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Outdoor Arts Spectacular

Outdoor Arts Spectacular

Imagineer Productions has been awarded £600,000 by Arts Council England, to realise ambitious outdoor arts project.

Bridge installation at Coventry Cathedral 2017

Imagineer Productions, live events production experts based in Coventry, are celebrating an award of £600,000 by Arts Council England, to support Bridge, a three-year programme of extraordinary outdoor arts across the Midlands.

This is Arts Council’s first major investment in Coventry following the announcement that they will host the UK City of Culture 2021. This investment will support Imagineer Productions in creating a large-scale, ambitious, outdoor arts project merging art, engineering and community, taking place at locations in Coventry, Grantham and Worcester.

Imagineer Productions have a proven track-record in orchestrating daring, surprising and joyful events throughout the region. Building on the annual Festival of Imagineer’s collaboration with civil engineers Arup, the Bridge project will enable local communities, artists and engineers to work together exploring themes of bridge building, ‘fierce kindness’ and human progress. Getting communities and the public involved is central to the project. Stories of local ‘bridge builders’ will be woven into the work and translated into performances and theatrical experiences for all to enjoy.

Jane Hytch, Chief Executive of Imagineer, comments: “We will be working with artists, the Artichoke Trust and Arup, to produce major events in Coventry, Grantham and Worcester over three years. An iconic bridge structure will be created to occupy public spaces for three weeks at a time, inspiring spectacular live performances, creative community work and interactive digital animations.”

The creative development of Bridge will be led by independent artistic director Orit Azaz with a team including Sydney based designer Dan Potra and choreographer Corey Baker. Orit comments: “This is a rare opportunity to create an ambition new outdoor arts work of scale in collaboration with communities and the public in three cities, that reflects and celebrates the distinctive vision and power of the Midlands.”

Bridge will be launched at Coventry Cathedral in September 2018 as part of 100th anniversary of Coventry Cathedral and Diocese (the modern diocese of Coventry was created in 1918, and the church of St Michael designated as its cathedral). Imagineer Productions will be working with the Cathedral and their interfaith networks, to ensure that the stories collecting through the project reflect diverse perspectives and voices.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “As Coventry prepares to become City of Culture 2021, Bridge is a significant marker for what promises to be an outstanding programme of work.

“Funded by the National Lottery through Ambition for Excellence, this fund helps amazing things happen. Imagineer is a company with pedigree, and this large-scale outdoor spectacle will involve more and more people in the positivity that great art can bring.”


Media Contact

For more information, contact Caroline Durbin at or call 07801 483011.

Notes to Editor

About Imagineer Productions

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.

Ambition for Excellence

The Arts Council’s Ambition for Excellence awards develop talent and leadership, help build cultural capacity and support work of increased ambition across the country. It is a £35m fund, of which the Arts Council aims to spend a minimum of £28m or 80-90% outside London to support our intention to ensure that a minimum of 75% of lottery funding is committed outside the capital by 2018.

Find out more about the Ambition for Excellence fund here:

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Coventry City of Culture

Coventry has been awarded the title UK City of Culture 2021. The competition is run by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport and takes place every four years. Coventry’s predecessor Hull held the title in 2017 and the inaugural event was in 2013 when the title was won by Derry/Londonderry. The main aim of the competition is placemaking, and the winning city can expect a major boost in tourism and investment as they host a spectacular year of events as well as a build-up period and legacy programme. Coventry has a history of triumphing against adversity, and of coming together with a fierce but quiet pride. All too often the city has had to listen to others putting it down, but now is the time to invite the world to venture past the beloved ring road and into a city with a story to tell and experiences to share. Coventry is a young, diverse, modern city which is re-imaging the role culture can play in bringing people together, and will spend the next three years working in communities, talking to businesses and planning the programme to make Coventry 2021 the biggest City of Culture year yet.

About Orit Azaz

Orit is an independent artistic director, facilitator and creative thinker. Her experience combines devising and directing large scale, multi-disciplinary performances and event; creating new contexts for collaborations between artists and communities; and leading and facilitating artform research.

