Colors: Red Color

Staff at the 400-year-old Oak House Museum, in West Bromwich, in the West Midlands, are planning a 'spooktabulous' Friday 13th evening for visitors with giggles, scares and creepy tales. The 'after dark' event on Friday 13 March comes as staff continue preparations for the Oak Road museum to open fully to the public for a new season in April.

Jane Hanney-Martin, museum services manager, said: "Prepare for a few giggles, scares and a creepy evening as you explore the house and meet characters who lived at Oak House 400 years ago, experience terrible tales and learn about ghostly goings on in the dim candlelight.

"Visitors can explore our dark corners and staff will be on hand to tell some of the ghostly tales attached to the house," added Rebecca Butler, visitor services officer.

The evening is suitable for ages 14+ and starts at 6.30pm. Visitors can drop in any time throughout the event. Gates close at 8pm and the event finishes at 8.30pm.

Councillor Wasim Ali, Cabinet with Member with Responsibility for Museums, said: "Friday 13th promises to be a fantastic, fun event to show people the stories behind Oak House and get everyone in the mood for our museums opening to the public for a new season in just a few weeks' time."


The City of Wolverhampton Council's Music School is joining forces with the 13 other music services in the West Midlands for the largest celebration of young people's music making ever to be held across the region.

In all, the ambitious, month-long celebration - taking place throughout March - will involve more than 140,000 children and young people.

It is the first major project of West Midlands Music, the UK’s largest collective of Music Services, and includes over 130 concerts, gigs, workshops and taster sessions.

Ciaran O'Donnell, Head of Wolverhampton Music Service, said: "The Big Month of Music will not only showcase the musical achievements of children across the entire region but also inspire and encourage them to continue their musical discoveries by signposting them to further opportunities.

"It also provides a snapshot of the work of Wolverhampton Music Service, and other music services across the region, including in school and out of school activity, workshops and taster sessions."

The City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, said: “Music is an important part of a young person's education, and Wolverhampton Music Service provides quality teaching for children and young people across the city, including the chance to perform with Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra and Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra.

"It's great to see so many pupils in Wolverhampton engaging in music week in, week out, and this Big Month of Music is a chance to celebrate their hard work."

Chris Jones, Chair of West Midlands Music, added: "Many thousands of people have learned an instrument, sung in a choir or played in an ensemble thanks to music services over the years. By working together as West Midlands Music, the region’s 14 music services are able to maximise our collective impact, reaching more children and delivering a consistently high quality music education for everyone.

"Big Month of Music is a fantastic first major celebration of that collective impact and of our commitment for the future of the region’s music education.”

Together, the 14 music services in the West Midlands worked with 140,000 children, supported music making in 1,963 schools, loaned 79,789 musical instruments and created 776 events and performances across the region last year.

Leicester’s annual dance festival celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2020 with a thrilling programme of dance and performance from the UK, USA, Norway, Cuba, Martinique, Tanzania, Italy and more.

Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF20) is produced by Serendipity, the diversity-led arts producing organisation based in Leicester and run by its award-winning CEO and Artistic Director Pawlet Brookes.

This year the organisation celebrates 10 years of curating and producing LDIF.

Pawlet says: “The tenth anniversary of Let's Dance International Frontiers 2020 (LDIF20) is going to be very special. I’m thrilled that we’re celebrating ten years of bringing dance from around the world to audiences in the city and beyond, and that we have, over those ten years, supported and developed work by a huge number of talented young artists.

“The legacy of the festival means we have also scored a number of firsts: ballet company PHILADANCO made their UK debut in 2017 at LDIF; the Deaf Dance pioneer Antoine Hunter made his debut at LDIF and many award-winning artists who will be with us this year including Kyle Abraham, Reggie Wilson, Alice Sheppard, Thomas Prestø, showcase world class, culturally diverse dance.“During LDIF20, we will revisit some of the highlights from past festivals. We are delighted to be welcoming back Kyle Abraham with a new solo work Cocoon, in his only UK performance, and PHILADANCO with an exciting mixed-bill of work. I’m particularly proud this year of the new work we’ll be presenting in our two development programmes”.

