A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Coming Out exhibition to take centre stage in Birmingham

A new exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is set to showcase over 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists, who explore themes of sexuality, gender and identity in art.
Running from Saturday December 2nd 2017 to Sunday April 15th 2018Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender & Identity marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts was passed in England and Wales.
Bringing artworks of international significance to Birmingham, the majority of which have been borrowed from the Arts Council Collection, the exhibition includes iconic pieces by Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry, Sarah Lucas and Gillian Wearing.
Artworks span the 1950s to the present day, reflecting artist’s different experiences pre and post the passing of the 1967 act.
Significant new loans have been added to the Birmingham showincluding prints by Margaret Harrison and photography by renowned Birmingham-based artist Vanley Burke.
These join paintings by Derek Jarman, photography by Sunil Gupta and Zanale Muholi and films by Steve McQueen and Isaac Julien.
Iconic artworks by Francis Bacon, Keith Vaughan, John Stezaker and Grayson Perry from Birmingham’s own collection, will also add further dialogue to the consideration of sexuality, gender and identity today. 
Two works by Turner-prize winning artist Grayson Perry will be presented together for the first time -  Claire’s Coming Out Dress (2000), and his ceramic pot Who Am I?(1996).
Coming Out continues with a strong representation of female artists, including iconic works from Sarah Lucas. Lucas’ works will explore her identity as a woman and sharply critique gendered stereotypes and two of her satirical and striking sculptures, for which she is best known, will feature alongside her iconic Self-Portrait Series (1990-98).
Works by Birmingham-based photographer Vanley Burke will be on display for the first time. The three photographic prints illustrate a Pride Demonstration in Wolverhampton in 1988 where protesters were challenging the Government’s now repealed Section 28 Actwhich stated that a local authority should not intentionally promote homosexuality in publishing or teaching.
As well as the exhibition, a gallery trail will also take place and take visitors on an insightful journey of 25 artworks presented in nine of Birmingham’s fine art collection galleries.

The trail will
 bring the show’s themes to life in new settings and raise awareness of the visibility of LGBT+ stories in museum collections. 
Lisa Beauchamp, curator of modern and contemporary art at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: Coming Out marks a major moment for Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery as we highlight the importance of LGBT+ history on contemporary art in this significant anniversary year.
“In devising Birmingham’s exhibition we have been fortunate enough to secure exciting new loans, which will make this a must-see exhibition."
Accompanying the exhibition will be an innovative learning and engagement programmefacilitated by Arts Council Collection National Partnership, in a dedicated space called FORUM. The events and activities have been developed by working in partnership with local artists and community groups.
Events include ‘An Intimate Tour with Breasts’, an outdoor walking tour exploring the multicultural mythologies surrounding breasts, Life Drawing with a Drag Queen, a Polari language class with artist Jez Dolan and a Drag King Makeover session.
Jill Constantine, Head of Arts Council Collection: "I'm delighted that this important show will travel to Birmingham and the new additions will further enrich the exhibition and allow us to see and celebrate the huge contribution to the visual arts made by the LGBTQ+ communities."
The exhibition will launch on Saturday December 2, with a free public event. Partnering with SHOUT Festival of Queer Arts and Culture and Birmingham LGBT Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will host a series of specially commissioned performances and activities to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Best of Birmingham photography to be showcased

Birmingham's most loved and iconic places which have been captured by budding local photographers will be revealed next months in a new photography exhibition. 

Winners of a city-wide photography competition will see their work on displayfrom November 10 at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. 

The Best of Birmingham competition, which was launched by popular online group Instagramers of Birmingham, Brumpic and Birmingham Museums Trust, asked local people to photograph the very best of what the city has to offer. The competition, which ran throughout the summer, has also seen support from Trevor Beattie and The Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation. 

An impressive 25 images have been chosen to feature in the exhibition, with winners including Ella Mullins, Kris Askey and Tim Cornbill, who was crowned winner at the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards in the open architecture category and was also named the UK national winner. 

However, the overall winner is 18 year old photographer Sam McAuliffe from Erdington with his beautiful image of the Birmingham canals with The Cube in the background. As winner, Sam will see the image used on all marketing materials for the exhibition. 

