Colors: Red Color

A one-of-a-kind institute for popular music in the Black Country offering degrees for students seeking a career in a range of music industries will be opening its doors next year.

Resonance will have some of the best minds in music, teaching students everything from popular music performance, production, composition and business.

Based in the stunning Cable Plaza building on The Waterfront at Brierley Hill, Resonance will be offering a suite of courses under a franchise arrangement from Solent University in Southampton with courses uploaded to UCAS this summer.

The £9.5 million project will also create a vital community music hub. Musicians and organisations from across the region will be encouraged to make full use of the state-of-the-art facilities on offer. 

Resonance co-director, David Barnard, said “We’re absolutely delighted to finally be in a position where we can confidently say ‘it’s coming’. 

“Contractors have been on site for some weeks nowand we should be ready to move in at the end of 2019. That’s when the fun really starts.”

From 2020, Resonance will provide undergraduate degrees in Popular Music Performance, Production, Digital Music and Music Business. Also, in the pipeline is a degree in Education and Wellbeing, due in 2021. 

By the third year and following the graduation of its first cohort, Resonance is hoping to offer an MA coursein Contemporary Music Performance.

All courses delivered at Resonance will be led by industry professionals and will focus on developing a broad range of skills needed by the sector. 

“The priority is to immerse students into a real-world environment working on project briefs designed in partnership with industry colleagues,” David explained. 

“People say the music ‘industry’, but really it’s music ‘industries’ as there are so many avenues and opportunities for students to explore.

“For every star on stage, there’s an army of people behind-the-scenes, be they session musicians, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, stage managers, PR agents and more.

“Our programme will blend musical, technical and practical skills with personal and professional development, entrepreneurship and enterprise. Our objective is to create ‘work ready’ graduates, who are not frightened to explore new ideas and have a go. The Resonance Professional Diploma, running alongside our degree courses, will provide an enriching experience developing the essential ‘soft’ skills needed for an ever-changing global industry.”

Places at Resonance will be limited with applicants needing to attain between 96 and 112 UCAS points before an audition. Applications are expected to be open from next month (September).

Paul Rutter, Head of Music at Solent University, and published music industry author said: "I have travelled the world to see various different musical institutions and conservatoires and the Resonance project is highly impressive. I have not seen anything quite like it.”

"In the Cable Plaza building they have what must be the world's best purposed modern popular music institute. The building and space dedicated to pop music study is exemplary, I doubt there is many out there that could compete. I'm sure it will be a huge success for the West Midlands pop music industries."

The multi-million-pound project for the institute is backed by Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for Regeneration and Enterprise at Dudley Council who is pleased that the project is now underway.

He said: “Not only will Resonance solidify Dudley borough’s place on the map nationally, it will also bring hundreds of students to the area, resulting in a massive boost for the local and regional economy as a whole.”

“The building that is being refurbished for the institute is based in the heart of DY5, Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone, and its exciting new life will serve as a space to educate and stimulate creative minds for many years to come.”

The project is being supported by funding from the Black Country LEP which has approved a grant for £7.16million and financial support from Unity Trust Bank, and Arts Impact Fund.  

Following the launch of the new London musical, Evita, showing at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 21 September, the Buenos Aires tourism board ( outlines the best Evita themed experiences in the Argentina capital, 100 years since her birth in 1919.

Eva Perón was born in 1919 in the rural village of Los Toldos, Argentina. After moving to Buenos Aires in the 1930s, she had some success as an actress before marrying in Juan Perón in 1945, who became president of Argentina the following year. Eva Perón used her influential position as first lady to fight for women's suffrage and improve the lives of the poor and became an iconic figure around the world.

Visitors to Buenos Aires can discover Evita’s adopted city with several activities and events that celebrate and reflect on her legacy.

For those looking for a self-guided itinerary, Travel Buenos Aires provides a suggested walking tour following in the footsteps of Evita. The itinerary begins at the Grand Station where a young Evita began her journey in Buenos Aires before continuing to the former Central Buenos Aires Post Office, home of the reconstructed Sala Eva Perón which in 1946 served as the office of the then First Lady. The tour continues to the historic city square where Evita famously addressed the crowds from the balcony of the Casa Rosada, and the Facultad de Ingeniería where her body was kept on display for two years after her death, before visiting final resting place, Recoleta Cemetery and the Evita museum (Museo Evita).

On the 20th September Museo Evita launches a new temporary exhibition named Retratos de Familia. The exhibition displays numerous of the surviving portraits after La Revolución Libertadora of Eva Perón crafted by the renowned portraitist of the Duarte family, Numa Ayrinhac. Those visiting the exhibition can also enjoy the permanent display focused around the life of Evita. The exhibition takes visitors through the life of Evita chronologically from her childhood to the disease that led to her unexpected death.

