Festival of Imagineers 2016

Home / Projects archive / Festival of Imagineers 2016

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.

This included:

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 to  some 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.

Wandering Web

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 of  the 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 transforming  public 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
  • Bridge (2018)
  • 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.