The images that will be on display at the exhibition include Birmingham people, culture and buildings, including pictures from within the iconic Birmingham markets, Clent Hills, Digbeth and at Sarehole Mill. The pictures will be framed and displayed at the free exhibition, along with 25 highly commended images which will be shown digitally for the first week. 

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to buy image prints too. 

Beth Asington of IGers Birmingham, said: "We are incredibly excited about this project and collaborating with Birmingham Museums Trust. The entries were of extremely high standard which is testament to the talent with the IGers Birmingham community." 

The Best of Birmingham exhibition will take place at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter from Friday November 10 until Monday January 29, 2018. 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

REVIEW: Nativity The Musical at The REP, Birmingham

They say to never work with children or dogs. However, Nativity The Musical, now on stage at The REP in Birmingham until Mid-November, decided to not take that advice. Thank god they didn't!

I headed along to watch the show last night, and to say that I enjoyed it would be a total understatement. 

It's fair to say that I am a massive fan of the film. In fact, most films with Martin Freeman in, I am a fan of - he's just such a nice bloke! Thankfully for me, the show, which has been written and directed by the woman behind the film series Debbie Isitt, doesn't differ too far away from the film at all. It's packed full of of jokes about current trends, like Ed Sheeran's surprise appearance in Game of Thrones and Debbie McGee's current attempt on Strictly Come Dancing, and feels very current. 

If you've not seen the film before, in short, the pupils at St Bernadette's Primary School in Coventry are preparing for their annual Nativity play, which is being led by Mr Maddens, played by Daniel Boys, who hates Christmas. This is because the love of his life Jennifer, played by Sarah Earnshaw, left him at Christmas five years before to become famous in Hollywood. Thankfully, Mr Maddens is not in this alone, he has been joined by the wonderful Mr Poppy, who plays a classic Peter Pan-like character who hasn't quite grown up yet. 

With the tension growing between St Bernadette's and rival school Oakmoor, Mr Maddens tells a little white lie that Hollywood are coming to Coventry to watch the play. Of course, this lie becomes huge and suddenly every single person in the little city of Coventry is under the impression that they are going to become rich and famous. With a trip to Tinsel Town itself and few more ups and downs along the way, the Nativity is a huge success and a happy ending. It is Christmas after all!
Even two months before the big day itself, the production really manages to bring the festive spirit to Birmingham in this show and it would have been hard not to clap along and get involved with the characters on stage. The children, who are all from the West Midlands, simply make the show. They are endlessly talented with fantastic comedic timing. 

In fact, I don't think I've ever seen adults and children work so well together before; every role in the play bounced off each other and it was easy to see that they really were having a huge amount of fun on stage. 

However, the star of the show is by far Mr Poppy, played by Simon Lipkin, who also narrates and is at the centre of the whole production. I don't think they could have found someone more like the original Mr Poppy himself; he was such a lovable character and although hilarious, also incredibly heartwarming. 

The production also saw many of the songs from the film make their way over to the stage, including the infectious Nazareth and Sparkle and Shine. There are a few added extras, which were performed beautifully, including Dear Father Christmas, which left each audience member with lumps in their throats. I also found that the show was much more romantic than the film seemed, with a connection that could be very much real between Mr Maddens and Jennifer.
The stage and production itself also deserves a huge applause - they took us from the school hall, to Hollywood and then to Coventry Cathedral without any trouble. It was smooth, slick and so much fun. I am also a sucker for any production which manages to include a dog. Cracker the dog had the whole audience in his paws throughout the show, it also helps that Cracker was probably the most adorable dog I have ever seen!

I absolutely loved Nativity The Musical. If you've ever believed in the magic of Christmas, you will too. Don't miss out on your chance to see it - it's on stage until November 12, 2017. You can get your tickets here.

Nativity The Musical: 10/10


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Bethan in Brum - why I'm transforming my blog

So I figured I couldn't just change my blog into something totally different without a bit of explaining...

This blog is now a Birmingham based lifestyle blog. I chose to do this as at my last job, I was able to write about, review and everything in between about the city and I absolutely loved it. Since leaving the role, I was desperate to not lose what I had become so passionate about; Birmingham. 

