Colors: Red Color

Reggae’s reigning queen; Etana is the first Jamaican female nominee to be a part of the Grammy’s live red carpet telecast. According to major global media outlets, she represented well for her country and genre. Multiple outlets placed her on their ‘Best Dressed’ list. Not only is this a win for the singer/ songwriter, it is also a win for Jamaica's fashion industry as her dress was custom made by a local female designer.

With offers to wear and promote world famous luxury fashion brands, Etana politely declined. She was unwavering in her decision to use Melissa Dunkley, a popular fashion designer. She chose a pink ensemble, that highlighted the under-represented females, in the male dominated industry of which she is a part. Etana also selected pants opposed to a dress, indicating she was just as strong as her male counterparts.

According to Etana; "I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to attend the Grammys. I accomplished my objective of making the most of the opportunity. I am thankful to my fans for their continued support, Andre Morris, Tads Records, Sharon Burke, Junior ‘Heavy-D’ Fraser, Tarrus Riley, Gramps Morgan, DJ Courtney, Jessie Adleman, Khambrel McPherson, Clive Hunt, Chevaughn as well as all the singers, musicians and engineers who made this project possible.

I applaud all the media outlets that featured me in their Grammy reviews.”

Nominated for ‘Best Reggae Album of the Year,’ Jamaican singer Etana, a.k.a. Shauna McKenzie, celebrated the occasion with a bubble-gum pink lip colour that matched her ensemble perfectly. Long, dark lashes and her gorgeous spirals completed the look.

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre have announced a new young persons’ stand-up comedy project - ‘Stand Up If You Think You’re Funny’ - providing seven free 2 hour workshops to anyone aged 11-16. Throughout these workshops, participants will devise, write and rehearse their own 5 minute piece of stand-up comedy.

The workshops will happen under the guidance of actress and comedian Janice Connolly, well known for her role as Holy Mary in ‘Phoenix Nights,’ starring alongside Peter Kay. Janice is also a well-loved stand-up comedy circuit headliner as her alter-ego Mrs Barbara Nice and is a founder member of the award winning Birmingham-based theatre company; Women & Theatre and has been Artistic Director for the past 20 years. In 2017, she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Community Arts within the West Midlands.

Grand Theatre’s James Collins said; “To be able to work with Janice to offer these workshops is just another way that we’re able to reach out to the community, especially to local young people. I’m thrilled to be able to offer them the support of one of the region’s most respected comedy perfomers, Janice Connolly, known for her work both locally and nationally across stage and screen. It will be an invaluable opportunity for anyone who takes part to learn the craft of stand-up comedy and an opportunity to perform at the theatre where so many comedians have made the city laugh.”

The workshops - commence on Saturday May 18 - will accumulate in the participants performing their own 5-minute piece of stand-up comedy in an exclusive free show for their family and friends in the Grand Theatre’s Encore Lounge, hosted by Barbara Nice.

It will run every Saturday until June 29 with the exclusive show performed on the afternoon of June 30.

 

 

 

A surge of support and celebration for women in film ahead of this year’s Oscars ceremony has prompted ODEON Cinemas to produce a range of ‘Osc-her’ statues.

Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born) and Janet Gaynor (the first ever woman to win an Oscar) have been recreated as Osc-her statues and were unveiled at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square today.

The move comes as ODEON research* found that 3 in 4 Brits (75%) would like to see more women represented in the film awards show. Positively, this year has the most female Oscar nominees in history, however no females were nominated in the Best Director category.

Since the Oscars began in 1927, only 10.7 percent of all winners have been women** – the first being Janet Gaynor in 1929 for her role in the film Seventh Heaven.

The Best Actress category is dividing opinion amongst film fans with the nation’s sweetheart Olivia Colman (34%) and film industry newcomer Lady Gaga (15%) two of the top picks to win the award

Bohemian Rhapsody is the clear preference for Best Film (24%) with lead Rami Malek (25%) the people’s choice for Best Actor.

Industry veteran but first time Oscar-nominee Sam Elliot (25%) is the nation’s favourite for Best Supporting Actor for his role in A Star is Born. Emma Stone (23%) and Margot Robbie (23%) are joint top choices for Best Supporting Actress for period dramas The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots.

