Arts in Birmingham


Arts in Birmingham

This article is about culture and the arts in the city of Birmingham, England. It covers both notable history and notable contemporary activities.

Popular music

History

Birmingham has had a vibrant and varied musical history in popular pop and rock music, since the 1950s.

1950s

Fifties bands such as Billy King and the Nightriders, Pat Wayne and The Deltas and The Dominettes gave rise in the following decade to the Brum Beat era of the early 1960s featuring early progressive rock and bluesbands such as The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, The Fortunes, The Rockin Berries, The Idle Race, The Moody Blues and The Move (members of the last two going on to form The Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard).

1960s

The Brum Beat era of the early 1960s featured early progressive rock and bluesbands such as The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, The Fortunes, The Rockin Berries, The Idle Race, The Moody Blues and The Move (members of the last two going on to form The Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard).

The city is often cited as the birthplace of heavy metal musicInote|Konow|Konow in the late 1960s, with Judas Priest and Black Sabbath coming from Birmingham. Robert Plant and John Bonham, later members of Led Zeppelin and being local to the city, played in bands which were part of the Birmingham music scene, they performed and rehearsed frequently in the city. Rob Halford of Judas Priest attributes the band's success to "'Birmingham having that [...] tough, working-class feeling [...] We weren't born with a silver spoon in our mouths. We had to go to work and work really hard. Some people that work in a coal mine or work in the car industry might argue and say, 'These guys haven't worked a day in their lives.' That's not true. To be in a band – to be in a worldwide, successful band – is incredibly hard work." [http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050610/ENT/506100344/1031/NEWS03]

Also in the late 1960s, there were psychedelic rock bands, such as Bachdenkel, who "Rolling Stone" called “Britain’s Greatest Unknown Group”.

1970s

In the 1970s members of The Move and The Moody Blues formed the Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. In the 1970s, Birmingham's increasing West Indian population contributed to the popularity of reggae, with Steel Pulse's ground-breaking album "Handsworth Revolution" being a notable product of the time.

Early 1980s

As the 1980s arrived, the Rum Runner nightclub played a significant role in rock music in the city, particularly in the case of New Romantic supergroup Duran Duran. Dexys Midnight Runners, Stephen "Tintin" Duffy and The Bureau also emanated from the city's music scene at this time.

Later Musical Youth, UB40, the first truly mixed-race UK dub band, and Pato Banton found commercial success, as did 2 Tone band The Beat who drew their influences from Jamaican ska music.

Political skiffle was, for a short time in the mid-1980s, a notable Birmingham sound - led by bands such as Terry & Gerry.

The hip hop scene dates back to at least 1980, and has produced popular performers like Moorish Delta 7 and Brothers and Sisters. The city had a pirate radio station called 'Fresh F.M.' which broadcast from the city. The station played hip hop and breakdance records and inspired a rap crew called Jump who released two records, 'We Come to Jam' and 'Feel It', as early as 1985. In 1980 a Birmingham rapper 'Sure Shot' appeared on a UK breakfast show, followed in 1985, a hip hop collective named Jump (which included Sure Shot) released two records; 'We Come to Jam' and 'Feel It'. The crew formed 'The Audio Kings' and 'The Black Prophetz'.

Late 1980s

Later in the 1980s, Grindcore music, a blend of punk and heavy metal, was pioneered in the city by Napalm Death. The Charlatans, Dodgy, Felt, The Lilac Time, and Ocean Colour Scene were other notable rock bands founded in the city and its surrounding area in this period. Pop Will Eat Itself formed in nearby Stourbridge and consisted of Birmingham band members, as did Neds Atomic Dustbin.

