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.

Ariel in The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company (photograph: Topher McGrillis) Ariel in The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company (photograph: Topher McGrillis)

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 2017-18

The full list of Cultural Programme activities for the 2017-18 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. Some of these events are reviewed by students on our Liberal Arts blog.

September 2017

  • Coriolanus at the Royal Shakespeare Company – Coriolanus transports us back to the emergence of the republic of Rome. A full-throttle war play that revels in the sweat of the battlefield.

2017 RSC Production of Coriolanus, photo by Helen MaybanksCoriolanus (Photograph: Helen Maybanks)

October 2017

  • 8 Minutes Dance Exchange at the Birmingham Hippodrome - 8 Minutes draws inspiration from the images and data of solar science research to explore the spectacular forces at work in the universe.
  • Acosta Dance at the Birmingham Hippodrome - Following an exceptional career as a ballet star, international dance icon Carlos Acosta launches his brand new company, Acosta Danza, in the UK.
  • Diffraction with Professor Johnny Golding – A LANS Distinguished Lecture about diffraction, entanglement and the sensuous unnatural act of art. 
  • Lemn Sissay: Some Thing Dark at the Midlands Arts Centre - A rare chance to see a dramatic reading of the acclaimed one-man play by celebrated performance poet, Lemn Sissay.
  • TAMED with Professor Alice Roberts at Town Hall Birmingham – Alice Roberts delves into archaeology, history and genetics to reveal the amazing stories of the species that became our allies. 

Acosta DanceAcosta Dance

November 2017

  • Benjamin Grosvenor Piano Concert at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – We welcome one of the finest exponents of British pianism, Benjamin Grosvenor, for an evening of captivating French and German music.
  • Medusa at the Midlands Arts Centre – Through a contemporary setting, we see how Medusa’s story is still relevant today, a myth whose subversion reveals an epic tragedy of our modern age.
  • Sorry at the Birmingham REP – One millennial stands before you, trying to process her three most pressing concerns: job exploitation, crumbling friendship and the apocalypse. She has an overwhelming need to share…and to apologise for it. 
  • Twelfth Night at the Royal Shakespeare Company – Twelfth Night is a tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heartbreaking. Twins are separated in a shipwreck, and forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. 
  • A Life with Elephants at Town Hall Birmingham – Saba Douglas-Hamilton, the highly acclaimed elephant conservationist, shares exciting animal stories and intimate behind the scenes tales of life in Kenya with her young family.
  • Sofia Hultén at IKON Art Gallery – A selection of sculptures, installations and films in the most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by Berlin-based artist Sofia Hultén. 

2017 RSC Production of Twelfth Night, photo by Manuel HarlanTwelfth Night at the RSC (Photograph: Manuel Harlan)

December 2017

  • Wellcome Museum and Royal Academy of Arts – A trip to London to marvel at fascinating and diverse exhibitions.
  • The Nutcracker at 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. 

January 2018

  • Arsehammers and Adult Child/Dead Child at the Crescent Theatre – A reimagining of two Claire Dowie monologues as full-cast one-act plays with young ensembles.
  • An Evening of Music and Dance at Symphony Hall – Birmingham Royal Ballet and the acclaimed orchestra Royal Ballet Sinfonia host an evening of world-class music and dance.
  • 2018 Basketball Cup Finals at Arena Birmingham – The biggest day in the British Basketball calendar. The best male and female ballers in the UK showcase their skills in front of 10,000 fans.

February 2018

  • Film Night in the Main Lecture Theatre – film, pizza and drinks on campus, with the films chosen by LANS students.
  • Cinderella at the Birmingham Hippodrome – Matthew Bourne’s thrilling and evocative love story, set in London during the Second World War.
  • Pictures at an Exhibition at Symphony Hall Birmingham – Mussorgsky’s concert is a jewel-box of irresistible tunes, fabulous stories and glowing colours.
  • DanceXchange presents Macbeth at the Birmingham Hippodrome – A multi-award-winning dance company present a striking dance adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
  • Carmina Burana at Symphony Hall Birmingham – Monks behaving badly: terrific tunes and thoroughly reprehensible fun based on poems and texts satirising the Catholic Church.
  • When art and science collide with Daniel Glaser – A LANS Distinguished Lecture about how interdisciplinary practice can open opportunities for new audiences to find a voice. 

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella. Photo by Simon AnnandMatthew Bourne's Cinderella (Photograph: Simon Annand)

March 2018

  • The Story of Nina Simone at Birmingham REP – Olivier Award-nominated actress Josette Bushell-Mingo mixes story and song as she draws together tales from the life and career of Nina Simone.
  • Imaging Imagining – An exhibition of images, video stills, drawings and paintings by our students exploring the theme ‘Stop Start’ as part of the University Arts and Science Festival.
  • Motionhouse presents CHARGE at Birmingham Hippodrome – Six performers use dance and acrobatics to delve deep into the human body, tracing the incredible story of energy in our lives.
  • The Kite Runner at Birmingham REP – A haunting tale of friendship spanning cultures and continents, based on Khaled Hosseini’s international best-selling novel.
  • Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 at Imperial War Museum – The UK’s first major exhibition of artistic responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks in 9/11.

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.