This is not a review

Remember when I said I was going to see a lot more shows this year? Noticed my recent lack of posts? … Yeah, that. Lack of funds, househunting and juggling two jobs has somewhat eaten into my theatre-going time. But never fear! I have a busy March coming up, which I’m hoping will compensate for my frankly pathetic January/February schedule.

This time next week I will be watching Coppelia at The Lowry – not just a brand new ballet for me, but my first ever chance to see Birmingham Royal Ballet. Cannot wait. Then on 17th March I will be joining thousands of people from all over the world to see Swan Lake screened live from the Royal Opera House. It’s an oldie, but a goodie – and the chance to see Natalia Osipova in the dual lead role was not to be missed. Fingers crossed I’ll get tickets to the Moscow City Ballet’s offerings – on at Manchester Opera House at the end of the month – and amidst all this ballet, there will be a write-up of the Manchester Theatre Awards on 13th March. So plenty to keep me busy.

In the meantime, one of my (sort of) resolutions at the dawn of 2015 was to inject more cultural activity into my free time. Ok, it’s not theatre, but here are some of the places/exhibitions I’ve visited so far this year which I thought were pretty awesome:

On the Fold. This exhibition of breathtakingly detailed, fairytale-inspired paper art was not only free entry, but also located in the tiny Portico Library, a beautiful, tucked away treasure trove of 19th century literature. ‘On the Fold’ may no longer be running but you can still admire the library and its current exhibits… If you can find it.

009Transmitting Andy Warhol. My first trip to the Tate Liverpool was dominated by Campbell’s soup cans and multi-coloured Marilyn Monroe screenshots. It was amazing to be able to see such iconic pieces of pop art in the flesh, though I wasn’t sure about the static film of the Empire State Building that (apparently) lasts for 8 hours…

Waddesdon Manor. Fact: I am never happier than when strolling round the grounds of a historic house or castle pretending to be a Jane Austen heroine. When you factor in crisp winter weather, a house that looks like a fairytale princess’ hideaway and an aviary full of exotic birds, I become positively giddy. (See below).

P1120786Ashmolean Museum. I managed to visit ‘the world’s first university museum‘ while on a weekend away in Oxford, and after working through labyrinthine galleries of marble sculptures, Egyptian sarcophagi, Chinese paintings and delicate porcelain for two hours I still hadn’t seen everything. Think this one might benefit from another trip.

Leeds Royal Armouries. Rows and rows of gleaming suits of armour, swords and longbows may not appeal to many people besides medieval history nerds like me, but Leeds Royal Armouries is more than just weaponry. It’s a light and spacious modern building in a scenic location by the canal, and has some amazing attractions – like the crossbow shooting range, the history of warfare exhibition and a full suit of elephant armour.

022I would highly recommend any of these places as great, affordable ways to get some culture into your week if you happen to be in the area… And if you’re not, why not plan a visit?

See you in a week for my Coppelia review!

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