We took another brave step forward this year with the festival, really consolidating the vision to curate local national and international work at the intersection of art and engineering. We know we have a strong foundation of support from audiences who are looking for something different to experience and who applauded– the interactive installations like Childhood, a light installation using 257 helium filled balloons by French Company Collective Coin which filled Broadgate Square and Hupla by Imagineer and Arup 1,000 secondary school children, 1,000 hula hoops and a structure 23 metres tall winched up into to the roof of Coventry Cathedral.
We launched Bridge, our exciting Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence award winning project, involving audiences in our creative work to date: exploring VR headsets in performance, seeing the designs of the proposed huge performance structure designed by Dan Potra and engaging in storytelling collecting aboard the amazing Coby Bike which travels at speed enticing conversations between riders to develop the narrative of the performance.
We were thrilled to programme Block by Motionhouse, a high energy, high impact and breath- taking performance linking circus and dance and Carmen Funebre by Teatr Biuro Podrozy (Poland), a brave and unforgettable piece about the pain of war. The narrative is held together with relentless and powerful images which will last our memories forever, performed in Coventry Cathedral Ruins.
We were delighted to welcome Harley Dubois one of the originators of Burning Man to lecture about the now 30-year annual event held in the Nevada desert and also to work in collaboration with Outdoor Arts UK and many of the country’s leading practitioners including Helen Marriage – Artistic Director Artichoke and Maggie Clark XTRAX – to create an outdoor arts day which explored art and engineering and large- scale installation and performance at a national level.
The Movers and Makers education conference was very well attended and marks a major new development for Imagineer in partnership with Primary School teachers and in collaboration with Highly Sprung Performance Company, Open Theatre, The Imagineering Foundation, Vortex Creates and local producer Anne Forgan.
The Wheel Ways exhibition successfully launched our citywide cycle project after a two-year period of development. We were able to launch a completed BUZZ Bike and the prototype for the PAL Bike and some of the early winning prototypes from The Marvellous Mechanical Machines Project. The exhibition also showcased our early work with Coventry City Council identifying cycle routes in the city to be opened up and ready for 2021.
Audiences were strong throughout the event and charging for some performances had no effect on numbers attending. We balanced the paying audience events with a range of free activities and provided transport for people from outlying neighbourhoods who are part of The Art CAFÉ project so that they and their families could take part in the festival. Imagineer will maintain this as a way of building new diverse audiences and strengthening the links with local communities.
Imagineer, Burning Man and Artichoke working together to build the festival and in 2019 we will create a number of events that will signal its development in 2020, 2021 and beyond.
Some Festival feedback:
A brilliantly placed programme, branding great and a real visual presence (audience)
What a week! Well done to all involved, you did Coventry Proud! (Coventry Culture show)
The whole festival was amazing. I particularly oved the installation in Broadgate. Mesmerising (audience)
You lot certainly know how to put on a show (This is Birmingham)
The Festival of Imagineers ends with the intense and powerful Carmen Funebre by Teatr Biuro Podrozy and Collective Coin’s playful ‘Childhood’in Broadgate. Thanks Imagineer UK for bringing top notch outdoor arts to Coventry. (Arts Council)
Carmen Funebre – so glad we got to it -absolutely stunning (audience)
Visit the Festival of Imagineers website for more information.