Annabel Guérédrat and Henri Tauliaut are presenting a site specific work inspired by Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending the Staircase at New Walk Museum's spiral staircase. And the conference will be a vital ticket for anyone interested in how performance art is presented globally.

“At Serendipity we are enormously proud of what we’ve achieved with LDIF in bringing global dance to audiences in Leicester and showing that dance really is a universal language where everyone is welcome.”

This year’s theme is: 10 Years, 10 Countries, 10 Voices: Black Classics.

The keynote speakers at the annual conference are Eduardo Vilaro, choreographer, educator, and artistic director and CEO of Ballet Hispánico in New York City and the award-winning dancer/choreographer and Professor and Graduate Director Cynthia Oliver at the University of Illinois.

Featured speakers include Thomas Prestø, Artistic Director of Tabanka Dance Ensemble in Norway whose masterclass was a huge hit at last year’s LDIF, the US-based, British-born disabled dancer/choreographer Alice Sheppard and the dancer/choreographer/writer/curator Makeda Thomas who splits her time between Trinidad and New York.

Black Coffee will bring his incredible catalogue of music to the brand-new space in London at The Drumsheds venue on May 2nd, 2020. From the creators of Printworks, The Drumsheds is a brand-new space that combines four giant, interlinked, warehouses with capacities of up to 10,000 inside along with 10 acres of outdoor space. Located in Meridian Water, next to Tottenham Marshes.

DJ and producer Black Coffee defies convention. Born in Durban in KwaZulu Natal and growing up in the Eastern Cape in Mthatha, before his first big break, when his song “Happiness” was featured on the DJs At Work album. This was then followed by his debut album released in 2005. To many Black Coffee has led ‘house music’ genre throughout the past few years, establishing a global pre-eminence in vocal house music. Black Coffee has worked alongside some of the worlds biggest artists including Drake, with who he collaborated with for “Get It Together” with vocals from Jorja Smith on Drake’s album, More Life. Over the last 18 months, Black Coffee’s signature sound has landed him in the studio alongside some of the world’s greatest including Diddy, Usher, Akon, Pharrell Williams and David Guetta.

Black Coffee has continued to grow his rollercoaster of career milestones, accolades and achievements and international profile over the past few years, gracing the decks at any event, which has elevated Black Coffee into the realm of a global superstar.

In just a matter of years, Black Coffee has become one of the top touring performers in the world holding down residencies at some of the world’s most famous venues and festivals such as Coachella, Tomorrowland, and a residency at Wynn in Las Vegas, all which have cemented Black Coffee as a go-to producer, remixer, and performer.

Tickets went on sale yesterday for a special additional preview performance of The Book of Mormon at Birmingham Hippodrome on Tuesday 3 March 2020 at 7.30pm. The performance will be the first chance for fans to see the much-anticipated Broadway smash hit in Birmingham.

Hundreds of fans queued outside of the theatre, with some braving the rain for over three hours, to get their hands on tickets when the box office opened at 10am this morning.

Over 1,500 tickets for the first Birmingham preview are priced at just £15 each and available to purchase in person only via the Birmingham Hippodrome Box Office.

The Tony®, Olivier® and Grammy® award-winning show plays at Birmingham Hippodrome through to Saturday 28 March 2020 with tickets available via and

The cast of The Book of Mormon in Birmingham will be led by Robert Colvin as Elder Price and Conner Peirson as Elder Cunningham. They are joined by Nicole-Lily Baisden as Nabulungi, Will Hawksworth as Elder McKinley, Ewen Cummins as Mafala Hatimbi, Johnathan Tweedie as Joseph Smith and Thomas Vernal as the General.

The company will include Jed Berry, David Brewis, Melissa Brown-Taylor, Chinasa, Sanchia Amber Clarke, Tre Copeland-Williams, George Crawford, Tom Dickerson, Jordan Lee Davies, Jemal Felix, Olivia Foster-Browne, Patrick George, Isaac Hesketh, Evan James, Alex James-Hatton, Nicole Louise, Fergal McGoff, Jesus Reyes Ortiz, Lawrence Rowe, Lukin Simmonds, Chomba S Taulo, Tommy Wade-Smith, Sharon Wattis and Jacob Yarlett.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the creators of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning television show, South Park, now in its twenty-second season, and the feature films South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and Team America: World Police.

