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Museum of the Moon

Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre, Fairfax Street, Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 September
Coventry Cathedral, Thursday 28 – Saturday 30 September

The Moon

An out of this world art installation depicting the moon in stunning detail is set to land in Coventry.

Museum of the Moon will be illuminating the city centre with an interesting and unique programme of events planned this September.

The special event is part of the Festival of Imagineers a city-wide, week-long celebration of art, design and engineering. Created by Luke Jerram, the fascinating artwork, which measures seven metres in diameter features detailed imagery of the lunar surface from NASA, and will be featured at Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre before moving on to Coventry Cathedral.

The moon’s tour of the city has been made possible thanks to the Festival of Imagineers, working in partnership with Coventry’s bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2021 and Coventry Sports Trust.

It will be featured at the leisure centre on Fairfax Street from Monday, September 25 to Wednesday, September 27 before moving to Coventry Cathedral on Thursday, September 28 until Saturday, September 30.

For more information and tickets see the programme here

Festival of Imagineers

Festival of ImagineersImagine. Make. Inspire, 25th - 30th September 2017

This year’s festival focuses on Transformations, exploring our relationships with space, humanity and technology, transforming spaces by connecting outdoor arts with Cathedrals, Museums, Swimming Baths and Factories as well as working with local communities, businesses and artists nationally and internationally to bring a vibrant programme of work new to Coventry.

For more information and the full programme see the Festival of Imagineers website

Scratch the surfaceBE Play Live at Coventry Cathedral

Saturday 7th October 2017, Doors at 19:00

be musicArtist Wolfgang Buttress curates a site-specific performance on Saturday 7th October 2017 at Coventry Cathedral. Music ensemble BE will perform a unique soundscape that features the live-streamed sound of 50,000 bees from a new hive placed within the Cathedral grounds specially for the event. BE will perform their critically acclaimed album ONE, a constantly changing and evolving multi-sensory symphony - a dialogue between bee and human.

An integral part of the BE performance will be hosted by a bespoke community choir engineered by the Pod’s Collective//Pod, an artist collective derived by members with lived experience of mental ill health. The Pod is Coventry City Council’s award winning mental health resource and creative hub. This event is a perfect build up to World Mental Health Day.

BE is the collective name for a collective of musicians who recorded the soundscape for Wolfgang Buttress’s multi-award-winning sculpture
The Hive which is currently sited at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The Hive seeks to highlight the importance of the honey bee in our food chain and their plight as a species.

BE have created critically acclaimed sell-out performances at Glastonbury, Blue Dot, Caught by the River, End of the Road festivals, St Mary’s Church in Nottingham and inside the Hive at Kew. Tim Jonze, The Guardian music editor, voted BE one of his top five gigs of last year. The soundscape ONE was voted as one of the best albums of 2016 by Rough Trade, The Guardian and The Quietus.

Acclaimed perfumers Haeckels have created a bespoke site-specific scent for the evening, which is derived from local botanicals and the essential oils from the newly installed bee hive in the Cathedral.

The event is part of Collective//Pod’s annual mental health arts festival Scratch the Surface - DIALOGUE and is supported by Coventry City Council and Coventry Cathedral.

For more information and tickets see the BE website

be music promotion video

urbanflows: (you were here)

10-13 October 2017, Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art. A performance adventure by sirenscrossing.
Tickets £12.28 (including booking fee) – book your start time for 17:30, 18:30, or 19:30

urban flowsHow does the city nest in your senses? Is it shaped by habit, honed through half-attention? Do you feel yourself a part of the shifting complexity...or stay safely within grids of expectation? Taking place within everyday spaces of Coventry, this piece invites you to traverse the flows of the city, to notice how you simultaneously merge with, and leave traces. Enter secret vantage points and encounter the unexpected. The city never settles, nothing is built to last. You were here.

On the day of the performance you will be sent a message with the secret starting place. The experience will last approximately 80 minutes.

urbanflows has been commissioned by Dr Nicolas Whybrow’s AHRC research project ‘Sensing the City’, urbanflows (you were here) is the first performance piece in a three year research project running 2017-2020

Note that the piece will include both indoor and outdoor locations in central Coventry and will proceed rain or shine. Please dress for the weather. If you have special access needs, please contact the organiser before booking. The performance is suitable for people 16 years of age and older.

