Friday (May 23) marks the start of this year’s Coventry Mysteries, drawing inspiration from the city’s fabled medieval Mystery Plays. While the focus in the past was exclusively Christian, the modern Mysteries seek to acknowledge the shared values of the 21st-century city. Amongst the highlights, the immersive mystery of The Institute Of Impossibility at Drapers Hall, the powerful play Missing, which uses real-life testimonies to explore the awful conundrum of when people disappear, and a participatory Last Supper at St John The Baptist Church. The festival climaxes with a procession of Dominoes snaking their way through the city.
There’s further good stuff in Coventry from Wednesday (May 28), with a student adaptation of The Trial at the Warwick Arts Centre, Franz Kafka’s harrowing play following a victim of the so-called justice system.
Over in Wolverhampton, there’s new fare at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery from Saturday (May 24). Nation Estate is a tongue-in-cheek film from Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour in which she reveals her suggestion to resolve the Middle East conflict, while Music, Art And Beer sees five local artists celebrating exactly that. And opening on the same day at the Bilston Craft Gallery, Landscapes – Chapters Of Impermanence displays natural scenes as represented though photography and semi-abstract painting.
As for Brum itself, the highlight can be found at the Rep from Thursday (May 22) in the form of Khandan (Family), a collaborative production with the Royal Court which follows the travails of an extended Punjabi family.
Elsewhere, the Crescent Theatre has two fine options. Opening on Thursday (May 22), the Birmingham School of Acting present The Clearing, Helen Edmundson’s tale of English occupation in 17th-century Ireland, in which the political and personal are inextricably intertwined. Then, on Sunday (May 25), Ludus Theatre take on Aristophanes’ classic Old Comedy The Wasps.
And at the Blue Orange Theatre from Friday (May 23), experimental group PaperBall present Ntozake Shange’s series of poetic monologues of sisterhood For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.
Brum’s visual-arts pick can be found at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday (May 24), with Symmetry In Sculpture rounding up the recent work of Zarah Hussain, taking inspiration from Islam’s use of geometric patterns to reflect the world’s natural beauty.
Also, from Monday (May 26), the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists offers Mythical & Mortal, a selection of bronze heads sculpted by Robert Page, while ongoing at the Library of Birmingham, there’s the influential ’70s and ’80s urban photography of Daniel Meadows.