Culture Central members are:

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is one of the world’s foremost new music ensembles. Over three decades, BCMG has developed the music of today for the audiences of tomorrow. The ensemble has commissioned over 175 pieces of music from the world’s finest composers and emerging international talent. Many of the works have been commissioned through its innovative pioneering Sound Investment crowd-funding scheme to which over 500 donors have contributed more than £300,000; many of these works have subsequently found their way into worldwide repertoire.

BCMG was founded by Simon Clugston and Ulrich Heinen, musicians from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, in 1987, with Sir Simon Rattle as Founding Patron. Since then, BCMG has reached over 10 million people in concert and through broadcasts. The Group performs regularly at CBSO Centre, Symphony Hall and Town Hall Birmingham, Wigmore Hall in London and at the BBC Proms and Aldeburgh Festival. International tours have included visits to the USA (Library of Congress), Mexico, India and venues across France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

Birmingham Museums

Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent educational charity formed in 2012.
It cares for Birmingham’s internationally important collection of around one million objects which are stored and displayed in nine unique venues including six Listed Buildings and one Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Its venues include Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Weoley Castle and the Museum Collection Centre.

Birmingham Opera Company

We make great opera. We succeed at the highest artistic level and win the industry's most prestigious awards- the International Opera Award for Best Production, the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Opera and Music Theatre, the South Bank Show Award for opera and at the same time and with the same productions, multiple audience engagement and development awards.

We reflect the city we work in – with our audiences, artists and stories that we tell. Our ground-breaking work constantly attracts new and ever-changing audiences. Every year our small team draws some of the world’s most exciting artists to Birmingham and trains hundreds of volunteer participants to create a large-scale performance in an extraordinary space.

We perform in warehouses, shopping centres, train stations - once we even performed in a burnt out ice rink. The audience moves with the action - the experience of opera is so direct, you’re inevitably a part of it.

Birmingham Royal Ballet

The UK's premiere touring ballet company. Birmingham Royal Ballet is an internationally renowned ballet company that tours extensively in the United Kingdom and internationally. It is also the only large-scale ballet company based outside of London giving over 90% of its performances outside of the capital city. It is creatively led with a commitment to developing ballet as an art form, growing and broadening the ballet audience and using dance, music and other art forms as a method of achieving positive social change in individuals and communities. These include dance classes, workshops at schools and colleges, audience open days and pre-performance talks. Birmingham Royal Ballet also produces First Steps; a dedicated programme of children’s performances encouraging young audiences to engage with ballet for the first time

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Based at Birmingham’s spectacular Symphony Hall, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its ensembles give over 150 concerts each year in the UK and worldwide, playing a wide range of music. With a far-reaching education and community programme, four choruses and a Youth Orchestra, it is involved with every aspect of music-making in the Midlands. But at its heart is a team of superb professional musicians, led by Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and a 100-year tradition of making the world’s greatest music. As it celebrates its centenary in 2020, the CBSO remains one of the most vibrant cultural organisations in the UK.


DanceXchange (dx) presents and produces some of the best UK and international dance including the award-winning biennial Birmingham International Dance Festival.

dx has a strategic role supporting dance artists and choreographers to create and develop their practice and build sustainable dance careers.

dx delivers dance classes for adults and young people of all abilities, and runs a tailored schools programme. In partnership with Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage, dx leads the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), an elite training opportunity for talented young performers aged 11-18, in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Contemporary styles.

dx is an active partner in Dance Hub Birmingham (DHB), a dynamic collaboration of organisations and individuals representing the West Midlands’ professional dance sector.

Ex Cathedra

Ex Cathedra is a leading UK choir and Early Music ensemble that performs music from the 12th to the 21st centuries. Found 50 years ago by Jeffrey Skidmore, it presents a series of concerts in Birmingham – where it is an Associate Artist at Town Hall & Symphony Hall – across the Midlands and in London. It enjoys invitations to appear at festivals and concert series and has appeared as far afield as New York and Tel Aviv.
Alongside the concerts, an extensive programme of award-winning schools and community projects has reached over 900 schools across the UK and abroad, whilst Singing Medicine works bedside on every ward, every week at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the UK’s busiest multistage theatres, welcoming on average over 500,000 visitors every year. From our amazing shows to our delicious catering, or our impactful conferences and incredible events, every experience at Birmingham Hippodrome is filled with flair, and we always provide unforgettable experiences that entertain, enrich and engage.

