Colors: Red Color

KAABOO has announced the 2019 lineup for its newest destination event, a multi-sensory experience in the Cayman Islands. KAABOO Cayman, set to take place February 15 + 16, 2019, will welcome internationally renowned EDM-pop duo The Chainsmokers and British new wave idols Duran Duran as headliners for its inaugural event overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Russian-German producer and DJ ZEDD, Pop-RnB platinum-selling artist Jason Derulo, Canadian super-star Bryan Adams and American rock band Counting Crows, join a multi-generational lineup including Flo Rida, Blondie, +Live+, Maren Morris, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Salt-N-Pepa ft. DJ Spinderella, Blues Traveller, Los Lobos, and many more. Comic canons Wanda Sykes, David Spade, Jenny Slate, Darrell Hammond and more will headline KAABOO's HUMOR ME stage. A confirmed listing of KAABOO Cayman's music and comedy line-up is below.

“We are thrilled to reveal our inaugural line-up for KAABOO Cayman,” says KAABOO's Chief Brand Officer, Jason Felts. “This signature line-up of multi-generational artists was thoughtfully curated to include a little something for everyone. As we extend our brand to paradise, KAABOO Cayman promises a weekend experience designed for the enjoyment of both locals and tourists alike.”

Set on the shores of the world famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, KAABOO Cayman will take place amidst a tropical climate where guests will enjoy a backdrop of crystal blue water and white sand beaches for an upscale, island getaway. With direct flights from London, KAABOO Cayman mirrors its San Diego counterpart, KAABOO Del Mar, in its plans to deliver an oasis providing the full spectrum of entertainment, aesthetics, and relaxation, imbibing the “Five Senses Under the Sun” brand motto.

“We are excited to welcome KAABOO to the Cayman Islands for its first international festival for both locals and visitors to enjoy,” said Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands. “The Cayman Islands' ease of accessibility to and from the U.S., coupled with our elite infrastructure and plenty of desirable lodging and culinary options, offers KAABOO the ideal destination for a unique Caribbean experience.”

In addition to bucket list multi-generational music headliners and comedians, all guests can expect mouth watering culinary delicacies at PALATE; stunning live murals and exhibits in ARTWORK; massages, hot shaves, and spa services in INDULGENCES; and beach vibes and ocean access at the BASK Day/Night Club adjacent to Seven Mile Beach (18+).

The work of American composer, pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington will be placed under the spotlight at a three-day conference taking place in Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire this month.

Held between Friday 25 and Sunday 27 May, the 25th International Duke Ellington Study Group Conference will celebrate the life, music and legacy of the pivotal figure – often credited as the artist who brought jazz in to the mainstream around the world.

Alongside themed panels of speakers, including Dr Harvey G Cohen (King's College London) and Dr Katherine Williams (Plymouth University), the event will showcase four concerts by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Ellington Orchestra, present numerous small group jam sessions and host the AGM of The Duke Ellington Society UK.

Conference co-organiser, Jeremy Price, Head of Jazz and Artistic Director of Eastside Jazz Club, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“Duke Ellington in many respects set out the blue print for jazz composition and is still the model band leader to anyone wanting to lead diverse creative talents in their own ensemble.

“He is the boss you would love to be and the boss you would love to have; enabling creativity of all around him through benevolent trust and shining example. These are just some of the reasons why he is so deserving of much scholarly attention and why academics and aficionados alike keep returning to this rich seam of fascinating jazz activity for their inspiration.

“This conference will also stand out for integrating abundant live performances, with our Ellington Orchestra doing several shows in our very own Eastside Jazz Club.”

Born Edward Kennedy Ellington in April 1899 in Washington D.C., he was nicknamed ‘Duke’ by a boyhood friend, and the moniker stuck. Self-taught at the piano, his influences were wide and varied – from religion to travel, and Shakespeare to Degas – and, as result, he created works in almost every conceivable medium, including solo songs, orchestral suites, church music and a full-length ballet.

Ellington and his orchestra performed all over the world, including extensively in Europe and entertaining audiences in UK cities such as Birmingham, Coventry and Cambridge.

The conference has been co-organised by the Jazz Studies research cluster at Birmingham City University, which is led by Professors Nicholas Gebhardt and Tony Whyton, and Dr Nicolas Pillai.