The city embraced the national acid house scene (see Birmingham House music scene), supported by local figures such as the late Tony De Vit, Steve Lawler and Scott Bond. Acid house nights such as Spectrum took place at the Digbeth Institute (now the Sanctuary), C.R.E.A.M., the Hummingbird (now the Carling Academy Birmingham), and The Que Club (one of the biggest clubs the city has ever had). Birmingham has given birth to some of the UK's most influential dance nights Gatecrasher, Sundissential, Atomic Jam, and later, Gods Kitchen. Successful house musicians and DJs included the late Tony De Vit, Steve Lawler, Steve Kelley, Scott Bond, Jem Atkins, Al McKenzie, Colin Dred, The Ryan Brothers, Mark Jarman, Patrick Smooth, Tall Paul and Jeremy Sylvester.

1990s

Electronic artists include electro dub music creators Rockers Hi-Fi, Big Beat musicians Bentley Rhythm Ace, UK garage/house act The Streets, and Electronica bands Broadcast, Pram, Plone, Surgeon, Add N to X, Electribe 101, Mistys Big Adventure, Editors and Avrocar.

Electroacoustic and experimental music emerged in the city, via ensembles such as BEAST.

The city's cultural diversity also contributed to the blend of bhangra and ragga pioneered by Apache Indian in Handsworth. When hip hop performer Afrika Bambaata visited Britain he inspired new rappers and hip hop DJs including Moorish Delta 7 Elements, Roc1, Mad Flow, Creative Habits, Lord Laing and DJ Sparra (twice winner of the DMC mixing championships). Brothers and Sisters took place in the 'Coast to Coast' club in the old ATV television studios on Broad Street in the early 1990s. Then came Fungle Junk, held for many years beneath House music club 'Fun'., and bringing The Psychonaughts, Andy Weatherall and the Scratch Perverts to the city.

List of notable historical musical artists

Successful Birmingham singer/songwriters and musicians include: Joan Armatrading, Steve Gibbons, Mike Kellie (of Spooky Tooth),Keith Law (Velvett Fogg & Jardine) Jeff Lynne, Phil Lynott, Carl Palmer (of Emerson Lake and Palmer), Roy Wood, Jamelia, Kelli Dayton of The Sneaker Pimps, Martin Barre (guitarist with Jethro Tull), Bev Bevan, Ali Campbell, Steve Cradock (guitarist for Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller), Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Denny Laine, Fritz Mcintyre (keyboardist of Simply Red), Christine Perfect (of Fleetwood Mac), Robert Plant (born in West Brom and played in Brumbeat bands), Nick Rhodes, Ranking Roger, John Henry Rostill (bass guitarist/composer for The Shadows), Matt Skinner, Dave Swarbrick (of Fairport Convention), John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Ruby Turner, Ted Turner (guitar/vocals, Wishbone Ash), Peter Overend Watts, Steve Winwood and Dave Mason. Nick Mason of Pink Floyd was born in the city and was brought up in London.

"See also: List of songs about Birmingham"

"See also: "

Famous instruments

Birmingham-based tape recorder company, Bradmatic Ltd helped develop and manufacture the Mellotron. Over the next 15 years, the Mellotron had a major impact on rock music and is a trademark sound of the progressive rock bands.

Contemporary bands and labels

Many varieties of electronic and dance music continue to cross-fertilise in the city with acts such as Bentley Rhythm Ace, The Streets, Rockers Hi-Fi, Editors, Surgeon, Mistys Big Adventure, Munchbreak, and Broadcast.

Notable dance music record labels include Network records (of Altern8 fame), Different Drummer, Urban Dubz Records, Badger promotions, Jibbering records, Iron Man, Earko and Munchbreak records. Punch Records, in the Custard Factory, run street dance and DJ training courses.

Independent shops in the city selling vinyl records include Swordfish Records, Tempest Records, Jibbering records, Punch Records, Old School Daze, Dance Music Finder Records, Three Shades Records and Hard To Find Records, which is the original 'dance music finder' in the UK and now trades as one the largest vinyl record and DJ shops in the world. Summit Records sells mainly reggae and doubles as an Afro Caribbean barbers.