Carol Welch, Managing Director, ODEON UK & Ireland said: “It’s been fantastic to see such a strong line up of talented women up for award nominations this year. We’ve been treated to a fabulous set of films with The Favourite and A Star is Born as stand out highlights, so it’s no surprise to see the high hopes for Olivia Colman and Lady Gaga. We are proud to be leading this celebration of women in film and look forward to hearing the results come Oscars night.”

Nation’s Favourite for Best Actor:

  1. Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody (25%)
  2. Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born (13%)
  3. Christian Bale – Vice (10%)
  4. Willem Dafoe - At Eternity’s Gate (3%)
  5. Viggo Mortensen - Green Book (3%)
Nation’s Favourite for Best Actress:
  1. Olivia Colman - The Favourite (34%)
  2. Lady Gaga - A Star Is Born (15%)
  3. Glenn Close - The Wife (4%)
  4. Melissa McCarthy - Can You Ever Forgive Me? (4%)
  5. Yalitza Aparicio – Roma (0%)
Nation’s Favourite for Best Film:
  1. Bohemian Rhapsody (24%)
  2. The Favourite (16%)
  3. A Star is Born (12%)
  4. Black Panther (6%)
  5. Green Book (3%)
  6. BlacKkKlansman (2%)
  7. Roma (3%)
  8. Vice (1%)
 

Gloucester Rugby and Music Plus Sport have announce Nile Rodgers & CHIC as the next headliners in their summer season of concerts, headlining on Sunday June 9.

Announcing Olly Murs (Friday June 7) as the first headliner at the end of last year, the show soon became one of the hottest tickets in the history of Gloucester Rugby with Nile Rodgers & CHIC expecting to follow suit.

Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music.

As the co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping hits like “Le Freak,” sparked the advent of hip-hop with “Good Times,” and won CHIC 11 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations. His work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie (incl. ‘Lets Dance’), Diana Ross (incl. ‘Upside Down’, ‘I’m Coming Out’) and Madonna (incl. ‘Material Girl’, ‘Like A Virgin’) have sold over 300 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide while his innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Sigala, Disclosure and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music.

Releasing their ninth studio album ‘It’s About Time’ in 2018, the release saw the band once again work the cream of the crop of the current music stars ranging from Mura Masa and Stefflon Don to Lady Gaga.

Stephen Vaughan CEO of Gloucester Rugby said; “We are delighted to announce that Nile Rodgers and Chic will be the second act performing at Kingsholm in the summer of 2019 a couple of days after Olly Murs.

Nile Rodgers is an absolute legend in the world of music. He has written, produced and performed on albums that have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Kingsholm Stadium is a unique venue which provides a special setting & atmosphere for concerts and Nile Rodgers and CHIC will put on a superb evening’s entertainment, one that we’re all really looking forward to.”

Co-Founder of promoters Music Plus Sport Simon Halden, MD said; “We are thrilled to bring the legendary Nile Rodgers & CHIC to Kingsholm Stadium for what will no doubt be a highlight of the summer alongside Olly Murs.  Gloucestershire crowds have consistently delivered a great atmosphere for the shows we put on and we know 2019 will be no different.”

Expect to hear some of the best-known pop anthems from the last four decades. With more than 200 production credits to his name, the scope of Nile Rodgers' peerless influence is undeniable.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy®-winning singer and songwriter Ozzy Osbourne has been forced to postpone the entire UK and European leg of his “NO MORE TOURS 2” tour on doctors’ orders.

This follows the announcement that Osbourne was postponing the first four dates of the tour because of the flu. After seeing his physician again, Osbourne has been diagnosed with a severe upper-respiratory infection which the doctor feels could develop into pneumonia given the physicality of the live performances and an extensive travel schedule throughout Europe in harsh winter conditions.

Statement from Ozzy “I’m completely devastated for having to postpone the European leg of my tour. It just seems that since October everything I touch has turned to shit. First the staph infection in my thumb and now coming down with the flu and bronchitis. I want to apologize to all of my fans who have been so loyal over the years, my band, my crew and to Judas Priest for letting you all down. However, I promise the tour with Judas Priest will be completed. It’s being rescheduled right now to start in September. Again, I apologize to everyone. God Bless. Love you all, Ozzy.”

A new date for the postponed Resorts World Arena show will be confirmed in due course.

