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A Culture Vulture’s Guide to Coventry

4 September 2018 | Emily May

Back in December, we learned that Coventry is the next city to be graced with the title of City of Culture. Whilst 2021 may still seem like a way off, we thought it was high time we rounded up some of the city’s cultural hot-spots, so you know where to go to get excited in the build-up to Coventry’s moment in the spotlight!

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Named after Sir Alfred Herbert, a Coventry industrialist and philanthropist who enabled the opening of the original museum in 1960, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is a veritable cultural hub at the heart of the city. Reopened after a state of the art refurbishment in 2008, and now run by charitable trust Culture Coventry, the museum houses around 320,000 objects, and their collections range from Natural History to Archaeology, Social and Industrial History to the Visual Arts (make sure you check out the range of paintings of Lady Godiva, who legend has it rode through the streets of Cov naked in the 11th Century to persuade her husband to stop taxing the people!) As well as their collections, the Herbert also offer various temporary exhibitions and engagement activities, so there’s always something new for you to explore. They’re even the home of the City’s Archives, so it’s the place to visit for local residents who want to research their family history.

Image Credit: The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum via Facebook
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is located at Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP
Belgrade Theatre
Built as part of the reconstruction of Coventry after heavy bombing in WW2, The Belgrade is the largest professional theatre in the city, and one of the largest regional producing theatres in Britain. Following extensive refurbishment and a re-opening in 2007, the Belgrade now presents an eclectic range of self-produced and visiting productions, as well as being respected for its ground breaking education and community work (it was one of the initiators of the 1960s Theatre in Education movement!). The theatre will be a key player in the City of Culture celebrations, but it’s also got its own reason to party – it’s the Belgrade’s 60th Anniversary this year, and they’re throwing a Diamond Gala event on 15 September to mark the occasion!

Image Credit: Belgrade Theatre, Coventry via Facebook
The Belgrade Theatre is located at Belgrade Square, Coventry, CV1 1GS
Warwick Arts Centre
Situated as part of the campus of Warwick University, Warwick Arts Centre is one of the largest multi-art form venues in the UK. Since opening in 1974, the centre has offered high end arts productions from theatre to film, dance, visual arts to comedy. The building is undergoing a 3-year refurbishment project ending in 2020 which unfortunately means that their Mead Art Gallery is currently closed, but we can’t wait to see what it will be like after it’s thoroughly modern makeover in time for the City of Culture!

Image Credit: Matthew Biddle via Flickr
Warwick Arts Centre is located at University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4
Coventry Cathedral
The iconic image of the city, Coventry Cathedral also known as St. Michael’s, has a history dating back to 1043, but its most famously remembered for the damage it sustained under the heavy bombing of Coventry during WW2. Whilst the church has been rebuilt as a place of worship, ruins are still left as a historic memory. Why not take a look at the Stalingrad Madonna in the Cathedral, a poignant replica of the original that sits in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin (also heavily bombed during the war) which beautifully symbolises reconciliation between the two cities. As well as its religious and historical significance, the Cathedral also plays host to a variety of art exhibitions, films, dance and music concerts… and of course who can forget it’s starring role as a set in 2009 Christmas film favourite Nativity!

Image Credit: Coventry Cathedral via Facebook

Coventry Cathedral is located at Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB
The Coventry Music Museum
When you think of Coventry’s musical offerings over the years, your mind may immediately jump to the legendary punk rock infused ska tunes of 2 Tone. But The Coventry Music Museum is NOT, I repeat NOT a 2 Tone Museum (though they do feature!) The lifelong dream of music historian and journalist Pete Chambers and his wife Julie, the museum charts the musical history of Coventry right back to the Roman period, and also looks at the city’s neighbours including Rugby, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Bedworth and even Birmingham (who we love dearly for giving us Dexy’s Midnight Runners)! But it’s not all boards of text and pictures to look at, there are loads of activities to get involved with, such as a studio where you can try your hand at a bit of music making yourself. It’ll be no time until you make it onto the museum’s Coventry Music Wall of Fame along with renowned Ska bands The Selecter and The Specials.

Image Credit: The Coventry Music Museum via Facebook
The Coventry Music Museum is located at 80 Walsgrave Road, Coventry, CV2 4ED

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