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 Entrance is free — Visit 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 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near BE FESTIVAL at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Birmingham
The Custard Factory

The Custard Factory is one of the most powerful collections of creative and digital businesses, independent retailers and event venues outside London.

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World of Wedgwood

Former Art Fund Prize Museum of the Year Award winner, World of Wedgwood in Stoke-of-Trent houses one of the most important industrial collections in existence and offers a unique record of over 250 years of ground-breaking British ceramic design and production.

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Trentham Gardens

Comprising of 725 acres of land set within a glorious stretch of North Staffordshire countryside on the southern fringe of Stoke-on-Trent, the award-winning visitor attraction Trentham Estate is the last remnant of one of England’s greatest garden estates.

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The last complete Victorian pottery factory in Britain, Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton provides a unique insight into the history of Stoke-on-Trent; an area renowned for its world-class pottery and ceramics.

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Stoke Minster

Just a short walk from Stoke-on-Trent train station is Stoke Minster, believed to have once been an important Celtic religious site and where Christian worship has taken place since Saxon times.

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The pottery lover’s mecca, over 1.3 million Emma Bridgwater pieces are produced at the designer’s Stoke-on-Trent based factory every year – each one touched by over 30 deftly-skilled hands. Take an award-winning tour, visit the heavily discounted shop and have a go at producing your own earthenware masterpiece.

Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
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Home to the most significant collection of Staffordshire ceramics in the world and the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found, a visit to Stoke-upon-Trent is not complete without an afternoon whiled away in The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

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City Central Library, Hanley

Described as “the finest and most distinctive example of Modernist architecture in Stoke-on-Trent”, City Central Library is Stoke-on-Trent’s largest library, home to the city archives.

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Bethesda Chapel

Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Hanley is considered to be one of England’s grandest surviving town chapels – and it’s easy to see why.

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