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What’s On Saturday 24 March

Shop Front Festival: What’s On Friday 23 March

Today you can find indoor and outdoor experiences that are happening all day plus performances and events at specific times. Look out for Works in Progress, and enjoy a morning Shop Talk event and Late Night Shopper double bill at Shop Front Theatre.

Note: the pop-up nature of the festival means that there may be some last minute changes to the schedule. Please check back to this page or follow our Twitter feed (@theatreabsolute) before setting out. 

Venue locations: Use the map to find the location of each event


Happening All Day

Precinct Shopping – Photo Archive Miners
Friday 23 March 9.00am – 6.30pm
Saturday 24 March 10.00am – 9pm
Artspace – Arcadia Gallery, 32 City Arcade, Coventry (location on map: 2)

Scan 70NHISG research with John Wiles in back ground copy

Shopping in Coventry has changed dramatically over our lifetimes. Photo Archive Miners have unearthed surprising yet familiar photographs of city centre precinct shopping from the 1950s onwards.  The photographs were taken by Coventry City Council architects and renowned Coventry Photographer Richard Sadler whilst the city centre was changing in the post war years.

Precinct Shopping is curated by Photo Archive Miners and hosted by Coventry Artspace at Artspace Arcadia Gallery, 32 City Arcade. Over the course of the Shop Front Festival weekend there will be events and activities at the gallery to stimulate the public to tell their stories and give life to the pictures. This project is a partnership between the Shop Front Festival, Coventry Artspace, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and Photo Archive Miners.

The exhibition runs from 15 to 31 March. Visit for further opening times.


A Mile in My Shoes – Empathy Museum
Friday 23 March and Saturday 24 March, 10.00am – 5.00pm
Empathy Museum – 39 Smithford Way, Coventry (Opp. The Body Shop) (location on map: 14)


The Empathy Museum, a unique collaboration between acclaimed cultural philosopher Roman Krznaric and award-winning artist Clare Patey, presents A Mile in My Shoes.

A Mile in My Shoes is a shoe shop where visitors are invited to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally. Wearing a pair of the contributor’s shoes, you can go for a walk, listening to the shoes’ original owner telling you their story. The stories, collected from all over the world, including as part of Shop Front Festival, from Coventry residents, cover different aspects of life, from loss and grief to hope and love – and will take you on an empathetic as well as a physical journey. Pop in for a fitting and an unforgettable stroll.


Actual Reality Arcade – Matthew Harrison
Friday 23 March and Saturday 24 March 10.00am – 5.00pm
City Centre – Market Way & Hertford Street, Coventry (location on map: 9 & 12)

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A life-sized interactive game zone for all ages, inspired by classic arcade games. Pilot spaceships, dodge barrels, avoid lasers, build Tetris walls, fire rockets, shoot alien invaders and become Pac-Man over both days of the Festival.


Hands Full – Sophia Clist
Friday 23 March and Saturday 24 March 10.00am – 5.00pm
On both days there are short performances at 11.30am and 3.30pm
Hands Full – 19 Hertford Street, Coventry (Opp. Falafel Corner) (location on map: 10)


Visitors are invited to take part in the creation of an installation inspired by the endless tasks of motherhood – to write or draw on individual sheets of paper, shaped between the artist’s clasped hands.

Sophia gives a short performance several times a day, whilst continuing to make the sculpture, which gradually fills the space over the festival.

Hands Full performance was originally commissioned by Fuel as part of Phenomenal People at the Southbank Centre’s WOW Women of the World Festival 2012. Shop Front Festival has commissioned Sophia to develop a large-scale interactive installation alongside the performance. Hands Full is conceived, created and performed by Sophia Clist with soundscape by Melanie Wilson.


Made in Store – Nick Walker
Friday 23 March  2.00pm – 5.00pm and Saturday 24 March 10.00am – 5.00pm
City Centre Shop Trail – start point enter RE-NEW shop near Coffee Tots – City Arcade (location on map: 3)

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Made in Store by Nick Walker is a narrative adventure for Coventry made in collaboration with shopkeepers and their customers in specially selected shops in the city. Throughout the day, audiences are invited to shop for a story – collect your instructions then visit a trail of shops to gather the intrigues, themes, characters and motives before returning to base for the final chapter! You can complete the experience in your own time – follow the whole trail in one go or spread it out across the festival.


Gratitude Wall
All day
FREE – Coventry Evening Telegraph (CET Building – Corporation Street) (location on map: 16)

The Gratitude Wall is a community art project inspired by research from Coventry University and HOPE 4 the Community, that has shown that the expression of gratitude improves mental health, resilience, positive emotions and builds friendships. The Gratitude wall project now tours museums, galleries, festivals, schools and workplaces for communities to share what they are thankful for and learn about the benefits of practicing gratitude. Members of the public have an opportunity to contribute to the Gratitude Wall.


