Colors: Red Color

Following the success of the highly acclaimed “Frozen Planet in Concert” that was produced in partnership with BBC Earth, Holland America Line is debuting “Planet Earth II in Concert” on nearly all ships in the fleet. Combining live music with a backdrop of breathtaking footage from the new, award-winning BBC Earth television series “Planet Earth II,” the exclusive show immerses guests in the most spectacular landscapes and habitats on Earth, bringing them eye-to-eye with the animals on screen.

“Planet Earth II in Concert” is presented through Holland America Line’s partnership with BBC Earth, where world-class education and entertainment are brought onboard through behind-the-scenes films and live multimedia shows — in addition to special feature cruises with masterclass presentations from the television teams that work behind scenes on the programs.

“Our partnership with BBC Earth has been an extraordinary journey to all corners of the globe, and we can’t wait to take our guests into the world of ‘Planet Earth II’ with this stunning, new live concert,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “‘Frozen Planet in Concert’ has been one of our most popular shows, and ‘Planet Earth II’ will be the perfect encore. No one shows the spectacle of nature like BBC Earth.”

During “Planet Earth II in Concert,” guests rub shoulders with acrobatic primates in the jungles of Madagascar, race alongside hunting lions in the remote sandy deserts of Namibia, face stormy seas of the Great Southern Ocean with a family of penguins and tap their toes along with dancing grizzly bears — all accompanied by a live orchestra that plays the main theme music by Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer and the original music score by Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe for Bleeding Fingers Music.

“Planet Earth II in Concert” is rolling out across Eurodam, Koningsdam, Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam, and will be on board all of those ships by the end of April 2018. Alaska-bound ships will revert to showing “Alaska in Concert,” developed last season with exclusive Alaska wildlife footage, for the duration of the season. For Holland America Line’s 70th anniversary season in Alaska in 2017, BBC Earth launched the “Alaska in Concert” production that combined live music set against backdrop footage from the BBC Earth television series “Wild Alaska,” where audiences experience the cycle of four seasons and see this place is as unforgiving as it is beautiful.

In addition to “Planet Earth II in Concert” and “Alaska in Concert,” theater screenings of BBC Earth programs are featured on each sailing, and 45- to 60-minute “Inside Earth” films go behind the scenes and explore the making of BBC Earth content. “Frozen Planet in Concert” will continue to show on longer voyages as a second BBC Earth performance for guests.

The opera tells the terrifying tale of Macbeth, a warrior who, after hearing a coven of witches prophesy that he will become King of Scotland, is driven by ambition and encouraged by his wife to make the prophecy reality. Soon the murderous couple become possessed by a paranoia that drives them to further crimes and ultimately leads to their downfall.

Verdi’s passion for Shakespeare’s plays began with Macbeth (1847, his tenth opera), which he described as ‘one of the greatest creations of man’. It was his first great Shakespearean adaptation; he would create two more, Otello and Falstaff, in his final years. The Royal Opera’s production uses Verdi’s 1865 revision of the opera for Paris, which includes Lady Macbeth’s thrilling aria ‘La luce langue’.

Directed by the award-winning Phyllida Lloyd, who made her debut at the Royal Opera House in 2002 with Macbeth, the production captures the sadness of the Macbeths, in particular the childlessness that may be a motivating force behind their terrible deeds.

Antonio Pappano conducts a cast led by Serbian baritone Željko Lu?i? as Macbeth, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth (one of her signature roles) and Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Banquo.

The performance lasts three hours and 20 minutes and includes one interval, which will feature extensive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and creative team.

Macbeth will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.

The Royal Opera House presents a live cinema screening of Verdi’s Macbeth, inspired by Shakespeare’s great tragedy of the same name, on Wednesday 4 April at 7.15pm.

An encore screening will take place on Sunday 8 April 2018 at 2pm.

Birmingham Hippodrome bringing back its free annual festival celebrating all things Hip-Hop from Wed 9 – Sun 13 May 2018. The weekend’s activities include a range of exhilarating outdoor performances, pop-up dance events, interactive talks and live graffiti art alongside an explosive programme of high-energy workshops.

