassador for Silver Swans, having been involved in dance for many years, both professionally and in my private life.

On my BBC programme How to Stay Young, we proved scientifically that dance is the exercise which ticks all the boxes, to give you the full mind and body workout. That really convinced me that dance is a way to ensure a long and healthy life; it keeps you supple, it’s an aerobic exercise, it gives you spatial awareness, it makes you use your brain, and it gives you some kind of social contact as well. I hope that men and women across the country will take up the Royal Academy of Dance’s invitation to become a Silver Swan.”

Silver Swans classes are delivered by qualified dance teachers who have trained to safely adapt ballet techniques for older adults. The training focuses on how to deliver a high quality ballet class for learners aged 55 and over, equipping teachers to recognise and respond to the different needs of participants of a broad age range.

The RAD developed Silver Swans in response to a growing demand for ballet classes for older learners. Sessions are based upon research into dance practice for older participants from its own Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing project. This research identified psychological benefits, such as perceived improvements in quality of life, and physiological advantages, including improved balance in older learners who danced.

Michelle Groves, Director of Education and Training at the Royal Academy of Dance, said: “Whatever one’s age or experience, dance can bring people together in ways which are as diverse as they are unique. Dance can unlock individual potential and abilities and, as our research shows, improve physical and mental well-being. Silver Swans classes are delivered by qualified ballet teachers who understand older learner needs to ensure a rich and fulfilling experience for all.”

Silver Swans classes are now available in selected locations in the UK and the US. Potential Swans should look for the Silver Swans Licensed Teacher logo to be sure that their teachers are official license holders from the Royal Academy of Dance.

As part of ‘Silver Sunday’ on 1 October, the RAD will host a free event at its headquarters in Battersea, London and in Northampton offering older learners the opportunity to try classes in ballet, ballroom, tap and musical theatre, as well as a chair-based session for those less mobile.

Boxing legend, Chris Eubank will be packing a punch of a different kind when he brings his One Man Show to Wolverhampton this autumn.

The former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion whose career spanned from 1985 to 1998 will be giving his fans an ‘up close and personal’ insight into his life, career and those epic battles with ring nemesis Nigel Benn and Steve Collins.

Through Metropolis Music, 51-year-old Chris, who hails from Dulwich, in London, and ranked by boxing website BoxRec as the third best British super-middleweight boxer of all time, will host his One Man Show event as he speaks direct to fans when he visits Wulfrun Hall on November 30.



Friends of Glass, the campaign that supports glass packaging for food and drink, has enlisted the help of rapper and comedian, Ben Bailey Smith aka Doc Brown and ex Britain's Got Talent contestants, The Bottle Boys, to encourage more young people to recycle their glass bottles and jars.

The celebrities are part of a new campaign called 'Endless Chorus' - a quirky online video, which shows drinkers in a bar being surprised when a glass wine bottle begins to sing to them about its long life which has seen it recycled over and over again.

The voice behind the bottle is Doc Brown, who is accompanied by music played on bottles by The Bottle Boys. All are concealed behind the bar and hooked up via microphones to a speaker hidden inside the bottle.

Together, the Bottle Boys and Doc Brown cover a series of iconic hits from the last 10 decades, bringing to life the likes of Louis Armstrong, Petula Clark and Kool & the Gang in a mashup to highlight the different lives of the glass bottle through the ages.

The campaign was inspired by the findings of a new pan-European study by Friends of Glass in 11 EU countries including the UK. The study revealed that young consumers have many positive attitudes towards glass packaging, but they don't fully appreciate all of the environmental benefits that glass can offer.

Brook Hayes from Friends of Glass says: “We really want to engage with the younger generations and get them to recycle their glass packaging. The film is a light-hearted way to show that your glass deserves to live again and again. I think this can help to make the glass recycling message interesting and memorable for young consumers.

“Ultimately, we want them to appreciate that absolutely all glass packaging is a precious resource that can that you can recycle time and time again, and in doing so you'll help reduce CO2 emissions, save energy and cut down on landfill.”

The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as the Zhongyuan Festival, marks the time of year when tables are turned and the deceased are believed to visit the living. During the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, the gates of the afterlife are thrown open and ghosts are free to roam the earth in search of food, entertainment and mischief.

Though the Hungry Ghost Festival gets some acclaim as the “Chinese Halloween,” the holiday actually offers a great opportunity to teach children about caring for the destitute and less fortunate. During the Ghost Month, hungry spirits roam the earth in search of mischief and worldly pleasure. To ease their suffering, the living observe superstitions and make offerings of food, money and entertainment all month long, culminating with an outdoor ghost-feeding ceremony on the night of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

Yuu Kitchen will be curating their own version of the festival with Gold envelopes placed outside the restaurant containing a gift; ranging from free drinks (Bubble Tea, Asahi or Karma Cola), free dishes (from the restaurant), t.shirts and stickers (from Karma Cola) and one lucky envelope will contain a trip to South-east Asia. A special Bottomless Food Menu called ‘Feast for £50’ will be available. Every customer that dines between 5th and 10th September will also receive a free Sake Bubble Tea Cocktail, a fortune cookie and a gift for them to celebrate the festival at home. To honour ancestors, the restaurant will set a place just for them on the evening.

