THE TEAM behind Coventry’s UK City of Culture urged people to ‘get ready for a summer of surprises’ as it announced more events set to take place in the coming months.
The year-long event gets under way on May 15 with the ‘from dawn to dusk’ Coventry Moves, which tells the stories of Coventry and its people.
The organisers are currently remaining tight-lipped about what it will entail but it has been specifically designed to comply with any remaining Covid restrictions – it will be simultaneously broadcast live online and on social media so it can be enjoyed by the rest of the UK and beyond who cannot make it to the city.
That will open the gates to a multitude of events to suit all tastes between then and May 2022, including the Booker Prize, a city-wide street art festival, a celebration of sound systems and Coventry’s eight community radio stations taking over BBC CWR.
In a press conference on Tuesday, the trust reaffirmed its commitment to deliver a wide-ranging, innovative and entertaining programme to everyone – including those who had previously not been involved in the city’s culture scene – and to leave a long lasting legacy for future generations.
From May The Show Windows will see city centre shops, with the help of local, national and international artists, transformed into galleries, ready to take viewers to new worlds.
The street art festival In Paint We Trust (from May 2021) will see 20 new extraordinary artworks created on both vertical and horizontal spaces across the city centre.
From June 14 to 20, coinciding with Refugee Week, people who have made the UK’s city of sanctuary their home will present a week-long programme of music, dance, drama, food, literature, poetry, workshops, storytelling and more.
Can You Hear Me Now? (June 2021) will be a new outdoor production by Stand and Be Counted, the UK’s first Theatre Company of Sanctuary, which will launch this new show created with people seeking sanctuary in Coventry.
Nest Residencies in August will mark the opening of the Daimler Powerhouse as a new creative hub for the start of City of Culture located in a former car factory in the UK’s ‘Motown’.
Performances and festivals from the region’s best artists and creative communities will bring to life the streets and parks of Coventry.
Music project Sound Systems (October 2021) will celebrate Coventry’s sound systems culture, rooted in reggae and West Indian sounds and connected to its twin town of Kingston (Jamaica), with heats taking place over the summer.
The Allesley Silas (July 2021) is a new, site specific largescale outdoor musical theatre production by From the Heart Theatre. It is based on George Eliot’s Silas Marner, adapted by Coventry Playwright Alan Pollock and directed by Nick Walker, bringing in local communities. to help create it.
Another highlight will be Broken Angel (autumn 2021) where specially commissioned artworks will reimagine a broken pane in Coventry Cathedral’s John Hutton West Screen Window, which was damaged by vandals last year.
The two-week Random String Festival digital arts event will see local and national artists come together for a series of workshops, events and installations focusing on Coventry Canal.
It will be headlined by singer, electronic rock-sitarist and performance artist Bishi and take place at canal basin, featuring night-time events, illuminated projections and installations.
From June, UK City of Culture will work with The Booker Prize Foundation to bring the world’s leading book prizes to the city.
The winner of the 2021 International Booker Prize will be announced in the city for the first time.
Nationally acclaimed cultural venues the Belgrade Theatre and Warwick Arts Centre will reopen their doors with year-long programmes of music, visual art, theatre and more supported by Coventry City of Culture Trust.
As the birthplace of the post-war twinned city movement, Coventry is no stranger to international exchange and partnership.
And, with the British Council, Positive Youth Foundation and Coventry City Council, Coventry UK City of Culture Trust, a major international programme of activities – Youthful Cities – will take place.
It will have Coventry’s young citizens at its heart, developing links with civic and cultural organisations in Beirut (Lebanon), Bogota (Colombia), Detroit (USA) and Nairobi (Kenya). The citizens from the various countries will explore the big issues and challenges in their cities, through art, music, poetry and digital storytelling.
The British Council brings its Prototype City scheme to Coventry, teaming up with Sao Paolo (Brazil), Cairo (Egypt) and Aarhus (Denmark) to work with UK architects to assess and propose new ideas for the city.
A new pan-European School of Participation project with the support of the EU’s Creative Europe programme will bring artists and creative practitioners together in a festival – from Coventry, Graz, (Austria), Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Kaunas (Lithuania) and Nov Sad (Serbia).
As well as the art events, the UK City of Culture year will leave Coventry a legacy – £80million has so far been invested in arts, heritage and culture venues, £82million on a new railway station building and £44million investment in the public realm.
The latest project to be announced is world renowned artist Morag Myerscough working with Coventry City Council to transform Hertford Street with bold expressions of colour and planting as part of a dramatic arts installation. That will be ready by May in time for the opening event.
Previous revamps announced include the Pool Meadow Bus Station, the Unity Lawns, Studio Morison at Bull Yard and new rainbow lighting at Greyfriars Green.
Developments and improvements are being made to Coventry Cathedral and the City Council has started the £5.6million transformation of St Mary’s Guildhall. It will bring the Grade II listed building back into regular use as a centre for music performance and education through a partnership between Historic Coventry, The Princes Foundation and Coventry Music.
The first 15 major events were previously revealed back in October. To read more on that, click here.
And last week we featured the latest pre-event project – the Window Wanderland where Coventry residents have been getting creative and decorating their windows. Check out these stunning designs here.