Although only five years old, the cluster boasts more than 40 members, including 10 jazz researchers from across Birmingham School of Media and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, eight doctoral students and leaders of the regional jazz community, as well as additional academic partners at University of Warwick, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and University of Music and the Performing Arts Graz (Austria).

Furthermore, the University’s new £57 million Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is home to Eastside Jazz Club, the first permanent jazz space in any UK conservatoire. In 2017, the Conservatoire launched its big band Ellington Orchestra, who are a regular fixture in the club.

Co-organiser, Dr Nicolas Pillai, Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University, said:

“This conference is a milestone for Birmingham City University in many ways. Not only is it the first academic jazz conference to be hosted in the fabulous new Conservatoire building but it has also been a wonderful opportunity for us to build collaborative links with The Duke Ellington Society UK.

“We are very lucky in Birmingham not only to have the hugely respected Jazz Department within the Conservatoire, led by Jeremy Price, but also a world-leading team of jazz researchers based in Birmingham School of Media. Events like this allow us to create exciting new connections between practice and research.

“I am looking forward to panels which will give us new insights into not just Ellington the man, but also models of collaborative creativity within his orchestra which have larger socio-cultural implications for us today. Ellington’s music was ultimately about connection and this conference will create a space for international scholars from various disciplines to discuss not just the historical but also the relevance of Ellington in the 21st century.”

Birmingham Royal Ballet says farewell to six dancers at the end of the 2017/18 season, including principals Nao Sakuma, Chi Cao and Jenna Roberts who give their final performances in June 2018 following long successful careers.

After joining the Company together in 1995, Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao have led Birmingham Royal Ballet in the classical repertoire for 23 years. Both renowned for their refined, virtuoso technique and sensitive dramatic interpretations, the pair have enjoyed a beautifully matched partnership. Together, they have produced outstanding performances throughout their careers, shining particularly in the 19th century classics of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

Chi Cao’s final performance will be with Nao Sakuma in Romeo and Juliet at Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday 30 June 7.30pm; an opportunity to celebrate the end of a career-long partnership.

Nao Sakuma’s final performance will be La Fille mal gardée at The Bristol Hippodrome on Friday 6 July, 7.30pm.

Jenna Roberts joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2003 and progressed rapidly through the Company, becoming a Principal in 2012. Jenna has danced, with great versatility, the leading roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Daphnis and Chloë and Cinderella. A favourite with audiences in Birmingham and the Company’s touring venues, she is particularly celebrated for her moving portrayal of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Additionally, she has created roles in Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces, Alexander Whitley’s Kin., Michael Corder’s Le Baiser de la fée and David Bintley’s The Tempest.

Alongside her impressive repertory, Jenna also danced Juliet in the Ballet Hoo! Ballet Changed My Life television series and has worked extensively with Freefall Dance Company – Birmingham Royal Ballet’s associate company for dancers with severe learning disabilities.

Jenna Roberts’s final performance will be Romeo and Juliet at Birmingham Hippodrome on Friday 29 June, 7.30pm.

Soloist Feargus Campbell leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after 13 years, during which time he has proved a highly valuable and popular member of the Company. His varied repertory includes Paris in Romeo and Juliet, Bottom in The Dream, Benno in Swan Lake, Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room and roles in David Bintley’s Carmina Burana, Faster and The Prince of the Pagodas.

Artist Anna Monleon leaves the Company after six years. Her performances include the White Cat in The Sleeping Beauty, Mrs Dimple in Pineapple Poll, Lead Czárdás and Mazurka in Coppélia and the Spanish Dance in The Nutcracker.

Artist Brogan McKelvey also leaves the Company at the end of the 2017/18 season to pursue choreographic and production opportunities across the country.

Wood Green will be part of the prestigious London Festival of Architecture this summer – hosting a treasure hunt with a difference.

The Find Wood Green hunt will run on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June between 10am and 4pm, taking in some of the area’s fascinating buildings, and many of the talented people based there.

Visitors will get a map packed full of great locations, from 70s brutalist buildings and old factories to more modern creations including the colourful two-story sheds at Blue House Yard.

From musicians and sculptors to chefs, jewellers, saddlers and more, there are a huge range of makers and doers in Wood Green. Visitors will be able to sample some of their talents, and, like all good treasure hunts, there will be prizes too.

