- Arts in Birmingham
This article is about
cultureand the artsin the city of Birmingham, England. It covers both notable history and notable contemporary activities.
Birmingham has had a vibrant and varied musical history in popular pop and rock music, since the 1950s.
Fifties bands such as
Billy King and the Nightriders, Pat Wayne and The Deltas and The Dominettes gave rise in the following decade to the Brum Beatera of the early 1960s featuring early progressive rock and bluesbands such as The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, The Fortunes, The Rockin Berries, The Idle Race, The Moody Bluesand The Move(members of the last two going on to form The Electric Light Orchestraand Wizzard).
Brum Beatera of the early 1960s featured early progressive rock and bluesbands such as The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, The Fortunes, The Rockin Berries, The Idle Race, The Moody Bluesand The Move(members of the last two going on to form The Electric Light Orchestraand Wizzard).
The city is often cited as the birthplace of
heavy metal musicInote|Konow|Konow in the late 1960s, with Judas Priestand Black Sabbathcoming from Birmingham. Robert Plantand John Bonham, later members of Led Zeppelinand being local to the city, played in bands which were part of the Birmingham music scene, they performed and rehearsed frequently in the city. Rob Halfordof Judas Priest attributes the band's success to "'Birmingham having that [...] tough, working-class feeling [...] We weren't born with a silver spoonin our mouths. We had to go to work and work really hard. Some people that work in a coal mineor work in the car industry might argue and say, 'These guys haven't worked a day in their lives.' That's not true. To be in a band – to be in a worldwide, successful band – is incredibly hard work." [http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050610/ENT/506100344/1031/NEWS03]
Also in the late 1960s, there were psychedelic rock bands, such as
Bachdenkel, who "Rolling Stone" called “Britain’s Greatest Unknown Group”.
In the 1970s members of The Move and The Moody Blues formed the
Electric Light Orchestraand Wizzard. In the 1970s, Birmingham's increasing West Indianpopulation contributed to the popularity of reggae, with Steel Pulse's ground-breaking album " Handsworth Revolution" being a notable product of the time.
As the 1980s arrived, the Rum Runner
nightclubplayed a significant role in rock music in the city, particularly in the case of New Romanticsupergroup Duran Duran. Dexys Midnight Runners, Stephen "Tintin" Duffy and The Bureaualso emanated from the city's music scene at this time.
Political skiffle was, for a short time in the mid-1980s, a notable Birmingham sound - led by bands such as
Terry & Gerry.
The hip hop scene dates back to at least 1980, and has produced popular performers like
Moorish Delta 7and Brothers and Sisters. The city had a pirate radio stationcalled 'Fresh F.M.' which broadcast from the city. The station played hip hop and breakdance records and inspired a rap crew called Jumpwho released two records, 'We Come to Jam' and 'Feel It', as early as 1985. In 1980 a Birmingham rapper 'Sure Shot' appeared on a UK breakfast show, followed in 1985, a hip hop collective named Jump (which included Sure Shot) released two records; 'We Come to Jam' and 'Feel It'. The crew formed 'The Audio Kings' and 'The Black Prophetz'.
Later in the 1980s,
Grindcoremusic, a blend of punk and heavy metal, was pioneered in the city by Napalm Death. The Charlatans, Dodgy, Felt, The Lilac Time, and Ocean Colour Scenewere other notable rock bands founded in the city and its surrounding area in this period. Pop Will Eat Itselfformed in nearby Stourbridgeand consisted of Birmingham band members, as did Neds Atomic Dustbin.
The city embraced the national
acid housescene (see Birmingham House music scene), supported by local figures such as the late Tony De Vit, Steve Lawlerand Scott Bond. Acid housenights such as Spectrum took place at the Digbeth Institute(now the Sanctuary), C.R.E.A.M., the Hummingbird (now the Carling Academy Birmingham), and The Que Club (one of the biggest clubs the city has ever had). Birmingham has given birth to some of the UK's most influential dance nights Gatecrasher, Sundissential, Atomic Jam, and later, Gods Kitchen. Successful house musicians and DJs included the late Tony De Vit, Steve Lawler, Steve Kelley, Scott Bond, Jem Atkins, Al McKenzie, Colin Dred, The Ryan Brothers, Mark Jarman, Patrick Smooth, Tall Pauland Jeremy Sylvester.