Many visitors to Buenos Aires pay a visit to the grave of Eva Perón. The great figure is interred at the world famous Recoleta Cemetery known as the world’s greatest cemetery for its wonderous graves that are built above ground more akin to pieces of art than graves.

For a more in-depth guided experience, the Eva Perón Tour, is a half day bus and walking tour in Buenos Aires themed around the First lady of Argentina. The tour allows participants to learn about the heritage, culture and politics of Argentina through the legacy of Eva Perón. The tour also includes a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery.


A Birmingham City University graduate has won a top television tech award for his research into artificial intelligence for TV programmes, helping to underline the rise in broadcast talent from the UK Midlands.

Lawrence Card, who recently completed his second year of the University’s broadcast engineering trainee scheme delivered in partnership with the BBC, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Television Society Technologist of the Year Award.

He graduated last month with a distinction in MSc Broadcast Engineering.

As part of his studies, Lawrence investigated how production teams who require live video monitoring can benefit from artificial intelligence and machine learning for object detection, classification and scene understanding of video, which impressed a panel of industry expert judges.

Speaking about the award, Card said: “When I first joined the BBC a few years ago, I saw a colleague win the award, which inspired me to want to apply myself one day.”

“I had to demonstrate achievements in my career so far and gain the endorsement of a sponsor in the first stage, before being quizzed by a panel of industry experts who delved deeper into my experience so far.”

“I’ve begun a new role as a software engineer in data solutions with the BBC where I will help build software to support news and crunch data to continually improve the BBC’s news output.”

“I’m really excited to receive the award in November. It’s actually just a few days before my birthday so great timing!”

“Being recognised in this way helps me show myself off and gives me assurance that I am going in the right direction. In terms of the future, I’m always open to being dynamic and moving with the times. Following my project as part of the University course, I’m interested to explore using artificial intelligence to improve broadcast workflows.”

Card joins a number of Birmingham City University and BBC apprentices and trainees to win the award in recent years, and complements the recent news that 2016 graduate Jade Jenkins recently worked on camerawork for Season 12 of Doctor Who following selection success in the Screen Skills film trainee initiative.

Alongside her were two graduates from 2018 – Luke Brickley who is now a trainee in the BBC Production Sound department, and Liam Morgan whose impressive CV of paid freelance work also won him a trainee position in in the BBC Camera department.

The scheme runs for 12 months, during which time trainees undertake paid work on a range of high-end feature productions as well as receiving help and advice from an industry mentor.

The other sector of the scheme places Birmingham City University trainees within high-end TV productions across the UK; 2017 graduate Serena Patel recently secured a place and began working in the Production department at Wall To Wall; a leading producer of award-winning drama, factual and entertainment content.

Most recently, Birmingham City University 2019 graduate Tayyib Mahmood successfully applied to the British Film Institute’s Future Skills placement programme and is now working at Pinewood Studios on the hotly-anticipated James Bond film, with a release date anticipated soon.

Simon Handley, Associate Dean for Academic Portfolio and Market Development at Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, said, “We currently offer postgraduate and undergraduate apprenticeship schemes for the broadcasting which incorporate and embrace the constant change and innovative technology that we know drives the industry.”

“This initiative was developed in partnership with and for the BBC - since 2013 we have been at the heart of education in this area with over 140 BBC Broadcast engineers and technologists. Ongoing discussions are taking place with other broadcasting organisations who are seeking to benefit from CEBE’s education and apprenticeship offering.”


The upcoming Bollywood film Pune to Goa which marks the debut of the director Amol Bhagat is produced by Morya Production House and is a nice cocktail of several genres like Comedy, Suspense, & Thriller.

In this film, a journey song has been sung by the popular singer Javed Ali and the music is given by P.Shankaram. The makers of the film comprise of Prahlad Rambhau Taware, Ravindra Harpale, and Jeetubhai.D.Soni, whereas, the co- makers are Nava Nisarg Production( Kishore Kharat), Navnath Jachak, Vithhul Ghuge and Maruti Manvar.

Actually, this film is based on a trip of struggling artists who embark on a journey from Pune to Goa, but story sheds light on the several exciting experiences, mysterious events, and dangerous situations that they encounter during the trip.

In this film, the audience will get to see a nice mix of suspense and romance. Stating further about the film, director Amol Bhagat stated that the viewers will surely like the film. The shooting of the film will begin soon in Goa and the movie will also be subsequently be released in 43 different countries.

The screenplay & dialogues of the movie has been written by Rajan Agarwal and the auditions of the movie have been conducted by Delhi, Haryana, & Uttar Pradesh, along with other states in which various artists had taken part and only some of them have been selected.

The list of the fresh new artists includes names like Shruti Parashar, Kritarth Singh, Amit Kumar, Satnam Singh, Vineeth Kumar Yadav, Shashank Shekhar, Yachna Saukhi, Shwetansh Gaur, Anil Rajput, Pradip Sharma, and Kirath Mandal.

