“To inspire and make new and extraordinary site specific and outdoor work through dynamic creative collaborations, creating beauty and human connections where you least expect them. Ours is a journey of dreams, from imagineering creative ideas to practical realisation to inspiration.”
Imagineer is a live events production company, specialising in theatre and outdoor performance, education programmes, special commissions and touring. At the heart of our work is an exploration of the relationship between creative thinkers and innovators from the arts sector and creative engineers, architects, educationalists, special effects artists and designers.
Jane Hytch CEO, Kathi Leahy Associate Creative Director, Claire Maddocks Festival Director, Andrea Simpson, Executive Director.
Head of Community Belgrade Theatre, Associate Producer Belgrade Theatre, Director Worcester Arts Workshop, Chair C@T, Director Imagineer Productions, Creative Producer for ‘Something This Way Wicked Comes’, The Mysteries 2000,2003,2006 (Belgrade Theatre), ‘Chasing Fate’ (Birmingham Hippodrome), Godiva Awakes (Imagineer), Worcestershire Woman of the Year.
25 years experience in the arts, Programme Manager BelgradeTheatre, founder of Coventry Arts Alive Festival, Secretary of ISAN, Director and Creative Producer of Imagineer Productions.
Irish Post Award Recipient (1998) Arts Council Fellowship Recipient (2005) Revived Coventry Carnival (now Godiva Carnival) in 2000.Creator/Director numerous theatre & outdoor productions including all the major events/ productions for Imagineer to date.
Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) who trained and practised in the commercial sector before moving into the public sector, joining Belgrade Theatre as Head of Finance in 2000. Full time Finance Director for Imagineer since 2009.
Festival of Imagineers
Imagine, Make, Inspire
At the core of Imagineers work lies the Festival of Imagineers, which acts as a showcase for Imagineers’ creative productions, education and engagement work. Founded in 2014, the Festival of Imagineers is a celebration of innovation, linking creative thinkers and innovators from all walks of life to create a unique festival of outdoor/site specific performance and interactive experiences, outdoors, indoors and in unusual spaces.
The festival aims to develop a new relationship with audiences offering people access to hidden spaces, engaging the public as creative collaborators, influencing the development of performances and productions at R&D and concept development stage, making stage and finally as audiences and critics, as projects are realised.
The festival draws on Coventry’s heritage in design and manufacture and focuses on:
creating world class outdoor productions through international and national collaborations
commissioning local artists to tell the city’s stories and reveal hidden spaces
growing and inspiring imagineers of the future
connecting young people and communities to their heritage through new technologies
creative partnerships with businesses to develop narrative performance and interactive experiences, collaborating with engineers, manufacturers, designers and architects
projects to engage and unify isolated and fragmented communities
Festival of Imagineers 2016
The Festival of Imagineers 2016 saw Imagineer open the doors to its Daimler Powerhouse making space for the first time to the general public and offered a week-long programme of interactive exhibitions, workshops and activities by imagineers from all walks of life.
Click to enlarge images.
Daimler played host to a week of research, development and experimentation activities designed to give the public an opportunity to get involved in Imagineers creative processes.
A series of exhibitions based within the Daimler building giving the public a window on the work of Imagineer from its plans to develop the Daimler Powerhouse into a centre of excellence for the creation of outdoor and site specific work, to its innovative education and engagement work through the Imagineerium Initiative and Transformations project, and an introduction tosome of the company’s major performance projects for 2017 – 2021 including Walking with Elephants and Likeable Bikeable City
A series of R&D residencies with local artists working to scope out initial ideas to form the basis of artistic commissions for future festivals including:
Walking with Elephants
Artist, engineer and designer, Nick Martin (the creator of Imagineer’s Godiva and director of Imagineer Technologies) explored ideas for a major performance planned for 2021, beginning to scope out the initial design concepts for the production and exploring why the Elephant is such an important symbol for Coventry.
