Birmingham 2022 Festival reveals a celebration of West Midlands art and culture

Birmingham 2022 Festival has revealed the full line-up of its celebration of creativity which will take place over the next six months across the West Midlands.

Highlighting the region’s creative industries, the festival programme features projects that shine a light on everything from music, dance and photography to theatre, crafts and digital art, aiming to show the world the very best talent that the region has to offer.

With events and projects running until September, the Festival is aiming to engage over 2.5 million people, putting Birmingham’s talent, heritage, ambition and diversity on a world stage.

The Festival is opening with a spectacular, large-scale outdoor performance which will see Centenary Square transformed into the stage for Wondrous Stories. A free show combining dance, acrobatics and aerial displays, created by Leamington Spa-based, dance circus company Motionhouse and Artistic Director Kevin Finnan MBE, choreographer and movement director for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Wondrous Stories will run for seven performances from 17-20 March.

Birmingham 2022 Festival is made up of over 250 commissioned projects – 150 community-led initiatives and 100 new works from artists from the city and beyond.

Photography and art will be showcased at various venues across the region including exhibitions on activism in Bangladesh (When Speech is Forced Down, Art Must Speak), a visual journey on migration and settlement in Birmingham (From City of Empire to City of Diversity: A Visual Journey) and celebrations of local communities and grassroots sport (People, Place and Sport) and four and five generation families (Generations).

Music will take centre stage as On Record, a multi-genre concept album featuring eleven original songs about Birmingham is released on limited edition vinyl, alongside a new podcast and programme of in-conversation events. Local residents will be invited to join the University Commonwealth Choir to perform music connected to the region and a commemorative concert will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as an orchestra performs a selection of works from throughout her reign.

Dance projects will get the West Midlands moving as a mass participation extravaganza will see a world record attempt to create the biggest tap dance ‘shim sham’. Birmingham International Dance Festival will fill city centre public spaces and theatres with show-stopping choreography, including performances from Critical Mass, a 300-strong dance company made up of young people from across the region.

As the Commonwealth Games arrive in Birmingham, the Festival will also be celebrating the impact of sport on the people in the region. Powerful films exploring how sport brings people together across cultures (Origin) will be shown at outdoor festival sites, traditional Bangladeshi dragon boat races will take place at Edgbaston Reservoir (Nowka Bais) and basketball players, percussionists and electronic musicians will join forces to celebrate collaboration and draw attention to the difficulties faced by queer people in sport.

The Festival will culminate in September with spectacular style, as a large-scale outdoor installation will transform the city centre into a magical forest garden (PoliNations). The Birmingham Pride Parade will wind its way through the second city and the world premiere of Rambert Dance in Peaky Blinders will see the iconic drama reimagined as a live dance show.

To make Birmingham 2022 Festival a reality, the creative team has raised over £12 million of additional funding for the region, giving communities the chance to share their stories and raise their voices. Funding had been provided from organisations including Arts Council England, The Lottery Heritage Fund, Spirit of 2012, Birmingham City Council, British Council, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

For more information on the Birmingham 2022 Festival programme or to find out how to get involved, visit:
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