Imagine an extraordinary summer in Sandwell....
Big Wild Pyjama Party at Sandwell Valley RSPB
Pop Up Cinema at West Brom Town Centre
A Travelling Ceramic Garden with Giant Bumble Bees
Urban Beach at Sandwell Arts Festival
Imagine That! was a season of fun and adventure with activities happening all around Sandwell. From July to September 2016 there was something for everyone to enjoy including Sandwell’s most loved arts festival. The Imagine That! story was written especially to celebrate all the great things in Sandwell along with its people and places. All events were produced in partnership with Creative Black Country.
Imagine That included:
Ceramic Garden and Giant Bees
Imagine a beautiful meadow that never dies, 1,200 handmade ceramic flowers surrounded by butterflies, wildlife, and a swarm of giant interactive digital bees handcrafted by artist Jon Williams. Over 500 people from community groups across the Black Country have helped the artistic team at Creative Arts to make this large scale magical garden. See the garden in full before it spreads its roots across the summer in Sandwell.
See an unused and forgotten strip of land transformed before your very eyes as a group of artists take over a section of land under the M5 motorway next to the old Chance Glass Building and turn it from a neglected space to an animated place of colour and sound. Pass by on the tow path anytime between 10am and 5pm to see the artists at work. This urban take over is delivered by MADE with support from Infamous Community Arts, Richard Franks and Nita Newman.
Nutkhut & Cirque Bijou at Sandwell & Birmingham Mela
Performers Nutkhut join Cirque Bijou for the first exclusive outing of their 2-man show Mela Circus. Based on a Bollywood movie set in the 1940s the show is full of nostalgia. Get involved in crafts and storytelling inside Creative Black Country’s Arts Tent at Europe’s biggest Mela.
Flatpack in the Black Country presents... Blighty Now + Q&A
Smethwick-born filmmaker Billy Dosanjh has crafted this new film from the stories and dreams of those who came to the Black Country from the Asian sub-continent in the 60s and 70s. A lyrical, bitter-sweet documentary featuring the voice of local singer Balbir Bhujaingy, this is the very first chance to see Blighty Now before its broadcast on BBC4 later in the year. Billy Dosanjh will be present to chat about the film afterwards.
Flatpack in the Black Country presents... The General + live piano
One of the funniest comedies made in any era, this silent masterpiece has Buster Keaton as a plucky railway engineer caught between two sides in the American Civil War. The one-off screening will be accompanied live by pianist Paul Shallcross.
Big Wild Pyjama Party
Sandwell Valley RSPB Centre
Get into your onesies for a Big Wild Pyjama Party at Sandwell Valley RSPB like you’ve never seen before. Families are welcome to a pre-sleepover in the wilds of nature, with storytelling, films, music and comedy. Enjoy a really wild Flatpack film screening with a medley of animated short films for all ages as part of this wildlife jamboree. The international programme will feature bugs and beasts of all shapes and sizes, including a bird which loses its song and a pig in search of cookies Read along to an exclusive storytelling performance of Imagine That with children’s author Ian Billing while under the stars you can enjoy tasty snacks, sing-a-long around the campfire, walk RSPB nature trails and take a nap on an outdoor bed.
Sandwell Arts Festival
West Bromwich Town Centre West Brom is transformed into a town of adventure with an infinity garden, pop up film, an illustrated trail, twisted storytelling, an urban beach and more!
Digital Zone: Fab Lab
Sandwell College Fab Lab
From doodlebugs to digital graffiti and much more; get involved as science clashes to make art with Deta Open Access and the BBC Blue Room.
Sandwell Arts Cafe
A field of ceramic flowers will fill the arts cafe.
The Strolling Gardeners
Strolling Gardeners both love their fruit & veg, but how did one brother grow so tall? The answer lies in the special potting compost formula ... if you are lucky they might share it with you. On their travels the boys help the bald to sprout hair; children to bloom in giant flower pots; and everyone else to a fun-filled 5-a-day!
Corey Baker Dance with The Phone Box
Phone Box is an energetic and vibrant new outdoor solo performance by Corey Baker Dance, featuring an iconic vintage red telephone box, an athletic performer and an exhibition of precarious manoeuvres.
PUPPET SHOW: Midsummer Mayhem
Something is bubbling away inside the Alchemists pot; something that could change the Elizabethan world! So the queen must send her clever playwright, Bill Shakespeare to spy on the conjurers plans. What unfolds will fill you with mystery, charm you with magic and thrill you with mayhem.Midsummer Mayhem is a thirty minute show loosely based on A Midsummer Nights Dream, it is told through beautiful and mesmerising puppetry. It will have all ages falling about with laughter and spellbound by its artistry.
The Stans Cafe Commentators with The Lyng Media Club
The Commentators were once famous sports commentators. Now they have fallen on hard times they must accept any offers that come their way. A team of 5 – 12 year olds from the Lyng Estate Media Club will be honing their commentating skills to bring you all the action from the centre of Sandwell on Saturday 13th August. You’ll recognise them, they will be the ones in the sheepskin coats carrying lip mics.
Black Country Stories by Martin Parr, Liz Hingley, Mahtab Hussain
Multistory presents a special selection of photographs and films made with, for and about local people. Discover Sandwell through the lens of critically acclaimed photographers Martin Parr, Mark Power Liz Hingley and Mahtab Hussain.
Cradley Heath Ossbox
The Cradley Heath Creatives have brought along their Ossbox, a vintage horsebox that’s been turned into a pinhole camera. The Ossbox will be documenting the day’s activity and running camera obscura workshops throughout the day.
The Dancing Day-Trippers
Two eccentric vintage moped enthusiasts Doris and Albert ride around in a shining moped and state-of-the-art sidecar with a lot of instruments so they can swing and jive. With their fifties garb, incredible hair styles, and aptitude for loud hoots and manic laughter catch them when they park up the moped, get their horns out and start to jive.
The Prince and Princesses
It won’t be difficult to spot our beautiful princess – with her stunning jewels and silk dresses the super-tall diva might have an eye for high street bargains but there won’t be a shop in West Brom that will stock her shoe size!
Tongue, Tied & Twisted STORYTELLING
Tongue Tied & Twisted blasts Indian storytelling into the 21st century combining the talents of UK music producer PKCtheFirst on stage with international performer Peter Chand. Experience two distinctive artists as they bring a fresh UK twist on traditional tales collected from Punjabi elders. This show celebrates the art of live storytelling fusing a unique blend of Urban Hip Hop and classical South Asian sounds. Together, they present a unique audience experience across cultures for both young and old.
FLATPACK FILM DAY
Flatpack offer up an eclectic mix of screen delights transforming West Brom Town Hall into a multiplex with a difference... A range of screenings and activities will take over spaces throughout the building, including silent comedy, local archive material and a unique Bollywood home viewing experience.
Imagine That! By Ian Billing & Jody Lundi
Read along to a new story about an extraordinary adventure in Sandwell written and performed by children’s author Ian Billing and illustrated by West Brom emerging artist Jody Lundi. Take the story home and pick up a limited edition copy of Imagine That! Available at West Bromwich Town Library.
“Punk and rock n roll is deceased, it's time for some new beats from the east!” Since 2009, Balkanic Eruption has been delighting club goers in the Midlands with the sounds of the Balkans and beyond. Expect a rambunctious mix of traditional and remixed beats- and be warned; resistance to dance is futile!
Bizzy Lizzy - The Flower Woman
A delightful puppet walkabout show featuring the 'ancient flower woman puppet Bizzy Lizzy', carrying her cargo of flowers & foliage and interacting with the public.