About Artichoke

Founded in 2005 by Helen Marriage and Nicky Webb, the company’s aim is to work with artists to create unique, large-scale experiences that appeal to the widest possible audience. We don’t believe the arts should take place only behind the closed doors of theatres, concert halls or galleries. Instead, you will find us working in the street, public squares, along the coast or in the countryside.

About Dan Potra

Dan is a designer across the full spectrum of the arts, designing sets, costumes, concepts and animation for opera, theatre, large scale events, dance and film. Dan has received five Helpmann Award nominations for his design work in opera and theatre in Australia of which he has won three, including Best Scenic Design in 2008 for Dead Man Walking at the State Theatre in Sydney.

About Corey Baker

Corey is an award-winning choreographer and filmmaker, celebrated for his innovation and commitment to driving dance into the 21st century. With a passion that dance is for everyone, Corey takes dance out of traditional settings and puts it into parks, playgrounds, stadiums, shopping centres, rugby fields, on TV & film and even Antarctica. Corey is also renowned for highly-designed, inventive and relevant contemporary and ballet.

The Wonders of The Moon

The Wonders of The Moon

BBC Film The Wonders of The Moon filmed during The Festival of Imagineers will be broadcast on Wednesday at 9pm BBC1 so thank you all you lovely volunteers who took part in this Horizen Documentary – it looks fab check out the trailer on


Arts Council Award!

Arts Council Award!

JANUARY 2018 – Imagineer wins an Arts Council Ambition for Excellence Award for Bridge a new ambitious outdoor performance piece.

Godiva Awakes to appear again.

Godiva Awakes to appear again.

Godiva Awakes to appear in the city again for The Coventry Half Marathon Sunday 18th MARCH 2018.

More details re times to follow.

Newsletter Jan 2018

Newsletter Jan 2018

It has been a busy and successful year where the company have delivered all aspects of the new strategic business plan (2016 -21). We have further developed The Festival of Imagineers as the showcase of the company’s work and the programming and co- production of local national and international artists and companies. Festival Director Claire Maddocks and a team of 4 Creative producers have developed a programme from essentially presented work (2015-17) to a programme with more newly commissioned work. Festival highlights this year include: The Museum of The Moon installation by artist Luke Jerram and with performances of The Broken Tusk a new commission by Balbir Singh; The Wonders of The Moon with The BBC and 200 local people to be screened in February 2018; The Winter’s Tale Imagineer/ Teatr Biuro Podrozy co- production, following its performance in Poznan (Poland) 2016; Moonlight Medleythe festival finale with Talking Birds Theatre company and Open Theatre Company. We also were delighted to host the development of Vessel, a new outdoor production by Acrojou as the first major residency in The Daimler Powerhouse. The festival also featured Bridge a collaboration with Imagineer, Arup, Coventry Cathedral and Coventry Secondary Schools. The 15metre construction, being created as a structure for a new performance piece was exhibited in Coventry New Cathedral accompanied by a VR experience.

Bridge will be further developed as part of The Cathedral 100 Commemorations in 2018 symbolising bridges people and communities build especially at times of adversity. Bridge is also the project Imagineer, Arup, Coventry Cathedral, The Canal and River Trust and partners in Worcester and Lincoln have submitted for an Ambition 4 Excellence – Arts Council Award. This will be a major development for the company if we are successful and could place Imagineer and partners at the centre of outdoor arts development in the east and west midlands.

Imagineer has also further developed the underpinning programmes of education and training, Transformations 3’ Going Underground’ and 4 ‘Into the Woods’ and The Imagineerium Initiative. Transformations Programme is led by Kathi Leahy Associate Creative Director Imagineer and The Imagineerium Initiative is led by Kathi Leahy & Jo Trowsdale (University of Warwick) who is heading up a team of researchers.