World Wide Window (wWw) – live streaming between Coventry and Berlin
Free – Shop Front Theatre, Queen Victoria Road (opp. IKEA) (location on map: 1)
Dawn ’til dusk
World Wide Window
Throughout the festival, the Shopfront Theatre window on Queen Victoria Road will be transformed into a World Wide Window (wWw)an enormous digital portal. Street life in Berlin and Coventry will be streamed onto the window and passers-by will be able to simply stop and say hello.


The Q – Talking Birds
All day
FREE – Find them around the City Centre


Watch out for Queues forming around the city centre, as The Q Corporation (dressed in orange!) celebrate the Art of Queuing. Help Coventry form a world beating Queue – bring something orange to wear if you can! Don’t forget to take a #Quelfie. For updates follow @Q_mob on twitter or call the Q-line: 0800 012 2401


Timed Events Inside, Outside, All Over

Latherland – Susannah Hewlett
Friday 23 March 1.00 pm – 4.00pm and Saturday 24 March 12 noon – 3.00pm
Changamiri Coffee House, 8 City Arcade, Coventry (on corner near to Holland & Barrett) (location on map: 5)

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A live improvised soap opera in which you, the audience, are invited to watch or star…or both!  This epic omnibus explores the most glorious of ropey soapy moments. Knock at the door. Borrow that cup of sugar. Look for the lost dog. Become part of this insular neighbourly neighbourhood and see yourself on the telly. Without you, life can’t move on! Filmed and edited live, watch the action as it unfolds live on set and on nearby televisions, for a unique multi view experience. Stay as long as you want and join in when you’re ready.


Club Shed – Wet Picnic
Friday 23 March, 12 noon – 2pm & 3pm – 4.30pm
Saturday 24 March, 12.30pm – 2.30pm & 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Club Shed – 33 Smithford Way, Coventry (Opp. West Orchards Shopping Centre) (location on map: 15)

Club Shed 2

It’s time to shed! Let loose with a distilled night on the tiles, a micro experience that will unshackle its audience and give them the chance to dance. Wet Picnic unpick the clubbing experience; using absurd comedy, personal development techniques and audience interaction, we explore connection, self-expression, and how to get release in today’s frantic society. It is catharsis, club style!

Club Shed is a small-scale installation delivered via headphones, the audience select one of 4 experiences, each themed on a different night out. The experience culminates in them being able to let themselves go in a moment of sheer dancing pleasure.

No pre-booking – 20 people per 15 minute experience. Queue to enter.


Two Pints of Lager and a Piece of Contemporary Dance – Nina Von Der Werth
Friday 23 March, 12 noon – 12.30pm & 5.30pm – 6.00pm
Saturday 24 March 1.15pm – 1.45pm & 3.15pm – 3.45pm
The Yard, 11-12 Bull Yard, Coventry CV1 1LH (location on map: 7)

Nina Von Der Werth Two Pints - Credit Sheena Halliday

A piece made for pubs! A typical Friday night story, but not quite like you’ve seen it before…


Coventry Dreaming – Nina Von Der Werth
Friday 23rd March 2018 3.15pm – 3.45pm
Saturday 24th March 2018, 12 noon – 12.30pm; 5.30pm – 6.00pm
In A Bed – IKEA – Bed department! (location on map: 18)

Nina von werth Dreaming - no credit needed copy

Using the dreams of the people of Coventry, this dance piece made for two dancers and a bed is reworked using local people’s dreams. What might your dreams look like?


Inflation – Tangled Feet
Friday 23 March & Saturday 24 March 1.00pm – 1.30pm & 3.45pm – 4.15pm
Shelton Square, Coventry (location on map: 6)


Four fools arrive on the high street with a motley collection of blow-up props and an uncooperative bouncy castle. With an initial plan to educate the public on the great British history of castles, they get side-tracked into a fruitless mission to understand the world-wide banking collapse…and how we got to Brexit. Fun political theatre for people of all ages.


Works in Progress

Writer in Residence at Poundworld
Friday 23 March, 2pm – 4pm

As research for her latest project THE WORKING CLASS, playwright Kay Adshead will be chatting with shoppers what it means to be working class in 2018. This will feed into Mama Quilla’s residency at Shop Front Theatre in April 2018.