Wood Green was chosen for the London Festival of Architecture from more than 400 proposals following a successful bid from Haringey Council. The festival – which has been running since 2004 – is Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival with 400,000 people attending in 2017.

Haringey Council’s Chief Executive Zina Etheridge said:

It’s fantastic that Wood Green will be part of such a massive London event and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to show its architectural treasures off to the rest of the capital and beyond. We have some fascinating buildings here and some brilliant people who make them shine. Our treasure hunt will showcase all of this and some hidden gems along the way – so make sure you sign up now.

The tour will start at Blue House Yard, 5 River Park Rd, Wood Green, London N22 7TB.

The UK's biggest folk band, The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, have announced details of their new mini-album, ‘Sleepy Maggie + Remixes Reworkings and Rarities’, which will be released on Sunday 10 June.

Formed at Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire by fiddle player and arranger Joe Broughton (The Urban Folk Quartet, The Albion Band, Joss Stone) in 1997, the band's touring line-up features a stage-challenging 50 members.

It’s been a heady 12 months for The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble. Their acclaimed studio album, ‘Painted’, racked up a string of jaw-dropping reviews, and the collective also guested on Fairport Convention’s acclaimed ‘50:50@50’ album.

Meanwhile, in their hometown of Birmingham the full band stunned commuters at New Street railway station with a pop-up gig, and they wowed audiences at one of the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebrations outside of Ireland for the second consecutive year.

Now the stage-shaking ensemble is preparing to head out for their annual summer tour – which includes the fifth edition of their very own festival, Power Folk – and are set to release their new mini-album, ‘Sleepy Maggie + Remixes Reworkings and Rarities’.

A four-and-a-half-minute instrumental, lead track ‘Sleepy Maggie’ encapsulates the ensemble’s richly layered and powerful sound. With sweeping strings, rolling percussion, tight brass, a fleeting guitar solo, and an unexpected Eastern vocal incursion, it’s a dramatic track, both muscular and delicate, and oozing global influences.

Joe Broughton, The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble leader, said: “’Sleepy Maggie’ is a traditional tune which we’ve deconstructed and rearranged in typical ensemble fashion, pulling in ideas from various members of the collective to create something that sounds very, very different from versions you might have heard before.

“The roots of the tune remain – which you can hear in the fiddles at the beginning – but the new arrangement heads off to some interesting and surprising places. It’s supposed to be deliciously over the top!”

The deconstruction continues with a series of surprising remixes and re-imaginings by various members of the ensemble that pushes ‘Sleepy Maggie’ further into new musical territories.

Joe Broughton added: “The idea of remixing the track is very much in keeping with the group’s approach to making music, of using what could be a straight-forward melody as the basis for a tune and seeing how that can be developed, or pushed, to create something that still acknowledges the original source, but is somehow transformed into something new and exciting.

“This project started out as the single ‘Sleepy Maggie’, and after I mentioned the possibility of doing some remixes, in the pub after rehearsal one night, the ideas started flowing. Before I knew it I had club remixes, Chinese groove-monsters, full on drum ’n’ bass and more flowing into my inbox. I thought perhaps we could release a few of these with the single, but they just kept on coming.”

The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble’s energetic live sets are a sight to behold, featuring a 15-piece horn section, four cello players, five percussionists and four electric guitarists, plus fiddles, flutes, clarinets, euphonium, tuba, and accordion. They also all sing too.

Though rooted in traditional folk tunes, the personal influences and interests of each member shapes the set-list, pulling in everything from full-on rock grooves, to funk, jazz, hip-hop and reggae, to sounds from Eastern Europe and Asia. It’s a sound they’ve dubbed ‘Power Folk’.

In their 21 years, the band – still based at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – have packed out the Royal Albert Hall, and played some of the biggest festivals in the UK. Welcoming students and staff from the Conservatoire ensures that the standard of musicianship remains exemplary.

The musicals spectacular led by David Mahoney will feature The Novello Orchestra and some of the West End’s most acclaimed singers. The star-studded line up will include leading lady Kerry Ellis (whose credits include Wicked and Les Misérables), Dancing on Ice winner and X Factor star Ray Quinn, and Lucie Jones (Legally Blonde, Ghost, Rent, We Will Rock You), fresh from representing the UK in last year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The Novello Orchestra has become synonymous with the glitz and glamour of the musicals, after recent acclaimed performances at the London Palladium, Wales Millennium Centre and Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The celebration of musical theatre will feature show-stopping songs from Wicked, Les Misérables, Chicago, Hairspray, Miss Saigon and many more - all under the baton of David Mahoney, one of the UK’s leading pops conductors.