The work is a direct legacy of Godiva Awakes and the creation of Godiva and The Cyclopedia with 17 engineering companies. With a solid funding base achieved by three years from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Heart of England Foundation and additional support from Talent Match, Kathi has been able to shape both programmes and create extraordinary, successful and impactful projects. For further information about current projects in development/publications, please visit Projects . The support of Warwick University and the work of Jo Trowsdale is enabling the company to research the impact of our work within the Imagineerium to access whether the project produces more confident learners in STEM subjects in primary education. Reports and evaluations with beneficiaries following Transformations 3 and 4 evidence young people gaining in confidence and skills and overcoming barriers to further training and employment. The ability to deliver year- round programmes allows consistency and enables young people to develop and attain their goals. Many of the young people we have worked with have gone on to training and employment in the creative industries. Both current Imagineer apprentices are Transformations graduates. Both programmes are pathways for young people to find a passion in creative engineering/ discover an interest in further training in the creative industries including technology, construction, graphics, and performance. The City currently has a 45% skills gap in creative engineering and both projects have a real significance in terms of the City being able to address this. 60% of the children and young people who take part in these projects are from priority neighbourhoods in the City.

As part of The Imagineerium Initiative Programme Imagineer held its first Inspiring Change Conference which took place at Study Inn Conference Centre in September (part of the Festival of Imagineers). The aim was to share projects promoting The STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art, maths) agenda to artists, educationalists and businesses. Included in the programme were case studies from Highly Sprung Performance Company – One Giant Leap; The Imagineerium Initiative, Marvellous Mechanical Machines; Dominic Wilcox The Little Inventors Project; The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The National Picture and included the work of Scarabeus.

The conference posed a series of questions around the value of the work and how to move it forward. Delegates were keen for the conference to continue each year to expand the knowledge base other national and international work and to influence change in relation to STEM curriculum development. For further details of the conference and to receive conference notes please contact Jane Hytch – . In September, Imagineer met Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England who was very interested in the STEAM education activities of the company and keen to help. Jo Trowsdale and I remain in contact with him and hope that he will continue to support our work particularly The Imagineerium Initiative and curriculum development work.

During the year Imagineer has also delivered other projects led by Associate Creative Director Imagineer, Kathi Leahy, including:

  • Warbride Tour to museums & libraries in Staffordshire. The production was created in 2014 originally as part of The Museums On The High Street (MOTHS) project, commissioned by Museums Worcestershire and then adapted for Coventry Cathedral and Birmingham Cathedrals WW1 Commemorations (2015).
  • Operation Migration – commissioned by The Birmingham Hippodrome Summer in Southside Festival (June 2017) Choreographer Daisy Moorcroft, and built by The Monday Night Makers Group. Accompanied by a Birmingham Primary Schools Project – Choreographers jade Falconer and Ben Venson.
  • Halloween Fiesta & Voyage to the Otherworld – A large scale participatory Halloween Event & Finale Performance (100 Performers) working with local community arts groups and professional arts companies, commissioned by The Coventry BID which took place in Broadgate Square.

During 2017 Imagineer has gratefully received funding from Coventry University, The University of Warwick, Medwell Hyde, The Premier Group, Arup, HS2, Talent Match, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Heart of England Foundation, Whitefriars, Arts Council England, Coventry City Council, The City of Culture 2021 Trust, Great Places, Coventry BID.

We look forward to 2018 

  • Making significant developments to our capital plans for he Daimler Building as a creation Hub for making and producing outdoor art
  • Setting up ART Café’s neighbourhood areas of the City
  • Taking part in a major national project with Artichoke
  • Developing our current commissioning and festival programming and setting 3 new major outdoor commissions in process
  • Working with local businesses and building new business relationships for festival and education projects eg The Premier Group/Arup/IDP/Medwell Hyde/MTC /Complex Developments Projects.
Festival of Imagineers 2017 Programme Announced

Festival of Imagineers 2017 Programme Announced

Transforming the Streets of Coventry with Free Live Arts, Installations and Performances

From 25 – 30 September 2017, the Festival of Imagineers returns to Coventry, bringing the streets to life with extraordinary live arts, astounding performances and incredible installations.

Now in its third year, the Festival of Imagineers has become a staple of the region’s arts scene; a vibrant celebration of art, design and engineering in the heart of the industrial Midlands. The Festival is presented in partnership with Coventry’s bid to be the 2021 City of Culture.

