New Arts Spectacular Announced

Birmingham’s leading arts organisations are joining forces to stage a major outdoor celebration for the opening of the Library of Birmingham.

A range of innovative arts events and live music performances will take place across four squares in the city centre from 6 to 8 September 2013, following the opening of the new Library and re-opening of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre earlier that week.

4 Squares Weekender will feature free outdoor performances by UK and international artists, appealing to the whole family. Events will take place in and around Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Chamberlain Square and Oozells Square in Brindleyplace.

The celebration weekend culminates on Friday and Saturday evenings in the large-scale, spectacular show As the World Tipped by Wired Aerial Theatre in Victoria Square.

4 Squares Weekender will include pop-up performances by the CBSO, aerial and acrobatics by NoFit State Circus, appearances by Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Drum’s music showcase Simmer Down, plus street theatre, dance, live music, exhibitions and numerous chances to join in.

Most of the events will be presented outside, with additional free attractions inside venues including Town Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the new Library itself. Ikon’s Slow Boat – a narrow boat measuring 72ft, converted into a floating art venue – will be open to visitors, moored on the canalside in Brindleyplace.

4 Squares Weekender is presented by Birmingham Arts Partnership (BAP), the consortium of leading arts organisations and venues in the city. It is the first event conceived, programmed and promoted by BAP as part of its growing role in helping to lead Birmingham’s cultural development.

The 4 Squares Weekender aims to create a sense of spectacle, encouraging residents to come into the city centre and attracting visitors from outside the city. The Weekender will reflect the range and quality of Birmingham’s professional arts sector, encouraging new audiences to enjoy the city’s cultural offer as well as further positioning Birmingham as a dynamic and accessible arts destination.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, commented, “The experience of last year’s London 2012 Festival with events such as The Voyage and Mandala, as well as other outdoor performances such as dance piece Wings of Desire, underlined the popularity of outdoor arts activity in the city. The opportunity to build on Birmingham’s reputation in this field, the demand from audiences for large scale spectacle and the desire to celebrate this iconic moment in the city’s cultural life is too great to miss. Birmingham’s arts organisations are a great asset to the city and we will all be out in full force over the 4 Squares Weekender.”

The 4 Squares Weekender is supported by Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council and the European Regional Development Fund through its Investing in the City Region project managed by Marketing Birmingham.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “The Four Squares Weekender will be a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham to welcome visitors and locals alike, showing off the world class cultural offer in the city and celebrating the opening of the new Library and refurbished Birmingham REP. This two day spectacular, which is partly funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council’s Grants for the arts scheme, will deliver an exciting and wide-ranging programme enhancing the already vibrant arts scene in Birmingham.”

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said he was pleased to support the coming together of the city’s leading arts organisations to celebrate the opening of the new library: “Not only do we have a wealth of creative talent in Birmingham but we also attract the highest calibre of artists from outside the city and I look forward to the national and international performances that have been curated for the 4 Squares Weekender.”

Bore continued, “We are fortunate in Birmingham that so many arts, business and community groups put on events across the city throughout the year. Just last weekend, for example, the city centre alone boasted food, international jazz and outdoor film festivals. Which is why I have set out plans to establish Festivals Birmingham to support, develop and fund cultural activity in the city.”

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Visit Birmingham, said: “Birmingham is a dynamic and diverse cultural centre, home to over 50 festivals that attract visitors from across the globe each year. The 4 Squares Weekender will be a fantastic new addition to the city’s events calendar, promising an exciting programme of world-class culture and creativity. Attracting 33.8 million visitors in 2012, Birmingham continues to draw record numbers to experience its unique destination offering. The hotly anticipated launch of the Library of Birmingham and reopening of Birmingham REP will further cement the city’s reputation as an artistic hotspot.”

Initial information about 4 Squares Weekender can be found at www.4squaresweekender.com. Further programme details will be released in August.

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