BE FESTIVAL exists to challenge and turn the notion of theatre upside down, crossing borders, creative disciplines and blurring boundaries between audiences and artists. This year is no different.
For 13 years we have aimed to create meaningful, lasting connections between people of diverse backgrounds through the medium of performing arts. In 2018, at the start of our current funding period, we envisaged the prospect of our time as directors. Consequently, we devised an exit strategy and since then, we have been accompanying our team to lead the organisation more and more. It is with extreme care for this project and the need for new energies to fuel it, that we are announcing this festival will be the last we direct. After 2022, we will be stepping down from the organisation and leaving it in the capable hands of the senior management team. During this period, we remain committed to working with the company whilst we support the future direction of the project. From 2023, the aim is to have a new operating model, adapted to the new challenges we now face, fuelled by the same ethos and values that have guided us for over a decade.
Between 3 – 11 June 2022, we invite you to celebrate with us everything that has made BE FESTIVAL so unique. After two years of uncertainty and distancing, we strongly cling to the encounter, the care and the inclusion as engines of construction of a joint space. This year’s festival is anchored more than ever in its territory, in the people that have made BE FESTIVAL possible. We want to provide an opportunity to the people who make up our community to be the protagonists, facilitating cohesion and conveying concerns, claims and stories from our common and particular biographies, through aesthetic and fictional artistic devices. Whilst some communities may be separated by political, economic, racial and class divides, we aim to create a safe space where all are welcome. We stand firmly on our More Than A Moment pledge and are presenting a programme committed to diversity.
This summer we will be returning to the venues that supported us in our early days, with two large-scale participatory theatrical events. Join us for Atlas Birmingham (3 & 4 June) at The Crescent Theatre where BE FESTIVAL was first conceived and the following week, with Garden State (8 – 11 June) at Midlands Arts Centre – a springboard that enabled us to thrive and grow. Both events celebrate our ethos of facilitating artists and companies from across Europe working with the diverse communities of Birmingham.
Ana Borralho & João Galante (Portugal) will be presenting Atlas Birmingham. They will be inviting 100 people from Birmingham to join them on stage. The result is a landscape of diverse backgrounds, professions and ages, mapping an ‘atlas’ of the complex cohesion of the social fabric of our city. This piece is motivated by the belief that art should play an active role in society. An engrossing performance which unites art and life.
As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, we’re delighted to welcome back Fabrice Mazliah / Work of Act, formerly MAMAZA (Germany) whose previous work ASINGELINE, we presented back in 2017. This year, they will be presenting the UK premiere of Garden State. We will be knocking on doors of residents from across the city to invite them to help transform the MAC’s main stage into an exotic ephemeral communal garden made of their favourite house plants, a social oasis, a utopian island. Garden State is a durational installation and also works as a frame for an event space where you will be able to enjoy a range of activities, from workshops, to meals, talks, performances and concerts, all free to access. Full programme details for all of the events in the Garden will be announced in May.
If you would like to take part in Atlas Birmingham or contribute to create Garden State by lending us one of your favourite plants, please visit our website for more information or:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the festival over the past 13 years. From the all important hosts and volunteers to the artists, staff team, board members and of course you, our audience and supporters. We look forward to welcoming you all to be a part of this very special edition of BE FESTIVAL 2022.
Isla Aguilar & Miguel Oyarzun