Chef Jon de Villa (of Nobu and Zeffarano) will be creating a new YUUSpecial (Yuu Kitchen runs a series of weekly limited special dishes) using the infamous Ghost Pepper.  Each week there are only 5 YUUSpecials available per day.  Previous YUUSpecials include: Wagyu Bao with spicy mustard siracha ketchup, fried shallot rings & smoked garlic mayonnaise; Lamb steak, served with a 'chimichurri shiso;’ Australian Wagyu rump tartare with quail egg, cornichon, served with wasabi and charcoal sour dough crisps and Salted Grill Carabinero shrimp with green papaya, green mango and chicharron salad.

Yuu Kitchen’s menu caters very well for Vegetarians and has an Allergens menu which can be tailored for those with dairy, gluten, nut intolerances or allergies as well as being able to cater for vegans with most dishes.

Yuu Kitchen took the number one spot on TripAdvisor as the best restaurant in London from late January to early March and is now the number one Japanese restaurant in London - firmly cementing itself in London’s Asian dining sector offering high quality, flavoursome food.

The Belgrade Theatre has announced a series of stand-up comedy nights taking to the B2 stage this autumn hosted by the acclaimed comedy clubs, Desi Central and Screaming Blue Murder.

The monthly comedy nights will feature an eclectic line up of top local comedians and some the best acts on the British Asian comedy scene, bringing laughter to Monday nights at the Belgrade Theatre.

Starting this September, Desi Central will present their hit show The Indians Are Coming as part of a five-city UK tour and hosted by the award-winning Birmingham based comedian Mickey Sharma.

Having worked in many different jobs such as waiter, shelf stacker, camera assistant and bouncer, Mickey finally discovered his comic talents in 2009 after moving to the Birmingham from India, and now works as a full time comic in the UK and internationally.

He is joined on stage by a stellar line-up including Inder Manocha, Hyde Panaser and Sukh Kaur Ojla.

Altaf Sarwar, Managing Director of Desi Central said, “Having performed sell-out shows around the UK, we’re excited to be taking on Coventry armed with some top banter and a line-up including the best British Asian comedians working on the international comedy circuit. It’s great to be teaming up with the Belgrade to offer these regular comedy nights in their B2 auditorium which is an ideal space to enjoy live stand-up and get up-close to the comedy – just beware of sitting on the front row! Mickey Sharma is an excellent host as well as a multi-award winning comedian, so audiences are guaranteed a good night out, packed with laughter.”

Desi Central will return to the B2 stage in November with another cracking line-up including, Patrick Monahan, Eshaan Akbar, Sindhu Vee and Omar Hamdi.

Screaming Blue Murder will take-over the Belgrade in October, compered by Andrew Bird and featuring special guests Christian Reilly, Sally-Anne Hayward and Stephen Bailey.

Andrew has become a top headline act up and down the UK as well as performing around the world from Dublin to Doha. He has supported Rhod Gilbert and Lee Hurst on tour, and been the warm-up artist for TV shows including Nevermind The Buzzcocks, Room 101 and Pointless. Andrew is also a writer in demand having written for series such as 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Mock The Week.

Andrew Bird said, “The first comedy night I ever went to was a Screaming Blue Murder gig. It was Northampton two days before my 18th birthday. I still remember who was on and where we were sat. I have regularly MC’d some of their gigs for about 15 years now, in that time everyone has done them from Russell Brand to Jon Richardson. But the main thing is the gigs build up a regular audience which generates this great atmosphere where the acts feel relaxed which makes them funnier and the audience are comfortable so they enjoy it more. It’s going to be really good to start a new one in Coventry.”

Screaming Blue Murder returns to B2 in December with for more side-splitting entertainment from Anthony King, Jessica Fostekew and Julian Deane, compered by Andrew Bird.

Jo Joyner (Ackley Bridge, Mount Pleasant and Marley's Ghosts), is uniting against dementia by opening up for the first time about the heart-breaking experience of watching her nanna, Dorris, battle with dementia. Dorris was diagnosed with dementia in the early nineties and sadly passed away when Jo was eighteen.

In a tribute to her ‘kind, loyal and cuddliest’ nanna, Jo will be joining the growing dementia movement by walking with her mum, husband, kids and dog at Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk in Leamington on October 7. As one of the nation’s favourite TV actors, Jo is encouraging others to come together and sign up to Memory Walk by also featuring in a new video launched by the charity. Voiced by Davina McCall, who has spoken openly about her dad’s dementia, the video also features people across the UK, including people affected by dementia, and Alzheimer’s Society funded researchers at the University of Exeter. The video includes a fun compilation of a different style walks - from Davina’s impressive moonwalk to Jo’s Egyptian moves, it doesn’t matter how you walk, just as long as you unite and walk to defeat dementia

In her own words, Jo said: “It's such a cruel, cruel condition and it affects such a wide circle of loved ones and relatives. I think for those immediately close it's the hardest to reconcile the loss and regression that happens in essentially someone who used to look after you.  My Grandad found it heart breaking, literally.  My mother was heartbroken too, and I learned a lot over those few years about the power of love and the strength you can muster for someone who gave you life.”