You see, back when I lived I studied and worked in Liverpool, I dreaded moving home because Birmingham seemed so boring in comparison. Upon moving back for good in early 2016, I soon realised that I was totally wrong. 

It isn't Liverpool, but it doesn't need to be - it has just as much of a whole host of wonderful things to do, see and so much more than meets the eye. I knew right then that I would take it upon myself to tell as many people as possible just how great the city is and give them ideas of how to spend their time here. 

Now, I decided not to launch a whole new blog because I didn't really want to lose all the previous posts I had written as a lifestyle blogger writing about whatever life threw at me. Reading many of them back, I cringe endlessly. However, many of the posts on here opened so many new doors for me and remain quite special to me. So if you find something totally unrelated to Brum, you'll know that it was just a part of something I used to do around here. 

If I'm being perfectly honest, I've learned so much about myself this year. I guess I can put a lot of that down to meeting my fella Dan, who will no doubt be occasionally brought up on this blog. This time last year, I was blogging about dates, relationships etc etc. 

However, this year I have realised that doing that just isn't quite me anymore. Yes I have so many funny stories and top tips to share, but I guess I have reached that point in life where there are some things that I'd rather keep to myself than to tell the world. Although opening up on my blog used to do me the world of good, I know that I surrounded by people who I can talk about life with - why must I also blog about it? Can you see where I'm coming from?! 

It was simply time for a change, and I am super excited to start this new little venture of mine. Whether it be reviews, lifestyle news and features or just little moments of inspiration I found in the city - you can find it here. 

I must also add that I am a Black Country girl born and raised! So you can expect plenty of posts about the Black Country, Worcestershire and the West Midlands in general also. As much as I love Brum, I also know that there are amazing places on the outskirts too. 

Welcome to Bethan in Brum! Enjoy! If you wish to find out more, simply head to the Contact page on this blog. 

Bethan x


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Birmingham is Halloween ready

From family fun to spooky visits of some of the city’s most haunted places, visitors to Birmingham Museums will be in for a treat, and trick, in October half term.

There will be spooky science activities at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, and a chance to visit the museum after hours, while Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will be hosting a fun free Monster Party for little ones who love to dress up.

Birmingham Museums Heritage Sites will also be opening their doors for creepy crafts, ghost hunts and scary tales.

Here’s what you can’t miss this Halloween…

Monster Party at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Parents can take their little mummies, witches and vampires along to enjoy a free Monster Party at Waterhall at BMAG, on Wed 25th October from 2.00pm – 4.00pm. There will be music, dancing and ghoulish games.

There will be lots of Halloween fun throughout the week including gruesome object handling and a spooky portrait studio to capture your costume in the portrait booth of fear.

For children who love to get crafty, head to BMAG at the weekend (Sat 21st & Sun 22nd October) for Fiendish Drawbots. Use art and technology to create your own drawing robot, and get creative and turn your robot into your own spooktacular creature.

Spooky Science Week at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum

At Thinktank, prepare for an evening full of tricks and treats as the museum opens its doors after hours for a Spooky Science Night on Saturday 28th October, 6 – 9pm. With a full evening of spellbinding fun planned, children can get dressed as their favourite creature and take part in eerie experiments, a science of fright show, and meet some real life creepy crawlies with an expert animal handler. Head along in fancy dress to be entered into a fantastic prize draw on the night!

Hair-raising Heritage Sites

Visit the Birmingham Museums’ Heritage Sites throughout half term for hair-raising fun, including Aston Hall’oween at Aston Hall where you can see the Hall transformed into a haunted mansion from Friday 27th – Sunday 29th October 2017.

Visitors will also be able to learn all about the great plague at Blakesley Hall, and find out about all the medicines the doctor would have used to treat those who were struck down by the bubonic plague. There will be special themed trails, quizzes and fascinating facts. 

Spooky spiders, skeletons and ghosts are also set to move into Sarehole Mill. Take part in the Haunting Halloween Trail and find each of the creepy ghouls and solve the clues to claim a prize.

And at Soho House, the doors of the spooky cellars of the historic Georgian property will be opened for a family-friendly Halloween tour. Do you dare to take the tour? Taking place from 25th – 26th October.  

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