Liberal Arts and Sciences Cultural Programme

Our students experience a range of exciting visits and events.

We bring poets, writers, academics and scientific specialists to speak to you on campus, whilst also organising trips beyond the University to theatres and exhibitions. We hope this will deepen your understanding of the relationship between the University, the wider community, and significant cultural organisations.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story at Warwick Arts Centre (photograph: Ben Caplan)

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story at Warwick Arts Centre (photograph: Ben Caplan)

There have been many events since the Cultural Programme was introduced with an inaugural guest lecture from Mervyn Morris, the Poet Laureate of Jamaica. Highlights have included a performance of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, a gothic romantic ballet; Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro performed by the Welsh National Opera; and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Doctor Faustus.

Cultural Programme 2018-19

The full list of Cultural Programme activities for the recent academic year is below. We hope this gives you an idea of the exciting and diverse events that you can expect as a Liberal Arts and Sciences student at the University of Birmingham.

October

  • Unspoken at the Birmingham Hippodrome – New drama Unspoken brings to light the lives interrupted and forever changed by war.
  • Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story at Warwick Arts Centre – This Klezmer-folk music-theatre hybrid is inspired by the true stories of two Jewish Romanian refugees immigrating to Canada.

Troilus and Cressida at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (photograph: Helen Maybanks)

Troilus and Cressida at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (photograph: Helen Maybanks)

  • Troilus and Cressida at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie collaborates with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran to create a satirical futuristic vision of a world resounding in battle.
  • What role do the humanities play in our scientific world? – A LANS Distinguished Lecture with Professor Martin Willis about the long history of the humanities and sciences, highlighting those moments where the disciplines have successfully combined, as well as moments of disruption. Watch the lecture.

November

  • I INFINITE at the Midlands Arts Centre – A part-dance, part-video exploration of the boundaries between the digital and organic world. A mesmerising meditation on the digital world’s quest to recreate life.
  • Leningrad Symphony at Symphony Hall – Shostakovich’s Seventh was composed in a city under siege and shaped the course of history. Now it is played with all the energy of the CBSO Youth Orchestra – over 100 of the Midlands’ finest young musicians.
  • Heart of Darkness at the Birmingham REP – This bold new staging of Joseph Conrad’s influential novel is a visually-rich, multi-layered work which fuses live performance with digital technology.
  • Behind the scenes tour of Birmingham Open Media – An opportunity to tour Birmingham Open Media’s galleries and exhibits, whilst speaking with their Engagement Producer to discover some of their ongoing and upcoming creative projects.

Leningrad Symphony performed by the CBSO Youth Orchestra at Symphony Hall

Leningrad Symphony performed by the CBSO Youth Orchestra at Symphony Hall

December

  • The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Hippodrome - The Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of this enchanting winter tale has been a Christmas tradition in the city for over 25 years. 
  • Fashioned from Nature at the V&A – This London exhibition presents fashionable dress alongside natural history specimens, inviting visitors to think about the sources of their clothes.

The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Hippodrome

The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Hippodrome

January

  • Tartuffe at the RSC’s Swan Theatre – Molière’s classic is revived with this brand new version by BAFTA and Emmy-Award winning writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto.
  • Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at Eastside Jazz Club – The return of the ever-popular orchestra.
  • Rachmaninoff and Mahler at Symphony Hall – The renowned St Petersburg Philharmonic perform a rich programme, including Rachmaninoff’s technically challenging Third Piano Concerto.

February

  • BLUE ORANGE at the Birmingham REP – A darkly funny dissection of institutional racism and mental health in modern Britain, as vital now as when it was first written.
  • Unexpected Connections: Different Disciplines in Public Space – A LANS Distinguished Lecture with Rosie Stanbury about how advances in technology have impacted the space around us, our relationships and our access to knowledge.
  • Zakir Hussain and the Symphony Orchestra of India at Symphony Hall – Tabla master Zakir Hussain returns to Birmingham to perform his Peshkar, a table concerto commissioned by India’s National Centre of Performing Arts.

Zakir Hussain and the Symphony Orchestra of India at Symphony Hall

Zakir Hussain and the Symphony Orchestra of India at Symphony Hall

March

  • Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge – A tour of the Heritage Centre, telling the 400-year old story of glass-making with imaginative use of video, photography and artefacts.
  • Paolozzigram at Redditch Kingfisher Shopping Centre – A look at the vernacular of contemporary pop culture and advertising, with a focus on Paolozzi’s mosaics.
  • The Art and Science behind bespoke fine jewellery at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining – A discussion with artist Jessica Pass, delving into the inspiration behind her creations, in which traditional and contemporary techniques come together.
  • LANS Film Night – A showing of The Theory of Everything followed by group discussion.
  • White Collar Charity Boxing – Our academic Ilija Rasovic steps into the ring after only 12 weeks of training to raise money for a humanitarian charity.
  • Gymnastics World Cup at Resorts World Arena – Some of the best gymnasts from around the world compete on the pommel horse, floor, rings, vault, parallel bars, high bars and beam.
  • Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition in the Aston Webb Building – A behind-the-scenes look at Paolozzi’s artwork on our very own campus.
  • Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at Eastside Jazz Club – Another opportunity to see the musical talents of the renowned orchestra. 

A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Birmingham REP

A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Birmingham REP 

May

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Birmingham REP – The European stage premiere of Khaled Hosseini’s spiritual sequel to The Kite Runner.
  • WTA Nature Valley Classic Tennis Tournament at the Edgbaston Priory Club – WTA is a women’s tennis tournament which attracts world-class players to compete in both singles and doubles. Previous champions include Billie Jean King and Maria Sharapova.

Future events

Students are invited to suggest events themselves, so future Cultural Programme activities may encompass your own personal passions and intellectual pursuits.

Distinguished Lectures

We also organise events open to the public, including our Distinguished Lecture series.