Curtain up on Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn/Winter 2022 season

Curtain up on Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn/Winter 2022 season

The Belgrade Theatre has lifted the curtain on the first shows in its Autumn/Winter 2022 season, with highlights including West End musical smash hits SIX, The Rocky Horror Show and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, brand new musical Bombay Superstar, classic drama An Inspector Calls and The Mousetrap, as well as Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

The season kicks off with Kenyan acrobatic troupe The Black Blues Brothers on Thursday, 1st Sept and The Best of Queen on Saturday, 3rd September. Live music acts continue on Wednesday, 9th November with Neil Diamond: Beautiful Noise.

Join the Belgrade for the world premiere of Tabby Lamb’s Happy Meal from Wednesday, 21st September. The joyful queer rom-com is directed by Jamie Fletcher, fresh from her acclaimed production of Hedwig and the Angry Itch, and sees change all around as Millennial meets Gen Z – from teen to adult, from MySpace to TikTok, and from cis to trans.

From Tuesday, 13th – Sunday 18th September, the first ever UK tour of Bugsy Malone saunters onto the Belgrade’s Main Stage. Packed with iconic songs from Oscar winner Paul Williams, including My Name is Tallulah, You Give a Little Love and Fat Sam’s Grand Slam, this new touring production is a revival of the acclaimed Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production.

The international smash hit musical SIX comes to Coventry from Tuesday, 27th September – Sunday, 2nd October. With a global, chart topping cast recording, SIX remixes five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.

Join the Belgrade for a late night, double feature picture show this October as The Rocky Horror Show invites audiences to do the Time Warp from Tuesday, 4th – Saturday, 8th October. Leading the cast will be Strictly Come Dancing 2016 winner Ore Oduba as Brad Majors, Stephen Webb as Frank-N-Furter and fan-favourite Haley Flaherty as Janet Weiss.

From Saturday 15th – Saturday 22nd October, see the world premiere of the brand new musical Bombay Superstar. Co-produced by Phizzical and the Belgrade Theatre, embark on a journey of love and betrayal set in the 1970s, the golden age of Bollywood cinema.

David Walliams’ Demon Dentist, arrives in Coventry from Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th October. As children leave their teeth for the tooth fairy to collect, they wake up to find odd and horrible things under their pillow. Can Alfie and Gabz solve the mystery and find out who’s leaving these ghastly gifts? From Birmingham Stage Company, the Olivier Award-nominated company who bought you Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny.

Happy days are here again, as Beautiful: The Carole King Musical arrives in Coventry for the very first time from Tues 1 – Sat 5 Nov. Follow the extraordinary journey of one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of all time, through a tumultuous marriage which led her to write the chart-topping album, Tapestry.

Following the Belgrade’s annual pantomime, already announced as Jack and the Beanstalk this year, an exciting variety of one-night-only events arrive in the New Year. Experience Legend: The Music of Bob Marley on Thursday 12th January, Big Girls Don’t Cry on Friday 13th January, Sing-a-long-a Grease on Saturday 14th January, Stewart Lee – Basic Lee on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd February, Vampires Rock on Friday 24th February and Magic of Motown on Saturday 25th February.

Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses arrives on the Main Stage from Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th January. Adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz, the gripping retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transposed into a divided world. Directed by Esther Richardson, Noughts & Crosses is presented by Pilot Theatre.

From Tuesday 7th – Saturday 11th February, the Olivier Award-winning Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) brings a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story to Coventry. Adapted by Isobel McArthur, the acclaimed production was a smash-hit in the West End and now embarks on its very first UK tour.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap returns to the Belgrade this season from Monday 13th – Saturday 18th February. The world’s longest running play from the best-selling novelist of all time has been seen by millions of people across the globe. Now it’s time for Coventry audiences to find out ‘whodunnit?’

Drawing the season to a close is J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, running from Tuesday 28th February – Saturday 4th March. This National Theatre production is directed by Stephen Daldry, and sees the prosperous Birling family shaken to their very core by revelations from the mysterious Inspector Goole.

More shows in the Belgrade’s Autumn / Winter 2022 Season will be announced soon.