Contemporary Venues and Music Festivals

Birmingham's current music venues - large and small - include Symphony Hall at the ICC, The National Indoor Arena, Carling Academy Birmingham, the National Exhibition Centre, The CBSO Centre, The Glee Club, The Adrian Boult Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire, The Yardbird, mac (Midlands Arts Centre) at Cannon Hill Park, The Custard Factory, the Drum Arts Centre, The Jam House, and pub and bar venues including The Rainbow (Digbeth), The Bull's Head (in the suburb of Moseley), The Cross (Moseley), the Ceol Castle (Moseley), the Hare and Hounds (Kings Heath), Scruffy Murphy's, the Jug of Ale, The Queen's Arms (city centre), a branch of Barfly and the Hibernian. Leftfoot is a soul jazz and funk night that has featured on BBC Radio 1.

Party in the Park is Birmingham's largest annual music festival, at Cannon Hill Park, where up to 30,000 revellers of all ages listen to popular chart music.

The newest music festival that Birmingham has to offer is [http://www.Gigbeth.com/ Gigbeth] , first piloted in March 2006 and now annual on the first weekend of November in Digbeth. Gigbeth is a music festival celebrating local independent music from the West Midlands.

Jazz

Jazz is popular in the city. Many venues support a jazz scene in the city, often promoted by [http://www.birminghamjazz.co.uk/ Birmingham Jazz] . Jazz musicians associated with the city include Soweto Kinch, Julian Arguelles, Ronnie Ball, Tony Kinsey, Douglas "Dougle" Robinson and King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys.

The busiest promoter of contemporary jazz in the city is the voluntary organisation Birmingham Jazz, which mounts dozens of concerts every year featuring local, national and international artists in venues such as the CBSO Centre, the mac arts centre, the Glee Club and Symphony Hall. It enjoys the support of the city council and the Arts Council of England and also commissions new works from both local performers and performers of international standing.

Classical music

History

The Birmingham Triennial Music Festival took place from 1784–1912 and was considered the grandest of its kind throughout Britain. Music was written for the festival by Mendelssohn, Gounod, Sullivan, Dvořák, Bantock and most notably Elgar, who wrote four of his most famous choral pieces for Birmingham.

Albert William Ketèlbey was born in Alma Street, Aston on 9 August 1875, the son of a teacher at the Vittoria School of Art. Ketèlbey attended the Trinity College of Music, where he beat the runner-up, Gustav Holst, for a musical scholarship.

Groups, venues and orchestras

The internationally-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's home venue is Symphony Hall, which in acoustic terms is widely considered to be one of the greatest concert halls of the twentieth century and also hosts concerts by many visiting orchestras.

Other professional orchestras based in the city include the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, a chamber orchestra specialising in modern music with some world premieres; the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, who give concert performances under music director Barry Wordsworth in addition to playing for the Birmingham Royal Ballet; and Ex Cathedra, one of the country's oldest and most respected early-music and Baroque period instrument ensembles.

Birmingham is an important centre for musical education as the home of the UCE Birmingham Conservatoire, founded in 1859. The Royal College of Organists is based in Digbeth.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet resides in the city as does the Elmhurst School for Dance, based in Edgbaston, and which claims to be the world's oldest vocational dance school.

Birmingham's professional opera company - the Birmingham Opera Company - specialises in staging innovative performances in unusual venues (in 2005 it performed Monteverdi's "Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria" in a burnt-out ice rink in the Chinese Quarter). Its artistic director, Graham Vick, has also directed at La Scala, Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Royal Opera House in London.

Visiting opera companies such as Opera North and Welsh National Opera perform regularly at the Hippodrome.

Birmingham's other principal classical music venues include The National Indoor Arena (NIA), CBSO Centre, Adrian Boult Hall (ABH) at Birmingham Conservatoire, the Barber Concert Hall at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Birmingham Town Hall, currently closed for refurbishment. Concerts also regularly take place in churches around the city including St Phillips Cathedral, St Paul's in the Jewellery Quarter, St Alban's in Highgate and The Oratory on the Hagley Road.