Speaking about the early signs of dementia, Jo said: “There were little things, forgetting names, leaving the gas cooker on. I remember people really starting to worry when she got lost in town. They'd lived in Ilford all their lives and she'd taken her usual route and bus into town and couldn't remember how to get home.”

As her Nanna's dementia progressed, Jo explains how the condition affected her nanna and why she’s taking part in Memory Walk: “Because I was young, and I think in her head she was too, we met somewhere in the middle quite nicely for a time. For that period it was easier for me to dress her, or ascertain if she had an ache or pain. She often thought I was one of her favourite sisters, so she'd dance with me a lot. As a young drama student it wasn't so hard for me to enter her world at times.”

“The bottom line is that less and less people are dying of cancer now, HIV no longer has to be the death sentence it was, so wouldn't it be wonderful to feel the same about dementia in the future.  Money means research, research means understanding and understanding and research lead to treatments, support and ultimately cures. So every penny we can make to support the services that help people currently, and that can help our wonderful scientists and specialists to understand the ocean that is our memory, is a step closer to a better future for every person who is diagnosed with dementia.  Memory Walk is just one of those ways we can help and I'm doing mine with my mum and family in memory of the most kind, loyal and cuddliest Nanna who I wish I'd had the chance to know as an adult.”

Speaking about how they coped as a family, Jo said: “As a family, we're close and supportive. We don't get embarrassed easily, which is important when you're with someone who is in the depths of dementia. You can't be worrying about what people think, you have to remain calm and focus on the important things. I remember coming into the kitchen from college one day (I was doing my A levels) and my Nanna was very busy moving various papers and magazines around the kitchen table.  I asked my mum what was going on, 'I think she thinks she's back at where she'd worked for 15 years, so I've given her some pretend filing, she's been happy for hours!'.  I've always admired my mum so much for how she thought outside of the box when caring for her mother.”

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes said: “Dementia can devastate lives,  but every pound raised by Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected. Walk for your family and friends affected by dementia. Walk for future generations. Until we find a cure, we will keep walking so dementia doesn’t win.”

The first Memory Walk takes place this weekend (2-3 September), but there is still time to sign up to the 34 walks taking place across the country including Birmingham's Sutton Park. Registration for Sutton Park will close Thursday 14th September 2017 and you will not be able to register at the event. To show dementia we are no walkover, sign up for a walk near you by visiting

Some people talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, one person that puts her money where her mouth is, is comedian Eleanor Conway.  Her debut stand up show ‘Walk of Shame’, enjoyed sell out audiences and immense critical success on the free fringe last year, since then she’s been honing the show on a 30 date national tour selling out a slew of dates from Bristol to Brighton and beyond and is now extending her tour into the Autumn. Kicking off the new run of dates in Inverness on 30th August.

Ferocious clubber and party girl Eleanor Conway has always been a woman of extremes; she partied around the world as a music journalist, ran off to Asia to work for the triads, made hardcore porn and Tinder’d her way through most of London… Now sober from alcohol and substances she’s failing to find moderation and meaning. ‘Walk of Shame’ is about sex, sobriety, Sambuca and the modern addict that lies within us all.

Eleanor is a Comedy Store King Gong finalist and has been performing standup since 2014. An experienced music presenter she’s interviewed everyone from 50 Cent to Justin Bieber and spent her 20’s cavorting round the world for Ministry of Sound and Virgin Music. An experienced, MC and host, she can regularly be seen crowd surfing in a corset at some of the UK's biggest festivals including several stints hosting the William's Green Stage at Glastonbury Festival in front of thousands of revellers.

Mozart’s popular work with its famous Queen of the Night aria delivers a magical adventure through mysticism, enchantment, love and trickery – with some wonderfully humorous moments – through an extraordinary blend of comedy, philosophical seriousness and sheer magic. The Magic Flute follows the handsome, young prince Tamino as he sets out to rescue the beautiful Pamina at the request of The Queen of the Night. With only his magic flute and cheerful companion Papageno to help him, Tamino sets out, and soon finds himself on a quest searching for love, enlightenment and wisdom.

The Royal Opera’s production of The Magic Flute opens the Live Cinema Season 2017/18 on Wednesday 20 September at 7.15pm.

Set designer, John Macfarlane brings Mozart’s magical opera to life in his designs, from the panoramic night sky to the dancing animals summoned by Tamino’s flute and the incredible flying machine of the Three Boys. This timeless classic provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy a cherished opera, for newcomers and Royal Opera regulars alike.

An encore screening will take place on Sunday 24 September at 2pm.

The next production in the 2017/18 ROH Live Cinema Season is Puccini’s beloved opera La bohème on Tuesday 3 October at 7.15pm.