Today Choncey and I dragged ourselves away from our keyboards and computer screens and spent the afternoon at our very first media press launch! The launch was for the 4 Square Weekender, which takes place on the 6-8th September. A range of live performances and events are happening in and around Birmingham’s four squares (Chamberlain, Oozells, Victoria and Centenary) in celebration of the opening of the new Library.
Walking into the Rep Theatre and being shown into the auditorium, full of professional media types with cameras and lanyards, we felt a little apprehensive. However, once we started watching the slideshow of photos reminding us of previous festival events in Birmingham, and the speakers began introducing us to this weekender, all feelings of intimidation were immediately overtaken by excitement.
The weekender, having recieved arts council as well as EU and other private funding, is going to be a large scale event, drawing in visitors from far and wide. The performances on display are all free and family friendly, ranging from workshops and performances by the NoFit State Circus to dance performances of all genres and a variety of film screenings hosted by Flatpack Film Festival.
Although most of the events will take place outside (fingers crossed for this sun to carry on til September!), local cultural buildings will also be holding festival events, including the Rep itself, the New Library and the Ikon Gallery, which is presenting it’s own 72ft long boat as both an exhibition space and a piece of art in itself.
As the New Library is going to be the biggest cultural building of its kind in Europe, celebrations around its opening are not solely about the building itself, but are also about celebrating Birmingham’s wide and diverse cultural scene. As such, many events will focus (much as the library will) round Birmingham as a whole, and it’s position as a leading city of culture. My favourite example of this was the theatre production that will be put on by the Rep called EAT. A rolling series of performances taking place in four caravans stationed around each of the four squares, it looks at the themes of Birmingham as a community, and how food relates to and plays a part in this.
After the presentations, we were given a sneak preview of some of the scheduled acts, with a performance from a (very strong!) member of the NoFit State Circus, who did dazzling feats for us infront of the back drop of the iconic Library Building. He was joined by members of The Reds and DanceXchange. At this part of the Launch, I really enjoyed getting stuck in with all the photographers. Sitting on the ground with my trusty little Nikon refurb, I felt like a real journalist capturing the spectacle for all to see.
Here are just a few of the snaps I took. I don’t think I ever really got past the beautifully surreal atmosphere created by a circus performer, 5 Red People, an indian dancer and a tuba player all hanging out on the square together. A great afternoon 🙂
For more details check out this link: http://visitbirmingham.com/what-to-do/festivals-events/4-squares-weekender/