Literature

Many famous literary figures have been associated with Birmingham:

Historical authors

*W.V. Awdry wrote his first Thomas the Tank Engine in Kings Norton and remained in the city until 1965.
*W. H. Auden grew up in Harborne, Birmingham, and taught for many years at schools in nearby Malvern.
*Barbara Cartland was born in Edgbaston in 1901. The family home was on Cartland Road, Kings Heath.
*Charles Dickens once gave readings in Birmingham Town Hall and was the sixteenth President of The Birmingham and Midland Institute.
*Leonard Cottrell was a Brummie author, archaeologist, commentator, and producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He also worked as a war correspondent for the Royal Air Force, and later became the editor of the Concise Encyclopaedia of Archaeology (1965).
*Arthur Conan Doyle [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/doyle] lived in Aston from about Spring 1879 - early 1882 and some of his works include references to people or places he knew there.
*Edgar Guest was born in the city in 1881, moved to America with his family as a boy, and achieved fame there as a poet.
*Gerard Manley Hopkins taught under John Henry Newman at the Oratory School in Edgbaston when he graduated and converted to Catholicism in 1867. It was here that he first developed his ideas of inscape and instress that were to prove central to his poetic practice. [ [http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199285457 The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Volume IV: Oxford Essays and Notes 1863-1868] (Description) Oxford University Press General Catalogue]
*William Hutton 1723-1815, moved from Derby to Birmingham at a young age and became well know in the region as a poet and documented the history of the region in many books.
*Washington Irving [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/irving] stayed with his sister in Birmingham for some time, during which he wrote stories including "Rip van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". "Bracebridge Hall, or, The Humorists, A Medley" is based on Aston Hall.
*Louis MacNeice lectured in classics at the University of Birmingham in the early 1930s, and wrote several poems about the city, including parts of "Autumn Journal".
*Enoch Powell was born and raised in Birmingham, and was a significant poet as well as a politician.
*J. R. R. Tolkien spent most of his childhood in the Birmingham area, and his work is much influenced by his time there [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/tolkien] , his parents also came from Birmingham.
*Arthur Henry Ward, born in Birmingham, wrote the Fu Manchu thrillers under the pseudonym of Sax Rohmer.
*Charles Talbut Onions worked on the Oxford English Dictionary and was a prominent etymologist.
*Emma Jane Worboise, known as Mrs Etherington Guyton, was born in Birmingham in 1825 and was well known for her many novels (including "Overdale", subtitled "The Story of a Pervert").
*John Wyndham, author of "The Day of the Triffids", "The Midwich Cuckoos" and many others, was born in nearby Knowle and lived in Edgbaston until he was eight years old.

Contemporary authors

*Jonathan Coe was born and raised in Birmingham, which is the setting of two of his novels "The Rotters' Club" and "The Closed Circle".
*Judith Cutler's crime novels are set in present-day Birmingham.
*Roshan Doughe became the fifth Poet Laureate for Birmingham in October 2000.
*Julie Boden became the seventh Poet Laureate for Birmingham in October 2002.
*David Lodge taught and wrote in the city, which appeared as "Rummage" in his books.
*Benjamin Zephaniah is a black dub poet from Handsworth who tackles prejudice, poverty and injustice.

The city also has literary publishers such as Tindal Street Press and hosts The Young Book Reader UK festival, as well as an online literary community called [http://www.birminghamwords.co.uk/ Birmingham Words] .

Theatre

Famous stage names

Kenneth Peacock Tynan and David Edgar are possibly Birmingham's most famous members of the theatrical scene. The Birmingham School of Acting trains actors in the city.

Theatres

There are many theatres in Birmingham. The four largest professional theatres are the Alexandra Theatre ("the Alex"), Birmingham Repertory Theatre ("The Rep"), the Birmingham Hippodrome and the Old Rep. The "mac" and Drum arts centres, the Crescent Theatre and the Old Joint Stock Theatre also host many professional plays. Sutton Coldfield Town Hall has theatre facilities and hosts numerous amateur productions. The actors in the long-running Radio 4 serial "The Archers" live in and around Birmingham, where the supposedly rural programme is recorded.

