READ the latest edition of AREA GUIDE here….

Pick up a copy of Area Guide from the area’s best coffee shops, bars, galleries and independent stores.

We’ve packed this edition with over 90 summer festival competitions. Read inside to find out how to enter. ALL of the festivals listed are up for grabs.

Read it online here.

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March Culture Listings >things to do, see and make

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1 March, 6:30 – 9:00pm (and 3 May, 6:30 – 9:00pm)
PICK UP STICKS – BEGINNERS KNITTING CLASS
Cherry Reds, John Bright Street, Birmingham
Stitches and Hos are a motley crew of enthusiasts for all things knitted, crocheted and stitched. For nearly 10 years they have been creating stitched chaos at festivals, galleries and shindigs. Anywhere they can get out their needles. This class is designed for those who are new to knitting or those who would like to reacquaint themselves with the basics. You will learn how to cast on (using the knit stitch method), knit stitch, purl stitch and casting off.
£30 includes all materials along with a hot drink and a slice of cake.

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4-18 March
FRONTIERS FESTIVAL
Gavin Bryars, Errollyn Wallen, Project Instrumental, Decibel, Anna Palmer, Hans Koller with BCMG, and works by some of the emerging talent from Birmingham Conservatoire’s composition students: these are just some of the experimental, creative and boundary-pushing artists headlining Birmingham’s Frontiers festival of new music (4-18 March).  The two-week Festival, presented by Birmingham Conservatoire, brings together some of contemporary music’s most forward-thinking artists and exciting new projects in venues across the city.

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11 March, 7.30pm – 10.30pm & 12 March 10.00am – 4.00pm
SPRING MAKES ART & CRAFT FAIR
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry
Brush off the snow from your boots and step into spring with our spectacular arts and craft fair. Join us to meet a host of fantastic local artists and makers to help brighten your home ready for the start of a new season.

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11 March – 19 June
DEGAS’ DANCERS – A COURTAULD MASTERPIECE
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry
A unique opportunity to see one of the masterpieces of The Courtauld Gallery’s collection in Coventry. The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry will be showing Edgar Degas’ famous painting, Two dancers on a stage, alongside three other works by the artist. A founding member of the Impressionist group of artists, Degas was fascinated with the ballet, painting dancers at rest, practicing and performing.

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Until 12 March
GERARD BYRNE – 1/125 OF A SECOND
Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre
Renowned for his film installations which re-enact conversations from specific historic moments, Irish artist Gerard Byrne works with photography, video and live art to explore the way we understand the present, through revisiting the past.

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12 – 13 March
THEATRES OF CONSCIENCE
mac birmingham
Women & Theatre in association with mac birmingham have worked with residents across the city to develop Theatres of Conscience, an engaging new production depicting the tribunal experiences of Conscientious Objectors in the First World War.
With 6 interactive performances to choose from over the weekend  Theatres of Conscience offers audiences the chance to experience a WWI community tribunal and observe men of conscription age come to request exemption from “joining the colours”.  Audience members will act as the panel of tribunal members as men come to share their personal situations and reasons for applying for exemption.

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13 March – 2 May
WILLARD WIGAN HOMECOMING EXHIBITION
The Lighthouse, Wolverhampton
Tiny, tiny, tiny art is on display from Wigan who is famous for the art he produces in the eye of a needle.

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17 & 18 March
VAMOS THEATRE: THE BEST THING
mac birmingham
The year is 1966. Sheila is 17, unmarried and pregnant. She is given no choice but to give up her child for a ‘better life.’ Based on true experiences, The Best Thing is a poignant, humorous and gritty story of mistaken morals and the power of unconditional love from Vamous Theatre, the UK’s leading full mask theatre company.
Tickets £14 (£12)

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23 March – 2 April
TRAINSPOTTING
mac birmingham
This punchy, immersive production recaptures the passion and controversy of Irvine Welsh’s cult generation-defining novel. For this 21st anniversary production, the Scottish cast have created a snappy, vibrant retelling capturing the power and humour of the piece.
Tickets £15

Until 27 March 2016
CAGLAR KIMYONCU
Artists’ Studio, New Art Gallery Walsall
Kimyoncu’s residency is informed by his perspective as a disabled person and background as the son of a professional soldier. Previous works have focused on the subject of conscientious objection and ‘being different’ in conflict zones. During his residency, Caglar will extend his research into the issue of the militarisation of youth, and seek to provide a space for those voices he identifies to be excluded or marginalised in society.

JINDRICH STREIT – SOVINEC

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Centrala
Fazeley St, Birmingham, B5 5RT
Until 30 March

Czech Documentary photographer and ex-primary school teacher Jindrich Streit has been photographing the people of his home village Sovinec, in the north of the Czech Republic, for over 40 years.

Imprisoned in the early 80s by the authorities for taking unsettling images of the brutal living conditions, including photographing a party meeting where people were asleep, he lost his teaching job and had to join his friends who worked on the local collective farm.

His photographs reveal the intimate relationship with the villagers and, despite the treatment towards him, he persevered with his photographic work and opened his house to the local community with a  gallery for contemporary art on the first floor. Today it is a remarkable cultural centre that attracts work from around the world.

