Coventry City of Culture Trust has announced the first events that will form part of the 365-day programme of UK City of Culture 2021, with a confirmed kick-off date of 15 May, 2021.
As well as announcing the date of the opening event – called Coventry Moves – other highlights include the world-renowned Turner Prize exhibition and ceremony being held at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, a major co-commission with the Royal Shakespeare Company and a three-day weekender curated by Terry Hall, the lead singer of The Specials.
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 announced today are the first sight of 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. They are a preview of some of the early plans for City of Culture ahead of a full programme announcement in January 2021.
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.
The programme reflects Coventry as a diverse and modern city, moving forward and embracing culture, to connect communities and change lives. Coventry is known internationally as a city of welcome, a city of activists and pioneers, a city of peace and reconciliation, a city of innovation and invention, and now a City of Culture.
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.
View the events programme at coventry2021.co.uk/coming-in-2021/.
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.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said:
“We are very excited for the start of Coventry’s year as City of Culture in 2021, and the announcement of these fantastic events gives us a taste of how special this event will be for the city and for the nation as a whole. After a difficult year, to be able to take part in world class cultural activities and share creative experiences will help people to become happier and healthier in their lives. The impact of Coventry 2021 as part of this country’s recovery cannot be underestimated.”
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said:
“Although Coventry has been preparing for its role as UK City of Culture since our name was announced in December 2017, the Covid-19 pandemic has obviously had a major impact on preparations, as it has on nearly every aspect of our lives. Today’s announcement is a much-needed boost and something that we can all look forward to, as I know it is going to be a spectacular year.
“With the public realm work to improve the city centre experience going well and the exciting capital building programmes well-underway across the city, I know that we are going to stage something special for people to talk about for years to come, as well as leave a lasting legacy for the residents of our city.”
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 be sharing our full programme, with local artists and organisations central to the celebrations.”