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What’s On Friday 23 March

Shop Front Festival: What’s On Saturday 24 March

Today you can find experiences happening all day, indoors and out. Look out for performances and events at specific times, Theatre Lab, Artists Work in Progress and options for a Great Night Out.

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

Events Happening at Specific Times

Crazy But True – Ant Hampton
Saturday 24th March 3.00pm – 6.30pm
Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY (location on map: 13)


“The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years.”

“You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.”

“Butterflies taste with their feet.”

Children have an insatiable curiosity and hunger for facts – the kind so amazing, it’s hard to believe they’re true. In the interactive installation Crazy But True, children between the ages of 8 and 11 form a rolling panel of ‘experts’. A text is whispered to them via headsets. They repeat what they hear, as they hear it. What results is an epic and entertaining list of extraordinary facts – some serious, others plain funny – flowing out like a slow-motion internet, hyper-linking from hilarious LOLs to a picture of a darker world that as adults we’re faced with on a daily basis.

Children aged 8 to 11 attending with adults are invited to take part in this unusual and fun experience. No rehearsal is required but any child will probably check out the situation before deciding whether to have a go. If they do, they’re performing for around 12 minutes; and every 4 minutes there’s a changeover. You can come and go as you please and stay as long as you want.

For more info and video:


Latherland – Susannah Hewlett
Friday 23 March 1.00 – 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)

Cov_brochure2 lores

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.


The Small Job – Bureau of Silly Ideas
Saturday 24 March 11.00am – 3.00pm
Broadgate, Coventry (location on map: 11)

The Hole Job

Happy with your brightly coloured, throwing things, climbing things, carrying things, building things workforce? We at BOSI understand the disruption and calamity regeneration work can cause and have spent the last 15 years refining our construction methods. Our workers can make a song and dance out of building sites, get the job done and turn it into a circus!


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.


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 23 March 3.15pm – 3.45pm
Saturday 24 March, 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?


Theatre Lab

Since 2009 the Shop Front Theatre and Theatre Absolute have developed new partnerships with artists and organisations. Through the Theatre Lab, artists can test, pilot and share new ideas and productions. At the Festival we are delighted to share the artists’ process with the public. Strictly Arts, Firehouse Productions and Moving Spaces present their latest works in progress.

The Museum of our Forgotten Selves – Firehouse Creative Productions – Theatre Lab
Saturday 24 March, 11am-12pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
FREE – 20 places only – Please book via


What if, in an instant, your blood started flowing in the opposite direction?  What if your perceptions were comprised of strange black and white shapes?  What if your world was one in which there was language, but none of it decipherable? And what if you woke up one morning and had changed drastically in size?  Science fiction?  No.  This was your life, from 0-3.

The Museum of Our Forgotten Selves is an interactive installation and audio-adventure exploring the experience of being a child between the ages of 0-3.  Created by an international collective of artists and scientists, this exhibit invites everyone to come play, learn, and to immerse yourself in sense-bending activities that simulate the experience of who we all once were. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

If you can, please bring a photo of yourself as a baby.


You, Me and the Refugee – Strictly Arts – Theatre Lab
Saturday 24 March, 12noon – 1pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
FREE  – Book a place via

Civil unrest on the streets of Britain; a money laundering government reigns supreme with their latest subjugation of its working class. A nationally-imposed curfew brings three unlikely companions together on one fateful night. Two men running from their past and one women fighting for her future. Three people from very different backgrounds and with very different views, locked under one roof for one night during the storm of the century.

In this tale of redemption, villains become heroes and we ask ourselves, do the immigrants really need Britain or is it truly that Britain needs them? In this multicultural society, what is the true meaning of home and how blurred are the lines between the definitions? What side will you take when the flood comes?


NOESIS – Moving Spaces – Theatre Lab
Saturday 24 March, 1.00pm – 2.00pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
FREE  – Book a place via


A short extract of the human intellect and thought expressed through street and experimental movement. Moving Spaces brings NOESIS to life based on the aliveness of the two performers who are thriving towards a more meaningful life experience within the fast paced world we are living in. Could it be that we are too naïve or scared to explore beyond our simple lives or it could be that we choose to not see more – being scared of what we could discover. Perhaps we have already found it and we choose to conceal it; perhaps we already THINK it.


Edible Irish Stories – Miss Ellie’s of Coventry
Saturday 24 March
12 noon – 1.00pm – FIRST SITTING
2.00pm – 3.00pm – SECOND SITTING
Tickets £5
Book for 12noon performance:
Book for 2pm performance:
Old Grammar School, Hales Street, Coventry CV1 1JD (location on map: 17)


Miss Ellie’s of Coventry in association with Coventry Irish Society, warmly invite you to share a fun, immersive, eating, memory, film and live music experience to celebrate Coventry’s rich Irish history and food heritage. Be prepared to knead, chat, laugh, eat and dance!

Also part of Theatre Lab, this is a work in progress event.


Works in Progress

Confessions – New Project Theatre Company
Saturday 24th March, 10am – 5pm 
Bean and Leaf Coffee House,  76 Hertford St, Coventry CV1 1LB
Amber Cafe, 26 Market Way, Coventry CV1 1DL

Secrets. Everybody has them. Some big, some small. What if you could reveal your deepest, darkest secrets without any of the risk; unburden your controversial knowledge without really telling? Well, now you can. Reveal as much or as little as you wish on the papers provided. Write it down and pop it in the box next to the till! This will contribute to our research for a new theatre project. Just pop in!