In anticipation of the festival, there will be a launch event at The Lighthouse Young People’s Centre in March, date to be confirmed, giving you a taste of what’s to come. The launch and dance competition will include free workshops in Breakin’, Poppin’, Graffiti, DJing and Rap/Spoken Word. Keen dancers can sign up for the competition here:*.

Now in its third year, B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival will take place in the Southside streets and Birmingham Hippodrome, attracting a wide audience of Hip-Hop fans and novices alike from around the world. The popular festival will feature appearances from the best national and international artists plus the city’s finest local talents. Headline acts already confirmed include Red Bull BC Champion, Menno Van Gorp and arguably one of the best Poppers in the world Green Tek, with many more to be announced.

As well as the usual programme of events, new to this year’s festival, will be a Hip-Hop game show where people can test their Hip-Hop knowledge and compete with friends. There will also be opportunities for budding creatives to learn from the professionals with artist development labs and artist talks and master classes with Hip-Hop pioneers such as Henry Link.

B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival has inspired Hip-Hop themed programmes at Birmingham Hippodrome, such as AeroBreaks, a dance collective of young people from local schools, funded by Sport England. In collaboration with Break Mission and The Lighthouse Young People’s Centre, AeroBreaks, a Birmingham Hippodrome Project, offers free break dance classes where young people can explore their interest in Hip-Hop culture with professional artists. Local schools involved with the project include Holte School, Holy Trinity Catholic School and Four Dwellings Academy.

This is a great opportunity for young people to build their confidence on and off the stage. Previous participants have gone onto to perform in professional productions and continue to work with the theatre.

Graham Callister, Associate Director at Birmingham Hippodrome, commented: “We are delighted to once again bring Southside to life through B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival. Working with some amazing national and international artists, performers and partners, bringing together the Hip-Hop community for a celebration of music, dance and spoken word.”

Birmingham Hippodrome partners with festival directors Break Mission, Juice Aleem, Mickael Riviére and to produce B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival. The event is supported through funding from Arts Council England, Southside BID and The Arcadian, and sponsored by POSCA.

Artificial intelligence and automation are playing a growing role in the recruitment process, with many agencies and businesses relying more and more heavily upon robotic decision makers rather than face-to-face human interaction when selecting candidates.

Leading and award-winning recruiters Encore Personnel, which employs 11 people at its office on Lower Temple Street in the city centre, are taking a stand on the issue, as Operations Director Pete Taylor explains.

He said: “We live in an age where innovative technology is saving us money and time and I am certainly not against the efficiencies and developments that this brings. However, as a people-focused industry which deals with the livelihoods of human beings, we need to stop and think about the impact that AI and robotic recruitment is having and the implications for future generations.

“At Encore we do use job boards for advertising our roles and it is true that throughout much of that process, candidates may not speak to a person. This can be off putting to some people, but the reality is that for blue collar roles – which is the majority job type we recruit for – it is the most efficient and effective means of sifting through CVs and applications. But that doesn’t mean the process has to be impersonal.

“We endeavour to respond to all applicants following their submission, whether they are successful or not. It is alarming to hear that some candidates are experiencing automated rejections or no feedback whatsoever, having gone through a system where they haven’t spoken to a person at all. I fear a bleak and faceless future landscape for recruitment, unless we, as ethical recruiters, stop and think about the impact this system will have.

“We hear a lot of noise about Millennials and how they have lost the ability to communicate in person. From a recruitment perspective this is ironic, as the system that is evolving now will only work to feed this problem. We want young people to think outside the box, to demonstrate personality and flair and to challenge the status quo – these young people are the leaders of the future and we need to nurture them from their first job application, not discourage them with automated rejections.

“In an era of evermore sophisticated technology, the recruitment sector needs to remember its core purpose – pairing the right person with the right employer. Computers will never be able to do this as effectively as a human being and we must remember and protect the value of face-to-face interaction for as long as we can.”

