Catherine Vonledebur

Editor, Muddy Stilettos (Warwickshire & rural West Mids) 

Hi,  I'm launching the Warwickshire edition of award-winning lifestyle blog Muddy Stilettos - 'an urban guide to the countryside' early in 2017.  To find out about the very best restaurants, walks, festivals, boutiques, day trips, hotels, interiors and events in the area go to:

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars – if you want me to try you out, please get in touch. And if you think there’s something that I should know about do tell me – I’d love to hear from you! Email:

I'm a digital features writer with a proven track record of writing a mix of celebrity interviews, entertainment, health, features, lifestyle, news and theatre reviews for regional, nationals and women’s magazines. 

Recent commissions include shifts as showbusiness reporter for Mail Online.

Previously Digital Entertainment Reporter & Theatre Critic at BPM Media: The Birmingham Post, The Birmingham Mail, Coventry Telegraph and Sunday Mercury; New Team Press Agency, Birmingham; South Wales Echo, Cardiff and The Leader, Chester & Flintshire.


Antony Sher returns to Stratford for RSC production

Award-winning South African-born actor, writer and painter Antony Sher returns to Stratford this month to play “an old, fat knight”. Sir John Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, parts One and Two, is a comic role he had never really contemplated. “There was a point when Greg (Doran) first suggested I play Falstaff. I had to think about it long and hard. It’s not a part I had ever thought about playing,” he explains. “I remember saying to him: ‘I have put on a bit of weight and I have a Knight

Warwickshire Game of Thrones teen actress adopts co-star Zunni

She is the Midland drama queen who is not afraid to bring her work home with her. Because Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, has adopted the dog who appeared alongside her in the hit US show. The 17-year-old struck up a bond with Zunni while he was Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, on set. And when the GOT producers killed off his character she knew she had to do something. “Growing up I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one,” she told the Sunday Mercury. We kind o

Women are behaving badly at the RSC

And from that controversial statement has sprung four short works by female writers. The plays are being championed by RSC deputy director Erica Whyman, as part of the RSC’s first Midsummer Mischief festival taking place in Stratford-upon-Avon– which also features an exhibition on the RSC’s first female director Buzz Goodbody, a one-day family festival and a day of conversations about feminism and Shakespeare. REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN by Alice Birch – one of the plays – has won the Georg

Home gig not Too Much Pressure for Two-Tone legend

Pauline Black says headlining in their home city, with The Buzzcocks, the Happy Mondays and Specials’ bassist Horace Panter, was a “no-brainer” for The Selecter. The original Two-Tone band and ska pioneers will be playing on the main stage at this year’s Godiva Festival tonight at 8pm – fresh from performances at Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival. Lead singer Pauline, who lives in Earlsdon with husband Terry, says: “It’s fantastic to be back in Coventry performing with the band. “I t

Emmerdale actress who played Donna Windsor on her transformation into sultry stage character for Coventry show

Emmerdale’s Verity Rushworth has been wowing theatre audiences across the UK in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which comes to Coventry next week. The 29-year-old actress plays Vera Claythorn, who she describes as “a crazy Mary Poppins” type character. “It’s going really well. Tickets are flying off-the-shelves – it’s one of Agatha Christie’s best books,” she says. “Vera Claythorn was a nursery governess who wants a hotel job, so she puts in an application to a secretarial agency.

Nursing was never a profession for middle-class girls

Baroness Shirley Williams is incredibly proud of her “wonderful” mother Vera Brittain, whose First World War memoir has been adapted into a new BBC drama with an all-star cast. Testament of Youth charts Vera’s personal journey from an Oxford scholarship to the battlefields of France as she volunteers to become a nurse and suffers unspeakable personal loss. Swedish-born Alicia Vikander has been confirmed to star as the early feminist, pacifist and writer. Shirley, aged 83, said: “She was a won

Hollywood is as good at espionage as the CIA

Shortly after the script was written a shiny new yellow pick-up truck pulled up along the rocky road to his house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western Maryland, DC delivering a bottle of Cristal champagne and a handwritten note from George Clooney. Tony’s second wife Jonna, also a retired CIA intelligence officer, reads out the note she has lovingly stored on her phone. It reads: “Tony. It’s George I hope you like this as much as I do. I love the story and think it’ll make a hell of a movie.

Photos: Richard II by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon

David Tennant’s effeminate, enigmatic Richard II is bisexual. He has long mahogany hair, wears nail polish and likes looking at himself in mirrors. This is in stark contrast to his strong, macho cousin Bolingbroke Nigel Lindsay, who challenges Thomas Mowbray to a duel in Coventry over the Duke of Gloucester’s death. The king banishes them both from England, but Bolingbroke returns with a rebel army. In Richard II Shakespeare gives an intimate psychological portrait of a deposed medieval king.

