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Revealed! Exciting events planned for Coventry – if we win UK City of Culture 2021

9 June 2017

Theatre in shop fronts, celebrations in the streets, poetry along the ring road and a dance spectacle on a car park roof – these are just some of the ideas in the pipeline if Coventry wins the UK City of Culture title in 2021.

The city’s initial bid document is now being judged by a panel of experts and, while the programme remains largely under wraps, the team has revealed some of the ideas they hope will help clinch the title.

The former Fishy Moores chippy, home to the first ever Shop Front Theatre, will help stage a pilot Shop Front Festival in 2018 and it is hoped a week-long festival could make it to the city in 2021.

It would see shops in the city centre taken over with dance, lighting, music, visual art and performance from Coventry, the UK, Europe and the USA.

As well as this, first ever Streets of Cultures celebration would see 21 streets across the city given the opportunity to shape and showcase City of Culture right on their doorstep.

From Wainbody to Wood End, the 21 streets would be given the means to explore what City of Culture could look like to them. It could be anything from front gardens landscaped by an artist, to a documentary film about their road, a food festival, pavement poetry or a new street choir.

The project has been devised to create lasting relationships between neighbours and communities, decreasing isolation and increasing pride.

The team behind the bid has also revealed its idea to create the Coventry Ring Road poem – the first 2.2 mile poem that can only be experienced in full by travelling around the ring road.

On top of that, local arts company Motionhouse Dance, who are performing in Aarhus European Capital of Culture in September and wowed audiences at last year’s Godiva Festival with their gravity-defying diggers, will create a large-scale dance spectacle on the roof of a Coventry car park.

With more than 200 projects submitted so far, alongside workshops with people from all over the city, the team behind Coventry’s bid is looking to put together the most ambitious programme yet that could only happen in the city.

Programme coordinator Emma Harrabin said: “Although we are able to release some of the exciting ideas that are coming out of the city, we are in a competition so must keep most of our cards close to our chest.

“We are still open to new ideas and our work in the community will continue right up to the submission of a final bid document in the hope we are shortlisted in June.

“Although we will only be able to include 30 to 40 ideas in the document itself, we expect the year to consist of more than 1,000 events – so this is just the beginning.

“We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity that has come out of the city already and are excited to see how the programme continues to progress.”

Laura McMillan, manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, added: “Coventry is a city of reinvention that has been moving people by cycle, car and jet engine for centuries and is now moving people through culture.

“Our programme will celebrate the diversity of our city, shining a light on the contribution of our communities and young people to Coventry. Coventry’s City of Culture year will bring surprise, spectacle and wonder and will create memorable moments that could only happen here.”

Young dancer and choreographer Louis Lewinson, a member of the Trust’s executive group, said: “Opportunities like this don’t usually happen for people like me, I want to bring the City of Culture messages to where I live and make sure that everybody feels like this bid is for them.

“People need to see that their voice is important and should be heard, be that on social media, at workshops and events or in their own communities on the streets.”

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