BPREVIEW: A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 @ Various 10-26.05.18

BPREVIEW: A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 @ Various 10-26.05.18

Words by Ed King

Running from 10th to 26th May, A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 comes to venues across Birmingham – presenting a programme of events, talks, tours and exhibitions that use ‘arts and culture to encourage open and honest conversation about death and dying.’

A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 has activities suitable for all ages, from children as young as 4 years and upwards – as programmed and run by Brum YODO. For direct festival information, including venue details and online tickets for each event, click here.

Birmingham Review first came across Brum YODO, a‘diverse community collective including health professionals, undertakers, artists, hospice staff and lawyers’, when they were part of the panel discussion following Lucy Nicholls and Antonia Beck’s The Death Show at Birmingham REP – exploring themes from funerals to the fear of finality.

The continuation of the ‘bottomless pit conversation about our own mortality’ though a festival programme was mentioned, and being both obsessed with and skeptical about discussions on death I kept the event on my editorial radar. Then, as with all things final yet sudden, the time had come and I was woefully under prepared. Luckily, and unlike the afterlife or void, there were press releases. So, what can we expect from this year’s ‘festival of arts and cultural activities focusing on death and dying’.

Opening A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 are two events – the exhibition Et in Arcadia Ego by Charlotte Jarvis, being held at Ort Café (10th May to 21st June, free entry) and a screening of Sleepy Hollow at The Electric Cinema with a taste-along from the gloriously macabre Conjurer’s Kitchen (10th May at 8pm, £20.70 – £25.90).

Et in Arcadia Ego sees artist Charlotte Jarvis collaborate with Professor. Hans Clevers and Dr Jarno Drost from the Hubrecht Institute ‘to grow her own tumour’. Why..? This innovative approach ‘aims to examine mortality and create a dialogue with and about cancer’ whilst confronting one of the world’s biggest killers by staring directly at it. Grown specifically for the purpose. As for eating a specially created platter to compliment Tim Burton’s adaptation of Washington Irving’s ghoulish nightmare, beset with headless horsemen and headless villages… I suspect beetroot might make an appearance.

A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 continues with a programme of talks and workshops, including How to Have a Fabulous Funeral at the John Lewis Community Hub (11th May from 10:30am to 11:30am, free), Climbing a Mountain – free creative workshop for children and families at Library of Birmingham (12th May from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, free), A Matter of Life & Death Marketplace at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (13th May from 11:00am – 3:00pm, free) Dying Matters – Ask the Funeral Director at The Coffin Works (16th May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm) and Call the *Soul* Midwife at mac (17th May from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, free). 

Theatre plays a part on the programme for A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018, as Bootworks Theatre Company present The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad at the Children’s Library (12th May from 12:30pm to 1:30pm, £5) – where younger audiences are invited to follow Frank, ‘an inquisitive chap with a big problem: he’s just lost his mum’, in a show about ‘bereavement for kids and their accompanying grown-ups.’ Then there’s The Birth of Death at Friction Arts/The Edge (19th May from 7:30, £8:50) – where Joanne Tremarco explores the often taboo subject of death by ‘drawing on end of life conversations with her mother, training as a death doula and adventures as a Lucid Dreamer.’

Whilst further film comes in the form of A Love That Never Dies, again at The Electric Cinema (21st May from 8:50pm, £7.80) – where Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds travel across North America, following the death of their son, to ‘find out why, in a world where death will always make front page news, real life conversations about death, dying and bereavement are so problematic.’

But perhaps one of the highlights of A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 (especially to a man who can’t keep his gob shut or mind free of thoughts on eternity) is Death Over Dinner at Stirchley Baths (12th May from 6:30pm to 10:30pm, £35) – where patrons can enjoy an eclectic cuisine, ‘fragrant, sumptuous and from around the world, reflecting the global nature of death’, whilst watching a series of talks and performances exploring death and our relationship with it. Probably a bad idea for a Tinder date, but fascinating in both content and approach.

A Matter of Life & Death Festival 2018 will be holding events across a variety of venues in and around  Birmingham, running from 10th to 26th May. For direct event information, including the full festival programme and links to online ticket sales, visit www.brumyodo.org.uk/matter-life-death 

For more on Brum YODO, visit www.brumyodo.org.uk

BPREVIEW: Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 25-27.08.17

Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 25-27.08.17

Words by Heather Kincaid

As the holidays draw to a close, Factory Cinema Co. invites audiences to see out the summer with a series of cinematic classics over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Making the most of the last of the August weather, five outdoor screenings will transform the Custard Factory courtyard into one of Birmingham’s biggest cinema spaces.

Films scheduled for outdoor screenings are: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (25th), The Lion King (26th), Grease (26th), Back to the Future (27th), Batman (27th). The Mockingbird Cinema will also be hosting its regular progamme of films, but on the indoor screen. For full details of all screenings at the Custard Factory this Bank Holiday Weekend, indoor and outdoor, click here.

Street food, snacks and a fully licensed bar will all be available to attendees, with a promise of prices more reasonable than the average multiplex. To add to the laid-back summer party atmosphere the area will also undergo something of a makeover, with artificial turf laid down and audiences invited to ‘BYOPCB’ (bring your own pillows, cushions and blankets). Fancy dress, as well as singing and dancing along to musical numbers are all encoThe Rocky Horror Show - Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 25.08.17uraged – there’ll even be spot prizes for the best costumes.

But perhaps best of all there’s something to appeal to all ages, with family-friendly showings of The Lion King and Back to the Future taking place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon respectively, while The Rocky Horror Picture ShowGrease and Tim Burton’s Batman provide more grown-up evening entertainment, followed by late-night after parties.

Working in partnership with The Mockingbird Cinema and Supersonic Events, Factory Cinema Co. has been establishing itself as a key component of the Custard Factory’s creative community. A string of successful events held at The Mockingbird have ranged from brand new releases for just £4, to music tributes, movie quizzes and sing-along specials. Themed nights, marathons and anniversary screenings have proved particularly popular, with fans of everything from Moulin Rouge to Phoenix Nights getting the chance to show their appreciation with fellow enthusiasts.

Grease - Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 26.08.17Since the project to redevelop the complex first got underway in 1993, Digbeth’s Custard Factory has undergone several permutations, evolving and changing as businesses have come and gone with varying degrees of success. But the former Bird’s Factory was recently sold on to private investment and asset management company, Oval Real Estate, together with the nearby Fazeley Studios.

This change is a much larger conversation with a multitude of voices, but the programme of events at The Mockingbird – and those being put forward by Factory Cinema Co. – could play a significant part in securing a future for Digbeth-based creative complex. It is hard to imagine a Custard Factory today without the previous programme of events from The Medicine Bar and Factory Club. So watch this space… no pun.

For full details of the Bank Holiday Weekend outdoor screenings, click here.

For more on Factory Cinema Co. and its events, visit www.facebook.com/factorycinemaco

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mockingbirdcinema.com

For more on Supersonic, visit www.supersonicfestival.com

For more on the Custard Factory, visit www.custardfactory.co.uk