11 things you'll love about this year's Also Festival

A small boutique event where you can immerse yourself in the work of leading writers, academics and experts, Warwickshire's Also was included in the Guardian’s top 25 festivals 2014 in Europe in its first year. Limited to up to 500 people, this three-day family-friendly event (June 19-21) is located around a stunning lake at Park Farm, Compton Verney, where supervised wild swimming takes place twice a day. It is the perfect place to think, debate, eat, dance and swim... Also is the annual fes

Look: Kenilworth Castle offers a view into the secret life of Elizabeth I

“Exactly how high is the top?” I am standing on the bottom of Leicester’s Building at Kenilworth Castle with English Heritage’s head curator Jeremy Ashbee and the castle’s property manager Holly Edwards. “18 metres – 100ft,” says Holly. I gulp. “Are you scared of heights?” Great,” says Jeremy chirpily. “You can be our guinea pig.” This is the tower Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, built for the private use of Elizabeth I in the hope that she would marry him. English Heritage has now in

Sheila Bownas - Rediscovering a Fifties modernist

On the wall of Chelsea Cefai’s stylish white-washed open plan 1950s inspired kitchen in Hillmorton, Rugby, four vibrant geometric prints immediately stand out. Two larger prints, one grey, one ochre, hang side-by-side on another wall, besides a 1950s-style Edwin sofa, in a muted linen, handcrafted in the north east of England. They look stunning. Each piece is based on an original art work by the reclusive Yorkshire-born design icon and painter Sheila Bownas (1925 – 2007), a selection of which

The Specials' Neville Staple recreates band's first gig at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre on Saturday

On Saturday, March 14 Neville Staple and His Band will be recreating The Specials’ 1978 gig with The Clash at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, as part of a UK tour with Radio Clash. The show includes the original set list they played nearly 37 years ago at the Locarno and Tiffany’s. Neville said: “It’s going to be great. The last time I played in Coventry was at The Ricoh. That was a big show. My show is more intimate. I talk to the audience and I gel with the audience. “I just want people to enj

Doc Brown brings his comedy to the Midlands

While on tour rapper-turned-comedian Doc Brown confesses he likes to hang out in libraries. The father-of-two from Dalston in north east London, whose real name is Ben Bailey Smith, is the younger brother of novelist Zadie Smith. He explains: “When I used to be on the road – less so now – I used to spend my time in a library. The discipline of being somewhere silent it encourages you to write. “I came up with the idea for 4 O’Clock Club on CBBC in Coventry’s Library. “I remember leaving Cove

Easter 2015: Twelve amazing activities for kids in Coventry and Warwickshire

There’s a basket-load of cracking events happening over the Easter holidays in Coventry and Warwickshire from the interactive Dinosaur Zoo to learning how to make Shaun the Sheep animated models at the Heritage Motor Centre. Children aged 3-plus will be thoroughly entertained and just a little nervous getting up-close and personal with teeth-gnashing giants and cute baby dinos in this extraordinarily life-like 50-minute live show by Australian company Erth. An after-show 'meet & greet' with th

Jane Lapotaire rejoins the RSC with a role in Richard II

Jane Lapotaire’s dressing room at the RSC is Room 101. “Isn’t Room 101 where you throw unwanted things?” laughs the witty Tony Award-winner. She is next door to David Tennant, who she says “is on stage most of the time”. It is the first time Jane has returned to theatre since suffering a near-fatal brain aneurysm at 57, while teaching a Shakespeare masterclass for an International School in Paris in January 2000. One of the leading stage actresses of her generation, Jane is making her comeba

Artists create digital map of Coventry using happy memories

Over the last three weeks a group artists have been running a city centre shop front – not selling anything – but collecting happy memories. Ben Eaton, Victoria Pratt and Richard Warburton, who were based at the Bubble Chamber on Bull Yard, asked passers-by for their most treasured memories and placed them on a giant digital map of Coventry. Tonight and tomorrow night they will be transforming the memories into a live cabaret-style show at Warwick Arts Centre. Ben said: “We collected more tha

RSC bring Peter Pan to life in new family Christmas show

When she auditioned for the RSC’s Wendy and Peter last year, actor Fiona Button fell in love with Ella Hickson’s fresh new adaptation. The playwright has given the story a feminist slant by looking at Neverland from Wendy’s perspective. “I think it’s really fascinating to ask ‘what if?’ when you read a well-known children’s story and that is what Ella has done,” says Fiona. “She’s asked: ‘what if Wendy were to ask a few things about Neverland’ and tried to make the story as exciting and thril

Bank On It is the latest in Warwick Arts Centre’s theatre season

Carpenters are hammering away building a secret bank in the centre of Coventry. Transforming a shabby, disused former gym is an incredible, huge operation. Curved walls have been knocked down, tiled floors replaced and a realistic-looking cashpoint installed in the entrance, opposite a smiling photo of the bank manager. But this is no ordinary bank – it is “a magical world of finance” where even the most mundane office equipment comes to life. There’s a talking filing cabinet and a puppet acco

For this part I wanted to give the whole of myself

She’s wowed audiences and critics alike with memorable performances as Ophelia and Rosalind at the RSC Theatre this season. Pippa Nixon tells Catherine Vonledebur why she’d like to play two of Shakespeare’s most iconic male roles – as a woman... Pippa Nixon – one of the RSC’s most versatile and talented young actors – is used to switching gender on stage. In last year’s King John directed by 33-year-old Maria Aberg, she played the part of the Bastard, a very masculine warrior, as a woman; whil

Paul Daniels embarks on his First Farewell Tour

After 44 years in show business, magician Paul Daniels has embarked on his First Farewell Tour: From Legend to Leg End. The 75-year-old, who started his career as a junior clerk, is visiting 51 venues including Bedworth Civic Hall tomorrow and The Royal Spa Centre, Leamington on October 30. “The last tour was called Hair Today Gone Tomorrow,” he explains. “I was looking for a title for this coming tour and thought if The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner can have a First Farewell tour so can I.
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