Colors: Red Color

It has been announced that Rachael Wooding will guest star as Alice in the 2017 UK tour of WONDERLAND in Wolverhampton from Monday 31 July – Saturday 5 August. Rachael is one of musical theatre’s most impressive talents. In May this year she wowed the nation on Britain’s Got Talent with Simon Cowell proclaiming her rendition of ‘With You’ from Ghost was “the most beautiful version of the song” he had ever heard.

Austria's Metal on the Hill Festival with its most unique location of the "Kasemattenbühne" at the picturesque Schloßberg in Graz, welcomes another exciting opening act for 2017: PAIN IS! Founded in 2002, followed by numerous shows all over Europe and 4 studio records later, Austria's PAIN IS already left a stamp with their individual style of music called 'Paincore', characterized by heavy rocking guitars, stomping drums, booming bass and melodic hard vocals and screams.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is celebrating a record-breaking year in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, as it welcomed around 825,000 visitors to the five historic Shakespeare houses in Stratford-upon-Avon – a six per cent increase from 2015. This beats the previous record of 820,000 visitors in 2014 during Shakespeare’s 450th birthday celebrations, and many millions more people of all ages from across the globe connected with the Trust through its education programmes and digital channels.

This Christmas an estimated 120,000 children will be homeless, marking an eight-year high. Many of them will be living in temporary accommodation until something more permanent can be found.  Now, a new play at Birmingham Repertory Theatre gives a timely reflection on this hidden crisis. LOVE by Alexander Zeldin opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from Thursday 26 January until Saturday 11 February following a critically-acclaimed run at the National Theatre.

Shoppers at Bullring turned out in full force to take advantage of discounts of up to 70% at the Birmingham shopping centre, which houses more than 160 stores. With Boxing Day marking the start of the traditional sales for many retailers, bargain hunting at the local shopping centre is an annual ritual for many shoppers throughout the UK. This year, over 210,000 shoppers are expected to descend on Bullring in search of reduced-rate electronics, fashion and homewares, and a further 185,000 expected today.

The Royal Shakespeare Company continues its commitment to creating live theatre for young audiences with its First Encounters with Shakespeare production of The Tempest – Shakespeare’s magical last play of fun, fantasy and sorcery.  Directed by Aileen Gonsalves, and aimed at 8-13 year olds, the production will open in January 2017 in Midlands schools and the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, before embarking on a seven week UK tour of schools and regional theatres. 

The final line-up for the 2017 Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour is announced and the pairings are Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton; Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse; Ore Oduba and Karen Clifton; Ed Balls and Katya Jones; Daisy Lowe and Aljaž Skorjanec; Lesley Joseph and Gorka Marquez. Completing the line-up for group numbers and professional dances are six of this series’ fabulous professional dancers Giovanni Pernice and Janette Manrara, AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt, Oksana Platero and Neil Jones.

Escape boredom this February by watching London's original escapologist as he plots his next escape from the London Dungeon. Before Houdini there was Jack Shepherd, a petty thief who infamously escaped not one, not two….but four prisons (!!!) by breaking through ceilings to picking locks. Guests visiting the London Dungeon from February will journey back to 1724 to come face-to-face with Jack at Newgate prison – where he has been caught by the thief catcher for the fifth time.

2016 has been an exciting and eventful year for the city with the capital welcoming a record 8.8 million overseas visitors in the first half of the year. While notable events and openings included the commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and the Design Museum opening its new home in Kensington. There are hundreds of great places to see in the New Year but these are some of our favourite places to raise a glass to 2017!

David Attenborough's Planet Earth II has been one of the most succesful shows of 2016 and is set to launch in the US in January. Following the series finale on Sunday travel company Cyplon holidays have released an infographic mapping the nature documentary's filming locations across all 7 continents. The infographic released by Cyplon Holidays charts the places and creatures featured on both series 1 and 2 of the television series, allowing UK viewers to relive memorable moments of the show and US audiences to anticipate the series' release in the US in January 2017.

Amazon today announced that Amazon Prime Video is now available to customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe. Customers around the world can now enjoy popular new original series like The Grand Tour from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (currently the top-rated TV show on IMDb with an overall rating of 9.4 and over 20,000 votes) and award-winning Amazon Original Series like The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Tumble Leaf and more.

Slade's timeless hit has been confirmed as one of the biggest sounds of Christmas, according to a survey from national charity Action on Hearing Loss. The poll, published today, highlights the sounds that people associate with Christmas the most. For many, it’s the screams of siblings fighting, the in-laws arguing or Coca-Cola’s ‘Holidays are coming!’ advert, however over half of people (51.7%) said that carols and songs are the sounds that remind them most of Christmas.

The competition couldn’t have been closer, but when Danny, Louise and Ore went head to head in the final of Strictly Come Dancing, there could be only one winner of the coveted glitterball trophy. Ore and Joanne danced with their all to take the top spot in Strictly Come Dancing for 2016. With a couple of perfect 10's thrown in for all 3 acts it was a very tough final to call, but congratulations to Ore and Joanne!

Art lovers are being urged to vote for a Wolverhampton Art Gallery painting after it was named in the top ten of a national survey. Spirit of the Carnival by Tam Joseph is among ten other paintings in UK galleries, which the public can vote for in The Art Fund competition. The Art Fund, which for more than a century has been helping museums and galleries buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy, has selected the painting.

Norwich has always been an exciting cultural city and 2017 is no exception with a host of fantastic exhibitions, festivals, performances and special events, ranging from a newly restored Baby House at Strangers' Hall - part of the V&A Small Stories exhibition at Norwich Castle - and a quarter of a lost Magritte canvas found late 2016 to a new exhibition - Rembrandt: Lightening in the Dark - featuring the nationally important collection of 93 Rembrandt etchings held by Norfolk Museums Service and The Russian Season at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, revealing how the creativity of Fabergé came to extend from St. Petersburg and the court of the Romanovs, to a dairy on Norfolk's Sandringham Estate.