Click here for tickets and more information

Changing Trax - Electric Proms at Warwick Arts Centre

1st November, Warwick Arts Centre

changing_trax.jpgA group of 12 young musicians from Coventry are set to showcase their incredible talent thanks to an ambitious and exciting project through the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture. The group – aged between 16 and 21 – have all come through Positive Youth Foundation’s Changing Trax project, which offers music as a platform to allow them to express themselves. They are now collaborating with classical musicians from Armonico Consort to produce a stirring, professional performance at Warwick Arts Centre in November.

‘Changing Trax - Electric Proms’ will see the young people perform seven original tracks with the orchestra and youth choir – from country to hip hop – as well as four cover songs.

Rehearsals are already underway, with the young people being guided by former BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year Toby Young, composer-in-residence for Armonico Consort.

PYF performersThis is a life-changing project for the young people who are involved. We asked them what would be the ultimate achievement for them musically – some said getting a record deal, one said performing with Jay-Z. Another talked about the time that Dizzee Rascal collaborated with an orchestra and how that brought a new dimension to his work. At Positive Youth Foundation, we strive to provide young people with access to the highest quality opportunities. So now that this is happening through the support of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, their event sponsors and the Heart of England Community Foundation, it will genuinely make this young group of musician’s dreams come true. But this is not just a community project – it’s going to be the real deal, a professionally put together performance that shows off the unbelievable talent of this group of young Coventry people. The original pieces have been created by the young people themselves over the past seven years through their determination, hard work and passion. It is going to be wonderful and a real example of what Coventry is all about.”

Susie Murphy, of Positive Youth Foundation






Previous events

Against Prejudice: A Celebration of Ira Aldridge

Ira Aldridge plaque unveiling

Enchanted community - a collaborative arts project

Royal Opera House free big screenings

Talking Birds - Disorder Contained

Godiva Festival

City Student Innovation Challenge - Enhance your skillset

Coventry Elephantastic – May Day Drawing Event with Warwick brain scientists and Mary Courtney

Imagining a Sustainable Cultural Future for Coventry

Belgrade Theatre pays tribute to African-American actor Ira Aldridge

Masterji & Coventry; Photographic Exhibition at Fargo Village

The Last Newspaper with Canley Youth Theatre

Storytelling 4 Health: Artists and academics exhibition at Fargo Village

Black History Month in Coventry

Festival of Imagineers returns to Coventry

Against Prejudice: A Celebration of Ira Aldridge

19th September, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

In September, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe will present a revival of the drama-documentary (Belgrade Theatre November 2016) telling Aldridge’s story, followed by a discussion with historians and performers sharing their perspectives on Ira Aldridge’s importance.

Arriving in England in the early 1820’s, Ira Aldridge became Britain’s first black Shakespearean actor and Theatre Manager. Brutally attacked for daring to act in Shakespeare’s plays in America, he rose to fame in the UK and became sensationally successful, though he was never accepted by the major London theatres and critics.

He died in Poland, just as he was about to return and challenge America after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Ever since, his memory has been kept alive by actors from Paul Robeson to Adrian Lester, and by writers like Lolita Chakrabarti who have pieced together the scattered fragments.

Against Prejudice

Part One: Performance Ira Aldridge, Theatre Manager: Coventry 1828

Astonishingly, while Britain’s colonies still depended on slavery, Aldridge at the age of only 20 became manager of the Coventry Theatre in the West Midlands. His short but successful season used melodrama, music and Shakespeare to challenge racist stereotypes. Using contemporary documents and the words and music of Shakespeare’s plays, this script in hand performance will ask: how did it happen?

Cast: Ray Fearon, Rakie Ayola, Jason Avoth with Una May and The Belgrade Theatre Coventry Black Youth Theatre
Script: Tony Howard, Director: Jason Morell

Part Two: Discussion - The Heirs of Ira Aldridge
Opening with a series of speeches and songs by members of the Coventry Belgrade Youth Theatre, Tony Howard leads a panel of performers and scholars in considering the importance of Ira Aldridge’s achievements for his time and ours.

Panellists include: David Olusoga (BBC Historian), Joseph Mydell (Actor), Martin Hoyles (Biographer) and Joseph Marcell (Actor). Further speakers to be announced

Supported by the University of Warwick, the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Coventry City of Culture 2021 Bid, and Being Human, organised by Tony Howard and Warwick University’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project.

For more information and to buy tickets, please see the Shakespeare's Globe website

Ira Aldridge Othello

Ira Aldridge, a young, black american actor fled racism and persecution in the states and against all practical odds, found himself as the successful manager of the theatre in Coventry in 1828. Rather than turn against him, the people of Coventry and the press rallied around Ira and supported the abolition of slavery.