Electronic artists include
electro dubmusic creators Rockers Hi-Fi, Big Beatmusicians Bentley Rhythm Ace, UK garage/house act The Streets, and Electronicabands Broadcast, Pram, Plone, Surgeon, Add N to X, Electribe 101, Mistys Big Adventure, Editorsand Avrocar.
Electroacoustic and experimental music emerged in the city, via ensembles such as BEAST.
The city's cultural diversity also contributed to the blend of
bhangraand raggapioneered by Apache Indianin Handsworth. When hip hop performer Afrika Bambaatavisited Britain he inspired new rappersand hip hop DJs including Moorish Delta 7Elements, Roc1, Mad Flow, Creative Habits, Lord Laing and DJ Sparra (twice winner of the DMCmixing championships). Brothers and Sisters took place in the 'Coast to Coast' club in the old ATV television studios on Broad Street in the early 1990s. Then came Fungle Junk, held for many years beneath House musicclub ' Fun'., and bringing The Psychonaughts, Andy Weatheralland the Scratch Pervertsto the city.
List of notable historical musical artists
Successful Birmingham singer/songwriters and musicians include:
Joan Armatrading, Steve Gibbons, Mike Kellie(of Spooky Tooth),Keith Law (Velvett Fogg & Jardine) Jeff Lynne, Phil Lynott, Carl Palmer(of Emerson Lake and Palmer), Roy Wood, Jamelia, Kelli Dayton of The Sneaker Pimps, Martin Barre(guitarist with Jethro Tull), Bev Bevan, Ali Campbell, Steve Cradock(guitarist for Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller), Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Denny Laine, Fritz Mcintyre(keyboardist of Simply Red), Christine Perfect(of Fleetwood Mac), Robert Plant (born in West Brom and played in Brumbeat bands), Nick Rhodes, Ranking Roger, John Henry Rostill(bass guitarist/composer for The Shadows), Matt Skinner, Dave Swarbrick(of Fairport Convention), John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Ruby Turner, Ted Turner(guitar/vocals, Wishbone Ash), Peter Overend Watts, Steve Winwoodand Dave Mason. Nick Masonof Pink Floydwas born in the city and was brought up in London.
List of songs about Birmingham"
"See also: "
Birmingham-based tape recorder company, Bradmatic Ltd helped develop and manufacture the
Mellotron. Over the next 15 years, the Mellotron had a major impact on rock music and is a trademark sound of the progressive rock bands.
Contemporary bands and labels
Many varieties of electronic and dance music continue to cross-fertilise in the city with acts such as
Bentley Rhythm Ace, The Streets, Rockers Hi-Fi, Editors, Surgeon, Mistys Big Adventure, Munchbreak, and Broadcast.
Notable dance music record labels include
Network records(of Altern8fame), Different Drummer, Urban Dubz Records, Badger promotions, Jibbering records, Iron Man, Earkoand Munchbreak records. Punch Records, in the Custard Factory, run street dance and DJ training courses.
Independent shops in the city selling
vinylrecords include Swordfish Records, Tempest Records, Jibbering records, Punch Records, Old School Daze, Dance Music Finder Records, Three Shades Records and Hard To Find Records, which is the original 'dance music finder' in the UK and now trades as one the largest vinyl record and DJ shops in the world. Summit Records sells mainly reggaeand doubles as an Afro Caribbeanbarbers.
Contemporary Venues and Music Festivals
Birmingham's current music venues - large and small - include Symphony Hall at the ICC, The
National Indoor Arena, Carling Academy Birmingham, the National Exhibition Centre, The CBSO Centre, The Glee Club, The Adrian Boult Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire, The Yardbird, mac (Midlands Arts Centre) at Cannon Hill Park, The Custard Factory, the Drum Arts Centre, The Jam House, and pub and bar venues including The Rainbow (Digbeth), The Bull's Head (in the suburb of Moseley), The Cross (Moseley), the Ceol Castle (Moseley), the Hare and Hounds (Kings Heath), Scruffy Murphy's, the Jug of Ale, The Queen's Arms (city centre), a branch of Barfly and the Hibernian. Leftfootis a soul jazz and funk night that has featured on BBC Radio 1. Party in the Parkis Birmingham's largest annual music festival, at Cannon Hill Park, where up to 30,000 revellers of all ages listen to popular chart music.