Following the GRAMMY’s, where Sting and Shaggy were awarded Best Reggae Album for their collaborative UK Top Ten hit record 44/876, the pair have announced their return to the UK with ‘The 44/876 Tour.’  A series of intimate and exclusive shows will begin at London’s Camden Roundhouse this May 19th with additional dates in Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester.

2018 saw the duo bring ‘The 44/876 Tour’ to North America, South America and Eastern Europe. Hailed “one of the most anticipated concerts of the year” and “a reggae rock dance party that never lets up,” the show sees the pair collaborating on each other’s most celebrated hits such as ‘Every Breath You Take,’ ‘Englishman In New York,’ ‘Message In A Bottle,’ ‘It Wasn’t Me,’ ‘Mr. Boombastic’ and ‘Angel,’ as well as new hits from 44/876, which was awarded the 2019 GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album.

In Spring of 2018, Sting amd Shaggy made UK headlines with a memorable performance of ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ at Queen Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday celebration at the Royal Albert Hall. The track also featured on their collaborative Top Ten album release, dubbed ‘fantastically catchy.’ The pair also performed the track live on BBC’s The One Show, and in the latest series of ‘Mrs. Browns Boys.’

2018 also saw the release of ‘Skank Up (Oh Lawd),’ a further collaboration from Sting & Shaggy that featured dancehall music sensation Ding Dong. The pair’s latest music video, ‘Gotta Get Back My Baby’ is available to watch here. 2019 will also soon see the release of the pair’s next single, ‘Just One Lifetime.’

Sting and Shaggy will be joined on The 44/876 Tour by Sting’s longtime collaborators Dominic Miller (guitar), Josh Freese (drums) and Rufus Miller (guitar), as well as Shaggy’s band members Melissa Musique (backing vocals), Gene Noble (backing vocals) and Kevon Webster (keyboards).

Enjoy a very special evening with Don Powell, the charismatic drummer of Black Country rock legends Slade!

Ably assisted by rock giant’s Poet Laureate Paul Cookson and singer/songwriter Les Glover, you can expect conversation, poetry, music, and a trip down memory lane with some exclusive insights into the music and life with arguably the best 'live' band of all time.

Born in Bilston, Powell, who started drumming on a borrowed Olympic kit as a youngster, wsa a member of the band who dominated the UK charts during the early 1970s, outperforming chart rivals such as WizzardSweetT. RexSuzi QuatroMudSmokieGary GlitterRoxy Music and David Bowie – with more singles in the UK than any other group of the 1970s. In 1973 alone, ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ sold over one million copies globally, obtaining gold disc status.

He later released his biography ‘Look Wot I Dun - My Life in Slade’ - Oh, and watch out for a world exclusive.. or two!

Join Don at The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton on Friday 18 October 2019.

 

Blue Planet II – Live In Concert – the highly anticipated arena tour from the BAFTA Award winning television series – launches on February 12 and includes concerts in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium, before arriving at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham on March 16.

The concert will take highlight sequences from across the series, each introduced by host Anita Rani live on stage, supported by the emotive orchestral accompaniment of the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra who will be performing Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and David Fleming’s immersive score, conducted by Matthew Freeman.

Blue Planet II – Live In Concert will transport you, via the gigantic 4K Ultra HD LED screen and through the power of music, deep underwater for two hours of drama, entertainment, stunning visuals and majestic orchestrations.

Watch surfing dolphins, powerful killer whales and the beautiful clownfish in breathtaking musical sequences. The tentacles of jellyfish and octopus fill the screen while the ‘boiling sea’ Spinner Baitball sequence features a who’s who of amazing ocean predators in a wild feeding frenzy.

The dramatic music brings the oceans to life as the audience are immersed in an emotional journey of glorious beauty, nail-biting tension, tranquil relaxation and profound questioning of how human action is affecting our marine families.

Conductor Matthew Freeman says: “Seeing the footage in these huge arenas on an enormous LED screen, with all that colour and those underwater worlds so closely photographed, accompanied by a 64-piece orchestra and a 16-voice choir through a huge, state-of-the-art PA system, it really is a phenomenal and powerful experience. We have extraordinary visuals, heightened with music that takes the viewer to another level. It’s really quite emotional.”

