The Edge also houses Friction Arts who have a national and international reputation for making extraordinary art work in awkward places. Working alongside and outside the mainstream arts system, Friction Arts works with communities to let them tell their stories and translate their thoughts and feelings into contemporary artworks. Exhibitions that have taken place at The Edge include Echoes From The Edge an interactive living history exhibition that took the audience on a two-hour tour through the past, present and future of Digbeth and Highgate.
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Greetings from the Other Side! (Of High St Deritend, that is…)
We’re pleased to announce that bookings for Echoes at the Edge are now open. Echoes is a totally unique artwork, a performance without performers, a tour without a guide and ‘all around you’™ experience, an exhibition you can poke, prod and mooch around in to your hearts content – no ‘do not touch’ signs here. Since 1992 we’ve been inhabiting the Free State Of Digbeth, and Echoes is inspired by the hundreds of stories we’ve collected during our 21 year residency. Booking is essential, tours run Thursday – Saturday and there’s daytime and evening shows – see here for full details and an online booking form. The tour takes about an hour and a half and takes the form of an ‘unguided’ tour, where you are led through a series of 9 ‘rooms’ by the voices of workers and residents of Digbeth and Highgate, each room reflecting the stories we’ve recorded through a series of interactive installations, images and artworks. Our venue is fully accessible, the tours are free and all are welcome – just make sure you book in advance as places on each tour are strictly limited. Hope to see you at the Edge soon.
Hiya, long time no see. Thought we might pop over to let people in the imaginary place that is Eastside know of some really fantastic stuff happening in the real place that is Deritend. The wonderful peeps at Professional Incredibles have kindly worked their butts off over the last twelve months to organise Espirito Brum – a fantastic festival celebrating Brazilian and Brummie culture. 30 artists, some of them megastars back home, will be landing here from Brazil next week to perform their wonders in our beloved neighbourhood. Here’s a flyer thingy:
So there’ll be music galore, filmic goodness, visual arts – and loads of delicious Brazilian food on offer. Most of the shows are a fiver, so won’t break the bank, and it’s a great opportunity to see some fantastic performers in our home town. Best of all, we’ll be taking a bunch of artists from Brum over to Brazil next year in reciprocation to stage ‘Bostin’ Brazil’ – or something. Be nice to see a few people cross the yawning chasm that is High Street, Deritend (see, it’s real, not made up at all!)
Some news from over here on the wrong side of the tracks – or Deritend High Street as it’s otherwise known.
First up, here’s the flyer for the next Sonic Asylum event on the 4th March from 8pm
Another great, international lineup, all accompanied by sound art, installations, performance and, of course, cake! See the Sonic Asylum website for more details
Next, we have a return visit by our beloved Nomadic Academy of Fools – they’ll be in residence from the 18th-28th of March with a series of workshops and performances on the noble art of Fooling – not to be missed, they really do cross the boundary between performance art and theatre, and in such a lovely (if sometimes disturbing) way.
We’re also hosting a couple of events during Flatpack – which no doubt the Flatpackeers will be detailing elsewhere on this site, so I’ll leave the bumf to them what know.
On another note, for all of you who like a good, late night out with a bit of a reggae flavour, please check out our friends at PST, just across the street from the Lombard Method. Pecka and the lads know how to provide a good time! And, if you get a chance, check out Radar Magazine for a great interview with Mommy and Daddy Edge and Friction Arts.
See you at the Edge
Over the weekend of the 24th-26th of September we’re hosting Digbeth’s first Inside Out festival of contemporary art. Centred at the Edge, work will spill out onto the streets, rooftops and bus stops of the area and includes interventions, performances and installations from artists based locally, nationally and from abroad. The launch party on Friday 24th includes contributions by Fizzpop, artists from Coventry (the A45 project), ending with performances by Youssouf Karembe, (Mali) and Canadian folksters, The Wilderness of Manitoba (in association with Sonic Asylum). Entry is free and the fun starts at 7.30pm. There’s loads of stuff happening in Digbeth that night, so when you’ve had your fill of wine and nibbles, hop over the Edge for the party.
On Saturday and Sunday between 2pm and 6pm there’ll be a series of art trails, starting at the Edge, which will take in the work specially made for the festival and also some of the other treasures of Digbeth – just come to the Edge anytime during the afternoon for your guide. On Saturday, from 7pm onwards the fun continues, with performance work and spoken word performance from the likes of Dr David Ethics, Kokumo and other local treasures.
On Sunday from 11am there’s an artists brunch, in association with Fierce Festival, artists from the festival will be joined by artists from Stoke Newington Airport and Quarantine, among others – come along for delicious scran and heated debate.
Work, and documentation of the work for the festival will be exhibited at the Edge until 1st October, open from 1pm-7pm daily. All events are free, so come to the Edge, and whatever you do, don’t look down…
This week we are holding one of our legendary discussions, with another International guest:
We met Isaura in 2006, when she visited with her son, Matthew. Isaura set up the Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy in association with our US colleague, Shannon Flattery of Touchable Stories. They use the arts and peace campaigning to work against violence in their home neighbourhood of Dorchester, Boston in memory of Isaura’s son Bobby, murdered in 1995. Bobby’s murder sparked off a spiral of violence between young Cape Verdeans which has resulted in almost a thousand deaths over the last 15 years – an incredible figure in such a relatively small place. Her and her son Matthew visited with us and attended a number of workshops and discussion groups with young people in Birmingham, and with the parents of young people who had suffered violent deaths. They had an amazing time with us, and Matthew, particularly said that the visit had allowed him to ‘find his voice’ – and returned to his community to continue the work alongside his mother, campaigning for peace. Matthew was murdered in a drive-by shooting three weeks after their return. Despite this second tragedy, Isaura has continued to work for peace, even publicly forgiving Bobby’s murderer at his trial. She is back for a second visit, and we are honoured to host her. If you’d like to hear this inspirational woman talk, please come along to the Edge, this Thursday from 6pm, we’d love to see you there. Of course, it’s free, but feel free to donate to the Peace Legacy through their website. Thanks.