The National Young Writers’ Awards is set to return with a bang as world renowned best-selling children’s author David Walliams has been named judge for 2018!  The competition, organised by tuition provider, Explore Learning which has a centre in Harborne has been running for ten years and has inspired hundreds of thousands of children across the UK to put pen to paper and give writing a try.

The theme for this year is ‘Heroes’ where children are tasked with writing a 500 word story all about their hero, whether that be their parent, a policeman or an idol they aspire to be like - Explore Learning cannot wait to hear some of the very best in heroic tales!

David Walliams has revolutionised reading for children and has become one of the most influential children’s writers today. Since the publication of his ground-breaking first novel, The Boy in the Dress (2008), Walliams has seen unprecedented growth. With the publication of ten novels, three short stories and six picture books, his global sales now exceed 23 million copies, and his books have been translated into fifty-three languages.

The winner will be surprised at a school assembly by David who will announce the National Young Writer of the Year and present them with a trophy, a trip to Disneyland Paris for their family and £500 of books for their school!  Every child that enters will receive a certificate to celebrate their story, along with personalised feedback from one of Explore Learning’s inspirational tutors.

David Walliams says: “It is a real privilege to be named judge for this year’s National Young Writers’ Awards and I am so looking forward to reading what the brilliant brains of our country’s children come up with. To write is such a wonderful, creative outlet for people of all ages and competitions just like this one are a fantastic way of encouraging kids across the UK to take the leap and release their inner authors!”

The competition will run from Monday 5th March until Sunday 29th April and is open to all children aged 4-14 anywhere in the UK – from enthusiastic young writers to those who feel less confident.

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “We are extremely proud to organise the longest running writing competition for children and over the past 10 years the National Young Writers’ Awards have encouraged children in their thousands to release their creativity in abundance.  We can’t wait to read what children put together along this year’s theme of heroes – whether that’s a hero with superpowers or an everyday hero like a parent, a firefighter, paramedic or teacher.

“We are beyond excited to have David Walliams as our judge for the 2018 competition and we know that he will help to inspire even more children to get writing for the chance to meet their idol - as well as that fantastic trip to Disneyland Paris and the wonderful accolade of being named National Young Writer of the Year!”

The top 10 entries will also receive £250 worth of books for their schools from Letts Revision, plus a large print of the opening line of their story by QuirkyLime. Each of the regional winners will also win £50 worth of books for themselves.

It’s very easy to enter.  Children are invited to pick up an entry form from their local Explore Learning centre which can be found at Explore Learning 59 High Street Harborne  Birmingham  B17 9NS and then simply return the completed entry to them before Sunday 29th April. Or if children prefer, they can type their story and enter online at Don’t forget to include your contact information so they can get in touch if your child wins!

Queen Extravaganza, Queen’s official tribute show produced by Roger Taylor and Brian May today announced the confirmed line up for the 2018 tour with Alirio Netto joining as lead singer.

Brazilian born singer Alirio Netto is one of the most recognised rock voices in Brazil. Whether it be on stage or in the studio, his powerful voice and amazing range impressed Roger and Brian when he starred as Galilleo in the Brazilian production of We Will Rock You in 2016.

As well as his stage career, Alirio has achieved success as a signed artist with albums released worldwide and performances on numerous shows and festivals including the world famous Rock In Rio, Brazil.

He is an award-winning singer, having won Brazil’s Best Musical Actor Award for his role in Jesus Chris Superstar as Judas Escariot. He also provided the Brazilian voice of Lefu for the feature film Beauty and the Beast in 2017.

Roger Taylor comments “Alirio is not only a superlative singer, he is also a great showman who will deliver our songs with tremendous flair”

The remaining band members, who have all performed on previous Queen Extravaganza tours will be:

Drummer: Tyler Warren (USA)

Tyler is the touring MD, keeping the band in time and well rehearsed, which he does alongside his ‘other’ job as percussionist on tour with Queen + Adam Lambert

Bassist: François-Olivier Doyon. (Canada)

Has been with Queen Extravaganza since the first online auditions in 2011 where he beat hundreds of other applicants to the coveted role of bassist for the band.

