Colors: Red Color

Sydney shines when it comes to outstanding art exhibitions and premiere musicals, and with a jam-packed calendar of inspiring, upcoming events, there's no better time to visit the Harbour City for a culture-infused holiday.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said “Sydney is renowned for its glimmering Harbour, stunning beaches and iconic landmarks and, increasingly, it's our blockbuster musicals, fine art, heritage tours and live performances that are attracting visitors from around the world.

“In YE June 2017, there were 7.3 million international and domestic overnight visitors in NSW who participated in cultural activities during their trip, especially from our key in-bound markets of China, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

“Aussies also showed their love of art and culture with a whopping 36 per cent of domestic overnight visitors to NSW attending at least one of our many world-class museums or art galleries.

“Over the Summer months, Sydney will play host to a calendar of cultural events which proves again that our Harbour City is Australia's capital of major events and entertainment, so it's time to start planning a visit now,” said Mr Marshall.

To help plan an exciting trip to Sydney full of art and culture, Destination NSW has curated a list of upcoming highlights:

  1. Do the Locomotion at the Sydney Lyric Theatre and see the Australian premiere of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, playing until 4 February
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical tells the true story of the legendary singer's journey from teenage songwriter to international superstar. The show includes her relationship with husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, and their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

King's hits include You've Got a Friend, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, It's Too Late, Locomotion, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and I Feel the Earth Move, along with chartbusting Mann/Weil tunes You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, On Broadway and Uptown.

  1. See exquisite sculptures alongside Sydney's world-famous beaches at Sculpture by the Sea, from 19 October to 5 November
The world's largest free sculpture exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea, returns to Sydney from 19 October to 5 November. Spanning two kilometres along the spectacular Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sculpture by the Sea will celebrate its 21st anniversary in 2017 and showcase more than 100 sculptures by artists from around Australia and the world.
  1. Walk through a forest of hanging lights, and get lost in a maze of floating fabric at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, from 1 November to 18 February
This Summer, Sydney hosts two exceptional art exhibitions as part of the Sydney International Art Series. Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist has achieved international acclaim as one of the pioneers of experimental video art and multimedia installations. Incorporating video and sculpture, her dazzling environments plunge viewers into colourful kaleidoscopic projections which explore the relationship between nature, the body and technology.

Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean presents the spectrum of Rist's practice, from her early single-channel videos of the 1980s to her large-scale audio-visual installations and recent immersive environments, in one groundbreaking exhibition. Her work is an ode to the heart and the intellect, to the big emotions that sustain us as human beings and to the beauty of the world and the universe around us.

  1. Be captivated by world-class Ballet Under the Stars in beautiful surrounds in Penrith, on Saturday 4 November
Ballet Under the Stars is a free outdoor performance of world-class ballet at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. The Australian Ballet will perform an excerpt from the magical and highly acclaimed production The Sleeping Beauty, with its fairies and wood nymphs, bluebirds and storybook characters against the backdrop of Penrith Lakes. The company will also perform a selection of bite-sized works that will showcase the speed, athleticism, diversity and grace of the dancers.
  1. Admire Dutch masterpieces at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, from 11 November to 18 February
Also part of the Sydney International Art Series, Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum at the Art Gallery of New South Wales presents a richly unfolding panorama of Dutch society during the 17th century; an era of unparalleled wealth, power and cultural confidence. Drawn from the Rijksmuseum, the renowned national collection of the Netherlands, this exhibition includes a rare painting by Johannes Vermeer, and a room dedicated to one of the greatest minds in the history of art, Rembrandt van Rijn.
  1. Marvel at Mammoths! Giants of the Ice Age at the Australian Museum, from 18 November to 13 May
Journey back in time to when these mighty beasts roamed the Earth, and see a              near-perfectly preserved, 40,000 year-old baby woolly mammoth for the first time in Australia. The exhibition brings natural history to life and includes a rich collection of fossils, casts and cave drawings showing evidence of how early humans hunted and honoured these massive creatures.

