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Centenary Square, BIRMINGHAM, West Midlands, B1 2EP


BE FESTIVAL turns the notion of conventional theatre upside down. It crosses borders, creative disciplines and blurs the boundary between audience and artist.

The festival grew out of a spirit of exchange prevalent in Birmingham’s arts scene in 2010. Inspired by positive experiences touring to European festivals, Isla Aguilar, Miguel Oyarzun and Mike Tweddle were met with great enthusiasm to the idea of a new arts festival in Birmingham and soon fleshed out a plan on the back of a napkin at a Birmingham curry house. And so BE FESTIVAL was born.

BE FESTIVAL (shortened from Birmingham European Festival) takes place annually in July at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Each year a daring and innovative programme of boundary pushing theatre, dance, comedy, circus, music, visual and performing arts takes place turning the theatre’s rarely seen backstages into a den of creativity, discovery and exchange where diverse cultures are celebrated.



10 years of exceptional performance from Europe’s four corners 

This summer, Birmingham European FESTIVAL is celebrating its 10th festival - bringing cutting edge dance, theatre, circus and visual arts to Birmingham. 
From 27 June until 6 July BE FESTIVAL turns Birmingham Repertory Theatre on its head, transforming the rarely seen backstage areas into a lively festival hub, filled with artists from all over Europe, and beyond, enjoying performances, food, workshops, talks, and delicious Raspberry Mojitos.
Birmingham and the wider world has changed exponentially since 2010. This year, the festival programme reflects on the past, and how to move forward, contribute and challenge the status quo society is building for the future. 
To kick the celebrations off in style the festival in collaboration with Birmingham Repertory Theatre presents the UK premiere of Deadtown by the Forman Brothers Theatre from 27 - 29 June. Created by the sons of Oscar-winning Director of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Miloš Forman, this spectacular theatre piece brings together a cast of 20 acrobats, dancers, singers and musicians to perform an incredible Wild West tale.
The main programme takes place from 2 - 6 July; German choreographer Paula Rosolen returns to BE FESTIVAL with her show PUNK‽; a lively and energetic homage to punk and contemporary dance, complete with a live band and pogo sticks. In Silence, Catalan company Ça Marche explore a world of improvised chaos, with a cast of local children, fake snow and giant blow up monsters, that exists when parents aren’t watching.
Other highlights include the award-winning Sotterraneo and their full-length show Dies Irae: 5 episodes around the end of the species (Italy). Tongue in cheek, uncanny and provocative this show explores how humans archive our 'collective' memory of our past, present and hypothetical future. In their show One Shot, Belgian duo Maxime Dautremont & Foucauld Falguerolles demonstrate amazing feats of acrobatics, axe throwing and Chinese pole technique, all set to a live rhythm and blues score. In A Land Full Of Heroes (UK, France, Spain) documentary theatre meets auto-fictional work, centring on Romanian writer Carmen-Francesca Banciu’s life to explore the evolution of post-socialist countries meeting occidental and liberal Europe. 

BE FESTIVAL alumni and creators of the critically acclaimed shows PALMYRA and EUROHOUSE Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas, return to perform The End (UK). Inspired by contemporary issues, it is a dance for the end of their relationship and the end of the world, but most importantly a celebration of our own mortality and of everything around us. 

As in previous years, there is a free programme of live music and DJs to keep festival goers grooving into the early hours. From award-winning DJ and local legend Glyn Philips with his GlobalSoundClash, Brummie electric-pop trio Lycio and the funk, fiddle and jazz fusion sounds of Gathering Tides.

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Map & Directions

Opening Times

27 June 2021 - 6 July 2021*
Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change

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