In addition to conducting the likes of Mozart, Rossini and Sibelius with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall, Matthew is also the Musical Supervisor of the Olivier Award-nominated musical The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas, which has toured the world and had repeated West End success. He’s also worked as musical director for Dame Shirley Bassey and produced and arranged huge orchestral productions of work by ABBA, Queen and George Michael amongst many others.

The world’s most beloved tenor,Andrea Bocelli, is delighted to announce that the queen of British Soul Beverley Knight will join him on his highly anticipated upcoming headline tour this autumn, which includes a date at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena.

2019 sees Beverley celebrate an incredible 25 years as a major performing and recording artist, which includes selling over a million albums in the UK alone. Knight is also a successful West End star, having performed in The Bodyguard, Memphis and Cats.

Andrea Bocelli rounded 2018 off in style with sell-out shows in London and Dublin, as well as achieving his first number one in the UK album charts. The release of his highly anticipated 16-track album ‘Si’ gave Bocelli his first UK number one album, which was also the first classical number one in The Official Album Charts.

 

‘Si’ is Bocelli’s first all-new material album in 14 years – billed as “a celebration of love, family, faith and hope”. ‘Si’ features tracks co-written with Ed Sheeran and Tiziano Ferro as well as duets with Dua Lipa, fellow contemporary classical star Josh Groban and soprano Aida Garifullina. The album also sees Bocelli’s 20-year old son Matteo collaborate with him on the track ‘Fall On Me’ which appears on the soundtrack to the upcoming Disney movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Reportedly the biggest selling solo classical artist of all time with over 80 million worldwide album sales, Bocelli has performed for four US Presidents, two Popes and many Royal families across the world, as well as at high-profile ceremonies for the Olympic Games and the World Cup. The Maestro has countless music awards to his name over the past 25 years in music and even boasts a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which he received in 2010 for his contribution to live theatre.

Bocelli is acclaimed worldwide as one of the most accomplished representatives of Italy’s finest vocal tradition, his rich and unique voice being one of the most distinctive of all time. The tenor actively supports numerous philanthropic causes furthering medical and scientific research, tackling poverty, as well as promoting compulsory primary education worldwide.

His 2019 date in Birmingham will showcase songs from Bocelli’s latest album as well as a wide repertoire from across his previous 15 studio albums, and is set to be one of the most hotly anticipated live performances of 2019.

Singer/songwriter Tom Walker wowed students and lecturers alike as he roared into South & City College Birmingham’s Digbeth campus to mark the college’s new partnership with record label Relentless, with the BRIT nominee appearing as one of the most charismatic, approachable and engaging music stars you are likely to see.

Up for ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ Glasgow-born, Mancunian, Tom – whose label include the like of So Solid Crew, Professor Green Nadia Rose and KT Tunstall - was well on tact with a short snippet of some of his great hits, including; ‘Just You & I,’ ‘Walk Alone,’ ‘Leave A Light On’ and ‘Just You And I’ which went down a treat with a packed college auditorium.

“I hope our partnership might even unearth the next Tom Walker right here at South & City College,” said a delighted College Principal, Mike Hopkins.

Stopping off on his way to appear and perform on BBC’s Live Lounge, Walker, who cites influences ranging from Ray Charles to Muddy Waters and even-up-and-coming London artist Ray BLK, signed to Relentless Records not long after securing management interest from Covert Talent Management.

A triple-bill of classic movies starring Laurel and Hardy, the greatest double-act of all time, is to be screened at Stourbridge Town Hall on Sunday 7 April 2019.

The Very Best of Laurel and Hardy features three films by Stan and Ollie, whose comedy adventures continue to delight audiences the world over, 80 years after they were produced.

Presented by Birmingham Comedy Festival the screening includes The Music Box, which won the 1932 Academy Award for Best Comedy Short and sees the two famously struggling to deliver a piano, and 1928's silent masterpiece, The Finishing Touch.

Concluding the bill is 1933's Sons of The Desert which finds 'The Boys' hatching a cunning plan to deceive their wives so they can attend a lodge convention in Chicago.

The films will be introduced by John Ullah, Grand Sheik of The Laughing Gravy Tent (the Birmingham branch of the international Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society), and author of 'This Is More Than I Can Stand,' the biography of Birmingham-born Laurel and Hardy co-star Charlie Hall.