Tickets for all of these shows are on sale to My Belgrade Members from Tuesday 3rd May. Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday, 17th May. Tickets can be booked by phoning the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 (phone lines open 10:30am – 2pm, Mon – Sat), or visiting where tickets are even cheaper.

With a My Belgrade Subscription package, you can SAVE 15% when you book for three or four shows in the Belgrade’s Autumn / Winter Season (September-February) and a massive 25% when you book 5 or more participating shows. Discounts only apply to full priced tickets in all but the lowest price bands.


Riley cars timeline

Riley cars timeline

The Riley car company started in 1890 as the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry before William Riley Jr incorporated the Riley Cycle Company in 1896.

His son, Percy Riley started working on his first car secretly, aged 16, in 1896 and completed its build in 1898. It featured the first mechanically operated inlet valve and was driven by Percy and Victor Riley to Stratford-upon-Avon and back.

William Riley, founder

By 1899, Percy Riley moved from producing motorcycles to his first prototype four-wheeled quadricycle.

Meanwhile, the elder of the Riley brothers, Victor Riley, although supportive of his brother’s embryonic motor-car enterprise, devoted his energies to the core bicycle business.

But in a u-turn in 1913, William decided to halt car production to focus on detachable wheel production. Bicycle production had also ceased in 1911.

By 1903 the Riley Engine Company was established, and in 1913 Percy was joined by his three brothers, Victor, Stanley and Allan to focus on manufacturing entire cars, at around the same time changing its name to Riley (Coventry) Limited.

Riley’s founder William Riley remained resolutely opposed to diverting the resources of his bicycle business into motor cars, but driven by Percy and his three brothers, the company’s focus shifted to manufacturing entire cars in early 1906.

A post-war restructure, Riley grew rapidly through the 1920s and 30s and, in 1926, introduced an innovatively designed fabric-bodied saloon, Percy Riley’s ground-breaking Riley 9 engine- a small capacity, high revving unit.

Regarded as ahead of its time in many respects and called the most significant engine development of the 1920s, it attracted the attention of sports car engineers, going on to achieve track success at, among others, Le Mans, Ulster TT and Brooklands.

By the mid-thirties however, the business had overextended, with too many models and few common parts, and the emergence of Jaguar at Coventry was a direct challenge. Disagreements between the Riley brothers about the future direction of the enterprise grew.

After the death of Percy Riley in 1941, his business began producing transmission components and still exists today in his works in Aldborrne Road, Coventry, trading as NDE Clarke Pitchline Ltd.

Separately PRM Newage Limited is based in Aldermans Green, Coventry. Percy’s widow Norah ran this business for many years and was named Britain’s Businesswoman of the Year in 1960.

The last Riley badged car was produced in 1969 after British Leyland announced an immediate end to Riley production.

For a short while, following BMW’s purchase of the Rover Group in 1994, there were hopes that Riley might be revived, since the then Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder was an enthusiast. But after Pischetsrieder’s removal in 1999, and BMW’s divestment of the MG Rover Group in 2000, these hopes faded; though the rights to the Triumph and Riley marques, along with Mini were retained by BMW.

Top Five Rileys

1898 UNCLE PERCY’S HOME-MADE CAR: This small belt-driven vehicle featured the first mechanically operated inlet valve.

1905 9HP FOUR-WHEELER: This was the first car in the Riley company’s evolution from bicycles through motorcycles and three-wheeled cars. As speeds rose, it was deemed sensible to add a fourth wheel. The car sported the world’s first detachable wire wheels (made by grandfather William) and was powered by a 1034cc V-twin.

1926 NINE: Described by the late great racing driver Tony Rolt as “the greatest advance in light car design”, the Nine of 1926 was powered by a 1087cc four-cylinder engine with twin camshafts that would form the basis of all future Riley engines.

1928 BROOKLANDS: This sporty derivative of the Nine had twin carburettors and was much admired by the famed engineer and designer Reid Railton, who extracted more power from its engine.

1945 ONE-POINT-FIVE: The first post-war Riley was conceived in 1943 and put on ice while the company’s war work progressed. This meant Riley was the first firm out of the traps with a new car when the hostilities ceased.