The Town Hall Birmingham hosted the exclusive launch of the hotly anticipated fifth series of the BAFTA-award-winning ‘Peaky Blinders, the epic gangster series set in 1920s’ Birmingham.

Home to many a historical drama in its near-200-year history, Town Hall Birmingham greeted the series’ stars and fans with a spectacular red carpet event organised by BBC Birmingham and BBC One, and music provided by Jazzlines musicians playing their own jazz repertoire from the 1920s onwards.

Jasmine, a local 17-year-old musician who performed with the Jazzlines Ensemble at the launch said: Jazzlines Ensembles is brilliant to be a part of, not only for this once in a lifetime experience at the Peaky Blinders premiere but for my long term musical education.”

Jazzlines’ unique programme of creative jazz and talent development, based at Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham, offers performance opportunities to new and established jazz musician at venues across the city, and commissions new work to support future performances and ensure a legacy for new projects.

Jazz Programme Manager, Mary Wakelam Sloan, said: “Alongside our year round talent development programme we are delighted to be able to offer unique performance opportunities like this for talented young musicians from Birmingham.”

Series five of Peaky Blinders finds the world thrown into turmoil by the financial crash of 1929.

Opportunity and misfortune are everywhere. When Tommy Shelby MP (played by Cillian Murphy) is approached by a charismatic politician with a bold vision for Britain, he realises that his response will affect not just his family’s future but that of the entire nation.

Peaky Blinders’ fans watched the season premiere before anyone else, saw their show favourites, and put questions to the cast and creators during a special question and answer panel straight after the first episode.

Creator Steven Knight, said: Birmingham is of course my first choice for the world premiere, the cast and crew love it here. Birmingham is the epicentre for the show and it means so much to me to come back here year after year and start the series with a bang.

“This year we’re at the Town Hall, which is a great venue, with more fans than ever before able to see the programme.”

TILT19, the 4th annual TILT Festival, is welcoming professional artists, students, families and audiences from all over the world and runs Monday 15th - Sunday 21st July 2019.

The Festival, one of the largest outside London, takes place at West Midlands Creation Centre Digbeth, in the city’s vibrant creative quarter.

TILT19 boasts masterclasses for beginners to advanced, indoor and outdoor shows, as well as massage, professional aerial photo-shoots, rigging, a marketplace and even a circus brunch!      Artists, promoters, venue and festival managers, students and those who are generally curious are welcome to attend any of the TILT events.

TILT19 also provides a professional platform for young and community led work alongside professional performance, and strives for inclusivity with a disability accessible programme.

Kim Charnock, Festival Director and Artistic Director of Birmingham’s RoguePlay Theatre said: “We are delighted to present the 4th edition of TILT a festival that attracts people from all over the UK, as well as internationally providing a platform for attendees to work with some of the world’s best circus artists.  The festival will see the premiere of Around the World in 80 Days, a magical journey of aerial acrobatics,  aimed at young children, families and those with learning and physical disabilities.  This year we will also be running the first pro-level training week for young circus trainees. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone for what is going to be a very exciting two weeks in the city!”

The eclectic mix of teachers and performers from across the globe include; Fabio Pinna (Cyr Wheel), Ambra Vallo (Rocket Yoga and Contortion), Sainbold Janchivdori, (Straps and Handstands) and Emiliano Ron a.k.a. The Rope Master.

Full length shows are presented by Birmingham based RoguePlay, and visiting companies including Open Theatre Company, who use non-verbal physical theatre to collaborate with Young People with Learning Disabilities, Nottingham based Tuyo Acrobats and Translucent Dance.

This year TILT19 has a strong focus on young people and families. Saturday 20th July is TILT Family Day, with Parent & Baby Aerial, a Youth Showcase and Family Night running from 6-8pm.

After the premiere performance of Around the World in 80 Days on 20th July, the space turns into a musical playground, with live music, guided inclusive aerial workshops, and soft play for little ones. Club Hub UK sponsors Family Night & family provision across the festival, including supervised soft play to allow parents to train on the main programme.

TILT19 is followed by TILT Youth Programme from 22nd-26th July, the first pro level training week for young circus trainees aged 11-17yrs. The Youth Programme features Elizabeth Wickham and Pascal Haering teaching Cloud Swing, Silks, Hoop and Cyr Wheel.

Working in partnership with Circus Futures, TILT provides a networking and marketplace opportunity for emerging and existing artists, bringing people together in the form of this mini-symposium.

TILT Festival is funded by Arts Council England.

Tara Fitzgerald joins Robert Lindsay in the 2019 production of ‘Prism’, which opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 3 October ahead of a UK tour. They will be joined by Victoria Blunt and Oliver Hembrough.