The newest music festival that Birmingham has to offer is [http://www.Gigbeth.com/ Gigbeth] , first piloted in March 2006 and now annual on the first weekend of November in Digbeth. Gigbeth is a music festival celebrating local independent music from the West Midlands.
Jazzis popular in the city. Many venues support a jazz scene in the city, often promoted by [http://www.birminghamjazz.co.uk/ Birmingham Jazz] . Jazz musicians associated with the city include Soweto Kinch, Julian Arguelles, Ronnie Ball, Tony Kinsey, Douglas "Dougle" Robinsonand King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys.
The busiest promoter of contemporary jazz in the city is the voluntary organisation
Birmingham Jazz, which mounts dozens of concerts every year featuring local, national and international artists in venues such as the CBSO Centre, the mac arts centre, the Glee Club and Symphony Hall. It enjoys the support of the city council and the Arts Council of Englandand also commissions new works from both local performers and performers of international standing.
Birmingham Triennial Music Festivaltook place from 1784–1912 and was considered the grandest of its kind throughout Britain. Music was written for the festival by Mendelssohn, Gounod, Sullivan, Dvořák, Bantock and most notably Elgar, who wrote four of his most famous choral pieces for Birmingham. Albert William Ketèlbeywas born in Alma Street, Aston on 9 August 1875, the son of a teacher at the Vittoria School of Art. Ketèlbey attended the Trinity College of Music, where he beat the runner-up, Gustav Holst, for a musical scholarship.
Groups, venues and orchestras
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's home venue is Symphony Hall, which in acoustic terms is widely considered to be one of the greatest concert halls of the twentieth century and also hosts concerts by many visiting orchestras.
Other professional orchestras based in the city include the
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, a chamber orchestra specialising in modern music with some world premieres; the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, who give concert performances under music director Barry Wordsworth in addition to playing for the Birmingham Royal Ballet; and Ex Cathedra, one of the country's oldest and most respected early-music and Baroque period instrument ensembles.
Birmingham is an important centre for musical education as the home of the
UCE Birmingham Conservatoire, founded in 1859. The Royal College of Organistsis based in Digbeth.
Birmingham Royal Balletresides in the city as does the Elmhurst School for Dance, based in Edgbaston, and which claims to be the world's oldest vocational dance school.
Birmingham's professional opera company - the
Birmingham Opera Company- specialises in staging innovative performances in unusual venues (in 2005 it performed Monteverdi's "Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria" in a burnt-out ice rink in the Chinese Quarter). Its artistic director, Graham Vick, has also directed at La Scala, Milan, the Metropolitan Operain New York and the Royal Opera Housein London.
Visiting opera companies such as
Opera Northand Welsh National Operaperform regularly at the Hippodrome.
Birmingham's other principal classical music venues include The
National Indoor Arena(NIA), CBSO Centre, Adrian Boult Hall(ABH) at Birmingham Conservatoire, the Barber Concert Hall at the Barber Institute of Fine Artsand Birmingham Town Hall, currently closed for refurbishment. Concerts also regularly take place in churches around the city including St Phillips Cathedral, St Paul's in the Jewellery Quarter, St Alban's in Highgate and The Oratory on the Hagley Road.
Many famous literary figures have been associated with Birmingham:
W.V. Awdrywrote his first Thomas the Tank Enginein Kings Nortonand remained in the city until 1965.
W. H. Audengrew up in Harborne, Birmingham, and taught for many years at schools in nearby Malvern.
Barbara Cartlandwas born in Edgbastonin 1901. The family home was on Cartland Road, Kings Heath.
Charles Dickensonce gave readings in Birmingham Town Halland was the sixteenth President of The Birmingham and Midland Institute.
Leonard Cottrellwas a Brummie author, archaeologist, commentator, and producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He also worked as a war correspondent for the Royal Air Force, and later became the editor of the Concise Encyclopaedia of Archaeology(1965).