Artist Julia O’Connell and writer Chris O’Connell, co-directors of Coventry’s award winning Theatre Absolute, worked together on a period of creative research focusing on the Daimler building and the stories and lives of the labourers and tool makers who worked there during the buildings manufacturing past , as well as looking ahead to the future of Daimler with its new occupiers Imagineer Productions, with a view to framing initial ideas for a creative commission in response to the space for 2017.
Post-digital arts organisation Ludic Rooms brought their passion for creative technology to explore a way of connecting people on a journey where a web both connects them and determines their direction of travel through sonic and /or digital impulses. This exploration was the starting point for a wider project charting a trail around the city in 2017.
Members of the public and students from City College joined us for an afternoon of presentations on each R&D residency at the end of the week to learn more about the artists’ creative journeys and processes, embryonic ideas for the future commissions and to contribute feedback, thoughts and ideas about the future development of the work. This session also included an open public conversation with our producing partners, Polish company, Teatr Biuro Podrozy,to talk about their and our developing ideas for a new outdoor co-production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale for the Festival of Imagineers 2017.
Daimler was also the venue for a range of talks and workshops providing an opportunity for the public to engage in practical making skills or learn more from established artists and makers about their creative practices.
This was an eclectic and wide ranging programme, where the public joined us as participants and makers, with everything from making cardboard barbers equipment with Russian members of Cardboardia, to making mini Strandbeests, beautiful kinetic windpowered structures designed by Dutch artist, Theo Jansen, to children experiencing a taster session ofthe Imagineerium Initiative, to workshopping with local architects IDP to explore underutilised city centre spaces and propose ideas to improve them, to walking with historian Pete Walters to discover hidden elephants and their meaning across Coventry, to science busking workshops with the opportunity to create midget gem structures, to hearing the inspirational ideas and story of the work of Tim Hunkin (one of the UK’s best known and loved engineers, inventors and creator of the mad arcade of home-made machines and simulator rides on Southwold Pier, designer of flying pigs for Pink Floyd and contributor to Banksy’s Dismaland)to taking a tour to explore the visionary ideas behind the construction of the new Cathedral that resulted in an iconic and beautiful building housing some of the best 20th Century art in the world and to see the launch of ‘Bridge’(a new creative project at its very beginning stages. Arup, along with 1,000 Coventry children, create a 15 metre bridge made out of rolled paper as a prelude to a bridge installation that will be created as part of the Cathedral 100 Celebrations in 2018.)
The culmination of the Festival of Imagineers 2016 on 1st October saw a soggy City Centre brought to life with ingenious, quirky and extraordinary performances transformingpublic spaces both inside and out, bringing smiles to young and old as well as the occasional glimmer of sunshine.
University Square was animated with outdoor theatre including an astronaut flying above umbrellas (Highly Sprung’s Urban Astronaut), a model town experiencing its own apocalyptical weather (Whalley Range Allstar’s Ye Gods) and adventurers headed to Africa, Australia and Menorca by air and sea aboard Pif-Paf’s Flycycle and Submercyle.
Live animation and dance created some amazing choreography by Hungarian Bandart Productions at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery. The weather brought last minute venue changes which saw hair sculpting move indoors to the Herbert, and Barcelona based Osadia’s creations could be seen wandering the streets and squares of Coventry throughout the rest of the day.
Coventry Cathedral became the venue for the evening’s final performance, its high ceilings and beautiful lighting gave the impression of a town square for a stunning waltz on stilts to the music of Johann Straus by Italian company Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo with Valse, followed by Addictive TV’s acclaimed Orchestra of Samples, created over five years and featuring 200 musicians mixed live on the evening.
Festival of Imagineers – The Future
Over the next five years the festival will provide a creative context for Imagineer’s major own produced performances currently in development:
The Winter’s Tale (2017) An outdoor co-production of Shakespeare’s late play in partnership with Polish company Teatr Biuro Podrozy
Fantastic Mr Fox (2019)
The Mysteries (2020) A revival of the Millennium Mysteries twenty years on in co-production with Teatr Biuro Podrozy
Likeable Bikeable City (2021) A new interactive cycle powered system of transport and city centre trail for Coventry, animated by sustainable, interactive public art, designed by children working with City planners and developers, engineers, architects, coupled with and a unique sonic bike experience
Walking with Elephants (2021) A major new outdoor performance being developed with Designer Nick Martin (creator of Imagineers Godiva and writer, Nick Walker.
