Moseley Park to host Bank Holiday festival

Little but LIVE! festival hits the yellow brick road.

Birmingham’s burgeoning community arts festival Little but LIVE! returns to Moseley Park for the fourth year running.

The family-friendly festival brings with it with a brand-new, Birmingham-inspired version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as well as an exciting line-up of music and comedy and a wide array of workshops.

Little but LIVE! was created in the pandemic by Birmingham-based company Paperback Theatre and was one of the few festivals to take place nationally – bringing socially distanced and top-class performance to appreciative and isolated communities in the beautiful setting of Moseley Park.

Little but LIVE! returns this September with the cost-of-living firmly in mind, offering top-class gigs for no more than £5 per ticket and theatre and many artistic events and workshops for free.

Paperback Theatre has increased its financial backing from Arts Council England for what has become Birmingham’s go-to festival for local communities.

After the success of their re-imagining of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, the entrepreneurial company will thrill its audiences with a high-wire recreation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This innovative production has been adapted by George Attwell Gerhards and directed by Lucy Bird – Paperback’s founders. They are working with composer Steve McCourt to produce original songs inspired by the sounds of Birmingham. The company has also collaborated with local school, Queensbridge, running a free songwriting workshop – and will use the ideas from this to inspire the original music in the festival.

Despite the cultural nostalgia, underlying the narrative is an exploration of what it means to be a young person today and what ‘home’ means for those living outside of original family set-ups. Following Dot, a young Brummie in the care system, this new adaptation of a well-loved tale, relocates “Oz” to Birmingham, taking the audience on a raucous experience of what home really means.

A theatre production for all the family, with music inspired by Midlands’ artists including UB40, Ozzy Osbourne, The Streets and Nick Drake, this show promises to be a truly magical celebration “of the wonderful city we call home.

“Strap into your ruby slippers, follow the signs for the Yellow Brick Road,” Lucy said, “and find us somewhere over the rainbow for a fast-paced and silly saunter down the streets of the Emerald City.”

“We revel in giving a new slant to much-loved stories,” she added. “We have brought theatre from Shakespeare to Wind in the Willows to new audiences with energy, imagination and wit.

“What better way to entertain for our coming festival than to take people along the Yellow Brick Road through Moseley Park as Dot, the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow find themselves in Brum.”

Little but LIVE! runs from Friday September 22nd through to Sunday 24th.

Performances of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will take place every day and The Playhouse will hold a Wizard of Oz drama workshop for 8–18-year-olds, exploring their responses to this new production.

An introducing stage for emerging Birmingham bands, including Red Zest, an indie pop band from the University of Birmingham, will get the festival underway on Friday at 6pm, followed by a comedy open mic night.

Saturday 23rd will introduce a Latin theme and festival goers will get the chance to learn how to make exciting, affordable and healthy Mexican food while exploring Latin American culture and cuisine with Itzatna Arts – a father and son duo who seek to combine theatrical performance, live art and food.

Latin band Mambo Panthers will create a Fiesta in the Park at 6pm followed by a Salsa workshop and dance.

High-voltage folk band, The Bonfire Radicals, will headline on Sunday night and the festival will close with a Folk Open Mic gig hosted by established folk duo Thorpe and Morrison.

Throughout the weekend Birmingham’s Urban Sketchers will document the festival as well as holding a sketching workshop for anybody wishing to join them during events.

Details for all events can be found here.

Lucy said: “We don’t want the cost-of-living to hold people back from getting access to high quality theatre and music in the same way that we provided access to shows in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Little but LIVE! will be back bigger and bolder in September at little or no cost to our audiences.”