Robert Lopez co-created the Broadway musical Avenue Q and co-wrote the songs for Disney’s Frozen and Coco. He is one of only fifteen artists to win all four major entertainment awards – Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar® and Tony® Awards.

The Book of Mormon follows a pair of Mormon boys sent on a mission to a place that’s a long way from their home in Salt Lake City.

Since making its world premiere in March 2011 at New York’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, where it won nine Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, The Book of Mormon has been performed on three continents and won over thirty international awards. The musical has smashed long-standing box office records in New York, London, Melbourne, Sydney and cities across the U.S.

The London production opened in February 2013, winning four Olivier Awards® including Best New Musical, and breaking the record for the highest single day of sales in West End history. It has sold out every one of its 2918 performances to date at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Book, Music and Lyrics are by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.  Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon has choreography by Casey Nicholaw, set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, sound design by Brian Ronan, orchestrations by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus and music supervision and vocal arrangements by Stephen Oremus.

The Book of Mormon is produced by Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin, Important Musicals and Sonia Friedman Productions.

After Joaquin Phoenix used the platform during his ‘Best Actor’ award acceptance speech for the film Joker to criticize the British Academy and then the Duke of Cambridge also hit out at a lack of diversity this year’s BAFTAs all eyes will be on the upcoming Oscars as they again seem to have mostly ignored films about women and people of a BAME culture.

Phoenix’s comments followed an outcry about the all-white acting nominations line-up at the 73rd Awards event at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

He said: "I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you're not welcome here. “I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people who have contributed so much to our medium and our industry in ways that we’ve benefited from,” Phoenix said.

“I don’t think anyone wants a hand-out or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.”

In his address Prince William said: “The Academy's voters must stop overlooking Black and Ethnic Minority talent”.

The Price, who is president of the Bafta, added: “It simply cannot be right in this day and age” that film awards have all-white shortlists.

“Both here in the UK and in many other countries around the world, we are lucky to have incredible film-makers, actors, producers and technicians, men and women of all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film.

“Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more about diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age”.

In concluding his peach, Joaquin Phoenix added: “I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural.

“We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that’s on us”.

This year, all 20 of the acting nominees at the BAFTAs were white.

All eyes, now, will be on next week’s Oscar ceremony.

Valentine’s Day is sorted for budding fashionistas this year with the launch of the new Specially Selected Shades of Love Bouquet, created exclusively for supermarket Aldi.

Taking inspiration from the red and pink colour trend seen across red carpets and catwalks this season, Aldi is bringing the A-list trend to the flower aisle with the stunning Specially Selected Shades of Love Bouquet featuring 100 individual roses carefully arranged to create a stunning ombre effect.

Combining ten different varieties of premium roses, including Madam Red, Tacazzi, Candy Party, Ensemble, Opus and Royal Jewel, the softer white and pink buds blend seamlessly into the bolder hues of the red roses, ensuring a natural and eye-pleasing flow of colour.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK commented: “Our Shades of Love bouquet is the ultimate showstopper for those looking to make a big statement this Valentine’s Day. We’re proud to offer the very latest in flower trends, and having taken inspiration directly from the red carpet , this is the go-to option for fashionistas and trend-followers alike’.

Effortlessly trailblazing, fragrant and fresh, the Specially Selected Shades of Love bouquet will not only make for a stunning centrepiece, but will also have fashionable couples reaching for their phones to capture the perfect Instagram opportunity… if they’re lucky enough to receive the bouquet that is!

The ultimate musical duo, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, are ‘Back Together’ and set to delight cinema audiences up and down the country with the final show of their UK tour from London’s O2 Arena.

Presented by CinemaLive, leading producers and distributors of event cinema, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe: Back Together, will be shown in over 1,000 screens in cinemas across the UK and Ireland, including major multiplexes and many independent cinemas and arts centres for one weekend only on 28th & 29th March 2020.