Once considered mythical giants, this exhibition explores not only how these Ice Age creatures lived, forming herds similar in social structure to those of modern elephants, but also how they became extinct, including the impact of climate change, human predation and other factors.

  1. Catch up with your two new best friends Muriel and Rhonda in Muriel's Wedding the Musical, from 18 November at the Roslyn Packer Theatre
One of the most loved Australian films of all time, Muriel's Wedding, will make its world premiere in an exciting new musical adaptation this November, exclusively in Sydney. Directed by Simon Phillips (Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical and Priscilla Queen of the Desert) it has been scripted by the film's original writer and director PJ Hogan, and will feature new music from home-grown singer-songwriters Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall.

Muriel's Wedding the Musical is produced by Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures (Strictly Ballroom The Musical and Walking With Dinosaurs) and features an all-star cast including Maggie McKenna as Muriel, Madeleine Jones as Rhonda, Gary Sweet as Bill and Justine Clarke as the long-suffering Betty.

  1. Get festive at the exuberant, exciting and forever effervescent Sydney Festival, from 6-28 January
A highlight of Sydney's Summer calendar, Sydney Festival presents the biggest and best of the world's performing and visual artists. From the Central Business District to Parramatta, Sydney Festival brings unique spaces to life with performances including the Meriton Festival Village in Hyde Park, Sydney Town Hall and The Domain, and takes over Sydney's best venues including Carriageworks, Riverside Theatres and the Sydney Opera House.

Following their hugely popular and critically acclaimed production of Carmen last February, Olivier award winning OperaUpClose return with their bold new take on Mozart’s classic.

Invited behind the velvet rope at London’s most exclusive club, Tamino doesn’t have time to stop for beggars, paparazzi, or even his girlfriend Pamina.  Going to bed after a blazing row later that night, this ordinary couple relive the events and encounters of the evening in dreams made extraordinary by the lateness of the hour, their befuddled senses, and yes, a touch of magic.

Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to their heritage fund.
Date: November 11th
Time: 7:30 pm
Price: £23, £21 & £19
  Concessions and members discounts apply Prices include 12% booking fee
Show Times: 7.30pm

They are known as two of the biggest stars ever to emerge from the hit show Strictly Come Dancing, becoming household names in their own right with audiences captivated by the couple’s relationship, and now James and Ola Jordan will embark on a nationwide tour telling their own love story – 18 years to the month that they first met!

Featuring a full cast of dancers and all styles of dance, the autobiographical production is full of passion, intensity and high-octane routines, the tour will begin in Blackpool on March 3rd 2018 - a town that of course holds a lot of history for James and Ola.

Both James and Ola come from a competitive dancing background, and met in 2000 when both needed new partners. James,  flew to Poland to try-out with Ola, and a month later she moved to England not able to speak a single word of English! Within six months of meeting they entered their first competition together and after this amazing partnership was formed they went onto compete all over the world, winning many championships and representing England in the World Championships.

It wasn’t long before their relationship blossomed both on and off the dance floor and in 2003 the couple married, and their competitive careers went from strength to strength until they joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2006.

Having become two of the most recognisable personalities amongst the professional dancers on the show, both James and Ola left in 2013 and 2015 respectively, going on to explore other roles in TV. James has been a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2014, and the All-Star version of the show earlier this year, and Ola took part in the ITV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2016.

Now, 18 years after they became dance partners and Ola moved to the England, the couple will tour the UK for the first time together, telling their story in their own unique way in a show that’s fun for all the family.

James and Ola said:

“It’s great to be able to do our own tour, our way, and to offer something totally different to any other dance show. We want to perform a sexy, edgy interpretation of our life story, whilst still having all the sparkle and fun people expect from us - and the best part is that we get to dance together again, we cannot wait! ”

Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club have announced Kai Samra as the recipient of the festival’s Breaking Talent Award 2017.

The young comic picked up his prize at a packed Glee Club on Friday night (6 October 2017), where he was presented with his award by BBCWM’s Richard Wilford.