Written and directed by multi-award winning Terry Johnson, 'Prism' tells the astonishing true story of the man who made Hollywood’s greatest divas beautiful and who lived a life as colourful as his cinematography. Part fact, part fiction, 'Prism' sees Jack Cardiff retired to the sleepy village of Denham, Buckinghamshire, Jack’s days of hard work - and play – on some of the most famous film sets in the world are now long behind him, as are his secret liaisons with some of the most famous women in the world. Surrounded by memorabilia from a lifetime of ‘painting with light’, the writing of an autobiography should be an easy matter - were it not that Jack would now rather live in the past than remember it.

Robert Lindsay who plays Jack Cardiff has experienced huge success on stage and screen since graduating from RADA in the early 70s. He has performed in television comedies and dramas, in Hollywood films, on Broadway and on the West End stage, with seasons at the RSC and the National Theatre. His theatre work includes 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' (West End); 'Richard III' (RSC); 'Me and My Girl' (London/New York) and The Entertainer' (Old Vic).

Films include Disney's Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Grace of Monaco; Wimbledon; and That’ll be the Day. Television work includes Citizen Smith; GBH; Jake’s Progress; Hornblower; Oliver Twist; Galavant; Spy and My Family. All this work has given him an international reputation and garnered him many Awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including a BAFTA, a Royal Television Best Actor Award, a Variety Club Award, two Laurence Olivier Awards, a Fred Astaire Award and a Tony on Broadway.

Award-winning stage and screen actress Tara Fitzgerald, who plays Nicola, previously appeared at Birmingham Repertory Theatre as Nora in 'A Doll’s House'.

Her other theatre work includes Shipwreck (Almeida Theatre), In Praise of Love (Ustinov Studio, Bath), The Secret Theatre (Wanamaker Theatre) and Macbeth (Shakespeare's Globe).

Film work includes The Runaways; Five Children and It; Brassed Off; The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain; A Man of No Importance; Sirens and Hear My Song. Television work includes Game of Thrones (Seasons 3,4 and 5); Waking The Dead, Poirot and The ABC Murders.

Victoria Blunt plays Lucy. Theatre work includes Macbeth (Watermill Theatre, Newbury); A Christmas Carol (RSC); Lady Windemere's Fan and Dead Funny (Vaudeville, West End). Film work includes Ammonite. Television work includes Borderline.

Oliver Hembrough plays Mason. Theatre work includes The Hired Man (Queens, London); Friday Night Sex (Royal Court, London); A Further Education and Seminar (both Hampstead Theatre, London); Insignificance (Arcola, London); Mamma Mia (West End); Oh, What a Lovely War! (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Wind in the Willows (Birmingham Repertory Theatre). Film work includes Eunice; Spring in June; Shine; Really Lost (Short) and The Joy of 8 Millilitres (Short). Television work includes The White Princess; Criminal Justice; City of Vice; The Spare Room; Casualty; Junk and Northanger Abbey.

Prism is designed by Tim Shortall, with lighting design by Ben Ormerod, video design by Ian William Galloway, sound design by John Leonard and music by Colin Towns.

Prism is a co-production between Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Hampstead Theatre following the play’s sell-out run in London in 2017.

The 5th anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival opened with Director Anubhav Sinha walking the red carpet at Cineworld, Broad Street for his hard-hitting thriller ‘Article 15’ (out now on global general release) and ended this week with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph’ at MAC Birmingham.

The Festival was part of the Bagri London Indian Film Festival which together is the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian Film Festival.

Eleven days of 16 screenings and events took place in five venues across Birmingham and showcased a number of high profile and emerging women film-makers films, Q&A’s with Directors as well as a rarely seen documentary and special screenings of LGBTQ+ shorts attended by a diverse audience. The Festival’s first Screen Talk took place at The Mockingbird Cinema with India’s leading cult iconic Director Anurag Kashyap.

Other guests at screenings during the festival included investigative journalist and activist, Anand Patwardhan, legendary Bengali director, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Kannada actress Anju Alva Naik and directors Praveen Morchhale and Gaurav Bakshi.

This year’s inaugural BIFF Audience Award went to the charming romance ‘Sir’, directed by Rohena Gera which took the Cannes film festival by storm in 2018.  The award, which has been running at the Bagri London Indian Film Festival for 7 years, marks the first time it has been presented to a female director.

Rohena Gera said: “I am truly delighted that ‘Sir’ has won the Audience Award in Birmingham. It means a lot to me that the film connects with the audience at the heart of the UK. I am honoured to be their favourite.”