John said: “Come and enjoy Laurel and Hardy in three of their best loved films – spanning their work from silent, to talkies to feature film.  With some classic slapstick, iconic moments, and plenty of laughs.”

Alex Jackson, booker for Dudley Borough Halls, said: "We’re delighted to be working with the excellent Birmingham Comedy Festival again following the sell-out success of last year’s Lost Hancocks show in Stourbridge."

The bowler hat-wearing Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were two of cinema's greatest stars. First paired in the late 1920s, they made over 100 screen appearances together before retiring in the 1950s. Still popular today, the story of the duo's farewell tour is recounted in the new film, the BAFTA-nominated Stan and Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly.

Caribbean-styled carnival culture has now grown to state of popularity where it is embraced by millions across the globe and transcends all ages, races, geographical backgrounds and sexual orientations. Nadelle Lewis has been making major strides to ensure that Carnival remains inclusive and accessible to women of various body shapes and sizes via her body-positive #everyBODYplayahmas movement.

Over the past few years, Nadelle who wears many hats including plus-sized model, event coordinator, project manager, entrepreneur and advocate has been strategically utilizing this movement to champion the cause of Inclusion, Body Acceptance & Full-Figured Representation in the international Carnival industry.

The Toronto-based beauty has graced numerous international catwalks, broken ground as pioneer plus-sized model at Canadian Carnival band launches and is a steadfast lover and participant in Carnival parades and festivities throughout the Caribbean and North-America.

Her current mission with this body-positive movement is to encourage more full-figured representation in all Carnival-related media, marketing materials and band launch runways, to challenge public perception and insensitivity regarding curvier masqueraders and to promote a confident self-image and support for women of all sizes in their desire to participate in the liberating experience of playing mas.

The momentum of #everyBODYplayahmas has been rippling across the region, diaspora and Carnival-loving world, as Nadelle continues to spread her message of diversity in Caribbean carnivals via her web and social media platforms.

She shared, “It is disheartening when people, especially women, feel that they have to look like those that are showcased in popular marketing materials in order to participate and play mas.”

#everyBODYplayahmas has so far received positive feedback from the public and support from the carnival industry for its realistic depiction of masqueraders. It has gained many followers who frequently use the hashtag online, as the community is viewed as an inclusive safe-space for women to unite, share their stories, embrace their beauty and accept their flaws without public shaming or self-criticism.

As corporate entities like Dove, Sports Illustrated, and Mattel (makers of Barbie) have embraced a message of inclusion with the branding of their products, the dynamic and determined Nadelle considers #everyBODYplayahmas to be an integral asset to Carnival mas bands in their incorporation of more diverse product branding strategies and their changing the way women view their bodies.

In addition to mas bands & designers, for 2019 #everyBODYplayahmas will be partnering and collaborating with several similar-minded Carnival-based businesses such as Carnival Concierges, Carnival tights, footwear, Monday wear & accessories creators and distributors.

Look out for Nadelle and the #everyBODYplayahmas ambassadors at several international festival events which include Carnivals in T&T, Jamaica, Bermuda, the US, Canada, Europe and the famous Ubersoca Cruise. Nadelle and team are always open to connecting and networking with persons around the globe who are interested in joining the movement.

WV Active will be holding its first Fitness Fest event of the year at WV Active Bilston–Bert Williams this weekend.

People are invited to join in with free fitness activities including Les Mills classes, new track releases and exciting giveaways on Saturday (12 January, 2019).

The free classes on offer include Body Pump, Body Attack, Body Balance and Les Mills Tone.

The New Year party-themed event runs from 9am-2pm and those attending are asked to wear black and white sports attire. Free tickets are available now and can be collected from the reception desks at WV Active Bilston–Bert Williams, WV Active Aldersley and WV Active Central.

Councillor Steve Evans, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: “Gyms are always popular at this time of year, and WV Active’s Fitness Fest gives our existing members and non-members the chance to see what our leisure centres have to offer and try out our classes for free.

“I would encourage people to make the most of the activities on offer at this fantastic event.”

The Fitness Fest is open to existing WV Active members as well as those who aren’t already members of the City of Wolverhampton Council-run leisure centres.

He can fly! Thanks to Birmingham’s ‘Bear Grylls Adventure,’ Peter Pan was given the opportunity to soar high in the sky without the use of pixie dust.