Hot Metal Requiem – Coventry University Theatre and Professional Practice students
Friday 23 March  2.30pm – 3.50pm & 6.00pm – 7.20pm
Saturday 24 March 2.30pm – 3.50pm & 6.30pm – 7.50pm
Coventry Evening Telegraph Building, 157 Corporation St, Coventry CV1 1GU (location on map: 16)
FREE. More information at

In 1959 the Coventry Evening Telegraph moved to brand new purpose-built premises in Corporation Street. This was the era of the Hot Metal press: of lead slugs, composing stones, linotype machines and flongs – when printers were a chapel, and an extensive and dedicated team worked against the clock to get the paper out on time.  You are warmly invited to join a theatrical guided tour of the building and witness the story of this highly successful regional paper from its hey day in the 1960s and 1970s to the end of the Hot Metal Press process in the 1980s. Please note that this performance is a guided tour around a large building that includes steep steps up three floors, uneven surfaces and poor lighting. There are only 45 tickets per performance. 


Re-Told – Mercurial Dance – Open Rehearsals/Sharing 
Friday 23 March & Saturday 24 March 3.45pm – 5.30pm: Give a story and gain a dance
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 157 Corporation St, Coventry CV1 1GU (location on map: 16)


Give a story and gain a dance: Coventry’s celebrated Mercurial Dance invite you to contribute to the research and development of Retold, a new work inspired by personal stories of living in the city, interwoven with histories at the Coventry Evening Telegraph building. In a place where citizens brought and shared their stories with the city, you can come and give a story and gain a dance: as you tell us your memories and stories they will be Retold, improvised live in dance, music and theatre. This pilot event contributes to Retold creation period and some of these stories will be selected for the finished piece, performed 11-14 July 2018.

Get involved on Facebook and Instagram: @mercurialdance #RetoldCov #CETtakeover


Alpha – Motionhouse Youth Dance
Friday 23 March 6.00pm – 6.30pm
Upper Staircase, Hertford Street, Coventry (location on map: 9)

motionhouse youth dance

Ahead of DIY Dance on Saturday, internationally-acclaimed dance-circus company Motionhouse bring their vibrant Motionhouse Youth dance group together in Coventry city centre for a public rehearsal of their new piece, Alpha. Thrilling and thought-provoking, this exciting piece explores what it means to be primal and the idea of a pack mentality. Who will reign supreme?


Shop Talk

Shop Talk
Friday 23 March 10.00am – 12.30pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
FREE but booking essential. To book, visit

May Utang, Are We Where We Are #1, Shop Front Theatre

Shop Talk guests grapple with the question: Does this stuff make any difference? Culture, arts and creativity in relation to place and place making.

What impact can culture have on the places and spaces in which we live? For example, why put theatre in an empty shop? Do the choices artists make about where and how to work really make any difference to place making, and truly influence both local infrastructural development and policy change? This event is aimed at city-based artists and makers, local authority, community agencies, funding organisations and the general public.

Guest Speakers:

Zoe Seaton, Artistic Director – Big Telly Theatre Company, Portstewart, Northern Ireland
Stefan Riebel, Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin
Dan Thompson, Empty Shops Network, Margate
Bex Phillips, Assemble Fest, Hull
Orit Azaz, Co-Artistic Director – Shop Front Festival/Outdoor Arts Advocate, Birmingham

Chaired by Chris O’Connell, Co-Artistic Director – Shop Front Festival, Artistic Director – Theatre Absolute, Coventry

Seats need to be reserved due to limited capacity.


Late Night Shopper 

Expect to be entertained and challenged in this exceptional double bill at Shop Front Theatre.

I’d Be Lost Without It – Wet Picnic
Friday 23 March 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
Tickets £9 full & £7 concessions
To book visit


We all exist somewhere online, whether we know it or not: a virtual trace, an online persona, a trail of clicks and searches laying claim to who we are.

Id Be Lost Without It explores our 21st century addiction to technology, where our hunger for ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ is distancing us from ourselves and one another. Using headphones, binaural sound and immersive theatre, Wet Picnic create an interactive experience which explores the utopia and dystopia of our tech-driven existence. Leading physical theatre company, Wet Picnic, shine a light on our modern world and question what keeps us human in an age increasingly lived online.

Confirmation – Chris Thorpe
Friday 23 March 8.30pm – 10.00 pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
Tickets £9 full & £7 concessions
To book visit

Confirmation - lead marketing visual lores

If you pinned me against a wall, I’d probably admit to being a liberal. Of course, pinning me against a wall is exactly what I’d expect from someone like you.

Confirmation is a show about the gulfs we can’t talk across, and about the way we choose to see only the evidence that proves we’re right. Working with research into the phenomenon of Confirmation Bias, Confirmation attempts to have an honourable dialogue, real and imagined, with political extremism.

Written by Chris Thorpe and developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin. Commissioned by Northern Stage and Battersea Arts Centre.

What’s On Saturday 24 March