words: RACHAEL HOLDER & LUCY WHITAKER
Firstly, Mission Gallery, in Swansea is host to Nature Illuminated (Until Sun 2 Sept, admission: free). The collection of abstract paintings from Katie Allen are said to be inspired by nature’s beauty and intricate detail.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre turns back the clocks with their production of Hairspray (Fri 27 July-Sat 1 Sept, Tickets: £15-25). The feelgood musical is coming to Wales this July and August as we head to Baltimore for energetic dance numbers and powerhouse voices.
In Water I’m Weightless (Thurs 26 July-Sat 4 Aug, Tickets £8-12) is a production which explores the function of the body and mind. Performed by six deaf and disabled performers, it’s a true insight into the attitude and experiences of disabled people across the UK.
As Cardiff gets ready to embark upon the Olympics, On Your Marks (Tues 25 July, 12pm-6pm, Admission: Free) celebrates with a full day of entertainment. The city will be in high spirits with music, comedy and exciting new talent.
The Big Cheese (Fri 27 July-Sun 29 July, Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat & Sun 11am-9pm, Admission: free) returns to Caerphilly this weekend after attracting 80,000 visitors last year. Expect a free weekend festival with entertainment, music, and fantastic food and drink.
If you’re interested in unusual art sculptures bursting with imagination, visit Barry Lewis Zoo (Until Sat 28 July, 10am-5pm, tickets: check online) Barry Lewis is a sculptor from the Rhondda, and his fantastic work has been exhibited in the UK, Europe and Australia.
Steelhouse Festival in Ebbw Vale is the place to be this weekend for any rock music fan (Fri 27 July-Sun 29 July, Prices: £15-55). With the lineup including Feeder, Reef and The Answer, a big turnout in anticipated.
German DJ A*S*Y*S is due to make his welsh debut at Escape Gets Filthy (Sat 28 July, 10pm-5am, Tickets: view online). A night not to be forgotten for any techno fan, big names such as Frank Ellrich, Argy and many more will be in attendance.
Successful DJ Le Loup is set to headline the next Delete car park part at Gwdihw (Sun 29 Jul, 1pm-Late, Tickets: £10). The event is predicted to be a sell out with Delete residents such as Matt Owen, Marc Parsons and many more.
Making their first trip to the UK and Ireland, Viper Central have travelled from Vancouver to play in The Moon Club (Fri 27 Jul, 8pm, Admission: £3). The smooth sound of jazz and klezmer is the perfect alternative night out.
For the 25th year running, the Welsh town of Builth Wells will be overtaken by the UK’s biggest agricultural event, The Royal Welsh Show. It lasts for four days and usually attracts over 200,000 visitors (Mon 23-Thurs 26, 8am- 7.30pm, tickets: adult £19- £21/ child £5/ Under 4 yrs Free).
The women footballers from Team GB will kick off the Olympic Games against New Zealand at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium two days before the official opening ceremony (Wed 25, 4pm, tickets: £20). The match will be followed by Brazil vs. Cameroon (6.45pm, tickets: £20)
For theatre-goers, the West End and Broadway musical, Sister Act, will make its Welsh debut at the Wales Millennium Centre for a 12-day run (Tues 24 July, tickets: £15- £42.40). From producers Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment, its sure to be a smash hit comedy.
Omid Djalili headlines this year’s grand finale of The Cardiff Comedy Festival (Sun 29 July, 7.30pm, tickets: £21.50). Acclaimed as one of Britain’s funniest stand-up comedians, Welsh comedy fans are definitely in for a treat.
With the new Batman movie hitting the screens, it is now a perfect time to join an after-dark bat walk at the Howardian Nature Reserve Field. You can watch these elusive nocturnal mammals sleep upside down and even flitter through the shadows (Tue 24 July, 9pm, tickets: Adults £5).
For art fans, spend a morning viewing a selection of modern portrait history, before learning about cotemporary image making with the Photographing people taster day at Chapter Arts Centre (Sat 28 July, 10.30- 4pm, tickets: £25). Just remember to bring a camera!
In the run-up to the Cardiff carnival, there are open access Flag Dance Workshops and Parade Performances at Channel View Leisure Centre (17 July-2 Aug, 12- 8pm, access: free). Besides gaining a chance to meet SWICA’s team of expert artists, you can try on costumes and even create your own designs.
The combination of Brian Finnegan’s and Sarah Allen’s flutes, Ed Boyd’s guitar and John Joe Kelly’s Bodhran creates the adventurous sound of the band Flook. To hear their spin on traditional tunes, see them perform for the Welsh Proms Cardiff at St. Davids Hall (Mon 23 July, 8pm, tickets: £12).