Warwickshire businesswoman launches unique range of bespoke wallpaper and murals to help customers design with a difference

Warwickshire businesswoman launches unique range of bespoke wallpaper and murals to help customers design with a difference

A brand new business born out of the Covid lockdown, aimed at creating one-off walls for people’s homes and businesses, marked its launch with a showcase of its unique work in the heart of Warwick.

Designer Claret is the brainchild of Warwickshire entrepreneur Clare Underwood, who had a complete career change during the lockdown which led to the establishment of her on-trend interiors business.

The business offers a range of luxury wide wallpaper and murals, using designs created by a Warwickshire illustrator as well as another London-based artist. Designer Claret also creates customised wallpaper for customers with their own ideas thanks to its own in-house team of two apprentices from Stratford-upon-Avon College.

Designer Claret, decor, Warwick, small business
Sophie Langston, Designer Claret, artist and illustrator Juliet Bawden; artist and illustrator Diane Maybey; Clare Underwood, founder of Designer Claret and Rhoda Barton.

The company has already had several commissions for its luxury wide wallpaper, including a statement dining room wall and powder rooms in an independent restaurant and tapas bar, both in the historic town of Warwick. The latter hosted an official launch on March 9th, 2022 where its Prussian Blue Cabbages design was showcased to an array of guests.

Clare said: “We had a fabulous day at our launch with lots of support from people locally and from London and beyond. We’re looking forward to what the spring will bring.”

Designer Claret, decor, Warwick, small business

At the launch, held at Bonito tapas bar in Warwick, guests got the chance to meet the artists whose designs are featured on Designer Claret’s wallpaper. Designer, maker, author and journalist Juliet Bawden, who has had over 70 craft books published and designs, makes and writes for magazines including Coast, Simply Sewing and Reloved as well as the Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley websites travelled to Warwick for the launch, which was also attended by published author and illustrator Diane Maybey, whose work includes writing and illustrating six books for children’s charity Molly Olly’s Wishes and also specialises in designing healing spaces.

Both artists’ designs are printed onto luxury flaxen, non-woven, one-metre wide wallpaper for a high end finish aimed at the luxury prime residential and hospitality markets.

On top of that, Designer Claret can take commissions to work with clients’ own unique designs or images to create the wallpaper of their dreams, such as a recent project to enhance a commercial space for Evera Recruitment at Pure Offices with a 6.7m woodland scene and company logo designed in-house.

“People don’t want their home or business to look the same as other people’s,” said Clare. “They want something unique or bespoke that says something about them and that’s what we create.”

Designer Claret, decor, Warwick, small business

Completed commissions include a single mural on a bedroom wall for one client who wanted it to include a wooded landscape with a potential connection to India that would make them feel “as though I am wandering into a forest”.

After several meetings, Designer Claret produced a unique print that was turned into a giant mural and put in place by a local decorator. Their client was over-the-moon, saying they were “thrilled” by the design. She said: “Nothing could have prepared us for the fabulous effect of the wallcovering. Our bedroom looks absolutely stunning – it’s like waking up on holiday every day!”

Casual sophistication at The Belgrade Café and Bar

Casual sophistication at The Belgrade Café and Bar


Nineteen58 cafe bar, Coventry, Belgrade Theatre

Last April The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry unveiled its new-look café bar.

Certainly where I’m concerned, this has been one of the city’s best kept secrets – and I do wonder how many others have also missed out. . .

Belgrade Café and the upstairs Nineteen58 bar is now the perfect complement to the city’s popular live arts venue and fast becoming a destination in its own right.



Previously occupied shops on Corporation Street have been taken over as part of this £5.5m redevelopment project which now offers both quality and quantity in hospitality terms.

Designed by Lazzeri Creative Interiors and inspired by the Theatre’s origins, the décor, by Corstorphine + Wright Architects, is decorated with vintage show posters and artwork from across the decades – a stylish and comfortable space from which to watch the world go by.

A shout out too to the friendly café team which plays a big part in creating such a convivial experience here.