The Novello Orchestra has become renowned for it’s passionate, enigmatic performances and a charisma that has injected an energy and innovative take on the whole orchestral concept. The orchestra brings the very best of musical theatre to audiences through spectacular shows with stars of the West End and Broadway, with passionate playing, breathtaking orchestrations and the class and elegance of a night at the Oscars.

David Mahoney said: “I can’t wait to hit the road with The Novello Orchestra and this amazing line up of artists. The show is set to be a stylish, sophisticated take on well-known musical show-stoppers as well as more contemporary repertoire. A night not to be missed!.”

Birmingham Bach Choir head into summer with Espressivo!, an eclectic selection of Italian choral music spanning four centuries, which will be performed at St Albarn's church, Highgate, Birmingham on 30 June 2018.

With a programme of both sacred and secular choral music, highlights include madrigals by two of the greatest Italians of their day, late Renaissance composers Claudio Monteverdi and Carlo Gesualdo.

Born in 1567 in the Duchy of Milan, Monteverdi was a pioneer who modernised church music and laid the foundations for opera. The spine tingling Rimanti in pace a la dolente e bella Fillida is from his third book of madrigals, published in 1592.

A controversial figure, the private life of Carlo Gesualdo, the Prince of Venosa, has tended to overshadow his musical accomplishments. He brutally murdered his wife and her lover, having caught them in the act, in 1590 (for which he was not punished), had a disastrous second marriage marred by accusations of abuse, lived in isolation, and shacked up with a witch. Yet, having spent much of his considerable time and resources on music, his madrigals are considered some of the most powerful and expressive ever written, much admired since their rediscovery in the mid-20th century.

The programme also features choral works by versatile Baroque composer Antonio Lotti, who produced masses, cantatas, madrigals, and around 30 operas; the celebrated Venetian Giovanni Gabrieli; lauded Renaissance organist and composer Girolamo Frescobaldi; Gioachino Rossini, the 18th century writer famed for The Barber of Seville; and concludes with three magical part-songs, written in the early 1940s by choral master Ildebrando Pizzetti.

Birmingham Bach Choir Chair Sarah Platt, said: “This night of Italian music includes unusual choral pieces by composers perhaps better known for other works, as well as some real surprises by lesser known figures. There’s real variety, from intensely moving Renaissance madrigals to Pizzetti’s beautiful combination of poetry and biblical texts.”

As part of the effort to restore Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, Sutton Coldfield Arts and Recreational Trust (SCART), the managing charity trust, are launching a new ‘Friends of the Town Hall’ initiative to raise funds for the historic, locally listed venue.

Sutton Coldfield’s landmark Town Hall, built in 1865, was recently taken over from the City Council by the Sutton Coldfield Arts and Recreational Trust, a team of local Arts and Heritage enthusiasts. Since the Town Hall was faced with closure, its staff have created a jam-packed calendar of events from musicals to comedy, from classical concerts to tribute nights and now, fundraisers.

This inaugural fundraiser will see the versatile venue’s curtain open to an original Al Jolson and Frank Sinatra musical that first premiered in 2010 to great acclaim. Branded a “refreshing, slick piece of theatre” Ain’t No Angels, a show by Role-Play Productions and written by Ken Wragg, pits the two warring giants of the entertainment world against one another whilst stuck in purgatory waiting to discover whether they get to go “up” or “down”. With a narrative that looks back over each of the icons’ lives, this is a story “told to absolute perfection” and is most definitely not one to miss!

For this fundraiser, fifty percent of the proceeds of Ain’t No Angels ticket sales will go straight to the Town Hall Charity trust to help facilitate much needed improvements to the building to provide a valuable asset for Sutton Coldfield and the wider area. Money raised from the “Friends of the Town Hall” schemes will go towards projects such as updating the toilet facilities, refreshing the décor and revamping the dressing rooms to ensure the Town Hall remains a vibrant and inviting venue for many years to come.

Shiiine On is set to launch a new one day festival at Birmingham’s Genting Arena, taking place on Saturday 8 September 2018.  The incredible line-up includes more than 20 iconic bands and a Hacienda afterparty.  Orbital, Shed Seven Happy Mondays & Julian Cope headline and will be joined by a stellar supporting cast.