We offer a mixed programme of nearly 400 performances, featuring touring musicals, world-class ballet and opera, drama and comedy, international dance and the world’s biggest Pantomime. Our space also houses the 200-seat Patrick Studio, extensive events facilities, and a restaurant.


Ikon is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art gallery situated in central Birmingham. Established in 1964 by a group of artists, it is a registered charity, and works to encourage public engagement with contemporary art through exhibiting new work in a context of debate and participation. The gallery welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year and offers free entry to all.

Midlands Arts Centre

First opened in 1962, Midlands Arts Centre – also known as MAC – is a pioneering arts complex for everyone. Our mission: to make art an important part of people’s lives. Located in Cannon Hill Park, just two miles south of the city centre, we attract over 1,000,000 visits every year, drawing audiences from across the UK and beyond. Specialising in contemporary work, we offer a busy programme of theatre, dance, independent cinema, music, spoken word, comedy, exhibitions and special events, as well as a wealth of practical classes in all aspects of creativity, from playing musical instruments to ceramics and jewellery-making. Midlands Arts Centre is a national leader in developing work with children, families and young people of all backgrounds.

Beyond our touring and self-produced programme, we work extensively to support emerging and mid-career artists. Working both in our state-of-the-art building and out in the community, our mission is to make art an important part of people's lives.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Birmingham Repertory Theatre is one of Britain’s leading producing theatre companies. Its mission is to inspire a lifelong love of theatre in the diverse communities of Birmingham and beyond. Presenting over 60 productions on its three stages every year, the theatre also tours its shows nationally and internationally.

Commissioning and producing new work lies at the core of The REP’s programme and over the last 15 years it has produced more than 130 new plays. The REP is committed to nurturing new talent through its youth theatre groups and the REP Foundry initiative offering professional development opportunities for writers, directors and artists.


Sampad believes in the power of arts and heritage to impact widely on all communities - breaking down barriers, raising important issues, amplifying unheard voices and bringing people from all walks of life together.

We deliver high-quality dance, music and theatre productions, events and workshops in education, community and outreach settings and professional development for artists, cultural leaders and young people.

Now in our 30th year, we continue to play an instrumental role in promoting and encouraging British Asian arts. We support, commission and co-produce a huge variety of arts and heritage activities inspired by diverse artforms that originate from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Celebrating South Asian Arts & Heritage
Breaking down barriers
Amplifying unheard voices

Big Bear Records

Big Bear Music Group comprises:

  • Big Bear Records, founded 1968, the longest-established independent record label in the UK, with distribution throughout Europe, USA, China and online.
  • Big Bear Music agency managed Black Sabbath through their first two hits and represents King Pleasure & The Biscuit boys, Tipitina, Lady Sings The Blues, The Whiskey Brothers and The Jim Dandies [Italy]
  • Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival celebrates 36 consecutive years from 17th-26th July 2020 with 200 performances, nearly all free admission
  • Henry’s Blueshouse at The Bulls Head – living blues every Tuesday, free admission
  • The Jazz Rag – the UK’s most lively jazz magazine, published bi-monthly since 1987


Punch are a leading Music and Arts organisation who have a commitment to working with Black Music, Arts and Culture. We deliver an annual programme of Tours, Events, Development Programmes, Talks, Special Projects and Festivals. There are lots of opportunities to get involved as an artist, creative or partner organisation. At Punch we produce, we commission and we engage.