The show will see the superstar duo take on their favourite musical theatre, pop and rock tracks, including songs from The Lion King, The Greatest Showman and The Phantom of the Opera, as well as a beautifully arranged Queen Medley. Showcasing their phenomenal voices and undeniable on-stage chemistry, Ball and Boe’s irresistible charm will undoubtedly light up the big screen.

As a cinema exclusive, audiences will be treated to candid behind the scenes footage and interviews with the duo.

Michael Ball commented, “So excited we are going to be able to share our final show from the iconic O2 Arena in London on the big screen.  The Les Mis concert live screenings showed me that you can experience and relive the magic of a unique live performance all over again and the quality and intimacy are somehow heightened. If you couldn’t make it to one of our shows this is your chance....and if you did let’s do it all over again on March 28/29th!!!! See you there xxx”

Alfie Boe added, “What better way to end our 'Back Together' live tour than performing at the O2 Arena in London and filming it to go out in cinemas – over 1000 screens across the country. No pressure for us then! So whether you saw us live, or not, we promise to entertain you and have a lot of fun doing so! Spread the word, treat the family to some popcorn and come and join us. It's just after Mother’s Day too… so there’s your gift sorted! Hope to see you all there! Alfie xx "

Ball and Boe’s debut album Together became the UK’s best-selling album of 2016 and beat the likes of Little Mix and Rolling Stones to the Christmas No.1 spot. The follow up Together Again brought the pair a second No.1 album in 2017, and in 2019 they released their third record Back Together to great critical acclaim, scoring them yet another top 5 chart position.

Meeting over a decade ago in a production of Kismet at the London Coliseum, the pair struck up an instantaneous friendship, going on to become chart superstars. As a duo, Ball and Boe have now sold over 1 million albums in the UK, received 2 Classic Brit Awards, and sold out two headline arena tours.

Birmingham Royal Ballet and its internationally acclaimed orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy, Principal Conductor of Birmingham Royal Ballet, present an exquisite evening of romance with A Valentine’s Celebration of Music and Dance this February. Birmingham Royal Ballet Director Carlos Acosta will introduce the company from the stage of Birmingham’s magnificent Symphony Hall on Friday 14 February 2020, and on Saturday 15 February 2020 the company and Royal Ballet Sinfonia will perform for the first time at Warwick Arts Centre.


Birmingham Royal Ballet offers an elegant pairing of music and dance over this year’s Valentine’s weekend; a perfect matchmaking of its world-class dancers performing sumptuous pas de deux from the romantic classical canon, including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote and a world premiere of choreography by First Soloist Kit Holder, along with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Britain’s most prolific ballet orchestra, performing stunning orchestral highlights from Puccini, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.


Valentine’s Day will mark Carlos Acosta’s first public appearance as Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director, as he takes to the stage at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall in conversation with the night’s compere, BBC One’s Midlands Today Presenter, Nick Owen (Good Morning with Anne and Nick).


Birmingham Royal Ballet will visit Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre for the first time, with A Valentine’s Celebration of Music and Dance on Saturday 15 February. This second night of performances will be compered by Dr Ranj Singh, This Morning Doctor in Residence (and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant), who previously presented a live broadcast from Birmingham Royal Ballet as part of BBC Arts and One Dance UK’s #DancePassion festival in April last year.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is back for 2020, bringing a brand-new selection of gripping action and adventure films to more venues than ever before in the UK and Ireland.

The tour features two different collections of extraordinary films from the world’s best adventure film-makers, with super-human challenges, soulful journeys and spectacular cinematography from the wildest corners of the planet. Plus the film Up to Speed puts a spotlight on the extraordinary discipline of speed climbing, featuring in the in Olympic Games for the first time ever at Tokyo 2020.

“We can’t wait to share the latest inspirational films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival on our biggest tour yet!” says UK and Ireland tour director Nell Teasdale.

“And as well as exhilarating stories starring intrepid characters and pioneering journeys, an evening at Banff is a celebration of the great outdoors, with a vibrant atmosphere and a real sense of community. And we guarantee audiences will leave inspired to have an adventure of their own!”

The tour’s films are chosen from hundreds of entries into the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is held every November in the Canadian Rockies.

