The Festival Of Audacity Makes Birmingham The Stage For Brave And Audacious Activist Art
This July, Festival of Audacity makes Birmingham the stage for brave and audacious activist art. Driven by the belief that art should be brought to the people, the festival programme doesn't take place in exclusive venues, but in everyday spaces like National Express buses, New Street Station, and Rotunda Square, Bullring. Members of the public get the chance to experience for free, a multidisciplinary arts festival programme, which contains theatre, spoken word, installation art, dance, VR, film, music, interactive workshops and more.
Festival of Audacity is brought to you by Free Radical, an art activism platform which is part of the Beatfreeks Collective. At a time of political uncertainty, activist art is needed to unite our communities by turning suffering and injustice into hope and power. In addition to platforming engaging artists for the main programme, the Festival will celebrate Hip-Hop and activism with an incredible Afterparty headlined by Lowkey, arguably the biggest name on the UK hip-hop underground scene (The Guardian).
Since Free Radical enables young people to tell stories about themselves and the world, this year's Festival was inspired by Beatfreeks' Brum Youth Trends - a pioneering flagship report for the city, which revealed that:
58.2% [of Birmingham's young people aged 14-25] state that transport is unsatisfactory... 14% don't use public transport and 32% claim that parking is difficult. - Brum Youth Trends report 2018.
To increase accessibility within Birmingham and in the arts, Festival of Audacity consciously responds to young Brum voices by hosting the programme mainly on modes of transport. Audiences can stumble across performance poetry and dance in New Street Station; experience award-winning VR on a private bus; partake in a Hip-Hop workshop on a truck in Bullring & Grand Central; listen in on a live audio performance on the number 50 bus route, to name a few.
Alternatively, with wellbeing in mind, audiences can go on an unconventional walking tour led by Birmingham Artivists in Training. The group is made up of young, local artist-activists who will show you their favourite pieces from within the festival programme and perform to you along the way. In light of Brum Youth Trends, to help people navigate the city easier, Brompton Bikes are offering free four days of cycle hire across the Festival. Free Radical has also partnered with Swift Card and Network West Midlands to offer young people aged 16-30 free travel on buses and trams for yourself and up to four friends over the Festival weekend.
Summing up the cross-collaborative spirit between the arts and transport, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, David Bradford explains:
"We believe that, like buses, art is for everyone. Hundreds of thousands of young people travel around Birmingham by bus every day. So we're really excited to be a part of Festival of Audacity - we're looking forward to giving people the chance to experience this amazing city in a completely different way."