Professor Tony Howard has worked with the Belgrade Theatre over the last few years to bring Ira's story to life and the plaque, funded jointly by the University of Warwick and Belgrade Theatre symbolises how important Ira was and his continuing influence on the City.

For more information about Ira Aldridge and Warwick's involvement see 'How Warwick is supporting the bid' and 'Multicultural Shakespeare'.

Ira Aldridge honoured; plaque to be unveiled in Coventry City Centre to commemorate Ira Aldridge's life

Thursday 3 August, setting off from the Belgrade Theatre at 2.15pm

A plaque celebrating the life and contribution of actor and theatre manager Ira Aldridge will be unveiled by Coventry's Lord Mayor in the city centre at the site of the original theatre.

We are encouraging people to join us for this event, on the 150th anniverary of Ira's death, celebrating the contribution Ira and the people of Coventry made in 1828 to support the abolition of slavery and also to celebrate the 100th birthday of Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to break into mainstream film and television from the 1940s and has more recently been seen in Inception and The Queen. Earl was taught by Ira's daughter.

The plaque unveiling will take place in the Upper Precinct in Coventry City Centre and be followed by a short reception back at the Belgrade.

The campaign to install a plaque in Coventry was launched last November when, in a torchlit procession, Earl Cameron laid flowers on the site of Ira Aldridge’s long-lost theatre and by leading actors including the cast of the drama-documentary Against Prejudice, in which RSC Associate Artist Ray Fearon played Ira Aldridge.
Professor Tony Howard, who leads Warwick University’s Multicultural Shakespeare project, comments: ‘It was moving. The Black Youth Theatre sang songs that Ira Aldridge himself performed on that spot nearly two centuries ago, and they sang them to a gentleman who knew Ira’s daughter. Three generations came together to honour a forgotten moment in our multicultural past. In January 1828 Ira Aldridge was advertised as a fairground attraction - "A Most Extraordinary Novelty, a Man of Colour”- yet only a few weeks later Coventry gave him the keys to its theatre.

‘It was obvious there had to be a permanent memorial.
‘The building Aldridge managed was demolished long ago, and the Blitz even destroyed the streets around it. So the plaque marking the site will be in the heart of modern Coventry, in the Precinct. Every day hundreds of shoppers will be reminded of a great African American and of the city’s openness to “foreigners and strangers”.
‘A month ago Arts Council England admitted that still not enough has been done to open up theatres to diversity, especially at the level of “leadership”. The Ira Aldridge story reminds us of what can be done.’

The full press release can be read here and photos from the event here

Ira Aldridge Othello

Ira Aldridge, a young, black american actor fled racism and persecution in the states and against all practical odds, found himself as the successful manager of the theatre in Coventry in 1828. Rather than turn against him, the people of Coventry and the press rallied around Ira and supported the abolition of slavery.

Professor Tony Howard has worked with the Belgrade Theatre over the last few years to bring Ira's story to life and the plaque, funded jointly by the University of Warwick and Belgrade Theatre symbolises how important Ira was and his continuing influence on the City.

Read more about the story of Ira Aldridge here


Enchanted Community - Collaborative community art project and exhibition

The Central Library, Coventry, 4th -31st July, 2017

Enchanted communityThe project, led by Dr Alice Eden from the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) and local artist Holly Dawes invited participants to come and think about paintings and our local community in new ways. How do you experience wonder, peace and enchantment in your everyday life and community? Do you see sparkle in leaves, raindrops or shadows?

The Enchanted Community project comprises a series of events inspired by the themes of art, enchantment and community and the paintings of Frederick Cayley Robinson. During workshops and outreach sessions in schools, participants will contribute towards a collaborative artwork.

All are welcome to come and view the results of our collaborative art project in the Central Library, Coventry until the end of July. Bring friends and family and during your visit you can contribute to the artwork and provide comments for the feedback tree.

For more information, please see the project pages.


More events will be announced for 2017. You can also find out what's on around Coventry on the coventry2021 website and add your own events to this page.

If you are involved in anything that could support Coventry's City of Culture bid and are based at Warwick, please get in touch via s dot wall at warwick dot ac dot ukto let us know so we can support and promote your activity.

Show your support on social media @coventry2021 #thisiscoventry

CCoC principal partner


Talking Birds - Disorder Contained

29 June - 15 July Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HW (opposite Argos)

Disorder containedDisorder Contained is the third play in the Asylum Trilogy: a creative collaboration between acclaimed theatre company Talking Birds and the Centres for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick & University College Dublin, exploring historical approaches to mental health to interpret their research, drawing on contemporaneous documents such as prisoners’ memoirs, doctors’ casenotes, and the reflections of prison staff.