The Satyajit Ray Short Film Award went to Rohan Parashuram Kanawade for U Ushacha who was presented with £1000 from the Satyajit Ray Foundation at the closing night of the London festival.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE, Executive and Programming Director said: “I’m delighted that we have showcased our strongest film selection ever for the 5th anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival, helmed by the Birmingham premiere of politically daring film ‘Article 15’.  Continuing to push boundaries of diversity, I’m pleased that our women protagonist led and LGBTQ+ themes have seen audiences flocking to them, redefining images of Indian and South Asian Culture in the media.”

Dharmesh Rajput, Head of Cinema, Birmingham added: “It’s been fantastic to have an increase in diverse audiences attending the festival this year and to have ended on a high with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph’ which was well received by the audience. I’m proud that the festival platforms independent South Asian films which wouldn’t necessarily be seen here in the UK and that we’ve been able to interact with directors at Q&As.”

They thank Birmingham City University and Asian Business Chamber of Commerce who share the Festival’s passion for Asian arts and culture and new hotel partner Malmaison Birmingham. Thanks also to the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, for their ongoing support, plus our many other supporters.

The Festival also thanks its partner venues Cineworld, Birmingham, MAC Birmingham, The Mockingbird Cinema, Centrala and Medicine Bakery and Gallery.

Birmingham Indian Film Festival will be announcing details of further screenings this year.

Academics at Birmingham City University are set to host a free workshop this week for 14-21 year-olds who are keen to take their first professional steps into the music industries.

Music industry lecturers Dr Iain Taylor and Matt Grimes will deliver the ‘Making Money from Music’ session at the University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on Saturday 6 July, where attendees will be tasked with investigating and exploring the opportunities to create and protect revenue streams within the music industries.

News of a music industry rift has dominated media headlines this week, after it emerged that pop star Taylor Swift is unable to own the rights to her own music because of a record deal she signed at the age of 15.

“The ‘Making Money from Music’ workshop is aimed at young artists and we’ll be introducing them to the main sectors of the music industries, including how digital developments are creating new opportunities to make money,” said Matt Grimes, Degree Leader for Music Industries at Birmingham City University’s School of Media.

The workshop forms part of Music For Youth’s national ‘Frequencies’ event, offering young artists and groups the chance to perform, collaborate and meet with other music professionals and industry experts.

For more information and to book tickets, visit

Following the release of his debut Billboard #1 Top 200 Album Bad Habits’, Punjabi-Canadian rapper, and producer NAV announces a headlining show at O2 Forum Kentish Town, London with support from fellow XO Records duo, 88Glam on 20 August 2019 ahead of his debut performance at Reading and Leeds Festival. 88Glam has clocked in over​ 200 million streams globally​ and recently produced the breakout track​ ‘Price On My Head’​ featuring T​he Weeknd​ on B​ad Habits.

The first time Nav ever stepped foot on a stage was as a surprise guest at the O2 Forum with label mate The Weeknd back in 2017, the same year Rolling Stone placed his Coachella debut among the year’s best performances with praise from the likes of Pitchfork, Hypebeast, Complex and The Fader.

Nav has hit almost 200M streams in the UK to date, and 3+ Billion streams globally. Having co-produced the GRAMMY Award-nominated ‘Back To Back’ for Drake and platinum-selling ‘beibs in the trap’ for Travi$ Scott’s blockbuster Birds In the Trap Sing McKnight, NAV rides hypnotic trap beats with his wavy sing-rap flow, crafting a sonic blend that draws upon styles similar to contemporaries such as Post Malone and Drake, quietly arrived as one of rap’s most innovative and infectious voices.

NAV’s self-titled mixtape appeared in early 2017, and it was chock-full of his by-now-trademark silky vocals and slick beats. The lead single preceded the release ‘Some Way’, which also featured the Weeknd. That same year, he also put out the Perfect Timing mixtape, on which he collaborated with Atlanta-based producer Metro Boomin. NAV’s single ‘Wanted You’, which features Lil Uzi Vert, charted on Billboard’s Top 100 and he followed up in early 2018 with the solo single ‘Freshman List’. Both tracks were featured on his debut studio album, Reckless, which was released on XO and Republic in May of that year. Landing in the U.S. top ten, the set featured guests Quavo, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, and Gunna. Less than a year later, NAV made a quick turnaround with sophomore follow-up Bad Habits, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. BET debuted his latest release, Tap ft. Meek Mill in Times Square which has already garnered 90 million global streams.

U.K. Tour Date:  

20 August 2019 - London, U.K.  O2 Forum Kentish Town

NAV will also perform at Reading and Leeds Festival Friday 23 August – Sunday 25 August 2019.

Born into the great line of Kouyate Griot in Southern Senegal, Kadialy Kouyate’s kora playing and singing style, both as a soloist and in different ensembles, have been appreciated in many prestigious venues including the Royal Festival Hall, the 02 Arena, the National Theatre, the Royal Albert Hall and Clarence House.