Cast members from Birmingham Hippodrome’s spectacular pantomime, ‘Peter Pan’ took to the iFly wind tunnel which simulates the experience of freefalling at 12,000 feet before plunging out the rear of a landed helicopter down an exhilarating zipline.

Union J band member, Jaymi Hensley, who plays Peter Pan in the production, was joined by Cassie Compton (Wendy), Kellie Gnauck (Tinkerbell) and Walsall’s own Imogen Brooke (Tiger Lily).

‘The Bear Gryll’s Adventure’ features a number of headline activities that replicate some of Bear’s incredible adventures including indoor skydiving, climbing walls with routes replicating famous mountain terrains including El Capitan and Fontainebleau, the highest high ropes course in Europe, and diving with sharks. Visit beargryllsadventure.com/ticketsfor further information and to buy tickets.

‘Peter Pan’ runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday January 27

As part of the third Wolverhampton Literature Festival from Friday, February 1 to Sunday, February 3 there will be theatre and performances taking place across the city’s venues.

Audiences can join in the theatre Podcast with Richard Herring at Bilston Town Hall, or the Arena Theatre’s Wolves Lit Fest Open Mic Hubs are providing safe places for people to perform regardless of previous experience.

There is also a range of performances that look at war, Indian heritage and how women are perceived in industry.

Bantock House will play host to ‘Ian Douglas: Travelling Tales’ and ‘Crispin Ridge: A Message from the Sea by Charles Dickens’, while Wolf Fringe Room presents ‘Alex McSherry: The Tanner’s Tale’, as well as ‘Carol Caffrey: Music for Dogs’, at the Lych Gate Tavern.

‘Dr Dolittle’ is running at the Grand Theatre and Central Youth Theatre will be presenting ‘The Rebel Against Injustice’ at City Archives, Molineux Hotel Building.

The festival will also see the launch of a new and exciting heritage project, ‘Nritya: Collecting the Story of Indian Dance in the Black Country 1960-2000’, created by Jai Jashn Dance, who in December received a National Lottery grant of £30,500.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Nritya explores the heritage of Indian dance (classical and traditional) in the Midlands. Over the next year, Wolverhampton Art Gallery will be collecting and documenting the largely unwritten and unrecorded story of Indian dance, focusing especially on the Black Country between 1960-2000 for an exhibition and a festival weekend of Indian dance at the Art Gallery and Arena Theatre in early summer 2020.

Anyone interested in helping with interviews and making contact with individuals who have memories to share for the archive should please contact Jai Jashn Dance on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “Theatre and live performance are a vital part of storytelling, and we are delighted to have a range of workshops to enhance and develop these key skills, as well as performances that will enable people to enjoy this year’s literature festival.

“I am also delighted that Jai Jashn Dance has been awarded funding and has chosen the festival to launch Nritya, which all are welcome to.”

Renowned herpetologist Professor Mark O’Shea made a special guest appearance on Channel 4 show Sunday Brunch this weekend

The University of Wolverhampton Professor of Herpetology talked about his career and his latest tome The Book of Snakes – a Life-size Guide to Six Hundred Species around the World.

The popular collectors' book offers insight into the almost one-in-six of all snake species known, for both enthusiasts and scholars, utilising Professor O'Shea's expertise from a career spanning more than 50 years, undertaking fieldwork in almost 50 countries.

His interview on the popular cookery and chat show recounted his many experiences. He has worked on numerous tropical expeditions, including snakebite research projects, including co-leading a team recording new species in Timor-Leste, Asia’s newest country. His most recent expedition was to catch and milk highly venomous snakes in Myanmar (Burma) for a snakebite and anti-venom production project.

Professor O'Shea said: "I was delighted to be asked to appear in the ‘expert slot’ on Sunday Brunch and the team made me very welcome. It also meant I did not have to cook! The Book of Snakes has sold really well and I enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss it in more detail."

Professor O’Shea has authored six books on herpetology and a plethora of scientific articles. He is also Consultant Curator of Reptiles at West Midland Safari Park.

The reptile expert was also recently honoured by having a snake named after him. The Asian pipesnake Cylindrophis osheai, pronounced oh-shay-eye, can be referred to colloquially as O’Shea’s pipesnake and was found in Boano Island, near Seram in Indonesia.