Guitarist: Nick Radcliffe. (UK)

Joined Queen Extravaganza in 2015 having performed in We Will Rock You’s London show as well as working with a wide range of artists & shows from Tony Hadley, The Motown Musical

Keyboards: Darren Reeves. (UK)

Has been keyboardist since 2015 having previously deputised for Queen keyboardist and QuEx’s Worldwide Musical Supervisor Spike Edney at the London We Will Rock You show.

The 2018 line-up for Lunar Festival, one of the UK’s most exciting and diverse music and arts festivals, has been announced.

Malian music legends Amadou & Mariam, electronic party pioneers Basement Jaxx, acclaimed cinematic pop duo Goldfrapp and legendary punk band The Stranglers headline the four-day event, which runs from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July 2018.

Tickets for the 5000 capacity Lunar Festival, based near the picturesque Warwickshire village of Tanworth-In-Arden just thirty minutes south of Birmingham, will be released for general sale from 10.00 on Friday 23 February 2018.

For the first time in its five year history, the festival site will open up a day early exclusively to 500 weekend ticket holders on Thursday 26 July.
Committed to staying small whilst thinking big, the 2018 edition of Lunar Festival welcomes the introduction of Lunar’s Seven Elements: Learn, Listen, Taste, Relax, Laugh, Move and Create - placing creativity, community and celebration at the heart of an exciting and diverse programme.
"Lunar Festival offering is all about bringing together like-minded individuals, artists, fans and creatives, to realise a shared vision that inspires, entertains, enlightens and captivates through the Seven Elements. We've worked hard over the past year to make the 2018 programme our best yet, for the adventurous and the family-orientated. Lunar is 100% dedicated to celebrating the wonderful community of music and art lovers that have supported the festival to date, and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to this year's edition." - John Fell, Lunar Festival

Spring in Efteling – the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland – marks the beginning of a new season with reopened rides, daily outdoor live shows and colourful spring flowers.

From March 2018, the park, which is open all year round, will shed its winter coat and celebrate the reappearance of the sun with the reopening of flagship rides such as Python and Piraña, while the park is coated in thousands of colourful flowers and spring greens giving it a fresh summery look. In Symbolica, the Palace of Fantasy, which opened in summer 2017, all visitors can be granted an audience with King Pardulfus in style.

Highlights of the 2018 spring season in Efteling include:

The reopening of Python

On 31 March 2018, visitors will once again be able to relive their childhood memories with the reopening of Python – Efteling's iconic roller coaster built in 1981 –after undergoing three months of maintenance. During its closure, the course was broken down and then rebuilt. The experience will remain the same, reflecting the double corkscrew, the helix and all the loops in the new design.

Reopening of water rides

The return of the warm weather means that visitors can once again risk getting wet on the park's exciting water rides, which close during Winter Efteling. These include the Piraña river rapids – a 350 metre long wild water river ride, and the De Vliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) – a spectacular water coaster that starts as an indoor roller coaster before plunging into a lake in the centre of the park.

Outdoor entertainment

In spring, visitors will also be able to enjoy the diversity of outdoor entertainment available in the park, including Raveleijn – an open air show featuring stunt riders, ravens and a fire breathing dragon. Kids love to sing along with little red Riding Hood at the Fairytale Tree show in the Fairytale Forest, and meeting Pardoes, or Princess Pardjin who stroll through the park daily.

Renovations at the Efteling Hotel

The Hansel and Gretel suite located in the Efteling Hotel has recently been renovated with a fresh look. The five-person suite, which is reminiscent of the gingerbread house in the fairytale, features coloured windows, two double beds and a single bed, and is also home to the infamous witch and her cat.

Young organists at Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire are being given the opportunity to compete for a new prize donated by one of the world’s foremost musicians – Dame Gillian Weir.

The Gillian Weir Messiaen Prize will be awarded annually for the next 10 years for the best performance by a student at the institution of a work or works by French composer Olivier Messiaen.