Bringing his successful piece of West African afro-pop with a message, he has also played venues and festivals across the world, touring to Europe, Australia and North America. Since his arrival in the UK, Kadialy has played a significant part in enriching the London musical scene with his griot legacy.

He has taught the kora at SOAS, University of London, for the last decade and he has also been involved in countless musical projects both as a collaborator and a session musician. He has toured with the RSC’s production of Julius Caesar, other theatre projects including working at the London Globe Theatre on a show called ‘We the People’ as well as touring three children theatre projects with the renowned Oily Cart. In 2015 he took part in the remaking of the TV series Roots as a musician, cultural consultant and dialect coach.

Kora virtuoso/singer Kadialy has released several albums – also with collaborations include Rafiki Jazz and Adriano Adewale Group - and makes regular radio and television appearances.

He plays the following live dates this summer:

  • July 18 Kansas smity’s
  • Aug 03 WILLOWFARM ARTS FESTIVAL Oxford W/Rafiki Jazz
  • Aug 04 RIVERSIDE FESTIVAL Nottingham W/Rafiki Jazz
  • Aug 25 Shambala Festival with Millie

The Be At One Band has raised £2000 for Help Musicians UK. The group has been touring the UK performing at a number of Be At One bars, raising money for the charity.


Following an online call for singers on the Be At One website to find the very best talent, the Be At One Band was formed and then rehearsed with trained choreographers and a sound coach ahead of its UK tour.


From Don’t Stop Believing to Sister Act, the choir has performed in the following locations: Be At One Hammersmith, Be At One Birmingham and Be At One Liverpool.


Suzanne Baker, Commercial Director of Stonegate Pub Company, said: “It is fantastic that the Be At One Band has fundraised so much for Help Musicians UK and they have had fun along the way. It is such a wonderful cause and it has been great to showcase the amazing talent of some of our customers.”


Belinda Dee, Director of Fundraising of Help Musicians, said: “We at Help Musicians would like to thank Be At One and everyone involved in the choir for donating their time to fundraise and for making this very generous donation, which will allow us to continue doing our vital work for musicians in need.


“For almost a hundred years, Help Musicians has been providing a broad spectrum of help, support and opportunities to empower musicians of all ages, genres and at any stage of their career, from times of great need to times of opportunity. We appreciate that the nature of a musician’s life can be precarious, with many complex challenges that can leave them uniquely vulnerable. 2018 saw a larger than ever demand for our services across both creative development and health and welfare and thanks to the generous support of donations, we can continue to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians.”

Jim Jefferies, one of the most popular and respected comedians of his generation, has announced his biggest UK tour to date. Taking in 5 key arenas across the country ‘The Night Talker Tour’ starts on Tuesday 3rd December at the O2 Arena and culminates on Friday 13th December at Newcastle’s Utilita Arena.

Jim has been entertaining audiences across the globe with his provocative and thought-provoking comedy for the best part of twenty years. 2018’s The Unusual Punishment Tour was a complete sell out around the world and received rave reviews from fans and critics alike. “Gleefully gobby and brutally honest” Evening Standard.

He recently signed a deal with Comedy Central for a first look on content development in television and digital media. Additionally, Jim’s eponymous Comedy Central series, The Jim Jefferies Show debuted its third season this March. As a strong voice in late night, the weekly show features Jim traveling across the globe to tackle the top news stories and controversial issues of the day.

He also heads up The Jim Jefferies Show Podcast, this includes interviews and discussions with a variety of guests discussing current events and politics, as well as providing a more in-depth focus on the topics and opinions featured on the TV series - with less filters.

In 2018 he starred in his third Netflix comedy special Jim Jefferies: This Is Me Now’, which was recorded at the Eventim Apollo in London. The year before, he released his fifth major stand up special in seven years, Freedumb.

The special was Jim’s second to air on Netflix, and followed the huge success of the first, Jim Jefferies: BARE, in which he delivered a now iconic routine on guns and gun control in the United States. In addition, Jim created, wrote, produced, and starred in the critically acclaimed FX series Legit, which ran for two seasons and has since gained a cult following. He has also appeared in the films Killing Hasselhoff and Punching Henry. Jim currently lives in Los Angeles.


Tues 3rd LONDON - O2 Arena

Thurs 5th BIRMINGHAM - Resorts World Arena

Fri 6th MANCHESTER - Arena

Thurs 12th GLASGOW - The Hydro

Fri 13th NEWCASTLE - Utilita Arena

With the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India last year, we are witnessing a swelling, pink tsunami of LGBTQ+ themes in mainstream and independent Indian films, that are rolling into the international film festival circuit this year.

These fresh narratives and the new, queer film-makers have a unique showcase at the Birmingham Indian Film Festival presented by LIFF, the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival, which will premiere a dedicated programme of entertaining and thought-provoking LGBTQ+ films that explore Transgender, Gay and Lesbian and other Queer identities; the many challenges facing queer people today; but also growing empowerment and fierce pride.