The Festival of Imagineers 2017
The dates for this year’s festival are now confirmed as 25th -30th September 2017 and we are delighted to announce funding from Arts Council England for the FOI for the next two years. The headline programme will be announced at the beginning of June and will be updated as events are confirmed.
The Imagineerium Initiative
STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths) education project, coaching the habit of invention with children and young people.
Professional artists and creative engineers work in role with children, young people and teachers inhabiting the Daimler Powerhouse working on authentic constructive arts commissions which feed into the Festival of Imagineers.
The project has been successfully piloted with eight primary schools in Coventry over the past two years. The new three year commission to involve 15 primary Schools will be launched on Monday 26th September during this years Festival of Imagineers.
The programme is currently funded by Arts Council England, Medwell-Hyde, the Premier Group, Think Higher (Warwick University)
“The Imagineerium project is the most inspirational thing I’ve seen in over 30 years”
Denis Meager, CEO Premier Group.
Imagineer is delighted to announce a three year grant from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the development of The Imagineerium Initiative.
Imagineerium Initiative 2017-19
Imagineer began work in January on this exciting 3 year project funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and local businesses. The commission over this period will to create 6 Marvellous Mechanical Machines for the new cycle trail in The Charterhouse Development. It will involve 15 Coventry Primary Schools working with artists and engineers from the City and outside.Designs and working ideas will be featured in The Festival of Imagineers 2017/18 and 2019. Working alongside the project International sonic bike artist Kaffe Matthews, will be researching the area and composing a soundscape for a permanent sonic bike opera which will be woven into the trail.
Look out for The Pitch The Festival of Imagineers,(Tuesday 26th September 2017) where children engineers and artists will be presenting their ideas to a panel of developers and public artists and funders. Time and place to be confirmed.
A project with young people aged 18-25 from Coventry and Warwickshire who are not in employment education or training.
Transformations is a 6 month co-creation programme with artists and engineers which aims through theatre, design and construction to develop the confidence skills and capabilities of all the young people involved.
Created with young people working with Imagineer, this powerful and emotive performance was originally produced for The Festival of Imagineers (Summer 2015). This is an uncompromising ensemble piece about the human struggle for freedom against powerful oppression and dictatorship. Staged simply but with striking visual images this story is one of human endeavour, fortitude, resolution and new beginnings.
Liberty was created with the generous support of Medwell Hyde and funded by Talent Match and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Daimler Powerhouse: The War Years.
Imagineer Productions were awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to fund this project.
The project explored the history and heritage of the Daimler Powerhouse and the impact the Daimler works had on the First World War, the city and the country. Research carried out locally and at the Imperial War Museum included interviews with local families with a connection to the factory. Based on this research Imagineer Productions created a site-specific performance, created and produced by the Transformation Group, on 15-17 September 2016, in and around the Daimler Building on the Sandy Lane Business Park in Radford, Coventry. Research undertaken by the group unearthed the story of Henry Lawson and how he acquired a former cotton mill in Drapers Field and the Coventry Motor Mills was born. Considered to be the genesis of Motor car production in Great Britain it went on to become the Daimler Works. Within a month of the First World War being declared Daimler supplied 300 vehicles for army use. Daimler also became the leading commercial engineering firm in Britain to enter into aero engine and aeroplane manufacturing. In 1915 they reached an agreement with the War Office to lease part of their Radford land to erect an aerodrome. During the war years they built, supplied and developed vehicles, engines, tanks and aeroplanes and munitions. They produced more 12” shells than any other factory in the country!