Over four stages there will be performances from: Orbital // Shed Seven // Happy Mondays // Embrace // Glasvegas // Julian Cope // Reverend & The Makers // Black Grape // Cast // Gang Of Four // The Wedding Present // Dreadzone // A Certain Ratio // Jim Bob (Carter USM) // Bentley Rhythm Ace // Thousand Yard Stare // The Stairs // Smoove & Turrell // Psyence // Deja Vega // Todd Terry // Marshall Jefferson //  Steve Lamacq // Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene) // Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets) // Jon Dasilva // Uke2

The all-day event will be headlined by dance pioneers Orbital who are set to mark their 30th year at the forefront of dance music in style.  Renowned for their headline slots at Glastonbury amongst others, they will perform their full festival show in Birmingham.

Also playing the Main Stage are Indie heroes Shed Seven who are riding high on the success of their recent top ten album ‘Instant Pleasures’, and Happy Mondays who after 30 years in the business remain as one of the most important bands around.

In a never seen before line up exclusive, Shaun Ryder will support himself with a Black Grape set earlier in the day.  The Main Stage also features performances  from Embrace who are celebrating a top five album with 'Love Is A Basic Need' and Liverpool legends Cast.

Glasvegas will also play the Main Stage and are set to perform a special anniversary show celebrating ten years since the release of their debut album.

On the Forum Live Stage there will be a rare festival performance from Julian Cope.  The epic supporting cast comes from The Wedding Present, Gang Of Four, A certain Ratio, The Stairs, The Membranes, Psyence and Deja Vega.

The outdoor stage, sponsored by Eventim, features headliners Reverend And The Makers who will be joined by Dreadzone and Bentley Rhythm Ace. Jim Bob performs a solo set and his Carter USM bandmate Fruitbat’s band Abdoujaparov and Smoove & Turrell complete the line-up.

In Forum Live, Star Shaped bring us their Britpop disco featuring Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock.  Steve will be playing best of his Northern Soul and Motown collection.

The “In conversation” stage hosts Steve Lamacq who will be performing his "Going Deaf for a Living" show and Steve "Adj" Atherton relaying hilarious tales of his time with the Stone Roses.

Senior Venue Sales Manager for the Genting Arena, Alex Ginever said: “These are the artists that sound tracked a golden era of music, and to have them all play this one day line-up is going to be epic!  The Genting Arena is becoming a firm favourite as an alternative festival location for organisers and we’re sure that gig-goers are going to love it.”

Ticket prices include entry to two special aftershow parties.  In the Main Arena the Hacienda will descend on Birmingham with Todd Terry headlining a superb line up alongside Marshall Jefferson and Jon Dasilva.

The unbelievable life story of one of Bollywood’s most controversial actors comes to life in the teaser for Rajkumar Hirani’s SANJU, which has been released. Ranbir Kapoor stars in the hotly anticipated biopic based on the dramatic life of actor Sanjay Dutt.

Releasing worldwide on 29th June 2018, Sanju is an exploration of one man’s battle against the more wild aspects of his nature and the powerful forces around him that threaten to engulf him. More than the story of an actor, the film depicts the journey of a man who endures everything that life can throw at him.

The trailer begins with an unrecognisable Ranbir Kapoor inhabiting the role of a more recognisable modern-day Sanjay Dutt, as he recounts his “rollercoaster ride” of a life. The audience is then treated to glimpses of various moments from Dutt’s tumultuous life, from his experience as a drug addict at 22 to the superstar lifestyle in his prime, to his time locked away as a prisoner.

Kapoor’s resemblance to Dutt throughout his life is uncanny, with the actor embodying the film’s tagline “one man…many lives”.

The film also features a supporting cast made up of recognisable faces including Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, Dia Mirza, Vicky Kaushal, Jim Sarbh and Boman Irani.

Audiences are sure to be thrilled to see the stars of today playing the stars of yesterday.

Fasten your seatbelts for this turbulent ride – the unbelievable yet true story will shock and surprise cinema-goers!

Lakeside Proms will be heading to the NEC this summer, for two spectacular open air performances by the internationally renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Having performed in major concert venues across the world, this will be a unique opportunity to experience its classical sounds right here in Birmingham.