15 February Culture events to keep you busy


Newtown Kid
Until 22 February

NICKLIN REVISITED
Reuben Colley Fine Art
During the 1950s & ‘60s University of Birmingham Geography tutor Phyllis Nicklin captured Birmingham at a time of massive change. Not only was the urban environment being significantly  transformed but new communities were changing the city’s demographic profile too.
In collaboration with Brumpic Reuben Colley Fine Art have invited a number of artists to produce work inspired by Nicklin’s photographs. The exhibition will feature paintings & drawings by Reuben Colley, Mark Godwin, Danny Howes (pictured above), Rick Garland, Horace Panter, Mark Lippett, Stephen Earl Rogers, Annette Pugh and Kevin Line.

21. Rosamund Macfarlane, Snow hare
5 February – 10 April

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2015
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry
This world-renowned exhibition showcases 100 awe-inspiring images, featuring fascinating animal behaviour and breath-taking wild landscapes. Dive deep into the oceans, fly amongst the tree tops and journey across sand dunes discovering the variety of life this world has to offer.

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7 February, 6 March, 11am – 5pm (and first Sunday of the month onwards)
MAC CRAFT MARKET
mac birmingham
An exclusive selection of products from local designer makers offering ceramics, jewellery, paintings and much more – it’s a great place to pick up original home and gift items.

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9 & 10 February
MOTIONHOUSE: BROKEN
mac birmingham
Broken erupts onto the stage in an adrenaline-filled spectacle. Athletic contact work, spectacular acrobatics and a gripping narrative combine with a revolutionary set design and digital imagery that melds with the performers as they move. Tickets £22.

12 February, 11 March, 15 April, 7.30pm – 10.30pm
COVENTRY LATES
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry
One night a month the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry opens their doors for an exciting evening of art, music, drinks, talks, performance and history inspired fun.

13 February, 12 March, 9 April, Saturdays 10.30am – 3.30pm
SKETCH COVENTRY
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry
Join local urban sketchers in the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry Café for a day of sketching around Coventry city centre at this informal and supportive event.

14 February
VALENTINE MATINEE: BRIEF ENCOUNTER
The Lighthouse
Tickets £6.70 / £6.20 concessions £4.50 under 25s/students

15-20 February
CREATIVE WEEK IN THE MEAD GALLERY
Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre
In response to Gerard Byrne’s new exhibition, Coventry artist Jo Gane will curate the activities area in the Mead Gallery.

BrokenBeats
16 & 17 February

20 STORIES HIGH: THE BROKE N BEAT COLLECTIVE
mac birmingham
20 Stories High and Theatre-Rites join forces to create a unique mash up of hip-hop, theatre and puppetry bringing together 4 amazing artists: beat-boxer Hobbit, b-boy  LoGisTics, puppeteer Mohsen and, from the Midlands, singer/rapper Elektric, to form The Broke ‘N’ Beat Collective. Tickets £12.

Bham Camera Obscura
16 February, 12–5pm

CAMERA OBSCURA FAMILY DROP-IN
Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre
FREE drop in event
Birmingham Obscura will be installed at Warwick Arts Centre, allowing participants a chance to explore a mechanical camera obscura with artists Pete Ashton and Jenny Duffin.

17 February, 1-3.30pm
PINHOLE PHOTOGRAPHY FAMILY WORKSHOP
Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre
Use recycled materials to construct a working pinhole camera in this workshop led by Jo Gane. £3, book in advance.

19 February
CHRIS MARTIN: THIS SHOW HAS A SOUNDTRACK
mac birmingham
Movies always have a soundtrack… so why can’t a stand up show? Join ‘one of the UK’s best observationalists’ (The Guardian) for a brand new stand-up show accompanied by its own original soundtrack. Tickets £10.

25 February
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: AS YOU LIKE IT
The Lighthouse & mac birmingham

25 February
DENADA DANCE: HAM & PASSION
mac birmingham
A gender-bending evening of seductive and provocative dance. Three short narrative works form this kitschy and filmic bill of contemporary dance with a very Spanish flavour – a true feast of meaty dance soaked in a salsa of passion.
Tickets £11 (£9).

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26 February
AUSTENTATIOUS: AN IMPROVISED JANE AUSTEN NOVEL
mac birmingham
Undoubtedly one of the most talked-about shows on the UK comedy scene, Austentatious: is a comedy play spun in the inimitable style of Jane Austen – and based entirely on audience suggestions.
Tickets £15 (£13).

AREA GUIDE > NEW CULTURE EDITION

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For the third year in a row we have teamed up with New Art West Midlands to present a special culture edition of Area Guide.

Featuring a wealth of new graduate talent New Art WM chooses the best of the graduate shows to present 4 unique curated exhibitions of work that focuses on cross-art forms. This year the exhibitions, which start this month, will take place at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, mac birmingham, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Herbert Museum & Art Gallery, Coventry.

This edition also features upcoming exhibitions, festivals and cultural events taking place from now until May.

Read the edition online here or pick up an issue at the venues mentioned above.

New Art WM Annuale, 20 March – 15 April

Yvonne Hindle, Phobo#94E446
New Art WM Annuale is a new project which showcases artists living and working in the West Midlands and encourages people to become buyers of contemporary art. While the UK’s art market thrives in the capital it isn’t as obvious in some of the regions.

Several past initiatives in the West Midlands have proved popular but the irregularity of selling exhibitions and art fairs in the region, alongside the lack of contemporary selling galleries, prohibits the continued sale of works to the public. Continue reading