Rosie Kay

Rosie Kay Dance Company (RKDC) creates brave new dance in Birmingham (UK) that tours to audiences at home and abroad. We thrill and move a diverse public with relevant, important, political and meaningful dance responding to contemporary society. We engage participants from the hardest to reach parts of society and treat them as future professionals. We believe that watching or participating in dance has the power to transform hearts and minds. RKDC has a reputation for making bold, original and exciting works that challenge perceptions and take on innovative subjects. RKDC is an Associate Company of Birmingham Hippodrome.

Open Theatre Company

Open Theatre has been developing work with Young People with Learning Disabilities (YPWLD) through non-verbal physical theatre for over 30 years (since 1984). We’ve gone through many names, projects and programmes over the years – beginning with the Shysters, a Coventry-based ensemble of YPWLD actors, through to organising conferences, school programmes, mass public performances and research initiatives. At the heart of our practice has always been a commitment to develop, promote and sustain the creativity and artistry of YPWLD.

We use non-verbal physical theatre to explore young people’s creativity. We work with the same young people over months, sometimes years, leading to a positive impact on learning outcomes, capacity to learn, confidence and sense of self, and the roles they can play in the world. Non-verbal Physical Theatre involves play, simple props, music and movement. It’s a highly adaptive and individual process, and we work with a small pool of specially trained facilitators.

Our work draws on contemporary conversations about the nature of disability, difference and creativity. We consider our work inspired by The Social Model of Disability, The Holistic Model of Learning Disability, Clowning, and Intense Interaction. We’ve arrived somewhere slightly different, but hopefully still somewhere useful.

The Old Rep

The Old Rep is a young people driven theatre situated on Station Street in the centre of Birmingham. We present a year-round programme of theatre, dance, comedy, musicals and creative workshops.

The Old Rep, opened in 1913, is an iconic venue that occupies a unique place in theatre history as Britain’s first purpose-built repertory theatre, and the original home of the Birmingham Repertory Company led by Sir Barry Jackson. As of 2014, Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) manages The Old Rep. BOA was established in 2011 as an academy for 14 - 19-year-olds specialising in creative, digital and performing arts.

The Alexandra Theatre

The Alexandra was built in 1901 by William Coutts and throughout its vast history, has become home to first-class entertainment. In 2018, the venue underwent an extensive refurbishment and reverted to its original name, The Alexandra. The theatre is a valuable contributor to culture within Birmingham and the West Midlands, presenting first-rate musicals, drama, comedy and more.

Stan's Cafe

Stan's Cafe is a group of artists from a variety of disciplines, though primarily theatre practitioners, working under the artistic direction of James Yarker. The company consists of a core of long term collaborators and a range of associated artists. The line up changes according to the project being worked upon.

Graeme and James agreed to form the company whilst eating at Stan's Cafe, just off Brick Lane in London.

We wanted an unusual name, but one that wasn't too aggressive, too posturing, a cheap joke, a bad pun or overly earnest. Station House Opera had always seemed a good name, mainly because they didn't do opera. So there you go...

Oh yes and it's pronounced Caff.

Ampersand Projects

Ampersand Projects collaborate with communities and artists across Birmingham and the Black Country to build meaningful connections between people and where they live, through participatory art, games, exploration and discovery.

We empower communities and individuals to be more creative, build skills and share stories.

University of Birmingham

Birmingham has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.

Birmingham City University

With around 24,000 students from 80 countries, Birmingham City University is a large and diverse place to study. We put students at the heart of everything we do, giving them the best opportunities for future success.

The University has an enviable reputation for providing quality, student-focused education in a professional and friendly environment.

Our superb courses, state-of-the-art facilities, first-rate staff, and focus on practical skills and professional relevance is producing some of the country’s most employable graduates.

ACE Dance and Music

Founded in 1996, ACE dance and music is a national and international touring dance company. Although firmly rooted in our home city of Birmingham, we have a global perspective and are universally recognised leaders in the field of Contemporary African and Caribbean Dance. Our signature style is rooted in traditional Afro-fusion forms – yet expressed through a purely contemporary lens.