Nineteen58 cafe bar, Coventry, Belgrade Theatre
Nineteen58 cafe bar, Coventry, Belgrade Theatre

The Menu, which is available from 11.30am-5pm every day, offers a good range of hot and cold dishes, from a selection of sandwiches, toasties, wraps and paninis through to jacket potatoes, soup and, for the more health conscious, Salad Bowls.

But be sure to also keep an eye on their Specials Board. The Hot Dishes of the Day – Cottage Pie and Vegetable Casserole went day a treat on a chilly February day for my friend and I.

If you missed breakfast, there’s also the option to grab some brunch. Choose from bacon or sausage sandwiches, smashed avocado on toast, filled croissants, teacake or granola.


Light bites can be purchased in the form of hot and cold snacks – including an irresistible range of sweet treats- and everything fairly competitively priced for the area.

I also noted what seemed to me like a wider than average range of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu – unlike, it has to be said, many other establishments I have frequented with veggie companions.

Whiling away, as we did, three hours on the upper floor of this charming, but sophisticated, café bar is easily done. And I’ll definitely be back soon to while away a few more.


Nineteen58 Belgrade Cafe

If they had a suggestion box I would be dropping in a polite note about extending opening hours to encourage the pre-theatre crowd. But, in the meantime, I’d say it was definitely worth a trip at any time of day. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, do try and check it out. You’ll soon be shouting encore.

You can check out all the shows coming up at The Belgrade Theatre here

Feast on comedy in Warwick

Feast on comedy in Warwick

We all need a laugh these days . . . am I right?

Hail then the much-anticipated return of the live arts and, in particular stand-up comedy. The perfect antidote for a post-pandemic chilly February evening!

If you’re not in the know, then I’m referring to Comedy at Work’s monthly stand-up gigs at Revive Café and Bar in Warwick.

Revive Cafe and Bar, Warwick, Comedy at Work
Comedy compere Elliot Powell

Selling out faster than booze at the PM’s nearest off-licence(!) – these popular events are going down a veritable storm with locals and out-of-towners alike.

So I thought it was time to check out the vibe at their latest laughter fest this week.

The Comedy at Work team assembled a line-up of five laughter makers – and with the help of Warwick’s very own funny man compere Elliot Powell – kept a packed audience entertained for more than two hours.

Word of warning though – don’t sit on the front rows in what is already an intimate venue for comedy if you don’t want to become part of the show!

But it was clear everyone was up for plenty of banter and the jokes were lapped up as readily as the liquid refreshments.

Headline act Rachel Jackson made the most of a whipped up comedy crowd by the time her act closed the show. It had been a fun and lively evening for the appreciative crowd- and just the tonic we all needed.

The live gigs return once a month to Revive so if you want to feast on the fun, book now here

Next month’s headliner is the newly crowned British Comedian of the Year, Jeff Innocent.

Comedy at Work, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, children's comedy workshops
Mark Hinds and Anne Docherty who run Comedy at Work. Photo by

Anne Docherty and Mark Hinds from Warwickshire are the creative minds behind Comedy at Work, an innovative business that brings stand-up to venues across the country.

For details of all Comedy At Work’s upcoming gigs visit here

As well as monthly comedy morsels, Revive Café and Bar is serving up a newly extended menu under new Executive Chef Catalino Bernal. ‘Cats’ – as he’s known – has spent 25 years working in restaurant kitchens at home and abroad, including the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel in his native Philippines and, locally, The Saxon Mill in Warwick and The Orange Tree, in Chadwick End.

Diners are now able to choose from new dishes including steaks, ribs, risotto and wider vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free selection. A new range of bar snacks has also been introduced. (Look out for reviews in the local press soon!)

Revive Cafe Bar, Cats Bernal, Comedy at Work, menu

The popular venue, in Smith Street, is now open even longer, from 8am-6pm Monday and Tuesday, 8am-11pm Wednesdays to Saturdays and 9am-10pm on Sundays. Visit here to check out the menu or to book a games table. Group bookings can be made by calling 01926 403 333.

This successful Revive and Comedy at Work collaboration reminds me of the words of a certain William Shakespeare: “Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast.”

And we all deserve to gorge on as much of it as possible. . .