Disorder Contained examines the effects on mental health of the Separate System: a form of strict solitary confinement and total silence introduced to British and Irish prisons - originally with the expectation that convicts would reflect upon past crimes, repent and reform - and later continued as deliberate punishment.
Using documents from the time, including prisoners’ memoirs, doctors’ casebooks, and the reflections of prison staff, Disorder Contained combines music, song, wit and compassion to explore the effects of this harsh system which endures to the present day.

Professor Hilary Marland, Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick says,

"The Separate System was originally conceived by prison chaplains, doctors and governors as a way for prisoners to reflect upon their crimes and reform. Prisons were built to totally prohibit contact between prisoners, who wore masks when moved around the prison and were placed in individual booths, or ‘coffins’, when attending chapel. Prisoners described how the regime put each man in his ‘private hell’.”

Tickets: Matinees £6 (£3); Evenings £8 (£4)

Box Office: 0845 680 1926 or online

Royal Opera House free big screenings

Tuesday 4 July and Friday 14 July

For the third year running, we will be broadcasting two live, free outdoor screenings from the Royal Opera House to the Big Screen on campus:

  • Tuesday 4th July La Traviata (pre-show performance from 6:30pm, broadcast ends 10:20pm)
  • Friday 14th July Turandot (pre-show performance from 7:00pm, broadcast ends 10:25pm)

The screenings are free of charge and open to all, please bring chairs, picnics and refreshments to enjoy the performances. University outlets will also be open to purchase food and drink.

Godiva Festival

7 - 9 July 2017

This year's Godiva Festival featured a Sunday circus spectacular, thanks to the team behind the bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.

Cirque Bijou performed at the UK’s biggest free festival on Sunday, July 9, presenting ‘New Day’, an exciting outdoor circus show, specially created for Godiva Festival. The 25 minute show was accompanied by a Coventry community choir singing ELO’s Mr Blue Sky – a song synonymous with Coventry City. Godiva saw record numbers of visitors this year who flocked to see musical artists such as Cast, The Stranglers, Tom Clarke, Example & DJ Wire, The Darkness and Kate Nash.

godivacirquebijou1.jpg godivacirquebijou2.jpg godivacirquebijou3.jpg godivacirquebijou4.jpg


Coventry City of Culture - Social innovation challenge open to all students.

Monday 26 - Friday 30 June

City Innovation Challenge - Enhance your skillset and collaborate with peers from across the University through developing innovative solutions to local problems!

To support Coventry’s Bid for ‘City of Culture 2021’, Student Careers and Skills are hosting a Social Innovation Challenge; to encourage you/Warwick students to engage with your local environment and develop exciting new ideas within the city.

The City Innovation Challenge offers the opportunity for students to collaborate with peers from different courses, with a variety of interest and experiences whilst also helping to develop their skills and capabilities: leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving, creativity etc.

Over the course of a week: Monday 26th - Friday 30th June, you will be challenged to come up with innovative solutions to real problems around City of Culture themes.

You will then be able to present these ideas to a judging panel and pitch for a small amount of funding to help develop this idea over the Summer and maybe beyond...

Get involved now; make a difference locally.

Don't miss out. Book your place now to receive further details...

Coventry Elephantastic – May Day Drawing Event with Warwick brain scientists and Mary Courtney

Earlsdon Festival Monday May 1st 11.00-3.00pm, Earlsdon Library

The Coventry Elephantastic Mary Courtney and the Community  photo by Kevin VThe event, part of the the Earlsdon Festival was well attended by people of all ages who together created a fantastic drawing which will be displayed in Earlsdon Library for the new few weeks.

Neuroscientists from Warwick; Professor Bruno Frenguelli, Professor Kevin Moffat, Dr Eric Pollatzek, Dr Anne-Claire Jacomin and Greta Lazutkaite were involved with the event, showing the link between elephants – who are reputed never to forget - and memory and our brains.

A video of the day can be viewed on the The Coventry Elephantastic facebook page. It shows hundreds of people of all ages in a time-lapse video, creating a giant community drawing of the “Coventry Elephantastic” – a re-imagining of the animal symbol of our city.

Neuroscientists at Coventry Elephantastic

Press release:

The popular community drawing event will be giving a unique twist to Coventry’s famous elephant symbol, as well as offering something extra for the curious: Neuroscientists from the University of Warwick, led by Professor Bruno Frenguelli, School of Life Sciences will be bringing their insights, microscopes and models of brains and is being organised by local artist Mary Courtney and supported by the Public Engagement team and Coventry City of Culture.

