Art SOAK 2015: Ex Cathedra Workshop

4-5pm Saturday 21st March at The Hub Hazelwell (B14 7NH), suitable for families.

The lovely people at Ex Cathedra had everybody up and singing at the Connecting Communities Conference on Friday. We had great fun and we’re really looking forward to their Art SOAK workshop on Saturday.

A dynamic and fun singing workshop for people of any age full of call and response songs, part songs and singing activities. No need to read music as all songs will be taught aurally.

We’ll see you there!

Art SOAK 2015: Connecting Communities Exhibition

Saturday 21st March 10am-2pm 2015, Druids Heath Library (B14 5NJ)

DH Library 1 DH Library 2

The exhibition that is the culmination of our Connecting Communities project in Druids Heath is now up and will be in place until after Art SOAK weekend. Pop by to see the wonderful work produced by the people of Druids Heath any time during library opening hours.

Read more about the project and find out about the workshops and events we held. 

DH Library 3 DH Library 4


REP Foundry 2015

Applications for REP Foundry 2015 are now open. REP Foundry is an annual programme for emerging directors, writers, theatre makers and companies from across the West Midlands. This year-long development programme supports artists through workshops, making and sharing work and professional mentoring.

REP Foundry offers 18 participants free professional development through a series of workshops, mentoring and masterclasses – alongside opportunities to share work in front of an audience. Successful applicants will have access to expertise and resources within The REP. Applicants also need to be starting out but committed to making theatre as a career and based in the West Midlands. The scheme is not open to people in full-time education, including undergraduates.

New for this year is the Introduction to Directing Project, as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director’s Scheme, aimed at directors at a much earlier stage in their career.

For emerging directors from the West Midlands we also offer the opportunity to get involved with the JMK Directors group. Run in collaboration with REP Foundry the JMK Directors group meets regularly at The REP and offers workshops, master classes and the opportunity to meet other directors from the region.

This year’s REP Foundry will run from April 2015 – April 2016 for writers and theatre makers, April 2015 – July 2015 for directors.

To apply download and complete one of the application forms opposite and return with an equal opportunities form to by 6pm on Monday 9 March 2015.

Any questions please email:


Art SOAK 2015 Guest Blog: Caroline McDowell, Moving Hands Theatre: Benji in the Jungle

Saturday 21st March 2015, 2.30pm, Yardley Wood Library (Highfield Road, B14 4DU), Ages 3-7.

Research funded by Arts Council England


Moving Hands Theatre have just completed the research and development phase of their latest project, Benji in the Jungle and they can’t wait to share it with us. Find out about their process, the story and what to expect from this exciting new show.

The Research Process

Caroline McDowell (Moving Hands Artistic Director) collaborated with writer Philip Monks, Education officer Fiona King (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and South African award winning musician Frazer Barry (Tribal Echo).

Using a central child character, Benji and simple puppets Caroline and Fiona presented written ideas from year four children, to early years groups in schools.

The end result was the creation of the story ‘Benji in the Jungle’ a performance exactly pitched to the early years.

 Benji 1

The Story line : Benji in the jungle 

Benjis friends have fabulous super fun pets, in comparison Benjis tortoise is a bit of a bore, so Benji fly’s to the jungle in search of a more interesting animal and discovers that wild, exciting and dangerous cant touch his super smart reliable slow and steady tortoise as the perfect pet.

Listen to some of the fantastic music written and developed for the show.

Benji3 Benji4


Artist Feedback: FIONA KING (Education Officer Birmingham REP) “It was great to collaborate with other artists with different strengths to share and develop ideas.
One of the highlights of the project was the students words being used by musicians in South Africa to create songs for the Nursery and Reception classes. The music was superb and really engaged all the early years classes in the performance. The puppets were made from recycled toys and garden materials, which looked fantastic.”

Four Dwellings School “Wow. What a fantastic performance. The children were highly engaged and involved throughout the whole performance. The story line was easy to follow and the children loved joining in with the characters and songs, very appropriate for early years settings… Thank you!”

Allen’s Croft School “Super use of props, kept the children engaged throughout with the easy to follow story line combined with music. I loved it.”

Volunteers Needed!

Can you help?

We’re looking for volunteers to help us make Art SOAK 2015 as wonderful (and smooth-running!) as ever.

We’ll need people to steward events on Saturday 21st March as well as helping in the run-up to the festival delivering print and getting the word out about our fantastic line-up of events.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please get in touch with us at

Art SOAK 2015 Guest Blog: Rob Foster: Stirchley Sketch Crawl

Saturday 21st March, from 11am, Meeting at Bournville Station (B30 1LG)

Free event; suitable for all ages but participants will be walking around the area unsupervised so children must be accompanied and make sure you dress for the weather!



Before the day we make a poster and map available outlining the timings and meeting points for the day as well as a contact number.

We start the crawl at 11:00 at the given point (this time Bournville Station) and after shaking hands and introductions people proceed along the provided route (or their own route if they wish, nothing is compulsory) and draw, paint, sketch or just chat until the mid-point meet-up.

9 10

We stop for a break, usually in a café, pub or eatery of some kind so people can have a bite to eat and a drink and maybe warm up a little at this time of year! We also share some of our mornings’ work (if you wish, no pressure) and see what each other have been sketching.


After the mid-point meet-up some people go home but most carry on along the route, sketching until the final meet-up, also usually in a pub or café; more showing of works and chatting about the day until people are tired and head home.

Following on from the day people can post their work on the Facebook, Flickr and Blog pages where we also share photos from the day as well.

7 2

Stirchley Sketch Crawl Map

Now you know a bit more about a typical Sketch Crawl we hope to see you on the 21st, please get in touch if you have any questions.