Coventry City of Culture 2021 programme highlights announced

Coventry City of Culture Trust has announced the first events that will form part of the 365-day programme for UK City of Culture 2021, beginning in May 2021. 

Rooted in the rich history of the city and celebrating the stories of the people who have made it their home, the programme also addresses the issues that communities are faced with today while imagining what the future holds.

The events showcase the ways in which Coventry 2021 is radically rethinking what a City of Culture, and its legacy, means to the region and audiences locally and internationally. A full programme announcement will be made in January 2021. For now, you can find a list of highlights on the Culture Diary.

All events are being planned in a flexible and responsive way, to allow them to be presented next year in line with the guidelines at the time they take place. The programme shows the ways that Coventry City of Culture and its artistic partners are tackling the challenges presented by COVID-19, and innovating how events are created, and how audiences can get involved.

Co-created with local and national partners, and grassroots organisations across Coventry, the 2021 programme will include major artistic events, world premieres and commissions across theatre, music, dance, literature, comedy and visual arts.

Announced so far:

  • Coventry Moves - the opening performance and celebration in May 2021
  • Terry Hall Presents Home Sessions - The Specials' vocalist curates a weekend of pioneering and contemporary music
  • Turner Prize - the world-renowned art prize will be held at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in September 2021
  • Faith with the Royal Shakespeare Company - the RSC co-produces 24 hours of music, theatre, installation and ritual across the city
  • Contains Strong Language - the BBC's spoken word festival comes to Coventry
  • CVX Festival - a three-day arts activism festival curated by young people across the city
  • The Walk - 3 and a half metre tall puppet Little Amal is part of Good Chance Theatre's The Walk in partnership with the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre
  • The Tides Within Us - a new visual outdoor experience in Charterhouse Heritage Park with the VR/AR experience of Marshmallow Laser Feast and in cooperation with Historic Coventry Trust and Warwickshire Widlife Trust
  • Small Bells Ring - a magical canal boat crammed with stories arrives in Coventry in association with Coventry Libraries
  • Theatre of Wandering - a new production curated by locals is a walk-about theatrical experience blending fact and fiction in the south east of Coventry
  • Seaview - a six-part digital tv series developed by six emerging writers working with the Belgrad theatre will celebrate the aspirations of a Black, working class family
  • UK Asian Film Festival - the world's longest-running South Asian film festival will be held in Coventry in 2021
  • Rivers of the World - eight Coventry Special Needs schools create a beautiful artwork inspired by the River Sherbourne
  • Coventry Biennial - the third Coventry Biennial, Hyper-Possible, takes place October 2021 to January 2022
  • Roundabout - the Belgrade Theatre co-produces a series of performances with national new writing company Paines Plough in the aintimate pop-up theatre, Roundabout
  • Castaway - a major outdoor show highlighting our environmental crisis, developed by Highly Sprung

Read more about each of the announced events here.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, said: "UK City of Culture 2021 is a wonderful opportunity for Coventry to showcase and champion its arts and culture offering to people in the city, the West Midlands and beyond. This is an exciting time for the city and I look forward to hearing more about the plans as they progress."

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture said: "We are announcing these events today and hope, in these dark times, to give something for people to look forward to - things they can do and enjoy, whatever the future may hold. When Coventry is faced by a challenge, we tackle it head on. The resilience and innovation that the city is known for around the world can be seen in the events we announce today.

"From city-wide stories to intimate experiences and small scale events that will surprise and delight – whatever age you are, whatever brings a smile to your face, whatever makes you feel a little more alive, you will find it in Coventry City of Culture. Today’s announcement is only the beginning of what is to come and we look forward to announcing more in January 2021, when will sharing our full programme, with local artists and organisations central to the celebrations."

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