Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth – a total arts blast

Creating opportunities for everyone to be creative.

Over 110 events across 32 venues took place from 4th–6th October as part of Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth. Produced by Culture Central, the city’s artists and arts organisations came together to put on a packed programme of dance, music, art and performance.

From Breakin’ under the railway arches in Digbeth and a Dance Battle in the Irish Centre, Break Mission brought Digbeth to life with dancers, beat boxers and buskers over the whole weekend. On Saturday, a group of Tudors brought many a second glance as they walked through Digbeth to give their dance workshops and demonstrations. Whilst the Sunday came to a close with a Brazilian Street Party complete with live samba band bringing the streets alive with a carnival atmosphere.

Dance Hub Birmingham commissioned dance in pubs, the Bull Ring Open Market and in outdoor spaces across Digbeth. Weekender audiences got to choose the track for dancers to perform to with Jukebox by Extended Play, experience the merging of dance and projection with Kindred by Sonia Sabri & Cirque Bijou and were captivated by the collision of two b-boys in ONE% by Jamaal O’Driscoll and Marius Mates.

Over the weekend there was art to try and to make whatever your skills or experience, from Voguing and hula hooping with Fierce Flow to drumming with master drummer Ansoumana ‘Viex’ Bakayoko and circus skills including aerial, hoop and trapeze with RoguePlay Theatre.

Weekender audiences got hands on with clay with Sundragon and got dirty in the Mud Kitchen with the wonderfully family friendly Glue Collective. For budding visual artists there was the opportunity to help create a dinosaur installation at Vivid Projects and for future musical theatre stars there was a host of acting, dancing and singing workshops at Birmingham Ormiston Academy.

Digbeth Art Market offered the opportunity to take the art home with work available from some of the city’s best artists, independent makers and designers. And, for inspiration Birmingham’s thriving contemporary arts scene opened their doors with exhibitions, performances and talks at Eastside Projects, Grand Union and Centrala.

Steve Ball, Director Culture Central said: “What a fantastic weekend of culture! What an opportunity to hang out in Birmingham’s thriving creative quarter and celebrate the independent art scene as well as to work with artists and organisations from across the city. Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth created opportunities over three days to see something new, in lots of amazing locations and to be inspired and proud of our City. And, of course, it was all FREE!

“We’d like to extend thanks to everyone who came along to support their favourite artists or to try something new as well as to all those artists and creatives who worked to make Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth such a success.”

Cllr Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills & Culture, Birmingham City Council commented: “We are very fortunate to have so much talent and commitment to the arts in Birmingham. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth 2019 – for helping to showcase the talent that we do have already, and inspiring the performers and creatives of the future.”

Pics – Verity Milligan