Arthur Conan Doyle[http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/doyle] lived in Astonfrom about Spring 1879 - early 1882 and some of his works include references to people or places he knew there.
Edgar Guestwas born in the city in 1881, moved to America with his family as a boy, and achieved fame there as a poet.
Gerard Manley Hopkinstaught under John Henry Newmanat the Oratory Schoolin Edgbastonwhen he graduated and converted to Catholicism in 1867. It was here that he first developed his ideas of inscapeand instressthat were to prove central to his poetic practice. [ [http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199285457 The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Volume IV: Oxford Essays and Notes 1863-1868] (Description) Oxford University Press General Catalogue]
*William Hutton 1723-1815, moved from Derby to Birmingham at a young age and became well know in the region as a poet and documented the history of the region in many books.
Washington Irving[http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/irving] stayed with his sister in Birmingham for some time, during which he wrote stories including " Rip van Winkle" and " The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". "Bracebridge Hall, or, The Humorists, A Medley" is based on Aston Hall.
Louis MacNeicelectured in classics at the University of Birminghamin the early 1930s, and wrote several poems about the city, including parts of " Autumn Journal".
Enoch Powellwas born and raised in Birmingham, and was a significant poet as well as a politician.
J. R. R. Tolkienspent most of his childhood in the Birmingham area, and his work is much influenced by his time there [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/tolkien] , his parents also came from Birmingham.
Arthur Henry Ward, born in Birmingham, wrote the Fu Manchuthrillers under the pseudonym of Sax Rohmer.
Charles Talbut Onionsworked on the Oxford English Dictionaryand was a prominent etymologist.
*Emma Jane Worboise, known as
Mrs Etherington Guyton, was born in Birmingham in 1825 and was well known for her many novels (including "Overdale", subtitled "The Story of a Pervert").
John Wyndham, author of " The Day of the Triffids", " The Midwich Cuckoos" and many others, was born in nearby Knowleand lived in Edgbaston until he was eight years old.
Jonathan Coewas born and raised in Birmingham, which is the setting of two of his novels "The Rotters' Club" and "The Closed Circle".
Judith Cutler's crime novels are set in present-day Birmingham.
Roshan Doughebecame the fifth Poet Laureate for Birmingham in October 2000.
Julie Bodenbecame the seventh Poet Laureate for Birmingham in October 2002.
*David Lodge taught and wrote in the city, which appeared as "Rummage" in his books.
Benjamin Zephaniahis a black dub poet from Handsworth who tackles prejudice, poverty and injustice.
The city also has literary publishers such as
Tindal Street Pressand hosts The Young Book Reader UK festival, as well as an online literary community called [http://www.birminghamwords.co.uk/ Birmingham Words] .
Famous stage names
Kenneth Peacock Tynanand David Edgar are possibly Birmingham's most famous members of the theatrical scene. The Birmingham School of Actingtrains actors in the city.
There are many theatres in Birmingham. The four largest professional theatres are the
Alexandra Theatre("the Alex"), Birmingham Repertory Theatre("The Rep"), the Birmingham Hippodromeand the Old Rep. The "mac" and Drum arts centres, the Crescent Theatreand the Old Joint Stock Theatrealso host many professional plays. Sutton Coldfield Town Hallhas theatre facilities and hosts numerous amateur productions. The actors in the long-running Radio 4 serial " The Archers" live in and around Birmingham, where the supposedly rural programme is recorded.
Birmingham also hosts a number of independent and community theatre companies, including
Banner Theatrewhich was founded in the city over thirty years ago. Round midnight ltdproduce work for schools, colleges and arts centres as well as film, television and radio. For ten years, Birmingham's Fierce!festival has presented a performance art festival. It has recently begun commissioning new works from British and international performers.