The UK and Ireland tour starts in Pitlochry, Scotland, on Saturday 18 January, visits Town Hall Birmingham on Saturday, 21 March, and finishes in Norwich on Tuesday 26 May, visiting 60 locations with 114 screenings along the way.

As well as thrilling films, each event features a free prize draw for exciting outdoorsy goodies from the tour partners.

Formerly known as ‘Forest Arts Centre’, the venue in Walsall has enjoyed growing success since the launch of its Arena with names such as Chris Ramsey, Jenny Eclair and Fairport Convention gracing their stage. The team behind what is now Walsall Arena and Arts Centre felt the time was right for a reanalysis of their identity.


With a variety of performance spaces ranging from a capacity of 40 to a capacity of 650, it was felt that ‘Forest Arts Centre’ was not an accurate insight into the offer and ability that the venue boasts. From comedy, music and pantomime and local rehearsal spaces and dance shows, the building successfully brings together the best of arts and entertainment, all under one roof.


Whilst the Arts Centre aspect of the venue continues to thrive, the Arena is proving to be a powerful force in its own right, which the new name rightfully pays respect to. As well as live music, it is becoming a hub for comedy in the West Midlands. Upcoming shows include Milton Jones, Ed Byrne and Henning Wehn, and audiences are beginning to look to the arena for bookings of this nature. In addition to a variety of music tribute shows including The UK Monsters of Rock Show and Arrival – The Hits of Abba, the venue’s annual pantomime has also been moved into the arena meaning more seats and more shows for more people to enjoy, a transition which proved to be very successful last year.


Programming Manager Simon Pugh explains: “We’re really excited about the name change, we feel that ‘Walsall Arena and Arts Centre’ provides a more accurate picture of everything we do here. There really is so much going on under one roof, the arts centre events are still a vital part of our offer, but we’re pleased to be able to acknowledge the arena in this way”.


This is not a new beginning but a continuation of growing success, as exciting shows continue to make their way to Walsall, the Walsall Arena and Arts Centre strengthens its role as a key venue in the area. The name is clear both in terms of ability and geography and marks a significant moment in the history both the venue itself and Walsall arts and entertainment.

Award-winning author Alex Wheatle was in the West Midlands visiting pupils at Yardleys secondary school in Birmingham.

He spoke to nearly 200 pupils, aged 12-13, about growing up in challenging circumstances and how he coped by writing poetry and song lyrics and even turned his hand to DJing in his teenager years in Brixton, South London.

Alex found that by writing about characters in similar situations, he was able to deal with his emotions and express his frustrations.

He grew up in a children’s home, which he says was violent and traumatic. In his adult life he spent time in prison for his part in the Brixton riots in 1981. While serving his sentence, a cellmate gave him a book to read, which Alex told pupils helped to save his life.

Alex also held interactive workshops with students, giving them a chance to write their own stories and come up with plot themes and characters based on their own experiences.

Thanks to BookTrust, each pupil also got their very own free copy of his ‘Liccle Bit’ book, a YA novel and the first book in his Crongton series, about a teenage boy who gets caught up in gang culture on an inner-city estate.

In discussing why books and reading are so important Alex said: “Children and young adults can find it hard to express their emotions and sometimes struggle to show vulnerability because it may not be considered cool but books, poetry and written word make it easier to do that. I was delighted at the students response to my life story presentation and creative writing workshops and my dearest wish is that they believe that reading books can change lives.

Pupils Imaan Mazar and Amina Younis said: “We really loved hearing about Alex’s story and learning about different cultures. He talked to us and told us that no matter your background, culture or the hard things you’ve been through in your life that anything is possible and inspiration can come from anywhere.”

Eddie Halliday, Asst Head, Yardleys secondary school, said: “The morning was fantastic with an entire year group sat in rapt awe and the workshops took this to a different level with our pupils loving hearing the stories behind the books. They left deep in discussion about how wonderful it was cluthing their signed copies. As an inner-city school, we strive to get our pupils to love reading and this was a massive step towards that.”

Director of Children’s Books, BookTrust, Jill Coleman, said: “Alex is a hugely talented writer and the students were energized and motivated by his visit.”

