With just a week to go, David Mead looks ahead to the city’s autumn all-arts fest, coming September 22-24.
Over 160 performances, 600+ artists, 26 new commissions. That’s Birmingham Weekender 2017, now almost upon us.
The three-day festival features free performances and events from the city’s major arts organisations, independent artists and especially invited international artists. The programme covers dance, music, theatre, exhibitions and visual arts and talks, and can be found from Brindleyplace to Eastside.
There’s plenty for dance lovers. A giant outdoor wooden dance floor has been built in front of the Council House on Victoria Square that will host Square Dance, a programme of South Asian dance (including a Kathakali group visiting especially for Weekender from India), Chinese dance, swing, capoeira, Northern soul, British folk dance and much more, delivered with the organisers of Moseley Folk Festival.
At New Street Station on Sunday, you can catch up with Rosie Kay Dance Company in Modern Warrior. They promise a meeting of kung fu and dance as two groups meets in an epic standoff.
On Edgbaston Street, 2Faced Dance are presenting Moon, a tale of Jack and his amazing adventures that involve giant quilts, an aerial hoop, lots of 2Faced’s exciting dance and “a whole host of mess and mayhem.”
Elsewhere, there’s a preview of DeNada Dance Theatre’s TORO: Beauty and the Bull and Seeta Patel with Something Then, Something Now at the Patrick Centre; Daksha Seth Dance Company and Autin Dance Theatre at mac; and Humanhood on Smallbrook Queensway with a duet about the moon and the place it holds in human culture.
Among the non-dance family-friendly offerings is Rangeeli, a colourful community parade taking place through the city-centre complete with Harminder the Elephant; an Alternative Village Fete at the Bull Ring Markets on the Sunday; and Clash of Drums presented by Birmingham Hippodrome, a night-time feast of sound and spectacular fireworks on Eastside Green. For something completely different, families can test their balancing skills with Still Walking and the Bullzini Family Funambulists in Cathedral Square.
Music lovers can get up close to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla in Birmingham New Street Station, enjoy a Multi-Story orchestral performance the Barclaycard Arena car park and experience the sounds of world-famous Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans at Town Hall Birmingham. There will also be live performances in Selfridges from Bostin Brass, Soweto Kinch and more.
Visual arts will be everywhere. Events include Barber on the Street from The Barber Institute, graffiti artist Zuke and illustrator Deka, and some ethereal projections in Cathedral Square by Tony Oursler presented by Birmingham Museums Trust and Artangel.
Fans of the BBC Radio soap The Archers should drop by The Mailbox for the new The Archers Exhibition.
Theatre fans can see a preview of Outbox Theatre’s As a Tiger In The Jungle at the Birmingham Rep which uses circus skills and spoken word to tell a story of life, circus and survival. Outside there’s plenty of pop-up street theatre planned.
Festival directors, Graham Callister (Birmingham Hippodrome) and Piali Ray (Sampad) say, “With the fantastic news that Birmingham is the UK candidate to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 Weekender is a real opportunity to showcase our world-class cultural offer which includes everything from the contemporary to the classical, from creative communities to internationally renowned artists.
“Whether you live in Birmingham or are visiting especially for Weekender make sure you don’t miss a thing, either pick up our full brochure, take a look on our website or download the Culture Cake app! Along with over 100 amazing volunteers who will welcome people throughout the Weekender, we look forward to seeing you there.”
Find out exactly what’s on where online at www.birminghamweekender.com or via the brand new Culture Cake App, available to download now!
In addition, the Birmingham Weekender 2017 brochure can be picked up from all the major arts venues in the city or found here.