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Gruesome Greeks are marching into town; Horrible Histories bring the Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders to Coventry's Belgrade Theatre next week bringing more history to life for youngsters. CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR reports.

Byline: CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR

TRUE or False: a Viking legend claimed that the first man and woman came from the sweat of a giant's armpit? The Romans banned the eating of sausage? In Ancient Athens, you could be executed for stealing a cabbage? All and more will be revealed in Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders at the Belgrade Theatre this half-term.

Thousands of years after the Ruthless Romans, Savage Saxons and Vicious Vikings stormed ashore on the coast of Britain and the Gruesome Greeks competed in the first ever Olympic Games, Birmingham Stage Company bring their brand new double-bill of Horrible Histories to the Belgrade, from Tuesday until Saturday, for another hilarious instalment of interactive, 3D fun.

Based on the multi-million selling book series by Terry Deary, this brand new double-bill comes complete with eye-boggling 3D effects bringing entire armies to life before your eyes.

Taking in over a 1,000 years of world history, the show comes jam-packed with fascinating facts to ignite the imagination of audiences from five to 105.

In Incredible Invaders, the Celts are crunched when the Ruthless Romans invaded Britain.

Groovy Greeks takes us from savage Sparta to angry Athens to discover the truth about growing up in Greece.

Birmingham Stage Company is one of the world's top theatre companies for children and famous for its acclaimed productions of The Jungle Book, Kensuke's Kingdom, Skellig and Roald Dahl adaptations including George's Marvellous Medicine and James and the Giant Peach.

? Tickets for Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders are on sale now and are priced from PS14.75-PS19.25 for adults and PS10.25 - PS15.75 for children. Family tickets are priced from PS41 to PS57 (four tickets, minimum one adult). To book, call the Belgrade Theatre box office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk I told Charles to p... off!

AS Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders comes to Coventry's Belgrade Theatre during Whitsun half-term, CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR discovers 10 things we didn't know about author Terry Deary (right).

1. He detests Henry VIII "with a passion". "You see him reenacted as a jolly fat king - but he was an evil psychopath," says the Horrible Histories author.

2. Elizabeth I, Terry believes, was "only interested in self-preservation". 3. "No man has received from nature the right to command his fellow human beings," so says 18th century French philosopher, art critic and writer Denis Diderot. It's one of Terry's favourite quotes.

4. His favourite historic characters are Guy Fawkes and William Shakespeare.

5. A fervent anti-royalist, he was once invited to speak at Prince Charles' summer school for primary teachers. "I said 'P... off Charles'. His researchers had not done their research properly. There is no way I am talking to teachers."

6. Loved by schools and teachers, education is one of his bug bears. Terry says: "Schools do not offer education. Education is preparation for life and schools do not teach children how to build relationships or prepare for the important things that matter. They only teach what they want to test. All they want children to do is pass exams without any thought for the actual child. I certainly never learnt anything useful at school."

7. Another one of the anti-Establishment author's favourite quotes is by the Italian Jewish chemist, writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi: "It is the duty of righteous men to make war on all undeserved privilege but one must not forget that this is a war without end."

8. Terrible Tudors, the first Horrible Histories book, came about after Terry's publishers initially asked him to write a funny joke book. "My publishers phoned me up and said, 'Would you like to write a history joke book?' I said, 'I don't know anything about history.'They said, 'Don't worry about that. We'll give you the facts, all you have to do is write the jokes to go with them'. So I started off but I soon found the facts much more interesting than I'd expected. By the end instead of having a joke book with facts, we had a fact book with jokes. I seemed to have invented a new genre."

9.Terry started off his career as an actor and has played a number of characters in the CBBC award-winning Horrible Histories TV spin-off. "In the first series I often played a monk. It was good fun but I am getting like Michael Gambon - learning the lines is getting harder."

10. His first acting job was with Theatre Powys in Mid-Wales in 1972. Like Coventry's The Belgrade they were pioneers of Theatre in Education (TIE), creating drama for children in schools. Terry says: "It was one of the first ever Theatre in Education companies - they were sort of rivals with The Belgrade."

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Horrible Histories: |Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders is at the Belgrade Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 22, 2015
Words:814
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