We aim to promote the generosity and openness of collaboration and cultural exchange using shared choreographic methods and new technologies. To this end the company has nurtured relationships with a network of international Artistic Associates. Seeking to blend African & Caribbean movement aesthetics with contemporary techniques to create high quality innovative performance – we set our dance to original music and use digital media and techniques from other disciplines including theatre.

ACE’s reputation has grown over the last 21 years because of our high-quality professional touring productions, class and carnival presentations, bespoke outreach and education programmes and in-house studio dance classes. Nurturing the next generation is central to what we do, and we also run ACE Youth– our young person’s dance company, with an independent reputation for excellence.

Vivid Projects

Vivid Projects is a non-profit company supporting media arts practice. Founded in 2012 and based in Birmingham, we encourage innovation, risk and experimentation in artistic practice and work with artists and producers across creative disciplines. Our commitment to interdisciplinary practice is made public through an ambitious programme of events and exhibitions on and off-site.

We provide a well resourced collaborative project space in the Digbeth area of Birmingham, sited in close proximity to a range of contemporary arts venues and artist studios.

No. 11 Arts

We are an umbrella organisation created to support, enrich and advocate for our city-wide network of neighbourhood arts forums.

We are represented by a core of creative producers, project managers, artists and educators embedded in their local communities.

No.11 offers:

Commissioning and production
City-wide partnerships
Advice and support
Training, education and creative learning
Artist engagement

China Plate

Established in 2006, China Plate is an independent producer of contemporary theatre that engages around 35,000 live audience members annually. The company’s central mission is to ‘challenge the way performance is made, who it’s made by and who gets to experience it.’ China Plate is currently making work with Caroline Horton, Inspector Sands, David Edgar, Chris Thorpe, Rachel Chavkin, Rachel Bagshaw, Urielle Klein-Mekongo, Roy Williams, Chris Haydon and Tim Sutton. They are Resident Producers at Warwick Arts Centre, partners in the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) founded to bring contemporary dance to rural venues around the UK, partners in the ACE Ambition for Excellence funded Musical Theatre Development Consortium led by Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton and Derby CAN, Derby Theatre’s Arts Council England Producing Hub.


Fierce Festival is a youthful and joy-filled festival of international theatre, performance and experiences which takes place in and around Birmingham (UK) every two years.

Fierce transforms the city and the way we feel about it: populating theatres, galleries and hidden, unusual or out-of-the-ordinary spaces like disused warehouses, swimming pools and car park. You might see theatre, dance, performance art, music, installations, activism and parties or a combination of all those things in a programme of memorable experiences and events.

As an antidote to this digitally saturated age, we bring people together in real life, space and time. Year round we are an active part of the creative landscape in the city – advocating for greater cultural ambition for the city, developing artists through our FWD artist development programme, commissioning and supporting the work of some of the most interesting artists and performers and of course, keeping the Performance, Politics, Parties and Pop alive in Brum with our ever popular Club Fierce late night events.

Welcome to Fierce – a world of performance and pop, politics and parties, Birmingham and beyond: where everyone (especially you) and everything is allowed.

Talking Birds

Talking Birds is an acclaimed theatre company based in Coventry, best known for its ‘Theatre of Place’ that transforms unusual spaces, and its shiny metal Whale which is one of the most-booked street theatre acts in the UK. Talking Birds' access tool The Difference Engine brings live captioning (sub-titling) to mobile devices and was a Finalist in The Stage Award For Innovation 2019. We call ourselves ‘green theatre makers’ and strive to make responsible choices when making work, conscious of our shared responsibility to ensure a sustainable future for our planet.

Writers' Guild of Great Britain

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) is a trade union representing professional writers in TV, film, theatre, radio, books, comedy, poetry, animation and videogames. Our members also include emerging and aspiring writers.

We have been negotiating better pay and working conditions for writers since 1959. The national agreements we have in place cover key industry bodies, including the BBC, ITV, Pact; National Theatre, Royal Court and Royal Shakespeare Company (see some of our recent wins for writers).

We lobby and campaign on behalf of writers, to ensure their voices are heard in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

We offer a range of benefits to our members, including free training, contract vetting, a pension scheme, Welfare Fund, entry to our Find A Writer directory, a weekly ebulletin, plus member-only events and discounts.

