BE FESTIVAL announces the Garden State program

A program of performances, talks and workshops has been announced to take place at Garden State, a four-day installation of plants loaned by local residents, placed at the Midlands Arts Center to create a concept map of the city. The installation is one of two large-scale works of art that make up this year’s BE FESTIVAL (Birmingham European Festival of Performing Arts), the last for artistic directors Isla Aguilar and Miguel Oyarzun after 13 years at the helm . Garden State’s performances all focus on the themes of the garden: the natural world, climate change, migration and pollination. The range includes

  • Forced Entertainment’s Tomorrow’s Parties, a playful and poignant look at multiple hypothetical futures. From utopian to dystopian visions, sci-fi scenarios, political nightmares and absurd fantasies, the show speculates on what the future might hold.
  • One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Claire Cunningham presents 4 Legs Good, a lecture-performance about her crutches and how they shape her world and her art – in particular the use and the abuse, study and distortion of crutches
  • Casey Bailey, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020-22, performing works inspired by the garden
  • Modified Toy Orchestra, which uses children’s electronic toys to create random, ambient and compelling music
  • Original contemporary jazz from renowned pianist, composer and educator David Austin Gray and his trio
  • Kids have fun with Fatt Projects’ Palaver Party, an inclusive performance night for kids ages 3-8

In addition, there will be a photography workshop focusing specifically on capturing plants, discussions on the future of greenspace in Birmingham and the role greenspace plays in the city, and a BE FESTIVAL wrap-up party with the world music of DJ Glynn Phillips. All events will be free.

Garden State is presented as part of the Birmingham Festival 2022 by Fabrice Mazliah / Work Of Act, formerly MAMAZA (Germany). They’ll be knocking on the doors of residents across the city inviting them to transform the MAC’s main stage into an exotic pop-up community garden of their favorite indoor plants, transforming the stage into a public space. The installation is inspired by the myth of Libertalia, a 17th century anarchist colony in Madagascar where pirates freed slave ships and they all lived together in freedom in an exotic and peaceful community. Garden State is one of Birmingham Festival 2022’s Creative City projects, generously funded by Birmingham City Council.

BE FESTIVAL was created to overturn the notion of theatre, crossing borders, creative disciplines and blurring the boundaries between audiences. In a change of programming, the festival will open with Trigger of Happiness (June 3 – 4) by Ana Borralho & João Galante (Portugal). Twelve young adults with no stage experience will play Russian roulette with a list of questions about their lives, hopes and anxieties.

BE FESTIVAL (short for Birmingham European Festival) takes place every summer. Inspired by positive experiences touring European festivals, Isla Aguilar, Miguel Oyarzun and Mike Tweddle were met with great enthusiasm at the idea of ​​a new arts festival in Birmingham and quickly came up with a plan on the back of their napkin in a Birmingham curry house. Each year, a bold and innovative program of boundary-pushing theatre, dance, comedy, circus, music, visual and performing arts transforms the theater’s rarely seen backstage into a haven of creativity, of discovery and exchange where various cultures are celebrated. The youth performance programme, BE NEXT, engages and empowers young Birmingham-based artists who perform a new work on the final night of each festival. BE FESTIVAL has a touring wing, which has already taken ‘The Best of BE’ across the UK and Spain.

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