Birmingham Weekender In Digbeth – First Programme Highlights Announced

Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth, produced by Culture Central and taking place 4 – 6 October is delighted to announce the first programme highlights for the 2019 edition.

Birmingham Weekender will join up with the popular Digbeth First Friday for opening night, for an evening of late-night openings and free performances at Eastside Projects, Vivid, Stryx, Centrala and Grand Union – an opportunity to try something new with special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.

13 artists/organisations have also been confirmed through the Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth Open Call; these will form part of the overall programme and include:

– Big Bear Music presents Leaving Mississippi Birmingham Bound which traces the history of the blues from the cotton fields of Mississippi through Memphis, New Orleans and Chicago to rock and heavy metal, presented over the three nights of Weekender.
– Visit Vivid Projects for a three-day programme of performance, sonics, audio-visual events and installations with their 2019 Black Hole Club artist cohort. Artists include: On Friday, Matthew Evans, Carole Breen and Gemma Jones; On Saturday, Libby Culfley, Ambie Drew and Liz Ord; Sunday sees work from Dan Auluk, Rosa Francesca and Dinosaur Kilby.

 Break Mission present a weekend of Hip-Hop events for all, with dance, music, street sports and art including an International Dance Competition with live music, and DJ and rap battles indoors and outdoors. There will be an open Skate Tournament along with a Street Sports Showcase including some of the craziest BMX stunt riders and Parkour free runners. Throughout the weekend expect Live Graffiti adding to the much-loved Graffiti walls of Digbeth.

 Birmingham Open Media (BOM) invite visitors in to explore how artists and innovators are changing the way we play computer games in their exhibition Hacked! Games Re-designed. Families are also invited to a special workshop where they can build musical instruments inspired by video-game controllers with arcade buttons and light sensors and write code to translate movement into sound and vibration.

 Redhawk Logistica will present A Million Welcomes in places around Digbeth. Pop-up placards welcome visitors, inviting them to take part in the art on offer and to contribute to the cultural life of the city. If people get stuck in – and connect profoundly with someone from a different land – then Birmingham will truly be a city of a million welcomes.

– Try out African Drumming with a master drummer from Senegal with the Bakayoko Music Company. Led by Ansoumana ‘Vieux’ Bakayoko, a ‘djembefola’ (djembe player) from West Africa, each workshop introduces the art of playing the djembe drum to a traditional African rhythm.

 SHOUT Festival will present Smalltown Brum. Titled after Bronski Beat’s iconic nightclub anthem ‘Smalltown Boy’, Smalltown Brum is a durational queer silent disco for Birmingham. Turn up, pull on a pair of wireless headphones, and get ready to throw some moves with fellow brummies on the dance floor to SHOUT’s silent disco line-up.

 Sampad joins with Eastside Projects for Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth. The sound of vibrant contemporary South Asian and world music fills Digbeth as Kefaya, alongside percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger, offer short pop-up solos and duets around Digbeth.  Also expect an evening led by guitarist Giuliano Modarelli and keyboard player, Al MacSween, and with them a collective of artists from across the globe.

– Join professional West Midlands writers BOLDtext on a sometimes giddy, often unhygienic, revealing theatrical walking tour of Digbeth’s hidden history titled Follow Me – expect to be guided through childhood memories and ushered past passionate exchanges on the one-hour stroll.

 The Glue Collective will bring their sensory Yurt to Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth, a quiet safe space where children and adults of all ages can make potions and mud pies, build and create, and try out interactive art works.

– Weekender visitors decide the Grand Prize winner of internationally celebrated performance artist Symoné’s Fierce Flow which brings New York’s 80s voguing culture to Digbeth. Expect an exciting fusion of ballroom (voguing) culture and circus arts with the warmth of cabaret.

– Roll up your sleeves and Play with Clay with Sundragon Pottery, ‘throw’ a pot, make a tile or sculpt a creature and enjoy an exhibition of ceramics.

 Jakub Jan Ceglarz & Marta Marsicka present Digbeth at Midnight an interactive story-telling trail for anyone who enjoys spooky, wacky, weird and mysterious tales.  Visitors make their way through the nooks and streets of Digbeth to find a series of plaques with QR-codes. Scan the code to hear and read hair-raising stories that might (or might not) have happened at that site. The voices belong to the people who work and live in Digbeth: from artists, cultural producers, wood and metal workers to car mechanics, shop and bar owners, these are the people who make Digbeth a vibrant, diverse and lively place.
In addition, expect dance from Birmingham Royal Ballet, an action-packed workshop of games and drama to explore the classic children’s story Peter Pan with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and DJ Pyskhomantus’ VisionBombing Game Show presented by Birmingham Hippodrome which will see Birmingham’s Hip-Hop artists compete in a number of game formats – think Hip-Hop meets A Question of Sport with a bit of The Kyrpton Factor thrown in! The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will present an evening concert in The Bradshaw Hall directed by one of the world’s most celebrated violinists, Dmitry Stikovetsky, featuring Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Brahms.

Steve Ball, Director of Culture Central said: “The programme is shaping up to be really exciting for this year’s Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth. There’s music, dance, hands-on activities for children, performance, visual art and an opportunity to try something new at every turn showcasing the full cultural offer here in Birmingham with work from both smaller and larger organisations. Much of the work we have commissioned responds to Digbeth itself and it is fantastic to shine a light on the city’s creative quarter through this Festival.”

Expect further programming announcements at very soon.

Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth is funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England.


Twitter & Instagram: @BhamWeekender


Photograph by Verity Milligan.