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Published on: Tuesday December 7, 2021

In just 100 days, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will burst to life in the heart of Birmingham city centre with a free spectacular outdoor production featuring a cast of over 300 performers including Critical Mass. 

On 17 March 2022, Wondrous Stories, by world renowned and Leamington Spa based dance-circus company, Motionhouse, will open in Centenary Square with free performances every evening until 20 March 2022.

Motionhouse Birmingham H Screen
Image by: Dan Tucker

New imagery released today gives a hint at the spectacle that will await audiences as aerialists and dancers take to the skies above the public square and giant set pieces, such as a flying book, hover over the skyline.

Wondrous Stories will be created and directed by Kevin Finnan MBE, Artistic Director of Motionhouse, who was choreographer and movement director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. Kevin is joined by a  team of artistic collaborators including Birmingham-based choreographers Sonia Sabri and Jamaal Burkmar, spoken word artists Raza Hussain and Sebbie Mudhai, composer Sophy Smith and digital artists Logela Multimedia.

The production will be created and produced by three West Midlands based organisations; Motionhouse, OPUS and JA Productions.

Today marks a milestone in the countdown to Wondrous Stories coming to life in the heart of Birmingham city centre. We’ve started working on the different elements of the show and are excited to see this incredibly ambitious production come to life.

Kevin Finnan, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Motionhouse

Sign up to Critical Mass:
  • show your expression of interest here
  • if you would like to get in touch with someone from the Critical Mass Team please email or phone us here.

The production will also feature participants from Critical Mass, a new inclusive dance collective of up to 300 young people, led by Birmingham 2022 Festival and DanceXchange. Critical Mass participants will get the incredible opportunity to work with the three creatives and the Motionhouse dancers to make the choreographic content of Wondrous Stories. Critical Mass will form part of the large cast of the production, performing alongside the professional Motionhouse performers as well as choirs, actors and poets. A limited number of places are still available for young people aged 16-30 who are dance confident to be a part of Critical Mass.

Running from March to September 2022 as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will feature hundreds of creative commissions across the region, benefitting hundreds of artists and thousands of participants, communities and audiences.

It is incredibly exciting to be approaching our opening night. We have been working hard with the region’s exceptional talent for almost two years to build a programme that truly shines a global spotlight on creativity right here in the West Midlands. I can’t wait to share all that the festival has to offer with the world as a part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Raidene Carter, Executive Producer for Birmingham 2022 Festival

Members of the public can visit birmingham2022.com/festival to find out more about other highlights of the festival and sign up to be amongst the first to discover the full programme when it is unveiled in early 2022. Those who sign up will also receive more information in the coming months about further opportunities to be involved in the festival.

The £12million festival has been generously supported by a range of funders with the aim of animating the entire West Midlands with ambitious creative works. Major support has been dedicated by Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund plus funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, National Lottery Community Fund and Canada Council for the Arts. Additional projects have been supported by Spirit of 2012, Birmingham City Council and British Council.

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