During her illustrious international career, Dame Gillian has been particularly renowned for her performances of Messiaen’s organ music; she made the first commercial recording of the complete works, gave the UK première from the composer's manuscript of the ‘Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité’, and has written, lectured and broadcast extensively on his music.

Concerning the gift, she spoke of her admiration of the work being done in the Conservatoire’s Organ Department and congratulated them on their glowing international reputation. The award was facilitated by Conservatoire organ tutor Henry Fairs, whose own career has also included complete performances of the composer’s music.

Daniel Moult, the current Head of Organ Studies, commented:

“All of us in the Organ Department are honoured and delighted that Dame Gillian should aid our students in such a generous and palpable way. Many young musicians are in need of every conceivable financial assistance, and this prestigious prize will be much coveted and appreciated for years to come in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.”


The first Gillian Weir Messiaen Prize competition will take place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire later this year, with the winner awarded £1,000.

This summer, Kumar Sanu & Anuradha Paudwal will take the stage in the UK for their Greatest Hits UK Tour – Nazar Ke Samne!  Together, they are without a doubt the greatest icons of Bollywood film music and are set to deliver an unforgettable show.


Kumar Sanu, is an iconic Bollywood playback singer revered by millions and peers alike.  He is legendary for rendering his voice in Bollywood movies, recording over 20,000 songs and selling over one billion albums worldwide.  He holds the Guin-ness World Record for recording the most songs in a day (28), in 1993 and was awarded the Filmfare best male playback singer award for five consecutive years.  In 2009, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri Award, India's fourth-highest civilian honour in recognition of his achievements.  Kumar Sanu started his singing career in 1986 and in 1989, following an introduction to Kalyanji Anandji by another legendary singer.  This meeting was the catalyst for Kumar Sanu’s journey to super stardom and the chance to sing in the Bollywood film hit ‘Jaadugar’.  One year later in 1990, Kumar Sanu met music producers Nadeem-Shravan who asked him to lend his voice to a music score for a film that they were doing, ‘Aashiqui’.  This Bollywood film soundtrack would go on to be the biggest selling music soundtracka of all time in Indian cinema, selling a staggering 100 Million Albums! This was the first of his five consecutive Filmfare Awards for films, ‘Saajan’ (1991), ‘Deewana’ (1992), ‘Baazigar’ (1993) & ‘1942 Love Story’ (1994).


Anuradha Paudwal is a legendary Bollywood playback singer who was inspired by Bollywood’s ultimate legendary female playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.  She too, was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 2017.  She is also the recipient of the National Film Award and has won this a record four times!  She started singing from a young age, before her break into Bollywood with a song called Shiva Shokla in the film ‘Abhimaan’, starring Amitabh Bachan & Jaya.  Anuradha Paudwal met her music composer husband Arun when she was just 17 and married him soon after.  He encouraged her to sing and took her to meet the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. At this meeting Anuradha Paudwal was asked to sing live on a radio station by a producer for a Marathi show who had heard her voice.  Millions listened in, including well known music producers, Laxmikant-Pyarela and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.  They called the radio station to find out who was singing.  She was in demand instantly and everybody wanted to record with her but it was SD Burman who she first ended up working with in the recording studio.  This was followed shortly by the blockbuster, ‘Hero’ starring Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi, but it was ‘Aashiqui’ that made her into a Global superstar.  ‘Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin’, ‘Sadak’ and ‘Saa-jan’ were also amongst her biggest hits.

Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has appointed acclaimed musicians John O’Gallagher and Percy Pursglove to its Jazz Department, further strengthening the city’s position as a major international centre for the genre’s teaching, performance and research.

John O’Gallagher has been described as “an alto saxophonist of dry tone and daring temperament” by ‘The New York Times’ and boasts a discography of more than 60 albums, with multiple receiving GRAMMY and JUNO award nominations.

Hailing from Brooklyn in New York, he has enjoyed a rich performing career that has seen him appear at numerous international jazz venues and festivals, as well as on programmes broadcast by BBC Radio 3, RSI (Switzerland) and Radio France.

