Birmingham European Festival 2011

By on 20/05/2011 in Culture, News

Birmingham's unique European theatre festival is set to bring an eclectic, cross-cultural feast back to the city this summer when BE FESTIVAL returns on 4-10 July, featuring 20 of the most original, daring and delightful shows from across the continent.

Tickets for the official launch of BE FESTIVAL on Wednesday 9 June at the mac, are now on sale. The launch evening will include an exclusive performance of the Best Performer winner from last year’s festival, Posthumous Works by Danish company Out of Balanz, music from local band Mellow Peaches and the full festival programme details will also be revealed.

The artist-led festival will present an enthralling mix of short, high quality performances, food, music, debate and workshops, creating an unforgettable experience in the atmospheric old AE Harris Factory, in the city’s world-renowned Jewellery Quarter.

BE FESTIVAL aims to blur the lines between what the organisers see as very British boundaries of traditional artistic genres.  The performances use various physical, visual and multi-lingual styles to reach audiences of multiple nationalities, cultures and backgrounds - so language itself is no longer a barrier.
Engagement and participation are also key to the festival's ethos: free public master classes and presentations, including some events with award-winning International artist Anne Bean, will create an event that goes far beyond the normal audience experience.  
Opening BE FESTIVAL are two performances at the mac on 4 and 5 July of the winning show from the 2010 festival - Theatre Ad Infinitum's Translunar Paradise.

The core programme on 6 to 9 July will see four 30 minute shows staged each night at AE Harris, along with a full sit-down interval meal courtesy of caterers Blanch & Shock.

Installations by local visual artists have been commissioned for display at the venue during the festival, and live music will be on offer in the bar before and after the performances.
New additions this year include Little BE on Sunday 10 July, an international programme of performances and fun workshops at the mac appropriate for kids aged 6-12 (and all the big kids too!).  BE Next, a series of creative workshops for local young people will run alongside the festival, and after the main programme is BEMIX, a ‘scratch’ night of improvisation, collaboration and work-in-progress from the main programme artists, created during the festival itself.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit or call 0121 446 3232.
The festival is presented with support from Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council, International Young Makers Exchange, Stan’s Cafe, mac, DanceXchange, the REP, Barry Jackson Foundation and Birmingham School of Acting.

Media contact: Emily Malcolm, 07967 359 749,

High res images, interviews and features available on request
Monday 4 to Sunday 10 July,
Venues: AE Harris factory, 110 Northwood Street, Birmingham B3 1SZ and mac (Midlands Arts Centre), Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH
Tickets: available from or 0121 446 3232
Thursday 9 June, 8pm @ mac
Launch Night featuring Posthumous Works by Out of Balanz

4-5 July, 8pm @ mac
Translunar Paradise by Theatre Ad Infinitum

6-9 July, 7pm @ AE Harris
BE FESTIVAL Main Programme (full details to be announced at launch night)
£10 (Four day pass £35)

10 July, @ mac
Little BE - suitable for anyone aged 6+
£10/7 (family pass £30)
15 July, 8pm @ mac
BEMIX - new work and improvisation from BE FESTIVAL performers
Notes to Editors:
BE FESTIVAL is Co-directed by Mike Tweddle, Miguel Oyarzun and Isla Aguilar. The theme for the festival is Crossing Borders, whether that be culture, identity, language, food, clothes or performance.  Miguel said, “Beyond words there are more universal languages that we share, and we aim for these performances to tap into and explore such languages with powerful results.”
BE FESTIVAL’s aims are:

  • to invigorate Birmingham's theatre scene and strengthen the city's reputation as a European cultural centre.
  • to programme and commission work that is bold, risk-taking, varied and generous, and which could not be seen elsewhere in the Midlands.
  • to encourage exchange and new relationships between people of different linguistic backgrounds, and to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity.
  • to facilitate and support the development of emerging artists and arts professionals by encouraging and rewarding excellence in the performing arts
  • to offer young people and non-professionals access to the highest quality of training opportunities, enabling them to produce creative work of a professional standard.

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