Grab your wellies – we’re off to the Countryside!

Grab your wellies – we’re off to the Countryside! Summer in Southside.
  • Birmingham Hippodrome’s FREE annual festival, Summer in Southside, returns
  • Farmyard fun, country-capers and animal encounters in the heart of the city on Sat 17 & Sun 18 June
  • Street performance, music, dance and food – something for all the family.

Birmingham Hippodrome’s annual free festival Summer in Southside returns on Sat 17 & Sun 18 June with country capers, animal encounters and free farmyard fun presented by local, national and international artists.

Escape to the countryside on the streets of Southside this June in a two-day celebration of the great outdoors, where wildlife roams, adventures are born and live music fills the air.

Watch in wonder as Hippodrome Square is transformed into a temporary Village Green complete with live Sheep Racing, Mini Farm, live performances and a host of colourful country characters. Say ooh arr to Farmer Giles on his travels through Southside, enjoy storytelling, music and song in the company of The Fabularium’s Reynard The Fox, the woodlands’ most infamous scoundrel – and move your hips to the beat of Bhanghra with Midlands based dance troupe; The Lions of Punjab.

Visitors to The Arcadian can look forward to a live performance from Folk Dance Remixed, a colourful and quirky collision of maypole, clog dancing, breakin’ and street dance. Bringing a taste of the South Asian subcontinent to Southside are Jaivant Patel Dance with a high-energy dance piece incorporating Gujurati and Raas Garba folk, performed to a soundtrack of contemporary Bollywood dance. Joining them are the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band with their vibrant celebration of the music and dance of Rajasthan and Secret City Arts Country Fayre Picnic – an interactive storytelling adventure inspired by Olde English folk takes with a contemporary twist.

Festival-goers are invited to carry on celebrating into the night-time with live music from Birmingham mega-folk band The Destroyers who will be bringing their trademark energy and madcap performance style to The Arcadian on Saturday evening.

Russian performance-artists ‘Cardboardia’ will be taking over Ladywell Walk with their amazing cardboard farmyard display complete with animals, fences and tools and the opportunity to create your own cardboard sculptures inspired by your favourite country-scape.

Returning to Summer in Southside for the second year running, Highly Sprung are back with their daring and imaginative live staging of Roots, telling the story of two refugees living in the branches of a towering tree. They will be joined by Imagineer Productions who present Operation Migration, a beautiful and heart-warming tale of one man’s extraordinary endeavour to teach a gaggle of geese to fly, told through a combination of puppetry, dance and inventive design.

On Sun 18 June, visitors can take a stroll through the country without leaving the Hippodrome Foyer with free activities, arts and crafts, miniature petting farm and a costume exhibition from Birmingham Royal Ballet. VR experts from Freemotely and South and City College will also be on hand to guide visitors through the landscapes of virtual reality.

This year’s festival will also feature a special performance from resident partners Birmingham Royal Ballet, pecking order with a special performance of ‘The Chicken Dance’ from La Fille mal gardee, the sunniest of summer ballets. They will be joined by The Black Eagles from Tanzania who present their high-impact acrobatic show set to a lively soundtrack of African music and Rogue Play with Taking Flight, an enchanting aerial display set to a soundscape of word and music.

Alongside a jam-packed programme of live events, festival-goers can also take advantage of a Vintage Fairground complete with swing-boat rides, coconut shy and hook-a-duck, animal-themed Face-painting  and a mobile brasserie serving freshly made crepes, galettes, gourmet burgers, ice creams and barista coffee.

Seeing Summer in Southside off in signature style on the Sunday, visitors to the Showground can look forward to an action-packed Grand Finale featuring the most hotly-anticipated event in the countryside calendar, the Southside sheep race!

Fiona Allan, Chief Executive Birmingham Hippodrome said:We’re very proud to be a part of Southside district and relish bringing the theatre’s surrounding streets to life with a whole two days of free activities and family-friendly fun. This year, we’ll be getting to grips with all things countryside, from welly-wanging, to sheep racing, cardboard tractors to giant maypoles. As ever, we’ll be welcoming a host of local, national and international artists to join in the festivities, giving people from all areas of Birmingham the chance to experience the fun of the great outdoors right here in the heart of our great city. We hope you’ve packed your wellies. You’ll need them”

Summer in Southside takes place in and around Birmingham Hippodrome from 12noon – 5pm on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June.

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