John O’Gallagher said: “I am very excited to be joining the jazz faculty at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and I am looking forward to working with students to help cultivate their artistic potential and individual voices.”

Joining John will be trumpeter Percy Pursglove from Birmingham. An alumnus of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Percy obtained a scholarship to study Jazz and Contemporary Music at the New School University in New York. During his time in the US city, he performed with various ensembles including the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Birdland, the Coltrane Ensemble at Sweet Rhythm, the Rene Marie Big Band at the Town Hall and a residency at the Knitting Factory.

Having performed and recorded with artists as diverse as Evan Parker, Steve Swallow, the BBC Big Band, Elbow and Amy Winehouse, he also leads in a number of educational organisations, including as Musical Director of National Youth Jazz Wales.

Percy Pursglove said: “'I'm thrilled and delighted to join the jazz faculty at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. It's a world-class team of creative practitioners, educators and thinkers positioned amongst a vibrant student community. It's an honour to be a part of a continually developing jazz programme here at the Conservatoire, and a thriving Midlands jazz scene.”

Established in 1999, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Jazz Department aims to create a stimulating and inspiring culture for musicians of the genre. As well as nurturing individual development, its courses place a great deal of emphasis on artistic exchange between students and staff, both within the Conservatoire and on the wider public stage – from local venues to international festivals.

Jeremy Price, Head of Jazz, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“At long last we can go public with the news that we have recruited these two fantastic jazz musicians to full time posts at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Saxophonist John O’Gallagher and trumpet player Percy Pursglove – both well-known on the international scene as virtuosi improvisers – have accepted academic posts that include and embrace their research output, and provide a further platform for their great playing careers.

“They join myself and drummer Andrew Bain as the main contact for the students on our undergraduate and postgraduate jazz programmes, and are already making inspiring contributions to how we develop the curriculum and programme our concerts and masterclasses. This is truly an exciting team to be leading and is brimming with new ideas and passion for the music.”

The new £57 million Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is also home to the state-of-the-art Eastside Jazz Club, which opened to the public in October last year. As the first permanent jazz space in any UK conservatoire, the club hosts jazz in all its forms most evenings – from standards to contemporary and solo spots to big band – and features young talent from the immediate jazz community to world-renowned musicians.

Meanwhile, despite being less than four years old, Birmingham City University’s Jazz Research cluster has grown to be one the world’s most significant. Led by Professors Nicholas Gebhardt and Tony Whyton, the cluster boasts 29 members, including 12 jazz researchers from across the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Birmingham School of Media, as well as nine doctoral students and leaders of the regional jazz community, and additional academic partners at Middlesex University, University of Warwick, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and University of Aveiro (Portugal).

John O’Gallagher joins the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as Senior Lecturer, with Percy Pursglove now employed as an undergraduate lecturer in the Jazz Department at the music college.

Sister Act, the classic 1992 musical comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg, is the latest film to receive the ‘live cinema’ treatment with the ‘Sister Act Live Choir’, UK Tour presented by Amacoast Cinema. Film fans have been clamouring for pop-ups and live cinema experiences in recent years, as audiences look for new, innovative ways to enjoy the films they know and films that will turn into instant classics. Sister Act fans from across the UK will be immersed in a fresh new cinematic, musical experience. Recently some of the iconic original cast members reunited for an incredible choir performance to celebrate the film’s 25th year anniversary and it’s fitting that the tour kicks off in the celebratory year.


Sister Act Live Choir will boast a full-piece choir and band, as they accompany the onscreen nuns with live performances of songs from the film’s original soundtrack. “We are delighted to be touring this powerful and uplifting live cinema experience” says founder, Dele Aro. The show has had two successful, sold out runs in London in Autumn 2016 and April 2017. Dele added “We were delighted to see the shows connect such a large diverse group of people, to share in a unique experience and create new memories around a much-loved film”.