International artists, designers, architects and engineers will come together for this free family-friendly celebration of creative ingenuity. The event is an opportunity for residents and visitors to the city to imagine, make and be inspired, as city spaces and streets are transformed through a residencies, talks, workshops, visits and outdoor performances.

Highlights of the 2017 festival include;

  • Museum of the Moon by artist Luke Jerram; a seven-metre diameter illuminated replica of the moon suspended over the Sports Centre Swimming pool. This will include a new, underwater and poolside performance by Balbir Singh Dance Company.
  • Helen Marriage will deliver a talk in Coventry Cathedral; an opportunity to hear Founder and Artistic Director of Artichoke, speak about the company’s extraordinary work which has inspired millions of people over the past decade.
  • The Winter’s Tale at Coventry Cathedral Ruins; A co-production between Imagineer Productions and leading Polish street theatre company Teatr Biuro Podrozy and will see the Imagineer team working in partnership with TBP for the first time since thelegendary Millennium Mysteries. This processional performance includes extraordinary stilt walkers, visceral visual images, fire and music.
  • Dancing Bicycles by Balbir Singh Dance Company; action packed performance features Keelan Phillips, UK and Euro champion BMX rider.
  • Illumaphonium; a dynamic, multi-sensory, generative and interactive music installation. Everyone is invited to play this semi acoustic music making sculpture.

Throughout the week Cardboardia (an international community of artists, performers, event managers and experts from Russia, USA, UK, the Netherlands) will lead a making laboratory with makers and local communities at Moat House Leisure & Neighbourhood Centre in Wood End. This will culminate in walkabout performances for the festival finale which will combine beautiful and quirky cardboard structures and props, performance, participation, dance and Tyran of Cardboardia’s newly developed unique, giant Alchemical Music Box.

In addition, on Tuesday 26 September there will be a conference for educationalists and industrialists. Inspiring Change (presented by Imagineer Productions in partnership with Warwick University and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation) is the first regional conference exploring the impact and models of working within education which incorporate arts practice into the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects).

Claire Maddocks Festival Director explains; “We are excited to announce two years of funding for the festival from Arts Council England, and this year have a tremendous programme of events and activities happening across the city. From dramatic performances in the Cathedral to an enormous moon suspended above the sports centre swimming pool, there will be a host of unexpected and joyful experiences for all to enjoy. This year’s theme is ‘transformations’, and we hope we’ll be able to transform both residents and visitors’ perceptions of our city through these works.”

For full programme click here.



Festival of Imagineers culminates with a shower of creative  sights and sounds in Coventry

Festival of Imagineers culminates with a shower of creative sights and sounds in Coventry

The culmination of the Festival of Imagineers 2016 on 1 October saw a soggy City Centre brought to life with ingenious, quirky and extraordinary performances both inside and out, bringing smiles to young and old as well as the occasional glimour of sunshine.

University Square was animated with outdoor theatre including an astronaut flying above umbrellas, a model town experiencing its own apocalyptical weather and adventurers headed to Africa, Australia and Menorca by air and sea aboard the Flycycle and Submercyle.

Festival of Imagineers 2016
Urban Astronaut by Highly Sprung
Festival of Imagineers 2016
Ye Gods! took place regardless of the rain

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 Osadia’s creations could be seen wandering the streets and squares of Coventry throughout the rest of the day.

Festival of Imagineers 2016
Hair art with Osadia

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 2016
Valse was performed in Coventry Cathedral

Jane Hytch, Chief Executive Imagineer Productions said: “What a week it has been in Coventry, we have welcomed artists from across the World to join with artists from the UK to create some special moments and extraordinary sights.

The Festival has involved everyone from school children who have created their own inventions at our making space, the Daimler Powerhouse, to passers-by who have stopped in their tracks, despite the weather, by some amazing performances.

The Festival of Imagineers has also seen the start of exciting new projects with artists, designers and engineers exploring everything from Daimler’s manufacturing past to the City’s unique history with elephants as well as creative collaborations with business which we hope to build on in the coming months and years.”

The third annual Festival of Imagineers was delivered in partnership with Culture Coventry.