The festival, taking place during Pride month, celebrates its milestone, 5th anniversary in the city, and will run from 21st June to 1st July across five venues.

Highlights of Birmingham Indian Film Festival 2019’s LGBTQ+ curation include the the Midlands Premiere of Kattumaram (Catamaran) (2019, Dir. Swarnavel Eswaran, Tamil with English subtitles). Part of what appears to be a new Tamilian Queer cinema movement from South India, Kattumaram tells of patriarch Singaram and his orphaned niece Anan, fisher-folk survivors of the Tsunami. The diverse community includes a local bearded transvestite fisherman who beautiful Anan forms a bond of trust with. Anan teaches in the local school and has many men interested in her, but she instead secretly falls for a new female supply teacher. As Singaram finds out and tries to come to terms with this revelation, gossip about the young women’s relationship quickly spreads. Singaram is left facing the choice of either defending his beloved niece and her partner or giving sway to the demands of an angry community.

Assamese director Rima Das returns to the festival with the English Premiere of Bulbul Can Sing (2018, Hindi with English subtitles). The acclaimed filmmaker’s latest is a ground-breaking, coming-of-age tale that has swept up prestigious awards at Berlin, Dublin, Singapore and Mumbai film festivals. Three teenage best friends in rural Assam, northeast India, are forging their distinct personalities, but as the girls secretly meet boys and the boy realises he’s gay, they soon come face to face with outmoded cultural traditions that challenge their family and place in the community but, most importantly, their bonds as loyal friends. Rima Das made a global splash with Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing continues to prove her humane, world-class talent.

Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition showing at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen on Saturday 22 June includes U USHACHA, a Marathi film by Rohan Kanwade. A young farm labourer finds herself drawn to a local female primary school teacher in ways she never thought possible and soon this passion grows.

Too Desi Too Queer at the Medicine Bakery Sunday 30 June, will showcase a dynamic range of recent LGBTQ+ shorts from South Asia and the UK, followed by a panel conversation exploring community empowerment and looking after individual well-being, with high profile speakers followed by an opportunity to network in a safe space.

For updates on this dynamic short film programme including Lesbian, Transgender, Gay and other sexuality films please check out the festival website.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Executive and Programming Director, London and Birmingham Indian Film Festivals, says: “We are delighted to have been trailblazers of South Asian LGBTQ+ film-making and stories over the last five years of BIFF, before LGBTQ+ rights became legal in India, and we will continue to celebrate these unique emerging voices. We are also mindful that these rights are still being fought for in most of Asia, so India is now a shining beacon of hope for a generation of LGBTQ+ and UK Asians have a role to play in this in platforming and celebrating our collective experience where others cannot. Film of course is an excellent medium for this.”

Birmingham Indian Film Festival runs from June 21 to July 1.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre will offer a little taste of life at the theatre this month when it hosts a free Discovery Day. The theatre will open its doors from 11am-5pm on Saturday 22 June for a free day of activities for all ages and interests from pop-up performances to backstage tours, crafts to competitions.

The REP’s Discovery Day will give visitors a chance to see how a theatre works on a Backstage Tour. From peeping through the wings on the main stage to finding out how scenery is built visitors will have the chance to see the workings of a producing theatre.

In addition to seeing behind the scenes there’ll be a whole range of exciting activities for children and families. Voice workshops will give people the chance to speak some iconic lines from The REP’s main stage (one of the biggest in Europe), and a fun drama workshop, Act Yourself, will explore making theatre using different languages.

A display of theatrical costumes from recent productions will demonstrate the skill of the theatre’s wardrobe department while kids can enjoy dressing-up themselves, have their face-painted or get a fake, gruesome wound. Taking the theatre’s Christmas production as inspiration there will be Peter Pan themed craft activities and also Peter Pan storytelling in the children’s library of the Library of Birmingham.

Open Theatre, a company that uses nonverbal physical theatre to collaborate with Young People with Learning Disabilities will be giving pop-up performances throughout the day including knockabout comedy with Juke and Lake’s Box of Tricks and the Nosey Parkas. The REP have had a longstanding partnership with Open Theatre for many years to support a more inclusive offer for young people with learning disabilities at the theatre and have worked together to ensure that the Discovery Day is a totally accessible event.

For those interested in working in theatre staff will be on hand throughout the day to talk about apprenticeships at The REP and careers in theatre. And there will be a number of one-off ticket offers and competitions with prizes to be won.

In the afternoon actor Ian McKellen takes to the stage with his one-man show, Ian McKellen On Stage.

The show celebrates Ian’s 80th birthday starting with Gandalf and ending with an invitation to act with him on stage. In between there will be anecdotes and acting. Limited tickets are available to purchase for the matinee performance at 2.30pm with all profits benefitting The REP’s £1 million REP FIRST campaign.