Birmingham also hosts a number of independent and community theatre companies, including Banner Theatre which was founded in the city over thirty years ago. Round midnight ltd produce work for schools, colleges and arts centres as well as film, television and radio. For ten years, Birmingham's Fierce! festival has presented a performance art festival. It has recently begun commissioning new works from British and international performers.

Comedy

Famous comedians from Birmingham include Sid Field, Tony Hancock, Jasper Carrott and Shazia Mirza. Other leading figures include Jo Enright (Lab Rats, Phoenix Nights, Time Trumpet), Natalie Haynes, James Cook, Weakest Link winner Andy White and Barbara Nice (the creation of actress Janice Connolly). The Glee Club and Birmingham Jongleurs are both prominent comedy venues. The Drum Arts Centre and the mac also host monthly comedy sessions while smaller independent comedy promoters/ venues include The Cheeky Monkey Comedy Club (The Station pub, Kings Heath - and the city's longest running independent comedy club), plus The Laughing Sole (in Strichley) and Retort Cabaret (Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath) with other nights at Old Joint Stock Theatre (city centre), Library Theatre and Alexandra Theatre (Real Deal Comedy).

The Birmingham Comedy Festival was founded in 2001 and runs over 10 days at the beginning of October with a line-up that combines leading TV names with rising talent from Birmingham and the West Midlands. The 2008 festival (Oct 3-12), in association with Wye Valley Brewery and supported by BirminghaMail.net, features Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr, Lee Evans, Ken Dodd and Dylan Moran.

Visual arts

History of painting and illustration

David Cox was a famous Birmingham watercolour artist and President of the Associated Artists in Water Colour in 1810.

An "Academy of Arts" was organised in 1814, and an exhibition of paintings took place in Union Passage that year. A School of Design, or "Society of Arts," was started Feb. 7, 1821; Sir Robert Lawley, Bt (the first Lord Wenlock) presenting a valuable collection of casts from Grecian sculpture. The first exhibition was held in 1826, in a building on New Street.

The first Ballot for pictures to be chosen from the Annual Exhibition of Local Artists took place in 1835.

Edward Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham, spent his first twenty years in the city, and later became the president of the Birmingham Society of Artists (which dates from 1826). He strongly influenced the Birmingham Group, which formed the link between late Romanticism in the visual arts and the Birmingham Surrealists who were prominent in the city's arts in the early and mid 20th century.

The Birmingham Arts Lab at Gosta Green was an important centre for alternative comic art in the late 1970s; in the 1990s the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery staged a historical retrospective of the work made there.

History of photography

Victorian photographer Sir Benjamin Stone (1838-1914) lived and worked in Erdington, Birmingham. The Birmingham Central Library now holds the [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/benjaminstone Benjamin Stone Collection] . The Victorian "father of art photography", Oscar Gustave Rejlander lived and worked at nearby Wolverhampton, and was a founder member of the Birmingham Photographic Society. The BPS later elected Henry Peach Robinson as a member.

The famous photographer Bill Brandt made an extensive series of photographs for the Bournville Village Trust in Birmingham, between 1939 and 1943. These have been published as the book "Homes Fit For Heroes" (Dewi Lewis, 2004). The post-war changes in the cityscape, especially the clearance of older housing and the changes to the central markets, were documented by Phyllis Nicklin] (1913?-1969).

In late 1979, Derek Bishton (now Consultant Editor for "The Daily Telegraph"), John Reardon (became Picture Editor of "The Observer"), and Brian Homer were three community photographers and activists in Hnadsworth, and they facilitated [http://www.bmagic.org.uk/results?s=adv&who=Brian+Homer&what=+&where=+&when=+&material=+&theme=+&col= the 'Handsworth Self Portrait' series of self-portraits] on the streets of Handsworth, Birmingham.