The perfect setting for an outdoor summer’s evening, the NEC Lakeside will play host to the event, offering two different styles of music across the weekend, with each show concluding with a dramatic firework display finale across the lake!

Saturday 4th August - Symphonic Rock

Hear your musical heroes come to life for one epic night, in this must-see show of classic rock anthems and hit songs.  The show will feature a spectacular light show to accompany the iconic music of:  Queen, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Eagles and many more.

Sunday 5th August – The Music of John Williams

The Orchestra will celebrate the musical brilliance of John Williams, undoubtedly one of the world's most prolific and respected film composers. As the most Oscar-nominated man alive, Williams has unleashed the power of the film score in over seventy-five blockbuster classics.

In this action-packed show, the Orchestra will perform his superb orchestrations and legendary melodies, including music from the likes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Hook, Fiddler on the Roof, Home Alone, and War Horse.

 

Brits love gameshows and for decades shows such as Catchphrase, Wheel of Fortune and University Challenge have had the nation hooked, often playing along at home from the comfort of their sofas, however it’s The Chase that’s been crowned the nation’s favourite.

To celebrate the UK’s love of quiz shows, ScS, one of the UK’s leading sofa and carpet specialists, conducted research1 to determine the favourite gameshows of all time, and the ones people would most like to appear on themselves.

When it comes to quiz shows, it turns out that the nation loves a mixture of new and classic shows, with recent programmes such as The Chase and Tipping Point joining the ranks along with classic shows like Gladiators and It’s a Knockout.

The top 10 gameshows to watch were voted as:

1.     The Chase

2.     The Crystal Maze

3.     Catchphrase

4.     Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

5.     Pointless

6.     Tipping Point

7.     Countdown

8.     Family Fortunes

9.     It’s a Knockout

10.  Gladiators

‘Our Country’s Good,’ is on its way to Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Looking at the first British convict colony to land in Australia, this new touring production is brought to life by the brilliant Ramps on the Moon.

Based on an extraordinary true story and set in 1787, this gripping and powerful drama ‘Our Country's Good,’ tells the extraordinary true story of a group of convicts transported to Australia as a punishment for their crimes. Survival is by no means certain in this strange, unfamiliar world, yet an officer inspires them to rehearse and perform a play – Australia’s first theatrical production. Facing opposition, supply shortages, abuse and the threat of hangings, the odds are seemingly stacked against them.

2018 marks 30 years since the premiere of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Olivier Award-winning epic at the Royal Court.

Depicting true events, and based on Thomas Keneally’s best-selling novel ‘The Playmaker,’ ‘Our Country’s Good’ received great critical acclaimtransferring to the West End and Broadway and winning the Olivier Award for Play of the Year and the New York Drama Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. Now, Timberlake’s remarkable play is recognised as a modern classic exploring themes of crime, punishment and rehabilitation.

Directing ‘Our Country’s Good’ is Nottingham Playhouse associate director, Fiona Buffini. For her, the play seeks to find the humanity in everyone, its convicts and army officers alike. Its argument, she says, is between those that believe people don’t change and those convinced that they both can and do.

She says: “It insists on the possibility of redemption,” she says. “It’s about seeing beyond stereotypes and giving people access to all kinds of things that they’re normally denied. It’s about seeing people as human beings.”

‘Our Country’s Good’ is at The REP from May 23 to June 2.

The National Theatre is encouraging primary school teachers across the Midlands to join its newly launched programme, Let’s Play, which gives schools the chance to put on a play specially commissioned and developed by the National Theatre.

Let’s Play commissions exciting new plays with songs and music for children to perform and provides teachers with training and professional development to help them create an extraordinary piece of theatre with children at both Key Stage 1 and 2. New plays commissioned for Let’s Play include A Quest for Arthur, a lively re-telling of the legends of King Arthur, Megaball, an original piece exploring friendship, and Hercules and Phoebe, inspired by the Greek myth.