Alex Wheatle concluded: “For me it's crucial for young people to have their own books, something they can treasure and read. Reading leads to empathy and an understanding of so many other things. This is especially important for young vulnerable people who might not necessarily have a bookshelf in their home”.

Following his sold-out tour earlier this year, British soul icon Billy Ocean has announced a huge UK headline tour for autumn 2020, including dates at Symphony Hall Birmingham on Monday, 16 November 2020. Billy will be performing the best of his greatest hits and songs from his upcoming new studio album ‘One World’, which is due for release in spring 2020.

Billy Ocean is the biggest selling black recording star Britain has ever produced and has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime to date. Having achieved extraordinary success as both an artist and a songwriter, Billy has collected multiple gold and platinum records across the world, and hit the number one spot worldwide in the pop charts including the USA, Australia, Germany, Holland, and the UK.

2016 saw the ‘Here You Are: The Best of Billy Ocean’ album released in the UK. Gaining a number four chart position, this was Billy’s highest charting album since 1989.

This year Billy celebrated the anniversary of his ground-breaking album, ‘Suddenly’. Originally released in 1984, the record spawned the monster hits ‘Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)’, ‘Mystery Lady’ and ‘Loverboy’.

Gearing up for the highly anticipated release of his new album, 2020 is set to be another big year for Billy.

The era defying, chart-topping, button-pushing, mega-group is back!

The Pussycat Dolls have announced they are reuniting for a U.K. Tour, performing together for the first time in over a decade. The voices of a generation will be taking their Pussycat Dolls 2020 Tour on the road next year, hitting arenas across the U.K. calling at Dublin, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds and London.

The multi-platinum pop sensations – Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Jessica Sutta and Carmit Bachar are bringing back Doll Domination. Having sold more than 54 Million records worldwide and streamed over 1 Billion times, X2 Winners at the MTV VMA and achieved eight U.K. top 10 singles the dolls have Stick Wit Ya throughout the decades.

Nicole Scherzinger says “I love all my girls so much and cannot wait to show you what we've got in store for you. It’s been a long time coming but this feels like the perfect time to remind the world what it means to be a Pussycat Doll”.

The Pussycat Dolls’ founder, Robin Antin, says: “I created The Pussycat Dolls back in 1994 and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it would become one of the most iconic girl groups of our time. I’ve been working on making this reunion happen now for years, so I am very excited that the stars have aligned for THE PCD REUNION! It’s with gratitude to our fans and during this amazing time of female empowerment, to be able to announce the launch of our PCD reunion, celebrating ALL GENDERS, & the brilliant success and talent of the girls that helped influence a movement that was long overdue”.

In their first television performance in ten years, The Pussycat Dolls will return to the X Factor with an exclusive performance on Saturday 30 November which is set to back the PCD sparkle, excitement and anthemic hits.

The Pussycat Dolls will embark on a nine date U.K. wide tour bringing hits such as ‘Don’t Cha’, ‘Stickwitu’, ‘When I Grow Up’, ‘Buttons’ and more fan favourites back to life with their iconic dance routines and show-stopping vocals.

A significant drop in music tourism and an exodus of firms vital to the local infrastructure are amongst a number of Brexit-related concerns voiced by Birmingham’s music industries sector, according to a new report.

The Birmingham Live Music Project report, authored by researchers at Aston University, Birmingham City University and Newcastle University, reveals Brexit-related concerns voiced by policymakers, academics, industry figures and media representatives during a one-day event held in Birmingham earlier this year.

One of the main issues raised was the way that Brexit could lead to fewer artists and productions travelling to the UK from Europe, which in turn could mean a marked decrease in the number of ‘music tourists’ visiting the country and region specifically for live music experiences.

Other key issues raised in the report include:

-       Concerns that the summer festival season of 2020 in Birmingham would be negatively impacted by Brexit. It’s feared that the potential costs of running major events such as Moseley Folk & Arts Festival or MADE Birmingham could spiral and lead to heavy losses due to disrupted supply chains.

-       Brexit is likely to generate a massive administrative cost for Birmingham-based artists. While larger acts will have labels, promoters and investors to support them, smaller acts in the city will not be able to afford such costs to build up their presence on the Continent through touring and cultural exchanges.