The Chamber  
Saturday 24 March
11.00am – 12.30pm FREE workshop
3.45pm – 5.00pm FREE Drop in, open forum session
11 City Arcade (Coffee Tots) Coventry CV1 3HX (location on map: 4)
Book your place at


What would you do if you ran the country? Come and play an immersive theatre game that places you in the seat of those with political power. How would you change the world if you could? In this fictional parliament we will playfully debate ideas and bring to life issues and characters they effect. This is a work in progress by Face Up Theatre in collaboration with Rideout Arts, in a version specially adapted for Shop Front Festival. Suitable for ages 14+ although young children welcome if their parents would like to take part.


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


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. 


You Do It

Take to the Streets with Tangled Feet – a workshop for young people aged 14-19
Saturday 24 March 11.00am – 1.00pm
Methodist Central Hall, Warwick Ln, Coventry CV1 2HA (location on map: 8)
FREE: Book Places

A two hour practical workshop for up to 20 young people (age 14 – 19) with outdoor/indoor performance specialists, Tangled Feet, exploring creative ideas for how young people can make our voices heard in public spaces.

You will experience Tangled Feet’s unique approach to creating theatre, consider what you want to express and begin to develop creative ways to communicate this.


Children’s Cartoon Workshop – Nick Shingler
Saturday 24 March 12 noon – 2.00pm
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 157 Corporation St, Coventry CV1 1GU (location on map: 16)

This is a ‘drop-in’ event, places may be limited.


Discover ‘the secret origins’ of the Cov Kids cartoons, as Nick explains his process from ‘scribbled’ ideas to a published piece of work. Learn how to take the simplest sketch and work it into something you can be proud of. Contribute your own character creations to add to Nick’s large hand-drawn picture of Coventry. “We learn and play together here in Coventry – we are ALL Cov Kids!”


Happening All Day

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.


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.


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)

image2 lores

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.


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.


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.


DIY Dance 
Saturday 24 March 12.30am – 4.45pm
City Centre, Coventry
Full details at Facebook

motionhouse youth dance

Coventry dance and physical theatre groups, together with Motionhouse Youth, take over the precinct in a series of pop-up performances celebrating the City’ s distinctive architecture. If they can do it, so can you!

Expect tap, ballet, Bollywood, street dance, contemporary and physical theatre from Ascension Dance with Coventry University Dancers, Base Dance, Coventry Youth Dance, Elite Dance, Leivers Dance, Motionhouse Youth and the Sprungsters, with pop up visuals from fabulous city dressers, Vortex Creates!


Gratitude Wall
Free – Coventry Evening Telegraph building, 157 Corporation Street (location on map: 16)
All day

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
 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
FREE – Find them popping up around the city centre
All day


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.


Saturday Night Pick ‘n’ Mix

Get your 15 minutes of Club Shed (Smithfield Way) in early then enjoy a drink, some food and an evening of fabulous physical feats at The Yard – fire-eating, circus and some sharp breakdance moves by Moving Spaces. You might have tickets for the entirely unexpected double bill at Shop Front Theatre, or choose to chill out at the Yard until 9.30pm, when we invite you to follow the leaders to City Arcade for Theatre Absolute’s The Unfinished City – A COVENTRY Symphony – a new piece of outdoor gig theatre created through a collaboration between Theatre Absolute, Chris O’Connell and some of the best musicians in the city.

Thrilled by whatever you chose to pick’n’mix over the two days, please join us outside the Shop Front Theatre, for the end of the first Shop Front Festival and the beginning of what we hope will be an epic and exciting journey of celebration towards Coventry 2021.

Das Fest – Philipp Oberlohr
Saturday 24 March 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
Tickets: £9 full & £7 concessions
Book at

DAS FEST-Main Image_clean_landscape

In a room full of strangers, there’s a man who seems to know everything. When you indulged in a pleasure you should not have. How you finally said ‘I can’t’. Who it was that carried you from chaos to the beautiful calm. The surreal, thrilling sequel to his interactive show Das Spiel, Das Fest is a new mind-reading experience from Philipp Oberlohr. With his mystifying mix of live art, illusion and wit, Oberlohr celebrates the past of future of us.

“Vienna’s Master Illusionist” METRO   “Austria’s Derren Brown” THE INDEPENDENT


Cupid’s Revenge – New Art Club
Saturday 24 March 8.30pm – 9.30pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
Tickets: £9 full & £7 concessions
Book at

Photo credit chris Nash lores

A bespoke version of Cupid’s Revenge for the Shop Front Festival. New Art Club, one of the UK’s best loved comedy dance theatre companies, bring you a brand new show in defence of love. Real Love. In today’s disposable world where love is used to sell us everything from mobiles to fizzy pop to insurance policies where did real love go? Where is Cupid when we need him? Cupid’s Revenge is a joyful dancing outburst against the forces that masquerade as love.

Performed by a multi-talented ensemble of artists including the company’s masters of comic timing, Pete Shenton and Tom Roden, Cupid’s Revenge promises an evening of entertaining and insightful banter, juicy moves, plus theatrical thrills and spills.


The Unfinished City – a Coventry Symphony – Theatre Absolute
Saturday 24 March 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Outside Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, (opp.Argos)  Coventry, CV1 3HW (location on map: 1)
FREE Book your place at


With text written by Chris O’Connell and created through a collaboration between Theatre Absolute, and city-based musicians, The Unfinished City is a poem set to music dedicated to Coventry. A night time performance that will bring to life one of the city’s iconic shopping precincts. This is a work in progress performance.

What’s On: Friday 23 March