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How to experience the arts on a student budget

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University life isn’t cheap to begin with, without factoring in days out, fun and pastimes. But that doesn’t mean you should cut the art out of your life. Coventry, Leamington Spa and the surrounding areas are full of galleries, theatres and odd-looking sculptures to satisfy your creative eye. Whether you’re looking for a café with green lattes and independent artwork or a five-star production of your favourite play, there are plenty of places to explore at little or no cost. Here are a few tips on how best to make the most of the arts while at Warwick, without sacrificing your grocery allowance or beer fund.

Go and watch student productions. They’re actually quite good. Top recommendations include productions by WUDS (Warwick University Drama Society), who perform and adapt existing plays to a very high standard. The costumes, sets music are often made from scratch, and ticket prices are set by students with students in mind. Have a scroll through the Boar website to find reviews of their past productions. Another good choice is Freshblood New Writing. Freshblood exists as a society to support and perform plays written by students, and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. These productions are either free, very affordable or with a contribution to charity. And you often get to support your friends in the process.

Go and watch student productions. They’re actually quite good

The Royal Shakespeare Company has a theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, a short bus ride from Leamington. They offer a free scheme called the RSC Key, which gives 16-25 year olds £5 theatre tickets to see any of their shows in either Stratford or London. To enjoy this scandalous deal, just sign up on the RSC website. Don’t worry if Shakespeare isn’t your thing – both venues showcase and perform a vast variety of plays.

On campus, Warwick Arts Centre and the Goose Nest are at a convenient distance and open to the public. The Mead Gallery is free, and students receive reductions on certain music and theatre events. There are even free tickets to see symphony orchestras through the Warwick SU website at the right time of year. And cinema tickets are half price.

With a little research, there is always something affordable to do, and something new to see

Leamington Spa is packed with little galleries and quirky art cafés, most with free entry. A well-known venue is the Leamington Gallery and Museum in the pump rooms, which has a variety of exhibitions and sculptures, alongside some local history. But a new addition is the Slate Art gallery in Leamington, an independent art gallery that opened over the summer. The art changes every month, and they are community-orientated and keen to showcase artists based in Warwickshire.

These ideas are simply a starting point. Besides Coventry and Leamington, smaller nearby towns such as Kenilworth and Stratford-Upon-Avon have their own culture and character to offer. And most importantly, don’t let money worries stop you having fun. With a little research, there is always something affordable to do, and something new to see. Make time to explore.

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