The Handsworth-born comedian, whose family later moved to Warwick, has been performing stand-up for just 18 months, but impressed the judging panel with is confident and relaxed delivery, and exploration of such topics as the difficulties of tackling gun and knife crime, class and race, family, and the challenges of finding suitable attire for fancy dress parties.

“It means a lot to me,” said Kai of his award. The only Birmingham-born comic on the bill, he added: “The other competitors where really amazing and it was nice to be nominated and represent Birmingham.”

As former member of Warwickshire’s indie hopefully Paris Pickpockets, Kai looked set to make his name in music. But despite signing to The Arctic Monkeys’ management company and supporting The Libertines, he’s since turned his attention to writing and performing comedy.

Describing his style of stand-up, he said: “It’s observational, political. I try to do stuff that other people don’t, to take a fresh perspective on subjects like race, politics.”

Recently moving to Kilburn, London, Kai is developing several writing and interview-based projects, including his own sitcom, The 27 Club - a reference to a long list of stars who all died tragically at the age of 27, including Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

“I wrote it before I started stand-up,” explained Kai, who is also 27 years-old. “We’re going to do a pilot ourselves and try and sell it to a production company.”

Discussing his future plans, he added: “I love writing things, I love filming things … my aim is to work as hard as possible.”

Kai faced stiff competition from four other West Midland acts:  Staffordshire’s Eric Rushton, who parodied PM Teresa May’s Conservative Party Conference disaster with a cough and a P45; the dark and unexpected Rob Kemp from Wednesbury; Alex Black, who treated audiences to a music skit on social media based around the greatest hits of The Police; and Gemma Layton, aka Black Country cabaret singer/ stalker Beverley Vegas.

A spokesperson for the festival said: “All the acts were incredibly strong and all very different, which really demonstrates the richness and strength of the West Midlands comedy scene, but in the end the judges decided that Kai was the stand-out performer. We wish him all the best and are confident we’ll be seeing more from Kai in the very near future.”

A collaboration between the award-winning festival and The Glee Club, and sponsored by Edinburgh Gin, the Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award aims to recognise and support emerging comedic talent from the city and wider West Midlands.

2017’s festival kicked off on Friday 6 October and continues at various venues across the city until Sunday 15 October. Highlights include appearances from Greg Davies, Henning Wehn, Comedy Central’s Impractical Jokers, Matt Lucas, The Fast Show’s Simon Day, and two Free Half-Dayers featuring 16 free comedy shows spread over successive Sunday afternoons at two city centre venues (Cherry Reds, The Victoria, 8 and 15 October).

Making unique alternative music events accessible to budget-conscious travellers from around the world, low-cost airline WOW air has sponsored new multimedia festival Norður og Niður, offering 10% off travel to and from Iceland.

Taking place between Christmas and New Year from 27-30 December at Reykjavik's renowned Harpa concert hall, the arts event is ideally timed to keep the fun and festivities of the holiday season going. Iconic Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós - best known for their hit "Hoppípolla" - will also be making a comeback at the festival, marking their first show in Iceland in more than five years.

Alongside Sigur Rós, the event's world-class line-up features big names from a multitude of genres such as Jarvis Cocker, Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip and Mammút to name a few, with many more acts still to be confirmed.

Having stolen the show at Radio 2’s Live in Hyde Park earlier this month, multiplatinum, multi-award winning Shania Twain announces six unmissable UK & Ireland arena dates for autumn 2018 - the first time Shania has toured here in 13 years!

With the imminent release of her stunning new album ‘NOW’ (out 29th September on Virgin/EMI) and three decades into her storied career, Shania Twain has never sounded better.  Containing the singles ‘Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed’ (which impacts Sept 29th) and the joyful lead track and radio mainstay ‘Life’s About to Get Good’, ‘NOW’ is the first time Shania has assumed the role of sole songwriter and co-producer.

Following recent performances on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and 'The One Show’ as well as the Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Chris Evans, Shania feels "it’s time to get back out there and give the music a chance to live a life!" and so will embark on her first UK & Eire tour since 2004's huge Up! Tour.