Writing West Midlands

Writing West Midlands is the literature development agency for the West Midlands, supporting creative writers and creative writing. It offers support to help writers establish their writing careers. It supports young writers as they develop their interest in creative writing. It runs festivals and events, including the Birmingham Literature Festival and the annual National Writers’ Conference. It exists to champion the West Midlands region as a great place to be a writer.

Rachel Gillies

Since 2005 I have been helping people share their stories through film, audio and photography – through participatory workshops, commissioned media work and educational projects. I am currently focusing on developing high quality creative community heritage projects.

I have made Balsall Heath in Birmingham my home, and I am part of a wonderful community of Co-workers based at The Transfer within the Old Print Works.

As well as my Freelance work, I am Secretary of the People’s Heritage Co-operative, Trustee of Peacebuilding UK and part of the campaign to save Moseley Road Baths from closure as part of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths.

Amanda Haran

Amanda Haran is an Arts Council England, Midlands’ based, UK textile artist and psychotherapist, fascinated by the interplay between mental wellbeing and hands-on art engagement. She believes that all have the ability to create if presented with the right opportunities in a nurturing environment; and, has worked with a wide range of socio-economic groups. Her passion is encouraging the voices of the disenfranchised and overlooked to be heard.

Helga Henry

Helga Henry is a consultant, facilitator and public speaker with clients from a number of creative industry and cultural organisations and universities. Before launching her own consultancy practice, she was Director of Organisational Development at Birmingham Hippodrome, leading on developing its culture (especially its investment in staff, board and volunteers) in line with its new strategy. Her experience includes advising a range of national arts organisations and a secondment at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY where she worked with the team on the strategic plan that led to the creation of an award-winning theatre space which opened in 2015.

Rachel Khor

I provide businesses and organisations with bespoke design solutions via creative thinking, development and visual transformation across multiple touchpoints. Driven and passionate about helping clients build long-term visual brand equity.

Daniel Tyler-McTighe

Daniel Tyler-McTighe is a Birmingham-based theatremaker whose productions have been seen across the city, country, and internationally at Asian and European festivals. He has created theatre with, by and for young people and community groups at Birmingham REP, Hippodrome, mac and the national theatres of Korea and Spain, Warsaw Palace of Culture as well as several other British and Spanish theatres. He is Director of the national Multilingual Performance Project (University of Oxford), producer for Open Theatre Company, Research Fellow in Performing Arts at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and has a practice-as-research PhD in the contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare.

Zuhair Mehrali

Zuhair Mehrali is a British multimodal artist, based in Birmingham, UK. The main focus of his work is the construction of displaced identity and the fallibility of this inquiry. His work encompasses moving image, interaction/software, music and traditional media, and is transmedia in its meshing of these modes under a singular project.

Sakab Bashir

Sakab Bashir is a Birmingham-based BAFTA Award-winning artist and graphic designer.


Glorishears of Brummagem are Birmingham's own women's morris dance side. We perform traditional English dances from the Cotswold region with sticks, hankies and bells. Under the name Brummie Gems we also perform Molly dances from East Anglia and Border Dances from the Welsh border region. As Brummagem Mummers we perform a traditional Mummers play. We undertake a wide variety of bookings from international festivals and TV appearances, to workshops for community groups. We are based in Perry Barr and membership is open to women of all ages who want to learn to dance. Men and women musicians are also welcome.

Our Board

Our Board of Directors is:

  • Roisin Caffrey, Stan’s Café (Chair)
  • Graham Callister, Birmingham Hippodrome
  • Gaynor Cheshire, BOA
  • Geraldine Collinge, Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Indi Deol, DesiBlitz
  • Ian Hyde, Ikon Gallery
  • Elizabeth Lawal, Independent
  • Stephen Maddock, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Ian Manborde, Equity
  • Sipho Ndlovu, Beatfreeks & Independent practitioner
Header image: Birmingham Weekender by Verity Milligan