Sister Act tells the hilarious story of Vegas lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (played by Whoopi Goldberg), who after witnessing a murder at the hands of her boyfriend has to enter witness protection to avoid a similar fate. She turns to the one place that she hopes he will never look - a Convent! Disguised as a nun Deloris woefully tries to adopt her new lifestyle and after several false starts, she finally finds her voice at the heart of the church choir.


“Whether you’re a Sister Act fan or not, the soundtrack is amazing and the nuns sing with so much soul. I Will Follow Him is my favourite song, it has what I call the ‘feels’…” says show Choir Director, Lovedale Harrison. Sister Act Live Choir includes live performances of original film soundtrack favourites such as ‘Hail Holy Queen’, ‘My Guy (My God)’ and ‘I Will Follow Him’. Creative Director Kandi Aro adds, “There’s nothing quite like live entertainment. Adding this element to Sister Act really does provide a novel and memorable way to experience this cult film”.



Sister Act Live Choir will feature the Uplifted Voices choir for the show, who have featured on BBC Gospel Proms, and provided backing choirs for the live shows on ITV’s The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent, and The X Factor shows. One of the lead signers from Uplifted Voices’ is the super talented Diamantina, who was born in Germany of Kosovan parents. From refugee to rising star, Diamantina has found her strength and confidence in music and performance, and Sister Act Live Choir has enabled her to share her talents with a much wider audience. She says, “We’re reliving Sister Act in an energetic way I’ve never seen done before.” There will also be special guest performances from Britain’s Got Talent Semi-finalist’s ‘Gospel Singers Incognito’ (GSI) and Byron Gold’s ‘Gold Vocal Collective (GVC).

British soul legend, Seal, brought the glamour of old Hollywood to the present, alongside his classic hits, as his ‘Standards’ album tour mixed the old school classics like ‘Luck Be A Lady Tonight’ and ‘I Put A Spell On You,’ with his own ‘Killer’ and ‘Kiss From A Rose.’


Backed by a well-oiled big band, the multi-award winning star’s signature, velvety warm vocals brought

Symphony Hall Birmingham to life with further classics made popular by Frank Sinatra - such as ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and ‘It Was A Very Good Year,’ Ella Fitzgerald (‘I’m Beginning to See The Light’) and Nina Simone’s ‘I Put A Spell on You.’


In a career spanning three decades, racking up over 30 million records sales worldwide and a string of Grammy, Brit and Ivor Novello awards along the way, Seal continues to shine as one of the world’s brightest music stars.


The 55-year-old singer/songwriter presenting a 90-minute show packed with beautiful covers and timeless hits, from the second he kicked off the set – to the very end with every classic song sang with stunning power and devotion to the cause.


From the overely enthused response from the staunchly supporting crowd, the icon then moved on to his catalogue of hits, beginning with 1994 favourite ‘Kiss From A Rose’ while strumming along on an acoustic guitar


The highlight of the night then came when he climbed down from the stage to sing among the crowd, performing tremendous renditions of ‘Killer’ and ‘Fly Like An Eagle,’ which sent his fans wild. He danced with some and hugged by others as he freely posed for pictures - but was basically mobbed by others who more or less clung to him as he moved around the hall.


The great man love getting close-up to his followers, showing his down-to-earth, compassionate nature and great a sense of humour.


Ending the show with yet another class - ‘Crazy’ - the star danced around the stage and ended what was an already brilliant show with a bang, before encouraging the crowd to applaud his talented band.


An impeccably clean sound throughout, Seal’s performance at the Symphony Hall was more than ‘Standard.’



Top billing musicians from Latin America will be helping to further raise the tempo for the fourth annual Aruba Summer Music Festival on June 29 and 30.

This weekend festival on the Dutch Caribbean island offers two nights full of energy and captivating live music and will be hosted at The Harbor Arena, an ideal location in downtown Oranjestad.

Created on 2014 to further extend Aruba's established calendar of annual international musical events and cultural festivals, The Summer Festival has proved a hit with both visitors and locals.

'Aruba Summer Music Festival is a vibrant celebration, highlighting our island's cultural diversity, influential art, and dynamic musical talent,' said Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA).