History of Typography

John Baskerville (1706-1775) was a noted type designer, the developer of wove paper, and typographic businessman in fine printing. His Baskerville font is still in wide use today. The Birmingham Guild and School of Handicrafts operated a fine arts small-press, the Press of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. From 1895 until 1919 this Press produced books in the Kelmscott Press tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. George Kynoch's Kynoch Press (1876-1981) was a Birmingham printing house that substantially contributed to the development of a British typography. The teacher Leonard Jay (1888-1963) made the Birmingham School of Printing a profound influence on a generation of typographers, and set the pattern for printing education worldwide.

Contemporary artists

Graffiti (or "spraycan art") culture appeared in the early 1980s, with the area featuring in Channel 4 documentary "Bombing". Local artists who use urban Birmingham as their canvas (this is illegal, and regarded by some as vandalism) have included Chu and Goldie. Street art competitions are still regularly held at the Custard Factory.

A variety of contemporary public art is located around the city centre, most of it created by artists from outside the Midlands. The construction of the Bull Ring Shopping Centre included three light wands which were erected at the main entrance, a huge mural on a glass façade located at the entrance facing New Street station and three fountains in St Martin's Square in the shape of cubes, which are illuminated at night in different colours. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/your_birmingham/bullring/bullring_art.shtml Artwork of the Bullring] BBC]

Contemporary African Caribbean artists and photographers who have exhibited internationally include Pogus Caesar, Keith Piper and the late Donald Rodney.

Current art galleries

*The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is housed at the University of Birmingham and although only a small gallery it was declared 'Gallery of the Year' by the Good Britain Guide 2004.
*Birmingham has one of the largest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world at The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
*The Ikon Gallery is housed in a neo-gothic former school in Brindleyplace and showcases modern art. Number 9 The Gallery is close by.
*The Halcyon Gallery is located inside the International Convention Centre. It opened with a major retrospective of Robert Lenkiewicz, and has continued with exhibitions by artists as diverse as Rolf Harris and L. S. Lowry.
*The Waterhall gallery in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery displays a regular showcase of modern art which includes local artists and others sometimes from the city's own extensive collection.
*Harborne Gallery, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the 'New Gallery' in St Paul's square also shows local artists.
*The old Bird's Custard Factory is now one of the largest media and arts villages in Europe, with occasional exhibitions and modern sculpture and water features.
*The mac hosts theatre performances, concerts, literature and poetry showcases, courses, film screenings and small art exhibitions.
*The Drum Arts Centre features works of African, Asian and Caribbean contemporary artists.
*Selly Oak ball park is home to many graffiti murals that change on a regular basis. Other graffiti art can be seen across the city on disused buildings and canal towpaths as well as subways.

There are a variety of other small and private galleries in the city.

Film

History

Albert Austin (born 13 December 1881 or 1885) was an actor, film star, director and script writer, primarily in the days of silent movies. He was born in Birmingham. He worked for Charlie Chaplin's Stock Company and played supporting roles in many of Chaplin's films, and working as his assistant director.

In the 1920s Oscar Deutsch opened his first Odeon cinema in the UK in Perry Barr. By 1930 the Odeon was a household name and still thrives today.

In 1930 the Birmingham Film Society was set up.

Contemporary

The Electric Cinema on Station Street is still open and is said to be the oldest working cinema in the UK.

Publishing

History

The first known Birmingham newspaper was the "Birmingham Journal", which was published by Thomas Warren from 1732 and whose early contributors included Samuel Johnson. [cite web|url=http://www.search.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/engine/resource/exhibition/standard/child.asp?txtKeywords=&lstContext=&lstResourceType=&lstExhibitionType=&chkPurchaseVisible=&txtDateFrom=&txtDateTo=&x1=&y1=&x2=&y2=&scale=&theme=&album=&viewpage=%2Fengine%2Fresource%2Fexhibition%2Fstandard%2Fchild%2Easp&originator=&page=&records=&direction=&pointer=&text=&resource=4215&exhibition=1310&offset=8|title=Johnson in Birmingham|accessdate=2008-01-05|work=Revolutionary Players of Industry and Innovation|publisher=Museums, Libraries and Archives - West Midlands|quote= ] The most notable of the town's early newspapers however was "Aris's Birmingham Gazette", which was founded in 1741 and continued publishing until 1956. [cite web|url=http://www.newsplan.co.uk/wm_newsplan/modules.php?name=history|title= Newspaper history in the West Midlands region|accessdate=2008-05-26|year=2005|work=|publisher=NEWSPLAN West Midlands]

