A boundary smashing explosion of cutting edge theatre, circus, dance, comedy, visual arts, live music & dinner on the stage – BE FESTIVAL is unlike any other festival in Birmingham. Instead of moving away from difficult political and social questions in search of pure, unbridled entertainment, it uses the context of current day issues to inform its programming and isn’t afraid to address the more difficult subjects affecting our daily lives. This year they have taken on the challenge of curating the festival around the significantly zeitgeisty subject of ‘borders’ with a stunning and thought-provoking (free access) visual arts programme – as well as the main festival programme. Still set in the heart of a reordered repertory theatre, the festival turns our perception of space both, inside out and upside down. A space where the guests eat dinner with performers on the main stage and the warm, inviting heart of Birmingham European Festival’s community, encouraging inclusive and accepting. discussion becomes a self-evolving workshop. Here is our BE FEST. top 8:

1. ASINGLELINE by MAMAZA, a visual arts piece which focuses on using art as a way to communicate political unrest. Drawing borders from Ladywood, one of the more impoverished areas of Birmingham, all the way to Birmingham City Centre, through restaurants and homes, causing people to question the meaning of a red line, or a border, and it’s very nature, which is to be divisive. This work will be available to view for free over the course of BE FESTIVAL. Free www.befestival.org/events

2. Aerobics! A Ballet in 3 Acts (pictured) . The UK premiere of this carefully/crazily choreographed dance piece recalling the ‘80s-born trend for aerobics. The company Haptic Hide was formed in 2015, by choreographer Paula Rosolen whose work explores the dance that’s hidden in popular culture and the everyday. Realising her subjects in unusual settings, they’re always framed inside her unique perspective. Tue 4 Jul, 7pm, £12 www.befestival.org/events

3. A theatrical performance that comes to Birmingham from a company that frequents Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their show Eurohouse. Palmyra is a show that reflects on fake news in a political revenge drama which will be the talk of the town for at least a year. Performed by Bertrand Lescas and Nasi Voutsas. Tue 4 Jul, 7pm, £12. www.befestival.org/events

4.Another UK premiere and billed as ‘A one-man show of cultural and sensory overload’ and recycling lyrics, postures and movements in different languages from vast, disparate corners of popular culture, EVERYTHING IS OKAY offers exquisite, embodied movement with rhythm and clarity along with spoken word and also offers up opportunities for theatre buffs seeking some queer programming in their festival. Performed by Marco D’Agostin. Wed 5 Jul, 7pm, £12 www.befestival.org/events

5. To lighten things up, Portraits and Short Stories is a journey of male competitiveness through the medium of aerials and acrobatics, telling a story of two men, ages apart, pushing themselves to exceed one another and smashing apart ageism that creates prejudices in favour of the idea that circus performers can only be young this performance uses ropes, trampolines and daring acrobatics from six male performers aged 20 to 60. Wed 5 Jul, 7pm, £12 www.befestival.org/events

6. British Enough? You have been selected for testing… An immersive theatre piece specially commissioned piece by Kristina Cranfield and FoolishPeople’s John Harrigan, that merges theatre and visual arts seamlessly in a mock citizenship test which must be won through ingenuity, endurance and psychological testing. Thu 6 July – Sat 8 Jul (45min slots run throughout the day & evenong). £3 – £5 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

7. ‘Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment where an interpretation of quantum mechanics is applied to human interactions: based around a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead.’ No BE Festival would be complete without a wonderfully sinister movement-focused piece, And with Waiting For Schrodinger by Hungary-based Timothy and the Things, BE Festival have outdone themselves. A highly conceptual piece translating scientific theories into human connection and interaction, this is not to be missed. Fri 7 Jul 7pm, £12 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

8. Revolt AthenΣ is an exploration of Greece during one of the most trying times it’s seen in decades. This piece by ODC ENSEMBLE will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about Greece’s recent financial collapse in a city guide tour that will wake you up to the real situation, its resolution and the media’s grasp on consciousness and empathy. Fri 7 Jul, 7pm, £12 www.befestival.org/events

More information, including ticket prices and the full programme is available now from: www.befestival.org

Tue 4 Jul – Sat 8 Jul at various venues including The Birmingham REP. Events costs vary and many are FREE. Week Passes are now available from £60 https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/be-festival-week-pass-2017.html#show-imageCarousel

Tue 4 Jul - Sat 8 Jul
Rico Johnson-Sinclair
Published on:
Sat 1 Jul 2017