Elephants are believed to have very long memories, but how do they, and we, make and store memories? Come along to the Coventry Elephantastic and talk to brain scientists from the University of Warwick to find out more about the workings of your amazing brain”.
Professor Bruno Frenguelli

Local artist Mary Courtney, organiser of the event says,

Together we’re going to create one giant drawing of our own fantastical Coventry elephant - the Coventry Elephantastic - out of hundreds of drawings and doodlings done on the day. It is an event for everyone, for people of all ages and from all walks of life. The youngest contributor to the giant drawing last year was only 8months and the eldest over ninety years of age. We had writing in languages from all over the world. We’re expecting another great mix of people, joining in this lovely group activity this year.”

The elephant is strongly associated with Coventry. Look about and you see them everywhere. On The Cov City football logo, on the front and side of the Council house, on the gates of the Memorial Park, on the City Centre bollards. Not forgetting the abstract elephant shape of the Sports Centre in Fairfax Street, soon to be just a memory. The Coventry Band, “The Enemy” wrote an elephant song and a life size elephant puppet was even seen walking about the city centre in January, as the star of Michael Morpurgo's show at the Belgrade.

Details for Earlson Library can be found at: http://www.coventry.gov.uk/earlsdonlibrary



Sky Blues City: Imagining a Sustainable Cultural Future for Coventry

Exploring new collaborative research opportunities - Wednesday 26th April

Sky Blues city

GRP Sustainable Cities is organising a research event, open to academics from Coventry and Warwick universities to explore new collaborative research opportunities arising from the Coventry City of Culture bid and ten-year cultural strategy.

For more information and to register please go to warwick.ac.uk/culturalfuture


Masterji & Coventry: Photographic Exhibition at Fargo Village

3 - 20 November, The Box at Fargo Village.

masterjiside.jpgA 94-year-old photographer, who has documented the arrival and the lives of South Asian immigrants to Coventry since the 1950s, is being exhibited for the first time in November.

The exhibition of around 70 photographs features the work of Maganbhai Patel – better known as Masterji that were taken between his home studio and established Hillfields studio Master’s Art Studio between 1951 and 1990s. The exhibition has been brought about by Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.
The photographs have been curated by a local group called the Photo Archive Miners (PAM) who discovered Masterji’s work during their Imagine Hillfields exhibition in 2015.

The work of Masterji is of huge significance not just for Coventry but the UK because it’s a window into the lives of people as they arrived here and the image they wanted to send home.
“Many of the pictures were taken as portraits or for their official documentation so you see a very formal image. In other photos, you see a more laid back style and also some of the difficulties they faced so it really documents a very important part of the city’s history and its cultural diversity.

Jason Tilley, Photo Archive Miners (PAM)

masterjihomevisit65.jpgMasterji moved to Coventry from Surat in India in 1951, with little more than a box brownie camera.
With a keen eye for photography, he began to shoot the local community and opened a portrait studio in Stoney Stanton Road, which he ran from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is still there today and is run by his son Ravindra Patel.
PAM have managed to track down hundreds of photographs and are carefully restoring them to their former glory with the help of his daughter, Tarla Patel.
Jason added:

He was a headmaster back in India – that is where the name Masterji came from. As a mark of respect, that is what members of the community continued to call him long after he stopped being a teacher.
“In certain parts of the city, he is quite famous because so many people visited his studio. We have been out for a drink with him and people still recognise him – they will come and say ‘hello Masterji!’
“I am part Indian myself and lived there for many years so, on a personal level, I am very proud to be curating this exhibition and really bringing the work of Masterji back to life.
“The fact that it has taken this long to actual exhibit his work tells you just how long it has gone forgotten and, to a certain degree, how under-rated he was and we are thrilled to be able to showcase his work finally at the age of 94.

Maganbhai Patel's daughter Tarla, works in the Office for Global Engagement at Warwick and has given us her story about the exibition.

The Guardian has published an article about the exhibition: Masterji - Coventry's secret 94-year-old photographer – in pictures

The free exhibition is open from 3 - 20 November from 10am - 6pm (closed Mondays).

For more information, see coventry2021.co.uk

The Last Newspaper with Canley Youth Theatre

the_last_newspaper_crop.png

rachel_300px.jpgWATE winner, Dr Rachel King (Centre for Education Studies) has been working with The Belgrade’s Canley Youth Theatre, Jouvan Fucinni (Youth Theatre Director) and Angela Evans (Youth Worker, Coventry Integrated Youth Services) to explore young people’s feelings about their future - asking what they hope for, what they care about and what they fear and loathe.

