BE Festival is Birmingham’s festival of new European theatre, dance and performance. Taking place from 23-27 June, for a second year it takes over the REP.
Offering twenty shows from nine European countries, there will be theatre, dance, circus, food, live music, visual arts, talks and workshops.
BE prides itself on having wonderful sense of community – After every show audience members are invited to enjoy a meal in the theatre space with the actors and festival staff. A great way to dissect performances, relax and meet new people.
A few of our highlights:
- Collage by Bot Project. Hailing from Spain, Bot Project present a free outdoor spectacular on Wednesday 24 June in Centenary Square. Expect trampolines, a funky soundtrack and a big dollop of fun.
- I saw a preview of O No! recently and it was wonderfully bonkers. A particularly wonky homage to Yoko Ono.
- Game, madcap three man circus theatre show exploring how video games shape our lives and apparently featuring Napoleon Dynamite-esque dance routines. Video games will be available to play before and after the show.
- After every show there will be live music that’s open to all. Musicians include Mellow Peaches, Gabbidon (Steel Pulse), Didier Kisala Band and DJ Glyn Phillips.
This Sunday sees Digbeth Delights, an afternoon of avant-garde performances, workshops and talks take place across Minerva Works. Expect brutalist composition, contemporary improvisation, punk protest art and poetic robotics. It may be an off-site part of Supersonic Festival, but you don’t have to have a festival ticket to enjoy it. It’s all free.
- Trace: Music and Poetic Robotics – a performance by composer and roboticist Sarah Angliss and actor Emma Kilbey.
- Dissidents and Dreamers: Anti-Authoritarian Art from the East and West, an exhibition of punk protest art and documents produced before the fall of the Iron Curtain + talk from Gee Vaucher, Oskar Kasperek and Nic Bullen, discussing their experiences in punk counter-cultural production. Chaired by John Robb, editor of Louder Than War.
- Music improv with cutting-edge electronics, immersive string duets and acoustic free jazz.
- Musician and writer, Honor Gavin, will talk to artist, Aideen Doran, about their shared interest in Birmingham’s architecture and the influence it has had on their artistic endeavours.
Other things not to miss in the coming days:
- If you have children to entertain this Saturday, why not check out Supersonic’s free Kid’s Gig at Symphony Hall, led by Flamingods.
- The All Ears exhibition at Millennium Point is well worth a look. Closing on Sunday, it’s a fascinating showcase of musical machines old and new.
- Visual storyteller Stewart Easton will be showing his stunning interactive embroidery at A3 Project Space over the weekend.
- As part of Hidden Spaces and open until Sunday; uncover some of the remaining traces of Birmingham’s cinematic history in the basement of Piccadilly Arcade, formerly a cinema between 1910 and 1926.
Digbeth Delights takes place from 12-5pm on Sunday 14 June 2015. More information can be found here.
From Saturday until 10 July, the free My Route exhibition trail aims to paint a picture of what it is to live and work on Stratford Road, giving an insight into the rich social history of the area. Stratford Road has long been an arrival point for new migrants arriving in Birmingham, many of whom have settled and become important members of the community.
The exhibition consists of new images by Vanley Burke. Blown up to three metres high, the eleven images of Stratford Road residents will be placed on the exterior of Stratford Road Baptist Church and the former Hubb Community Arts Centre, adjacent to the Aldi car park in Sparkbrook. They are accompanied by short audio clips housed in purpose-built sound pods artist Brian Duffy, best known for his work with Modified Toy Orchestra.
The photography exhibition is accompanied by a series of associated exhibitions and events on and around the Stratford Road:
- Hall Green Library will also host an exhibition detailing life on Stratford Road during the Second World War.
- Sarehole Mill will tell the story of trade and industry along Stratford Road in a visual exhibition.
- Dr David Richardson will lead Heritage trail walking tours along Stratford Road.
The My Route exhibition is the highlight of an 18-month project led by Sampad South Asian Arts researching the social history of Stratford Road. The findings will form the basis of a new archive, to be housed at the Library of Birmingham, and educational resources.
More information on the project can be found here.
It’s that time again! Digbeth comes alive on the first Friday of each month with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more. Digbeth First Friday runs across Digbeth from 6pm ‘til late.
A few events:
Full events list on their website www.digbethfirstfriday.com or follow them on social media for updates: @digbethfirstfri #digbethfirstfriday
Birmingham’s Hidden Spaces Unlocked: June 2015
A project by Associated Architects in association with Birmingham Post and RIBA West Midlands, aiming to reveal the secrets hidden behind the façades of Birmingham. They’ve planned a busy month of talks, unique exhibitions and exclusive building tours, leading up to their flagship exhibition at Birmingham Municipal Bank from 20-28th June.
Here are a few of our highlights from their programme of events:
- Invisible Cinema – Walking tour with Ben Waddington, Still Walking, Birmingham City Centre – Tues 9th June 6pm, advance booking required
- How to bring culture to the public – with Shout About Brum and Polaroids and Polarbears, Nest Gallery, Weds 17th June 6pm, advance booking required
- Explore the magnificent Victoria Law Courts, Corporation Street, Sat 20th June 9am-1pm, no need to book for open day
- Beer tasting at Perrott’s Folly with Two Towers Brewery, advanced booking required.
For the full programme check out the full listings on their website.
Ben, Pete and I missed Pecha Kucha Birmingham. In its honour, we’ve brought back a Pecha Kucha style event, I Heart PK.
PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and the speaker talks along to the images.
The event will be taking place at Cherry Reds John Bright Street, Weds 29th July 6-8pm (6:30 start), and you’d be welcome to join us for drinks afterwards.
If you’d be interested in talking at PKB, then email us at email@example.com with I <3 PK in the subject line. There’s a Pecha Kucha FAQ here.
TICKETS AVAILABLE ON EVENTBRITE HERE.
Tonight is the opening of Gemma Marmalade’s new exhibition Green Fingered at Birmingham Open Media, in partnership with Birmingham Pride.
Green Fingered includes a new series of specially commissioned works exploring the possibility that those of homosexual persuasion are more likely to have a visceral impact on the cultivation of plants.
Thursday 14th May, 6-8pm
The exhibition continues until 29 August 2015 and there is more information about that here.
Museums at Night runs from tomorrow until Saturday across the country. Museums, galleries and heritage sites will be throwing open their doors after hours for special evening events.
As well as the fantastic Art Bus, there are plenty of events to choose from in Birmingham. These include:
- Live AV installation at Vivid Projects as part of their current Queer Traces programme. Michael Lightborne and Kate Spence will present a live installation deconstructing Jennie Livingston’s seminal documentary of the 80s vogue ball scene Paris is Burning (1990). The installation will feature the durational performance Strike a Pose by Kate Spence, Lightborne’s New Gods video sculptures, and a throbbing, otherworldly, disco soundtrack.
- Craft and design night at the Pen Museum. Meet artists who use pens and ink in their work, and have a go yourself!
- A night with the Nettlefolds at Winterbourne House and Garden.
- Game Over at the Coffin Works – Transient-Art take over the restored coffin fittings factory to show their work among the coffin handles, shrouds and historic machinery.