Shania is a five-time GRAMMY Award-winner and the reigning Queen of Country Pop. With 90 million albums sold worldwide, Shania remains the top-selling female country artist of all time. Shania’s albums include her Platinum-selling 1993 debut, Shania Twain; the GRAMMY Award-winning, Double Diamond-selling 1995 release, The Woman in Me; Come On Over, the best-selling studio album in Soundscan history by a female artist in any genre and the best-selling country album of all time with over 40 million units sold worldwide; and UP!, Shania’s third consecutive Diamond-selling album release.

Recognising her indelible impact and achievements in music, Shania is the first and only female artist to receive CMT’s Artist of a Lifetime Award. She was also honoured with the Icon Award at Billboard’s Women in Music ceremony. Shania’s hits include “Any Man of Mine,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “You’re Still the One,” and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”.

Wolverhampton-based creative filmmakers and aerial specialists Skies Untold have released their latest film, which depicts the raw beauty and natural spectacle of winter across Iceland like never before.

Titled ‘Ísland’, the short begins above the Nordic country’s Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Without even the faintest whisper of wind, the filmmaking duo capture the blue skies ahead reflected perfectly below like a gigantic mirror.

Viewers are then taken on a journey across Iceland, stopping for breathtaking overhead shots of Seljalandsfoss and Brúarfoss waterfalls, the Vatnajökull glacier at Skaftafell, and the lighthouse at Arkanes, built in 1918 and one of the oldest concrete structures of its kind in the country.

Along the way, the aerial photography and cinematography experts take audiences along deserted highways, swoop among smouldering geysers and halt for close-ups of a herd of wild horses.

The spectacle is heightened by the film’s almost three-dimensional quality, achieved through combining camera movement with foreground and background elements, creating a parallax effect that brings depth to each frame.

Skies Untold was set up by fully certified and insured drone pilot Alex Hatfield, who has been building multicopters in his spare time since 2010. Born and raised in Wolverhampton he met his partner, Ina Krombholz from Berlin, Germany, while she was studying for her Masters in Graphic Design at the University of Wolverhampton, and they both discovered a mutual passion for aerial cinematography.

Ina Krombholz, Camera Operator and Editor, Skies Untold, said: “We have wanted to visit Iceland for some time. Seeing the it for the first time feels like stepping onto an alien planet that is still in the process of forming; the black sands, endless lava fields, jagged cliffs, waterfalls, glaciers and yellow green moss that carpets huge swathes of land. It feels raw and beautifully unfinished. What better place to film?”

Both aged 27, Alex and Ina work at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre as a Stage Technician and Dresser respectively, while Ina also has her own successful jewellery business.

Alex Hatfield, Founder and Head Pilot, Skies Untold, said: “On complex shoots where I need to concentrate entirely on flying, Ina operates the camera. There are two controllers, one operates the drone and the other controls the camera settings and direction independently. Ina is gifted with a camera and really has an eye for macro photography.

“If she isn't operating the camera she is busy acting as my spotter, keeping the take-off and landing areas clear in case of emergency, and speaking with the inevitable curious passers-by. Ina is also responsible for any design elements within Skies Untold, which includes the website, our logo, business cards, flyers and the like.”

Regarding their Iceland expedition, most aerial footage is filmed during the spring or summer, but Skies Untold wanted to capture the Scandinavian country’s winter from the air, using their trusty unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – or drone – which they have affectionately named ‘Gertrude’. As a result, the filmmakers often struggled with the gruelling weather conditions during the seven days they spent there in March this year.

Alex Hatfield, Founder and Head Pilot, Skies Untold, added: “They really aren't joking when they say the weather is entirely unpredictable in Iceland! This made filming difficult and we weren't able to shoot a lot of the things we had planned prior to the trip. Due to this, a lot of the locations shot aren't the usual tourist spots.

“They are smaller things we just happened across and took advantage of whilst driving the main A roads around the island. We stopped and filmed where and when we could, if the weather allowed. I'm sure these places have names, but a lot of the time they weren't signposted.