Contemporary

Birmingham now has two local daily newspapers - the "Birmingham Post" and the "Birmingham Mail" - as well as the "Sunday Mercury", all owned by the Trinity Mirror, who also produce "The Birmingham News", a weekly freesheet distributed to homes in the suburbs along with "Forward" (formerly "Birmingham Voice"), the Birmingham City Council's free newspaper distributed to homes and via community centres and public buildings. Several local newspapers serve Birmingham including the "Sutton Coldfield Observer" and "Sutton Coldfield News" for the area of Sutton Coldfield.

Birmingham is also the hub for various national ethnic media, including The Voice, The Sikh Times, Desi Xpress, The Asian Today [ [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/newspapers Newspapers in Birmingham] Birmingham.gov.uk] and Raj TV (based in The Mailbox [ [http://www.raj.tv/info/contact.aspx Raj TV contact] ] ). National showbiz magazine Ikonz is based in Birmingham, one of the few outside of London.

Broadcast

History

The area was one of the first to receive programming from the new ITV network in 1956. The networks' original representatives were Associated TeleVision (ATV) who served the area during the week and ABC Weekend TV who broadcast at the weekends. In 1968 ATV won the contract to serve the area seven days a week and built new studios off Broad Street at the heart of the city featuring the landmark Alpha Tower. In 1982 ATV was reorganised and became Central Independent Television, which was rebranded as Carlton Central in 1999 and again as ITV Central in 2004. ITV's Birmingham studios are famous for many shows, including "Tiswas", "Crossroads" and Bullseye.

Current stations and programmes

The BBC has two facilities in the city. The Mailbox in the city centre is the location for the national headquarters of BBC English Regions, [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/about.shtml About Us - Information about BBC English Regions] BBC] the regional headquarters and television centre for BBC West Midlands and the headquarters of the BBC Birmingham network production centre. It is here programmes including "Midlands Today" and the world's longest running radio soap opera, "The Archers", are produced. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2005/01/13/bbc_at_mailbox_feature.shtml BBC Birmingham Features] ] The overnight programmes of BBC Radio 2 are also broadcast from here.

The BBC Drama Village, based in Selly Oak, is a production facility specialising in television drama and is the home of nationally networked programmes such as "Dalziel & Pascoe" and "Doctors". [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/05_may/09/drama_village.shtml Lights, campus, action for BBC Birmingham's Television Drama Village] BBC Press Release] Before 2004 the BBC's Birmingham home was at the famous Pebble Mill Studios.

Sky TV has its own news team bureau based in the University of Birmingham's Aston Campus. Local cable and satellite broadcasters include the Natural Health Channel and Asia 1 TV.

Local legal radio stations include BRMB, Galaxy, BBC WM and Heart FM, and Kerrang! 105.2, Birmingham's first dedicated rock station.

Major arts events

For several years the city has hosted an annual arts festival "ArtsFest" during September, where families can enjoy many of the city's arts, for free. It is said to be the largest free arts festival in the UK. In December 2006 the City Council announced that it would no longer hold Artsfest. [http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/mail/news/columnists/thestirrer/news/tm_method=full%26objectid=18192354%26siteid=50002-name_page.html] , but it seems set to continue in 2008.

References

Konow, David. "Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal" (New York: Crown, 2002) ISBN 0-609-80732-3

External links

* [http://www.birmingham-alive.com Birmingham Alive!]
* [http://www.createdinbirmingham.com Created in Birmingham]
* [http://www.artsfest.org.uk Birmingham ArtsFest]
* [http://www.macarts.co.uk mac (Midlands Arts Centre)]
* [http://www.bhamcomfest.co.uk Birmingham Comedy Festival]


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