'We hope this seasonal extravaganza delights visitors and locals alike, as it encompasses our island's blended heritage and showcases the countless talents and unique artistry influenced by 90-plus nationalities.'

The line-up on Friday, June 29 will include energetic performances by Puerto Rican singer/songwriter, Ozuna, together with the Venezuelan singer and activist, Nacho. Popular local bands Buleria, D'Licious and 'N Fuzion complete the line-up.

For the following, Saturday, night the audience can expect to dance the night away to performances by Dominican merengue singer Eddy Herrera; the respected Venezuelan-born singer-songwriter Felipe Pipe Pelaez; the Grammy-nominated Puerto Rican salsa singer-songwriter Victor Manuelle; and the Colombian Fonseca, whose style embraces traditional music from his home country.

With the lapping Caribbean Sea as a backdrop, each year this rhythmic showcase attracts international visitors and musicians from around the world, enhancing Aruba's economy and highlighting its ever-growing art and multicultural presence.

The story of a legendary singer-songwriter and activist comes to life in the critically-acclaimed ‘Nina – A Story About Me And Nina Simone’ at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.


Celebrating the singer-songwriter’s political passion and musical genius, Nina – A Story About Me And Nina Simone,’ is a searing mix of storytelling and songs. Starring the Olivier award-nominated, Josette Bushell-Mingo, and accompanied by a live band, the show draws together tales from the life of Nina Simone and Josette’s own extraordinary career.


Nina Simone was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century. She was the consummate musical storyteller who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, and love through her work. Touching upon the 1960s civil rights movement, the show draws into parallel the struggles of the civil rights movement today and questions how far we’ve really come.


Having played to packed out audiences at London’s Young Vic and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the show now comes to Birmingham as part of a UK tour. Some of Nina Simone’s best-loved songs such as ‘Feeling Good,’ ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’ and ‘I Loves You Porg’y combine with a clear provocation in this production directed by Dritëro Kasapi who said: “The music of Nina Simone is really iconic. She was a true pioneer, and a virtuoso musical storyteller. Josette lays her heart on the line in this production, just like Nina did performance after performance.”


Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE added: “When I began the artistic process for Nina – A Story About Me And Nina Simone, I thought that the piece was going to be about my relationship with Nina. I have found that it is much more than that. The production is about our relationship to each other, through the prism of Blackness.”

Nina – A Story About Me And Nina Simone will be at The REP from 6 – 10 March


Fresh from her hugely successful debut show ‘What Would Beyoncé Do?!’, star of Comic Relief and Live at The Apollo, Luisa Omelan will bring the cream of UK stand-up talent to Birmingham this February for a one-off comedy bonanza with 100% of all proceeds donated to Helena’s Hospice Foundation.

Featuring a phenomenal line up of some of the best comics in the country, Dead Funny, will see ten of the brightest stars in UK stand-up unite for a 2-hour comedy extravaganza featuring guest appearances by Sara Pascoe, Mo Gilligan, Tom Allen, Ellie Taylor, Iain Stirling, Dan Nightingale, Tez Ilyas, Jen Brister, Suzi Ruffell and Aaron Twitchen.

In October 2017, Luisa had a full UK tour booked in the diary, which was expected to be her signature ‘party with jokes in’ style of comedy. However, in July of 2017, Luisa sadly lost her mother to a short but extremely brutal battle with cancer. Luisa still wanted to take the stage and honour the tour dates, so instead, she opted to talk about her mother’s journey with raw, unrelenting emotion; culminating in a huge emotional performance of ‘Luisa: Live’ at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire – receiving praise from the likes of BBC commissioner Shane Allen, and Dawn French.

During this tour, Luisa received donations from audience members to kick start a charity in her dearly beloved mum’s name. And so, Helena’s Hospice Foundation was born. The foundation helps hospices around the UK by buying things that are not a priority on their budget but make a world of difference to those people experiencing end-of-life care; such as baths, family and guest beds, Sky TV, vending machines, beauty treatments etc.