Centenary Square was transformed into a grand stage for Wondrous Stories, a spectacular open-air show to kick-off the Birmingham 2022 Festival this evening.

The one-hour live experience had everything from stunning visual displays, groups of dancers from across the region representing the very best of Birmingham’s diversity, a huge neon-lit globe rising from the ground with acrobats bouncing off it, shimmering flying ‘angels’ and a larger-than-life story book ‘flying’ off the Library of Birmingham balcony only to burst open, releasing limber acrobatic dancers almost bungee jumping back and forth towards the audience.

The one-hour live experience had everything from stunning visual displays, groups of dancers from across the region representing the very best of Birmingham's diversityAdam Yosef
The one-hour live experience had everything from stunning visual displays, groups of dancers from across the region representing the very best of Birmingham’s diversity

Featuring Motionhouse’s internationally renowned professional dance-circus company alongside a mass cast of hundreds from Critical Mass, wheelchair dance group Freewheelin Dance Company, Motionhouse Youth, Sampad and DanceXchange, audiences enjoyed large-scale immersive action and plenty of thrills as stories, a giant book and characters tumbled out of the night sky.

Inspired by the stories of the city, past, present and future, Wondrous Stories is a show for everyone made by a local and international creative team.

Led by Artistic Director Kevin Finnan MBE, the show features additional choreography by Jamaal Burkmar (Extended Play, Phoenix Dance) and Sonia Sabri (Sonia Sabri Dance Company), live spoken word performance from Coventry and Birmingham-based spoken-word artists Raza Hussain – professionally known as Wuzzamil – and Sebbie Mudhai, and digital projections by Logela Multimedia.

A cast of hundreds transformed Birmingham’s Centenary Square into the stage for Wondrous StoriesAdam Yosef
A cast of hundreds transformed Birmingham’s Centenary Square into the stage for Wondrous Stories
Spoken-word artists Raza Hussain - professionally known as Wuzzamil - helped launch Wondrous StoriesAdam Yosef
Spoken-word artists Raza Hussain – professionally known as Wuzzamil – helped launch Wondrous Stories

Birmingham’s Choir With No Name sang to an uplifting soundtrack by Sophy Smith and Tim Dickinson, and costume designer Sophie Donaldson leads Birmingham City University students in costume creation, making this a magical collaboration of talent.

How long is Wondrous Stories on?

Wondrous Stories was launched on Thursday 17 March at 7pm and is on between Friday 18 – Saturday 20 March, at 6.30pm and 8.30pm in Centenary Square, Birmingham. The event is free and unticketed.

Wondrous Stories is on between 17 - 20 March as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival Dan Tucker / Birmingham 2022 Festival / Motionhouse
Wondrous Stories is on during set performance times between 17 – 20 March as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival

Entry into the show

Wondrous Stories is free and unticketed. There are no age restrictions for Wondrous Stories – it is a show for everyone to come out and enjoy. Organisers hope that lots of families will come to watch the performances. This show takes place outside and is approximately 50 minutes long, so wrapping up warmly is recommended.

Acrobats jumping out of a larger-than-life story book which 'flies' off the Library of Birmingham balconyAdam Yosef
Acrobats jumping out of a larger-than-life story book which ‘flies’ off the Library of Birmingham balcony
Shimmering flying 'angels' made up a key part of Wondrous Stories amazing aerial displayAdam Yosef
Shimmering flying ‘angels’ made up a key part of Wondrous Stories amazing aerial display

Please note there will be a maximum capacity at each performance within the audience viewing area in the square to ensure audience safety. The action takes place in a number of locations across the square including through and around the audience. This may mean crowds need to move around to accommodate this.

Please note that this show contains flashing lights, and for those with a sensitivity to flickering or constant bright, moving light, please be aware a large scale projection film runs throughout the show.

Live-Streamed Performance

If you cannot make it to Birmingham, join Motionhouse and Birmingham 2022 Festival for a live-streamed performance of Wondrous Stories on Friday 18 March at 8.30PM (GMT).

Access Information

This show takes place in Centenary Square with no general audience seating available lasting approximately 45-50 minutes.

A designated accessible viewing area will be reserved; this will include some benches for those who are unable to stand for a long period of time. Audience members using wheelchairs will also be able to use this space.

Wondrous Stories launched in Birmingham Centenary Square as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival Adam Yosef
Wondrous Stories launched in Birmingham Centenary Square as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival
Dancers performing while suspended over a large projection screen in Centenary Square Adam Yosef
Dancers performing while suspended over a large projection screen in Centenary Square

The Birmingham 2022 Festival Volunteer Team will be happy to show you to this area – please arrive in sufficient time to reserve your place. Assistance animals are permitted, but please be aware there will be loud noises and loud music as part of the show which takes place in the public realm.

Access into the show is step free, and the majority of the square is level, however please note there are some raised steps around the periphery of the square next to the Rep Theatre. Please note that lighting levels may be adjusted in the square.

A mixture of subtitles and key text integrated into the digital projections will allow D/deaf audiences to experience as fully as possible the lyrics and spoken word that are used in the show. For audiences with a visual impairment, the event has an Audio Described package (including introduction to the performance) on both performances on the 20th of March.

Please email [email protected] if you have any access requirements and if you would like to book for the Audio Description service.

WATCH | Birmingham 2022 Festival Wondrous Stories launch

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https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Wondrous-Stories-launch-in-Birmingham-Centenary-Square-17.02.2022-f-800x564.jpghttps://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Wondrous-Stories-launch-in-Birmingham-Centenary-Square-17.02.2022-f-300x212.jpgStaff ReporterArtsCommonwealth Games 2022CommunityEntertainmentEventsNewsBirmingham,Birmingham 2022,Birmingham 2022 Festival,Birmingham City University,Centenary Square,DanceXchange,Freewheelin Dance Company,Jamaal Burkmar,Kevin Finnan MBE,Logela Multimedia,Motionhouse,Motionhouse Youth,Poet,Raza Hussain,Sampad,Sebbie Mudhai,Sonia Sabri,Sophie Donaldson,Sophy Smith,Spoken Word,Tim Dickinson,Wondrous Stories,WuzzamilCentenary Square was transformed into a grand stage for Wondrous Stories, a spectacular open-air show to kick-off the Birmingham 2022 Festival this evening. The one-hour live experience had everything from stunning visual displays, groups of dancers from across the region representing the very best of Birmingham's diversity, a huge neon-lit globe...The latest news, updates and events in Birmingham