This ensemble performance of The Last Newspaper invites you into a dystopian fairy tale world of post-truth and alternative facts. This event aims to provoke discussion about the ways theatre and performance can foster young people’s sense of civic engagement.

The story takes place in the future – Once Upon a Tomorrow to be exact. In the divided town of Paperville, Grandma lives with her two grandchildren Jack and Jill. Despite the distractions of digital screens and Candy Houses made by The Three Little Pigs Limited, their world is unsettled by the arrival of a lost fisherwoman who asks them where she might find a library in their town. When Jack and Jill explain that they don’t know what a library is, Grandma knows it’s finally time to tell the truth and she sends them on a quest to find The Last Newspaper. In a fictional fairy-tale world of post-truth and alternative facts, who can be trusted?

The performance and research dissemination event has been funded by the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick.

The Last Newspaper will be performing at the following venues;

Thursday 23 March, 6pm
Humanities Studio, (H076 Humanities Building)
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

To reserve a place, please email Rachel King on r dot e dot king at warwick dot ac dot uk

Friday 24 March, 6pm
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HW

Tickets (free or pay what you can) are available via The Belgrade Theatre website

The performances last about 40 minutes.

'Hope, care and civic engagement' is an IATL funded project, part of an international research project is led by Professor Kathleen Gallagher (University of Toronto) in collaboration with Dr Rachel King, Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick, investigating “hope”, “care” and “civic engagement” in youth theatre.

The following short film provides an insight into the Hope, Care and Civic Engagement project.

video still

Belgrade Theatre pays tribute to African-American actor Ira Aldridge

Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge in Coventry 1828, Thursday 17 November.
Tickets are FREE but must be booked in advance through the Belgrade’s Box Office www.belgrade.co.uk or call 024 7655 3055.

Ira Aldridge OthelloThe Belgrade Theatre has teamed up with Warwick’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project and The Coventry City of Culture Bid 2021 to present an event honouring the remarkable achievements of the African-American actor Ira Aldridge this November. He became Manager of the Coventry Theatre in 1828, at a time when slavery was still widespread across Britain’s colonies and the USA.

Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge in Coventry 1828, will see an evening performance in the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium by a professional and community cast, followed by a night-time procession through the streets of Coventry.

Professor Tony Howard, a leading researcher on Ira Aldridge at Warwick will gives talks exploring the relationship between politics and Shakespeare in modern Britain and works with the University of Warwick’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project to gather information on the achievements of black and Asian artists. He said,

It’s an astonishing story. Adrian Lester has just played Ira Aldridge in London and New York and reminded the world of the achievements of a very great actor. But the fact that at the age of only 20, Ira – young, gifted and black - was handed Coventry’s Theatre to run, is truly remarkable. He presented plays that attacked slavery and at the same time he raised the standards of a run-down company in crisis.”

You can read Tony Howard's article reflecting on Ira's life in Coventry here and read an article published in The Observer on Sunday 13 November 2016 titled 'From 19th-century black pioneer to cultural ambassador of Coventry'.

The Performance entitled 'Generations Meet' tells how a 20-year-old African American, fleeing racism in America, became Manager of the Coventry Theatre and helped launch a nationwide campaign against slavery which would involve over a million people.

It tells how the theatre and the press in Coventry united long ago to show what a multicultural community could be.

Actor Ray Fearon (Shakespeare's Globe, RSC) will take on the role of Ira Aldridge. Aldridge was the first black actor to play Othello, a role Fearon has also played for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Fearon is joined by Rakie Ayola (Holby City, National Theatre, RSC) and Matt Costain (National Theatre, RSC, Shakespeare's Globe).

The production will also involve singers and actors from the Belgrade's youth theatre and community choirs, performing Ira Aldridge's scenes and songs for the first time in over a century.

Tickets are free, but are limited, so if you would like to join us for this very special evening reserve your tickets now.

The production will also involve singers and actors of the Belgrade's youth theatres and community choirs, performing Ira Aldridge's scenes and songs for the first time in over a century and recreating them in the musical language of NOW.

GUEST of HONOUR: Earl Cameron CBE (age 99), the great Caribbean film, stage and televion star who lives in Kenilworth, acted on Coventry's stages in the 1940s and '50s - and was taught by Ira Aldridge's daughter!

'Being a foreigner and a stranger are universal passports to British sympathy.’
Ira Aldridge, 1828.

Presented by Warwick University’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project, the Belgrade Theatre, the Being Human 2016 Festival, and supported by Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 Bid.