“Wow, wow, wow. Saw an incredible performance tonight about the First World War set and performed in the old Coventry Daimler building….” Siobhan Harrison – BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
“What a performance a true history of Coventry 1st WW and the part Daimler played in it, wish it could be put on a bigger stage so all Coventry folks could have the chance to see it, well done to all.” Audience comment.
The project has been supported by Talent Match, Valley House and The Heritage Lottery Fund.
Imagineer is delighted to announce a three year grant from The Jumping through Hoops Programme to support Transformations 3 4 and 5. The programme will begin in February 2017. We are looking for young people aged 18-30 who are currently unemployed and looking to train with Imagineer in creative, performance and constructive arts. Please email Beth Allum Bethanie.email@example.com for more information.
Work began on this project in January and will be completed in July 2017. Artworks created by this extraordinary group of young people will appear in the City during the summer as if by magic !Transformations is a performance, art and constructive project with young people who are not in employment education or training. The aim of the project is to build competences for work – self- confidence, entrepreneurship, perseverance and teamwork through working with professionals from a range of creative disciplines on an authentic commission.This innovative model of work will be showcased during The Festival of Imagineers.
Projects, commissions and touring
Imagineer works with other creative organisations, local authorities, festival and event producers and businesses on new projects which excite us and where we have opportunities to pass on our skills and expertise.
Recent projects include:
The MOTHS project (Museums on the High Street) with Worcestershire Museums Service (2014)
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the RSC – Shakespeare’s birthday celebration the peoples procession (2015)
Birmingham Cathedral and Birmingham City Council – War Bride with Birmingham and Frankfurt choir (2015)
Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon Council, Northern Ireland – Feasibility study into the creation of a new giant, the goddess Macha and festival as part of a major tourism initiative (2015/16)
Winters tale will be performing in Poznan, Poland in October 2016 available for touring from summer 2017
Imagineer will be appearing at The Summer at Southside Festival (Birmingham Hippodrome) on Saturday and Sunday June 17th and 18th with a new outdoor production.
Working in partnership with Students from BOA, Allens Croft Primary School, Nelson Mandela Primary School & Sacred Heart Primary School presents
The beautiful and true story of one man’s extraordinary endeavour to teach a gaggle of orphaned geese to fly and to follow his ultra light aircraft on a successful migration.
William Lishman, ‘Father Goose’ is an award winning inventor, sculptor, film maker and naturalist recipient of the ‘Us NationalWildlife Federation Award’ and ‘Odyssey of the Mind’ Award for Creativity ( former recipients include Walt Disney and Neil Armstrong) and his heart warming story will be brought to life through a visual feast of puppetry, dance, and inventive design.
Please contact Imagineer Productions directly for more information here.
The Daimler Powerhouse
Imagineer are currently putting together a funding package to support the refurbishment of our existing production workshop, the Daimler Powerhouse. Our ambition is to transform it into the region’s first dedicated centre of excellence for creating, commissioning, and co-producing new outdoor work and innovative engagement projects.
The Powerhouse will be the hub of Imagineer’s creative work and will provide an outward looking, flexible production space, a vital resource for local, regional and national street artists, cementing Imagineer’s role as a key strategic player in the development of the outdoor sector and enabling us to attract world class practitioners to the region.
The scheme will provide a greatly improved facility that is fully accessible, sustainable, energy and cost efficient and environmentally friendly. The redeveloped building will incorporate:
A large, flexible, open space on the ground floor suitable for making and rehearsing large scale outdoor performances
Offices and meeting rooms
Facilities for aerial training and rehearsals
Rigging points for lighting, projection and sound
A second smaller first floor rehearsal/workshop space
Smaller making, training and meeting room spaces
A digital facility for virtual and experiential learning aimed principally at primary education
The powerhouse will be the hub of Imagineers creative work and will provide an outward looking, flexible production space, a vital resource for regional and national street artists, cementing Imagineer’s role as a key strategic player in the development of the outdoor sector, improving the experience for artists and enabling us to attract world class practitioners to the region.