-       The future of the high number of production-companies located in Birmingham, which provide lighting, staging and tour management, is also clouded by Brexit, with a large number of jobs possibly moved elsewhere to minimise disruption and maximise sales.

-       Fears over a ‘cultural pushback’ as music fans grow less interested in overseas artists. This is already discouraging venues and promoters to book foreign acts and could lead to stagnation of Birmingham’s and the Midlands live music industries.

Dr Patrycja Rozbicka, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University who led the report, said: “By bringing a variety of stakeholders together, we aimed to explore the way Brexit is likely to impact everything from the thousands of people who follow and support the live music industry, through to the musicians themselves and the regional authorities that legislate and administrate for cultural economies.”

“This report is the first step in a bigger project which aims to provide much needed creative solutions and recommendations to secure the future of the music industry as we know it pre-Brexit.”

Dr Craig Hamilton, Research Fellow at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University, said: “Crucial to exploring the problems, questions and opportunities related to Brexit will be the mapping exercise we have built into our research plans, which will be the first time a systematic survey of the live music ecology of Birmingham has been undertaken.”

“With so many complex, inter-related parts and relationships to map we will rely on partnerships with local stakeholders to help us gather useful and reliable data. The event that helped generate this report demonstrates the willingness of stakeholders to work with us on this exercise, and reveals the potential for growing further key partnerships in the region.”

Birmingham city-region organisations who contributed to the report include: Arts Council England, Aston University, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City University, Birmingham Music Archive, Birmingham Music Coalition, Hare & Hounds Birmingham and Leftfoot Venues, Musician’s Union, Newcastle University, Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham, and West Midlands Combined Authority.

Lyle Bignon, founder of Birmingham Music Coalition highlighted the city-region’s long-standing international relationships currently under threat, saying, “Birmingham’s music community – from a long and vibrant music heritage right through to the exciting contemporary scenes producing global stars such as Jorja Smith, Lady Leshurr, Chris Lorenzo, and Jaykae – is built on the very principle of freedom of movement; artistically, economically and socially.”

“The rich musical future of this multicultural city, whether new Home of Metal exhibitions, the 100,000 capacity St Patrick’s Festival, underground club nights at the Hare & Hounds, or the talent pipelines for new generations of musicians, artists, producers and vocalists through organisations like Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, is all at risk in a post-Brexit world.”

“We urge the music industry and academia regionally and nationally, local and central government, and supporters and fans of music everywhere to come together to support this important research and identify opportunities to develop and progress, in order to safeguard a hugely valuable element of society.”

Award-winning comedian Trevor Noah has added more UK dates to his Loud & Clear tour, including a date at Arena Birmingham.

The most successful comedian in Africa, and host of the Emmy award-winning ‘The Daily Show’, he has sold out shows over five continents and has written, produced and starred in eight comedy specials.

Last year, ‘The Daily Show’ won a GLAAD award for Outstanding Talk Episode, and received nominations for a Writers Guild Award (Comedy/Variety Series) as well as two NAACP Image Awards, for Outstanding Talk Series and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information Show. Noah also won Best Host at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards, as well as a 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series for his hosting role on ‘The Daily Show – Between The Scenes’.

For ‘The Daily Show’ Trevor recently received three 2018 Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series, Outstanding Interactive Program and Outstanding Short Form Variety Series and he received the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, as well as nominations for Outstanding Talk Series, Outstanding Variety Show, and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information Show.

Born in South Africa to a Black South African mother and a White European father, Noah has hosted numerous television shows including South Africa’s music, television and film awards.

In April 2018, he launched ‘The Trevor Noah Foundation’, a youth development initiative that enhances youth preparedness for higher education or entry into the workforce. Noah’s vision is a South Africa that advances because each generation builds and must grow beyond its predecessor.

Through a partnership with Microsoft, the foundation is able to provide under-resourced schools with the opportunity to use technology as a tool to enhance the learning experience, as well as increase digital literacy beyond the classroom.

As part of his UK tour, Trevor Noah will be at Arena Birmingham on Saturday 23rd May 2020.