“Furthermore, due to Iceland’s latitude and ground make up, magnetic interference can prove to be problematic when flying drones. Gertrude has a digital compass which it uses to stabilise and orientate itself, and this would often fail, requiring sequences to be reshot or abandoned. However, we persevered throughout the shoot and I think the end results were more than worth the struggle.”

Following the success of ‘Ísland,’ which has been featured on Vimeo’s travel category, the duo’s next project will seem them undertake more coastal filming around the UK, as well as explore more of continental Europe in the near future.

Kew the Music is a glorious week-long festival of summer picnic concerts set within the stunning and iconic grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The 2018 concerts run between Tuesday 10 July – Sunday 15 July with a fantastic line up that offers something for everyone.

A series of sensational summer evenings, with an eclectic mix of artists guaranteed to appeal to all generations of music lovers, the popular concerts make the perfect outing for the whole family to enjoy. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drink, or to enjoy the open-air bars and tasty street food stalls.

The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonnino Baliardo
 Wednesday 11 July The legendary Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonnino Baliardo achieved world-wide recognition in 1988 with the release of their eponymous album which featured the global smash hits Bamboleo, Un Amor and Djoba Djoba. They won a Grammy in 2014 for their album Savor Flamenco. The band are all members of two related families from France and are credited for pioneering the sound of progressive flamenco worldwide.

The Human League
 Friday 13 July 
Electro-pioneers and influential ground-breakers, The Human League are so credible it's incredible. In fact, they're probably more highly regarded now than they were in 1981 when they released their landmark album Dare. With four Top 10 albums and eight Top 10 singles in the UK as well as two US Number 1 singles and over 30 million records sold worldwide; they are a sublimely peculiar and heady cocktail of pop, dance, glamour and electronics.

Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra
 Sunday 15 July
 Jools Holland, whose musical credits are both countless and stellar, returns to Kew the Music with another crowd-pleasing show. A musical leviathan, Jools has been touring with his veritable musical army, the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra featuring Gilson Lavis for more than 20 years and, once again, he will be joined by regular guest vocalists Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and Beth Rowley.

Oxjam Music Festival announced a series of exclusive events with some of the biggest names in music today, featuring the likes of Four Tet, Everything Everything, Metronomy and Annie Mac.

Indie quartet, Everything Everything launch with an intimate gig in an Oxfam shop this afternoon, exactly eight years since they performed as an unsigned act at Oxjam Manchester. While the BBC’s first lady of dance Annie Mac and slinky disco-pop purveyors Metronomy will play in-store DJ sets in Manchester and Bristol later this month.In a unique partnership cutting edge electronic musician Four Tet has announced that the first 1000 vinyl and CD copies of his hotly anticipated new album ‘Scientist’ will be available exclusively in selected Oxfam music shops and its online store from today.

Marika Hackman and Into The Ark extend the line-up, joining their nearest Oxjam Festivals in London and Cardiff. Ahead of the launch, Oxjam crowds have already been warmed up in a number of secret shop shows. Bombay Bicycle Club’s frontman Jack Steadman aka Mr Jukes, took time out from his sell out tour on Sunday in an impromptu gig in Manchester, and folk stars Danny and the Champs serenaded surprise shoppers in Newcastle earlier this month.

Jeremy Pritchard, bassist from Everything Everything said: “Oxjam Music Festival really supports local music. Local venues gave us the platform to practice, find our sound and get noticed in our area. If we hadn’t had the opportunity to perform on small stages earlier on, we would not be where we are now. Just by going to an Oxjam gig you are helping keep your music scene alive, whilst spotting new music and supporting the vital work that Oxfam does.”

Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet said: "I performed my first Oxjam gig in an Oxfam shop back in 2010, which was mad fun. It was so local and intimate, which sums Oxjam's grassroots vibes up. Oxjam is local music creating a global impact, an ethos I think we should all get behind. Support Oxjam Music Festival by purchasing your tickets for your local Oxjam Music Festival. You get to enjoy music whilst supporting the essential work Oxfam does.”

