via Rosie for Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Celebrates 10 Years of B2
Belgrade Theatre has hosted an anniversary party to celebrate 10 years of its B2 auditorium this September. Special guests were invited to join Belgrade staff in celebration of B2’s 10th birthday, as well as hearing from speakers including Artistic Director Hamish Glen, Associate Director Justine Themen and Coventry’s Lord Mayor, Tony Skipper.
B2 opened in September 2007 following an 18 month closure whilst the £14million refurbishment and expansion capital project was undertaken. This flexible and intimate second space was the vision of Artistic Director Hamish Glen, who insisted on the construction of B2 when he arrived in Coventry in 2003, after spending over 10 years at the helm of the Dundee Rep.
Seating between 200 – 300 audience members, the B2 auditorium has allowed the theatre to stage risk-taking and innovative work, cementing the theatre’s reputation as one of the most dynamic producing houses in the country.
During its 10 year history, B2 has attracted some of the UK’s top theatre makers to the city. Their landmark production of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From A Marriage, was directed by Sir Trevor Nunn and starred Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen alongside Imogen Stubbs.
A key part of the artistic policy for B2 has also been to bring the history of Coventry to life on stage with productions such as the hit Coventry Blitz play One Night in November, Too Much Pressure, which was set amid the decline of the city’s motor car industry, FA Cup play, We Love You City and more recently, the 2 Tone musical Three Minute Heroes.
The Belgrade youth company also present regular high-quality work in B2 that bears witness to the stories of the city with shows, such as Walk For Your Life telling the story of a Zimbabwean refugee and Imperfect, exploring some of the of pressures on the city’s young people.
Hamish Glen said “B2 has been the saviour of this theatre. It has allowed us to produce high-quality and ground-breaking work alongside our popular main stage programme, and appeals to a broader and more diverse theatre-going audience. We’re enormously proud of the work we have produced in B2 over the last 10 years, that has helped to establish the Belgrade as a top regional producing theatre and attracted so many internationally renowned artists, performers and creatives to Coventry. I’m excited to see what the next 10 years bring!”
Justine Themen, Associate Director said, “B2 is an essential place to showcase work created by the communities we engage with from a diverse range of backgrounds, helping to develop their confidence, creativity and performance skills. This work also provides fertile ground for growing new talent in the city – with the Belgrade’s Critical Mass programme growing new-writing for the stage and the Springboard Initiative developing emerging companies. Without a space like B2, none of this would be possible.”
Taking to the B2 stage this October, Pink Sari Revolution is the Belgrade Theatre’s latest co-production with Curve Theatre Leicester and tells the story of Sampat Pal, the leader of India’s famous pink sari wearing Gulabi Gang, based on the book by Amana Fontanella-Khan.
B2 will host the Belgrade’s first ever Dementia Friendly Performance of Finding Joy on Sat 18 Nov at 1.30pm. This funny and heart-warming play by the UK’s leading full-mask theatre company Vamos, will be specially adapted to suit audience members living with Dementia and their carers.
New Black Showcase will return to B2 for the fifth year presenting work by graduates of the Belgrade’s Critical Mass playwriting programme, and new work by Midlands based theatre company futuretheatre.
The Theatre has introduced monthly comedy nights in B2 this autumn from acclaimed comedy clubs Screaming Blue Murder and Desi Central. These will feature an eclectic line up of top local comedians and some of the best acts on the British Asian comedy scene.
Also this autumn, the Belgrade’s annual B2 Christmas show returns with another festive alternative to pantomime for grown-ups. This year, Cinderella meets the Wild West Midlands in The Good, The Bad the Ugly Sisters, a rootin’ tootin’ spaghetti western where the glass slippers have spurs, and the bells chime for high noon!
Tickets for all these shows and more are available now by calling the Belgrade Box Office team on 024 7655 3055 or visit belgrade.co.uk.