As part of this year’s BASS Festival, we’ve hooked up with fellow ‘weareeastsiders’ Punch to present an exhibition by Bulgarian artist, Raycho Stanev. ‘The Great Excursion’ is an interactive media exhibit examining a period in recent Bulgarian history when over 300,000 Bulgarian Turks were expelled from the country on what the government called an ‘excursion’ – which normally means you can return – but not in this case. In a period of time when the BNP have been talking of repatriation policies, and belts are tightening, these issues are very relevant to us as we look for ways to come together, when external forces seem to be forcing us apart. The Great Excursion launches on Thursday 3rd June at 6pm with a panel discussion looking at issues of identity, race and nationality – a great panel featuring Mukhtar Dar, Ammo Talwar, Paul Murphy, Paradox and more tba, should provide some ‘lively’ discussion. The debate will be followed by Bulgarian food, drink and dancing – our seminars and talks are a lot more fun than you might think!
The Great Excursion will be at the Edge from 3rd until 19th June, from 1pm until 7pm. Please check out some of the other great events happening as part of BASS, full listings here.
Yet more action at the Edge, this time you can banish those election night blues, while you’re waiting for inevitable disappointment by seeking Sonic Asylum.
Headlining is Canadian folk band, The Wilderness of Manitoba, all the way from Canadia. More info about them can be found on Magpie Brown’s site here. Able assistance will be provided by performance art group Bet4, all the way from deepest Derbyshire, who perform work intended to harness the power of synaesthaesia. Or something, you’ll have to see for yourself or go here. This will be followed by a Musery set by Dr Soesmix, playing tunes intended to heal and groove you, simultaneously. All this, interactive sonic installations and sonic toys, a ‘sonically healing tardis’ to enter, hot chocolate, cupcakes, a communal rangoli we’ll all make together and loads of comfy sofas and chairs to chillax on. There’s a limited capacity so please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org how many tickets you’ll need (each one a limited edition artist’s print).
You’ll forget where you put your ‘X’. See you at the Edge…
Don’t forget, we have an Open Call Out to anyone who needs a space to do anything, public or private, art or not-art, just get in touch and we’ll just make things happen, in a just way.
A couple of bits of news from the Edge. Firstly, next up is the inestimable fizzPOP ‘theremin day’ on the 24th of April. The workshops during the day are full, but there are still tickets available for the evening theremin concert – go to fizzPOP for more info.
Secondly, we are launching a new website, dedicated to all things ‘the Edge’, including what’s on, what’s coming up and what’s happened. To accompany this we are issuing an ‘open call-out’ to anyone wishing to produce or present an event/exhibition/performance/workshop/installation/jelly fight at the space. Go to www.edgearts.com or the open call out page, for more information. We’ll also be announcing our ‘election night blues-buster’ event here next week, so watch this space.
The residency by the Nomadic Academy of Fools is halfway through and, so far, so fantastic. It’s so hard to describe the work, but I’ll try. Jonathan and the Fools take you into a world with their performances, that is beautiful, truthful and realer than reality. And generally hilarious – after Friday’s show my ribs and cheeks were aching, and I felt amazing with all those endorphins rushing around my body. More than one audience member described it as medicine or ‘soul food’. So, this jam-packed week, take some time to come to the Edge and get your soul fed – Wednesday at 8pm, NAF perform Shakespeare’s Richard II and on Friday at 8pm it’s ‘Feast of Fools’ including a solo performance from Jonathan Kay.
From Friday this week, we have a residency starting by Jonathan Kay and the Nomadic Academy of Fools. If you know nothing about their work, check their website. It’s a little difficult to describe, it’s not theatre, it’s not performance art, it’s something else…fooling I suppose. jonathan has been developing this work for thirty five years, based on the idea of the Fool, such as the Fool in King Lear – the Fool sees through things, the Fool speaks the truth, while all around him are lying. It is astonishing work, there really is nothing else like it out there. We attended workshops with Jonathan over 15 years ago and the techniques and approaches he used still influence us today – and I’ve attended several of his legendary Glastonbury performances, which will stay with me forever.
I really can’t recommend this work enough – this is the first time the Fools have appeared in Birmingham for years and it’ll probably be years before we get a chance to see them here again – so don’t…bloody…miss…it.
Here’s the dates and ting:
Shows: This Friday 19th at 8pm, ‘Know One’s Fool’ – improvised wonder from Jonathan Kay himself
Sun 21st until Wednesday 24th inclusive at 8pm – ‘Shakespeare’s Richard II Scratch’ - ‘a magical performance without props or set, where the cast play all the parts’
Friday 26th at 8pm – ‘Feast of Fools’ - performances by all the fools of a comedie de tragik nature’ (f**ked up cabaret?)
Workshops – Sat/Sun 20/21st March, 10am until 6pm ‘Know One’s Fool’ - discover the dangerously daring art of fooling
Sat/Sun 27/28th March 10am until 6pm ‘Know One’s Fool’ – discover the dangerously daring art of fooling again (some people are attending both workshops, recommended) – then you can go and see a nice film at Flatpack.