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Birmingham is a city that never really sleeps; there’s always something going on among our storied streets. But as winter turns to spring, the days getting longer, it can feel as though we’re coming back to life, along with the world around us. There’s a lot to look forward to as we head towards summer; here’s our pick of the news, stories and events coming up in Birmingham this year:
No, not the Robert De Niro film. This is our very own Raging Bull, famous from the opening ceremony of last year’s Commonwealth Games, when fifty women, representing female chain makers of the Industrial Revolution, pulled it into the arena. But the Bull didn’t stop moving, first making its way to Centenary Square in the city centre, where it was seen by several million visitors, before being moved temporarily to a carpark in Ladywood. But now our armoured friend has finally found a permanent home, at the heart of Birmingham New Street Station’s huge concourse and atrium. Made using materials from factories in Birmingham and the Black Country and constructed around a 17-tonne forklift crane, the bull was not designed as a permanent fixture and is still being modified to ensure its longevity before its scheduled installation this coming summer. Once it’s in place, we’re sure it will be yet another exciting addition to our city’s artistic culture.
Ballet and Bops
Birmingham has long had a vibrant music scene, and two of its biggest exports are returning to their home city this summer, albeit in very different formats. Duran Duran, the 80’s pop sensations who started as the house band at the Rum Runner nightclub in Broad Street, will be playing at the Utilita Arena on May 5th as part of their worldwide Future Past Tour, supporting their latest album of the same name. Tickets are still available, but they’re going fast. And, in a strange parallel, another band who used to frequent the Rum Runner and went on to worldwide fame, Black Sabbath, will also be coming back to Birmingham. Or at least, their music will be. Tony Iommi, the legendary Black Sabbath guitarist, recently announced that the Birmingham Royal Ballet will be premiering a ballet set to the music of Black Sabbath! The brainchild of ballet director Carlo Acosta, performances will run from September 23rd-30th at the Birmingham Hippodrome, before moving on to Plymouth’s Theatre Royal and London’s Sadler’s Wells. The ballet is described as a ‘rags to riches’ story, and features eight songs by the band as well as new music inspired by their unique style. Tickets for the Birmingham shows are now available.
You may have noticed that our iconic library building was lit up in red and white on February 10th, the colours of the Turkish flag, to honour the victims of the recent tragic earthquake in Turkey and Syria. West Midlands firefighters have flown out to the site to help with rescue efforts, and Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Maureen Cornish, has urged people to do what they can in terms of donations of warm clothing and supplies for survivors. Donations can be made via the Disasters Emergency Committee, and the UK Government has pledged to match donations pound for pound up to a total of £5 million pounds. For more information, visit the DEC website. (https://www.dec.org.uk/)
Asian Spring, an annual Birmingham festival of South Asian dance, marks its 25th year this year. Featuring over 80 amateur dancers, the festival celebrates the diversity and beauty of South Asian dance. Produced by Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage, and compered by former BBC presenter Satnam Rana, the event takes place at Birmingham Town Hall on February 26th.
Big news in Smethwick, where the public consultation for the proposed canalside development is now open. The proposal seeks to create thousands of new homes, while still preserving the unique canalside heritage of the area, and creating new green spaces. The plan covers an area from Smethwick Rolfe Street railway station to New Street and Bridge Street North to the east, and can be viewed online. There will also be an event held at Smethwick Library on March 1st.
Birmingham is a city where cultures meet and mingle, where songs are written, artworks created, food and theatre and stories coming together to create a vibrant social and cultural scene. From art exhibitions to live shows, comedy, special events and just about everything in between, head to https://visitbirmingham.com/whats-on and find your perfect thing to do.