Tuesday, 26 June 2012

What a great time as the ship sails from the centre of Birmingham

On Saturday evening I enjoyed a fantastic event in the centre of Birmingham when I went to watch 'The Voyage'. 

The Voyage was produced by Birmingham Hippodrome and created by Motionhouse in collaboration with Legs On The Wall, funded by Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and supported by Dancing for the Games. (Phew!)

The Voyage was also in partnership with Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham, Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Conservatoire.

The front of the Town Hall was turned into an enormous ship for 4 fantastic performances from 21st to 24th June and I was so pleased to be there and to be able to share the fun.

Professional dancers and aerialists joined forces with a huge amateur choir, live musicians and more than 140 community performers to transform the Square and tell the story.

This event was public theatre at its best. A really great spectacle, with a huge ‘ship’ nestled into Victoria Square and the audience forming the ocean.

When the event began at 10pm the announcer stated that performers and large objects would be passing through the crowd. It was all very ‘panto’ with the announcer asking if we would part to let these through and the whole audience responding ‘Yes!’

The spectacle began with a tight rope walker crossing high above the ship. As the weather was typical of a British summer (i.e. pouring down with rain) I really didn't envy him the task of crossing a wet, slippy rope but thankfully he made it safely to the other side. 

As the action unfolded, the passengers began boardng the ship, weaving through the crowd with their luggage.
Onboard the ship the final farewells were taking place and the dancers and aerialists were building up to a fantastic 'launch' with streamers and confetti being projected onto the town hall, followed by the ship sailing past a projected city scape. It was very effective and extremely clever. I never thought I would stand in the centre of Birmingham and watch a ship sail!

I obviously don't want to spoil the story in case this amazing spectacle travels to other cities, but the audience were called upon to move again to avoid floating passengers and lifeboats.

The Voyage was developed and presented as part of London 2012 festival. Birmingham is proud to be hosting the USA and Jamaican track and field athletes during the games and with this event the city showed that it is really taking its role seriously.

Although the weather was pretty poor 'The Voyage' was amazing. Well done Birmingham!  I hope this is just the start of things to come in terms of free public events.

Apologies for the quality of the photos in this post. My little camera and I were getting very wet and it was already dark before the performance began so I'm pleased to have been able to capture anything at all!

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