The programme inspires creative learning across the curriculum and pupils will have the opportunity to get involved with all aspects of planning and creating a theatre production – from performing to designing costumes to operating sound. Let’s Play aims to bring together the whole school community to celebrate the creation of a school play and the achievements of all involved. The National Theatre is aiming to recruit at least 700 schools across the UK to take part in Let's Play over the next 3 years.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director at the National Theatre said, “It is great to see that so many schools across the UK have already signed up so their pupils can take part in Let’s Play this Summer term. We would like to welcome more teachers from across the Midlands and there is still time to join if they act fast. At the National we believe all young people should have the chance to see, make and explore theatre as a core part of their education. With Let’s Play we are providing everything a school might need to produce a school play and an approach to creativity that brings together the whole school community, including teachers, pupils and parents.  This is part of our commitment to support teachers and schools to ensure the arts, including drama and theatre, play a vital part in school life.”

Let’s Play was launched last month by Sir Lenny Henry, a member of the National Theatre’s board of trustees, at Hill Mead Primary School in Brixton.

Schools are encouraged to visit nationaltheatre.org.uk/letsplay to find out more about the programme and to register to apply. Recruitment to take part in the programme starting this summer term closes at the end of April 2018 and includes a special introductory offer which gives schools access to the programme for an additional term at no extra cost (usually £350 per academic year).

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation is supporting the programme across the UK.  Catherine Sutton, Senior Grants Manager from PHF commented “School productions are important occasions in the primary school calendar and a valuable vehicle for pupils’ learning. Let’s Play will enable schools to extend and deepen the opportunities for creative teaching and learning offered by school productions, to build teachers’ knowledge and confidence and to develop children’s skills and enjoyment of drama and theatre. We’re delighted to be supporting this new programme.”

Malaga's Gran Hotel Miramar brought together some of the finest culinary talents in Spain and Latin America last night for a special Gala Dinner to celebrate the 21st Festival de Malaga Cine en Espanol. Reflecting the city's explosion onto the foodie scene as a culinary destination to rival the world's best, the gastronomic spectacle was an exclusive collaboration of world-renowned champions of Spanish and Latin American cuisine – including Michelin-starred Chefs Benito Gomez and Diego Gallegos.

The evening saw Gomez and Gallegos team up with internationally renowned chefs such as Fernando Rivarola (Argentina) and Charlie Collins (Panama), not to mention Gran Hotel Miramar's very own Head Chef, Diego Nicás, to create an 11-course Tasting Menu as part of Cinema Cocina, a programme of activities organised by Lumen Proyectos Gastronómicos  to coincide with the film festival.

Throughout the evening, guests were treated to savour delicacies from a variety of tasting stations including hand-carved acorn-fed Iberico ham; special Gold Coast oysters and exceptional Polanco Caviar, in addition to award-winning cheeses and wines from the province. Among the appetisers were steamed oyster, marrow, sea fennel and caviar, created by Benito Gómez; Ilama carpaccio with quinoa and amaranth, by Fernando Rivarola; and Crab and Hake cooked in Sherry, from Diego Nicás, among others.

The Gala Dinner also marked the start of an exciting summer season of new culinary launches at Gran Hotel Miramar celebrating the local produce of the Costa del Sol's culinary hotspot.

Headlining the Jam House in May are the superb, New York based disco band who shot to fame in the 1970’s with the UK number 1 ‘Use It Up Wear It Out’ and club floor fillers such as ‘Going Back to My Roots’, ‘Native New Yorker’ and ‘Inside Out’.

Following the steps of his Mother, Lillian Lopez-Callazo Jackson the group’s original founder, the group is now led and fronted by Steven Callazo.  Sharing the stage with Steven are Jerdene Wilson, Tracy Roma and Romina Johnson, reproducing the stunning sounds of Odyssey that has had people up on the dancefloor for well over three decades. Romina Johnson is well known for her vocals and collaboration with producer Artful Dodger on the 2000 hit song ‘Movin’ Too Fast’.

Odyssey’s tracks have been covered by artists such as Tindersticks, Simple Pleasure, Electribe 101, Phyllis Hyman and Esther Phillips amongst others. The band have continued touring, performing and making television appearances throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East and have remained a popular disco band.

Steven Callazo of Odyssey said “Being born and bred in a major city, one can always appreciate another’s pulse; it’s flow, vibrancy and unique personality. What I like about “Brum” (as I know it to be affectionately called) is its diversity of people and contrasts of old and new which somehow sit side by side, and best of y’all is some partyin’ peeps! Lookin’ forward to our return to Birmingham for our annual jam at the Jam House, we always have a warm welcome from the managers, staff and the people who come and see us. As the journey that is Odyssey continues, it’s gonna’ be a party y’all…”