The company will also perform extracts from The Slave by Thomas Morton, one of several plays that Ira Aldridge programmed at the Coventry Theatre during his brief time as Manager there. The procession will lead to the site of the long-lost playhouse where he and the local community made history, with scenes, speeches and songs from Aldridge’s Coventry season.

The event is also part of Being Human, a festival of the Humanities and a national forum for public engagement with humanities research, led by the School of Advanced Study and University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council. This year’s festival, themed around hope and fear, will feature a programme of debates, talks and activities including Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge in Coventry 1828.


Storytelling 4 Health: Artists and academics exhibition

26 November 2016, 10am - 6pm. Black Box Studio, Fargo Village, Far Gosford St, Coventry, CV1 5ED

storytelling for health

Emma Parfitt from Department of Sociology has worked with Fargo Village to bring artists and academics together for an exhibition of local artists work.

17 artists (from all mediums and crafts) will create pieces based on the research ideas of PhD students from the Warwick.
This exciting exhibition is a chance to bring people together with the aim of closing the art-science divide. It opens the academic world to the community, from an internationally diverse set of students and subjects. It is also a different way of communicating research in a creative way, thus demythicizing the idea that research outputs from theoretical to practical cannot be communicated to everyone. Knowledge, like art, should be accessible to all. Research can also impact our lives in different ways. I hope that you can join us on the 26th of November to see where inspiration leads.

Emma Parfitt, PhD researcher, Department of Sociology

The resulting artistic creations will be displayed alongside short paragraphs describing the PhD inspirations. Visitors will be offered the chance to purchase the artists’ work thereby supporting local art and culture. You can find out more information on Emma's Storytelling 4 Health blog or read more about Emma's research on her article here or the press release.

Amongst those featured:

emma_harris.jpgEmma Harris (jewellery and artwork)

From microbiology graduate (the study of microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses) to creator of unique jewellery and artwork. Most of my work is inspired by nature. I predominantly use polymer clay mixed with natural ‘gems’ collected on my travels around the countryside.


Sarah English (Biomedical Sciences)

I am researching the biology of perinatal depression. This covers depression both in pregnancy and in the postnatal period after giving birth. Over half of all cases go undetected each year, leaving around 35,000 women in the UK receiving no professional help. The consequences extend to the whole family and the offspring, for whom maternal stress in the womb can lead to detrimental health in later life. There are effective treatments available yet without detection we cannot target those women who need help the most. Severe cases may even result in suicide. Both a lack of awareness and stigma or fear of being judged are vital reasons why women are not seeking help, and bringing perinatal depression into the spotlight will help with this.
My research focuses on finding a biological marker or ‘biomarker’ for perinatal depression. The ultimate aim is to find a way to diagnose and predict depression from a simple blood test which can tell us which women are at high risk. The current evidence for this looks promising, using genetics to find a biological reason why some women suffer and some don’t.

Black History Month in Coventry

Throughout October, Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre will be proudly supporting Black History Month with an exciting programme of events including talks, workshops, a photography exhibition and a concert celebrating the diversity of Coventry’s communities.
Kick-starting the programme of events, is a Black History Month Launch event on Saturday, October 1st, from 4.30pm.

This is a free event that will include a special performance from the Belgrade’s Black Youth Theatre, conversations with curators and the chance to discuss some of the Belgrade’s ground-breaking work from this year and includes a double bill of performances by the Birmingham-based Strictly Arts Theatre Company in the B2 auditorium.

Two of Warwick's academics are involved with exhibitions and talks:

Embodied Islands posterVisitors to the theatre will have the chance to see Embodied Islands: An Exhibition of Caribbean Photography at the Belgrade, from Monday, 3rd October to Friday, 28th October.

Presented by Warwick University’s Centre for Caribbean Studies, Embodied Islands is a fusion of historical 19th century stereoview photography and contemporary visual art by award-winning Caribbean photographers which was previously exhibited at Warwick Arts Centre in June this year.

It provides a rare opportunity to learn about post-colonial Caribbean life through the history of photography.

Associate Professor at Warwick, Dr Fabienne Viala and award-winning Caribbean photographer, Jean-Francois Manicom, will also host five workshops and discussions at the Belgrade over the duration of Black History Month, which will take a closer look at history of photography, heritage and identity.

2016 is Shakespeare’s anniversary year, and never before have so many of the Bard’s greatest roles have been played by BAME actors - Macbeth at the Globe, King Lear at Manchester Exchange, Hamlet at Stratford and on tour.