The REP’s Discovery Day is on Saturday 22 June.

Best known as the lead singer of the soul supergroup Imagination, the incomparable Leee John returns to Birmingham once again (on Thursday June 6) with a very special intimate live performance at the much love Jamhouse - with special guest support from singing sensation Shiraz.

With three UK Top 10 hits in the early 1980s during a remarkable career spanning over 3 decades and with record sales in excess of over 30 million albums Leee and the group released and successfully had so many amazing classic hits singles and platinum, gold and silver albums such as, ‘Body Talk’, ‘Just An Illusion’, ‘Flashback’, ‘Music and Lights’, ‘Changes’ and many more presenting the perfect Brit Soul/Jazz/Funk songbook and establishing their position as essential 80's crossover hit-makers and an influence for future generations in the music industry.

Even today the story of Imagination’s music continues in the form of a long list of samples, remixes and adaptations by major contemporary stars such as the The Pharcyde, Dimitri from Paris, Destiny’s Child (Complete with Beyoncé) sampled ‘Just An Illusion’ on their 1998 self-titled debut album produced by Wyclef Jean, with Leee himself featured on DJ Dero’s 2005 rendition of the song which was widely played in clubs. Even America superstar Maria Carey recorded “Illusion” on her top ten single “Get Your Number”. Furthermore we see Flashback being sampled by Boards of Canada, Music & Lights by Tiger & Woods. All Night Loving by 88 Keys featuring Kanye West – “a long cry from the early days when we literally had to sleep in a little Citroën car as we toured Europe – which we had to do before ‘blowing up’ in the UK”, he recalls.

“That’s what we, and many others, had to do back then.”

“The sad fact is, though”, he mused, “is that many still have to do it today in large.”

At a time (in the early 1980s) when many in the industry, in the UK, first really started to consider the genre (especially performed by Black acts) as ‘high risks’, together they (Imagination) were at the frontrunners in what was a fast-growing, thriving Brit Funk scene during those heady days alongside the likes of Junior Giscombe, David Grant and Lynx, Loos Ends, Light of the World, Courtney Pine, Jamiroquai, Hi Tension, Central Line and many more.

Today the singer/songwriter, actor and film maker is one of the hardest working men in the industry, touring internationally both as Leee John of Imagination and as Leee John in his ever-popular solo performances showing his continuous diversity across multi genres from the pop stream as well as his more classic presentation in the jazz world, none better reflecting this than with the release of his last critically acclaimed solo album ‘Feel My Soul’.

Having produced and directed 5 documentaries taking him as far away as Zambia , Tunisia, South Africa and France and is currently producing and directing ‘Flashback’ - a film of the history of British Black music for which more than 200 interviews are already in the can, including Beverley Knight, Eddy Grant, Billy Ocean , Maxie jazz of Faithless, Ali Campbell of UB40, Mike Lindup of Level 42, Trevor Nelson, Omar, Geno Washington, Maxie Priest, Sonique, Hamish Stuart of Average White Band, Ruby Turner and many, many more.

A patron of SOS Children’s Villages, a global charity supporting children without parental care and families at risk, he makes regular visits to Zambia, Tunisia, South Africa, Angola and Côte d'Ivoire where emergency work ensures that children and their families coping with conflict and disaster receive immediate lifesaving support, while their psycho-social and reintegration programmes provide the care and skills to rebuild lives.

“As there’s too often too much bureaucracy tied up in many charities, I do that – and ‘Voyage Youth’; who work on encouraging and enlightening underprivileged children in the UK – by myself”, he says.

“I work face-to-face with the people who are suffering”.

His long awaited new album ‘Retropia’ delivers a distinctive combination of soul, funk and jazz with a classic contemporary retro sound from that ‘back in the day’ feel, which creates a very special atmospheric sensitivity with mid-tempo grooves and that unmistakable Leee John vocal sound with those famous Imagination harmonies creating that familiar blend of melody which makes you remember each individual song, taking you on a magical musical adventure into the world of ‘Retropia’.

Supporting from its release the ‘Retropia’ album scores an incredible 2 x Number # 1 songs in the UK Soul Charts with ‘Do It Right Now’ and ‘Make Your Mind Up/Fantasia’ which follows on this summer with a third single release ‘Police & Thieves’ a personnel rendition and homage to the classic and unforgettable anthem originally recorded way back in 1977 by Junior Murvin/Lee Scratch Perry with its poignant message eerily, echoing across to today’s political and social landscape over 40 years on.

Make sure you make the most of Leee at the Jamhous (Thursday June 6) as straight after, he is off to shows in Marseilles, Geneva and Lebanon before finishing off ‘Flashback’ to go out on general release.