Everything Everything are not the only music royalty to have cut their teeth on an Oxjam stage. Foals, Declan McKenna, Afrikan Boy, Blossoms and Benga are just some of 60,000 unsigned musicians to have performed at the Festival in its 11-year history.

This makes Oxjam the UK’s largest grassroots music festival, and is happening in 37 towns and cities up and down the country this year. It's completely organised by passionate volunteers offering the best undiscovered, unsigned and under the radar talent throughout the month of October.

Adam Walker, Oxjam Manager said: “All Oxjam’s are multi-venue gigs, so by buying one wristband you can access all of your favourite live music haunts. Small live venues helped build our rich music heritage, and Oxjam is proof that best-selling headliners are today’s grassroots acts. Just remember you heard it here first!”

The money raised at Oxjam gigs go towards Oxfam’s work helping people escape poverty and stay alive in emergencies.

Oxfam is currently supporting millions of people- including those facing starvation in East Africa, fleeing war from Syria to South Sudan, and recovering from earthquakes and hurricanes in the Americas and Asia. It is also fighting for the rights of poor people all over the world.

The Natural Theatre Company will bring a very different experience to the caves of Cheddar this October half term - a Halloween Spooktacular, during which visitors will meet some of the characters who first discover the mysterious and magical corridors in the depths of the Mendip Hills.

The creepy, cheeky characters from the cave's fascinating history will be coming out to play between October 21 and 29 thanks to the world famous Natural Theatre Company who will be bringing a gaggle of ghouls to gossip amongst the shadows.

They might make you jump; they'll definitely make you giggle; and they will be appearing from 11am to 3pm each day to give Halloween explorers the opportunity to piece together the stories of the characters and decipher what is fact, what is fiction…and what is just plain nonsense!

Taking the whole experience to yet another level, The Natural Theatre Company is also staging very special “Fright Nights” - aimed at anyone looking for a more gruesome experience this Halloween.

This chilling journey through Gough's Cave is not for the faint-hearted, and under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.

Completely separate to a regular visit to Cheddar Gorge & Caves, the Fright Nights are available for Saturday October 28 and Tuesday October 31.

Willing souls will receive some tasty treats before being led into the caves by members of The Natural Theatre Company cast, where the stories will have a greater level of intensity, as a dark tale of rivalry and deceit (and perhaps even some madness) is revealed.

The evening will give guests to the cave a chance to interact with the performers and to see this incredible landmark brought to life in a unique and immersive way.

Following the success of its inaugural event in September 2016, Waitrose announces its second Drinks Festival, which will take place from the 17th - 19th November 2017.

Held at County Hall, London, the festival will see up to 4,000 customers sampling the best wines, beers, spirits and speciality food the supermarket has to offer. Over 200 Waitrose producers will be taking part in the festival, which will be split into four sessions over the weekend.

With themed rooms dedicated to each main category, the venue will be taken over by all manner of drink and food experts, showcasing their products. The wine room will house hundreds of different wines, spanning the breadth of the supermarket's range, from well known brands to lesser known winemakers.  There will also be rooms dedicated to cider, beer, dark spirits and light spirits.

The festival will include various masterclasses, workshops and Waitrose Cookery School demonstrations. Back by popular demand is the 'Make Your Own Gin' workshop with distillers Audemus, where customers can make their own gin to be judged by an expert panel. The winning gin from last year's masterclass is now available online at Waitrose Cellar. There will also be a 'blend your own whisky' class with Glenfiddich.

New for 2017 is an exclusive lounge, with drinks personalities making appearances and giving talks throughout the weekend. Lounge customers will also be able to go on personalised wine walks with the Waitrose wine buying team.

Masterclasses will include: Guigal, Chateau Musar, Masi, Graham's Port, Catena Malbec, The Chocolate Block, Asian Whiskies, Sipsmith, Hayman's Gin, Wines of Rioja, Altos Las Hormigas, There's a Beer For That, Yealands and Brooklyn Lager. Confirmed suppliers with stands at the show include Pedrino, Sipsmith, Peroni, Les Dauphins, Masi, Catena and many more.

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.”