But two great men called for this to happen long ago, and worked for it: Ira Aldridge and Paul Robeson. Tony Howard from the Multicultural Shakespeare project at Warwick tells their stories in a talk entitled Ira Aldridge and Paul Robeson: Setting Shakespeare Free on Thursday, October 20, at 6.30pm.
Tickets for this event are free, but must be booked online or through the Belgrade Theatre Box Office.

Find out what activities warwick SU are running for Black History Month.


Festival of Imagineers returns to Coventry

Festival of Imagineers returns for its third year with a week long programme of interactive exhibitions, workshops and activities from Monday 26 September – 1 October.

The festival is a series of free experiences, celebrating creative invention with local, national and international artists, engineers and designers inviting audiences to join in and become creative collaborators themselves at Daimler Powerhouse and throughout the City.

David Burbidge, Chairman of Coventry City of Culture Trust said:

This promises to be an exciting and memorable event and will be a great example of the innovation and creativity that Coventry has to offer.”

Warwick academics have been involved with a number of the activites and performances at the festival such as:

Likeable Cyclable City (Daimler Powerhouse from Monday 26 September – Saturday 1 October, 12 – 4pm daily)

Jo Trowsdale, Centre for Education Studies has been working with Imagineer Productions developing the Imagineerium Initiative: an arts, engineering and education partnership. The initiative centres on the process of making as a site for developing learner skills and proposes a particular model of STEAM education: learning about oneself as a learner as well as science, design, technology and maths through the arts.

The 2014 pilot has been adapted and developed for 2016 to include an increased teacher role (through CPD) and forms the basis of a current bid to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The Likeable Cyclable project which The Imagineerium Initiative bid underpins and locks into has just been selected by the City Council as a key City of Culture bid project.

Likeable Cyclable is an exhibition showcasing a new interactive cycle powered system of transport and city centre trail for Coventry, inspired by the interlinked trikes which propelled Godiva to London aboard her cyclopedia in 2012.

The development of the Winters Tale, Teatr Biuro Podróży and Dr Haedicke (Friday 30th September, 2-3pm at the Daimler Powerhouse)

This unique street theatre version of Shakespeare’s late play was initially explored during a 10 day workshop residency and performance as part of the Festival of Imagineers 2015. A further developed version will be performed in Poznan in early October before a further period of development. The full Imagineer Productions/Teatr Biuro Podrozy co-production will be one of the headline performances for Festival of Imagineers 2017 and will be an Performer Marta Strzalko and dramaturg Dr Susan Haedicke (Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance, Warwick University) will be in conversation about the latest developments of the production www.tbp.org.pl

The full programme can be found online at www.imagineer-productions.co.uk or via facebook Imagineer Productions or twitter @ImagineerUK.

Window on Warwick - undiscovered Coventry
Thursday 2 March, 12:30 - 1:30pm. CMR 1.0 University House

Window on Warwick

Calling all Coventry experts. Can you help us tell a better story around Coventry, the culture, the history, what is happening now and tomorrow and how to encourage people to support the bid?

Warwick is fully behind Coventry’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 and are one of the principal partners alongside Coventry University and Coventry City Council. We are interested in people’s experiences and cultural nuggets of Coventry – the stories that celebrate and showcase the city will help inspire and shape Coventry’s bid.

Even if you don't know the City but would like to - please come along and see if you can find out something new about the city on our doorstep.

This session will also give an overview to the bid timetable and activities and Warwick’s role but will focus on attendees’ ideas and stories.

Please book through the LDC webpages.

Call for Digital Artists Residency applications

Coventry is a city that is constantly reinventing itself. As part of our journey to bid for UK City of Culture in 2021, Coventry City of Culture Trust will invite an artist to reinvent the city again – to reflect on the architecture, subculture and people of the city.

Coventry is a young city, a diverse city and a city that is still facing challenges. A city that has moved people by cycle, car and peace is now moving people through culture. Once the capital of England, Coventry has as a rich medieval past. Rebuilding from its devastating bombings during the war, planners and engineers created the UK’s first pedestrianised city. Known for its invention, design, work in peace and reconciliation and the diversity of its population, the city is building a new future and wishes to invite artists to be part of that thinking.

The call

The call is for a digital artist – though we are open to proposals from musicians, dancers, visual artists, architects and others who might use digital technology in their work. We want the selected artist/artists to produce a piece of work that can be showcased at a site in the city or digitally on the web. You may choose to work with the city as a whole, a unique site or a specific community.

Depending on the proposal, and approach of the artists appointed, the project will be hosted by one or more of our cultural partners in the city.

More information is available on the brief and you can find out more on the coventry2021 website.