BE FESTIVAL at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Be Festival 2019
Image courtesy of Alex Brenner

Be Festival at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, 2–6 July 2019 - Book now

Now celebrating its 10th year, it’s hard to believe that Birmingham’s BE FESTIVAL started as an idea scribbled on the back of a napkin in a Birmingham curry house. Inspired by the positive experiences of touring to European art events, festival co-founders Isla Aguilar, Miguel Oyarzun and Mike Tweddle set out to bring the best selection of contemporary European performance to Birmingham.

Bringing the best of European theatre and performance to Birmingham

Subverting all of our expectations of conventional theatre – Birmingham’s BE FESTIVAL – shortened from Birmingham European Festival, is an exhilarating week-long celebration of culture. Bringing the best of European theatre and performance to Birmingham, the festival serves up a bold and experimental programme of new work and seeks to blur the boundary between artist and spectator. The festival will transform the rarely seen backstage areas into a lively festival hub, packed with artists from all over Europe, and beyond, enjoying performances, workshops, food, talks and refreshing Raspberry Mojitos.

Ticket holders can enjoy a dinner served on the main stage following the first half of the evening performance

Each night of the festival, audiences will be treated to a pick of four shows and an interval like no other. Ticket holders can enjoy a dinner served on the REP’s main stage following the first half of the evening performance.

This year’s festival programme will explore the theme of ‘Archive and Memory’, how we reflect on the past, and how we move forward, contribute to and challenge our future.

Highlights this year include the Brussels-based Moroccan choreographer Radouan Mriziga with his truly captivating solo 55; the return of choreographer Paula Rosolen with her energetic show PUNK‽ – complete with a live band and pogo sticks – this is a real tribute to punk and contemporary dance. We’re also looking forward to seeing Catalonian company Ça Marche as they explore a world of improvised chaos (with huge blow-up monsters and fake snow!) with a group of local children.

The award-winning Italian company Sotterraneo will perform their full-length show Dies Irae: 5 episodes around the end of the species; an ironic and uncanny performance probing how we archive our ‘collective’ memory of our past, present and hypothetical future. Belgian duo Maxime Dautremont & Foucauld Falguerolles demonstrate exhilarating acrobatics, axe throwing and Chinese pole technique in their show One Shot. Documentary theatre meets auto-fiction in an exploration of Romanian writer Carmen-Francesca Banciu’s life; In A Land Full Of Heroes explores the evolution of post-socialist countries meeting occidental and liberal Europe.

Alongside all of this, there is a free programme of live music and DJs. You’ll find the award-winning DJ and local legend Glyn Philips with his GlobalSoundClash, Brummie electric-pop trio Lycio and the funk, fiddle and jazz fusion sounds of Gathering Tides.

There’s plenty to enjoy at BE FESTIVAL.

Be Festival at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham

2–6 July 2019

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Cézanne at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 24 August 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

Cézanne at the Whitworth

Cinema 20 September–3 October 2019, from £9

Ad Astra at HOME

Experience The Magic of Trees at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens
Families 5 March 2019–1 March 2020, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

Autumn at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

Activity 11 September 2019–28 February 2020, from £5

Meditation at the Manchester Buddhist Centre