Famous comedians from Birmingham include
Sid Field, Tony Hancock, Jasper Carrottand Shazia Mirza. Other leading figures include Jo Enright (Lab Rats, Phoenix Nights, Time Trumpet), Natalie Haynes, James Cook, Weakest Link winner Andy White and Barbara Nice (the creation of actress Janice Connolly). The Glee Club and Birmingham Jongleursare both prominent comedy venues. The Drum Arts Centreand the mac also host monthly comedy sessions while smaller independent comedy promoters/ venues include The Cheeky Monkey Comedy Club (The Station pub, Kings Heath - and the city's longest running independent comedy club), plus The Laughing Sole (in Strichley) and Retort Cabaret (Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath) with other nights at Old Joint Stock Theatre (city centre), Library Theatre and Alexandra Theatre (Real Deal Comedy).
The Birmingham Comedy Festival was founded in 2001 and runs over 10 days at the beginning of October with a line-up that combines leading TV names with rising talent from Birmingham and the West Midlands. The 2008 festival (Oct 3-12), in association with Wye Valley Brewery and supported by BirminghaMail.net, features Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr, Lee Evans, Ken Dodd and Dylan Moran.
History of painting and illustration
David Cox was a famous Birmingham watercolour artist and President of the Associated Artists in Water Colour in 1810.
An "Academy of Arts" was organised in 1814, and an exhibition of paintings took place in Union Passage that year. A School of Design, or "Society of Arts," was started Feb. 7, 1821; Sir Robert Lawley, Bt (the first Lord Wenlock) presenting a valuable collection of casts from Grecian sculpture. The first exhibition was held in 1826, in a building on New Street.
The first Ballot for pictures to be chosen from the Annual Exhibition of Local Artists took place in 1835.
Edward Burne-Joneswas born in Birmingham, spent his first twenty years in the city, and later became the president of the Birmingham Society of Artists (which dates from 1826). He strongly influenced the Birmingham Group, which formed the link between late Romanticism in the visual arts and the Birmingham Surrealistswho were prominent in the city's arts in the early and mid 20th century.
Birmingham Arts Labat Gosta Greenwas an important centre for alternative comic art in the late 1970s; in the 1990s the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery staged a historical retrospective of the work made there.
History of photography
Victorian photographer Sir Benjamin Stone (1838-1914) lived and worked in Erdington, Birmingham. The Birmingham Central Library now holds the [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/benjaminstone Benjamin Stone Collection] . The Victorian "father of art photography",
Oscar Gustave Rejlanderlived and worked at nearby Wolverhampton, and was a founder member of the Birmingham Photographic Society. The BPS later elected Henry Peach Robinsonas a member.
The famous photographer
Bill Brandtmade an extensive series of photographs for the Bournville Village Trust in Birmingham, between 1939 and 1943. These have been published as the book "Homes Fit For Heroes" (Dewi Lewis, 2004). The post-war changes in the cityscape, especially the clearance of older housing and the changes to the central markets, were documented by Phyllis Nicklin] (1913?-1969).
In late 1979, Derek Bishton (now Consultant Editor for "The Daily Telegraph"), John Reardon (became Picture Editor of "The Observer"), and Brian Homer were three community photographers and activists in Hnadsworth, and they facilitated [http://www.bmagic.org.uk/results?s=adv&who=Brian+Homer&what=+&where=+&when=+&material=+&theme=+&col= the 'Handsworth Self Portrait' series of self-portraits] on the streets of Handsworth, Birmingham.
History of Typography
John Baskerville(1706-1775) was a noted type designer, the developer of wove paper, and typographic businessman in fine printing. His Baskerville font is still in wide use today. The Birmingham Guild and School of Handicraftsoperated a fine arts small-press, the Press of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. From 1895 until 1919 this Press produced books in the Kelmscott Presstradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. George Kynoch's Kynoch Press(1876-1981) was a Birmingham printing house that substantially contributed to the development of a British typography. The teacher Leonard Jay(1888-1963) made the Birmingham School of Printing a profound influence on a generation of typographers, and set the pattern for printing education worldwide.
Graffiti(or "spraycan art") culture appeared in the early 1980s, with the area featuring in Channel 4documentary "Bombing". Local artists who use urban Birmingham as their canvas (this is illegal, and regarded by some as vandalism) have included Chu and Goldie. Street art competitions are still regularly held at the Custard Factory.
A variety of contemporary public art is located around the city centre, most of it created by artists from outside the Midlands. The construction of the Bull Ring Shopping Centre included three
light wands which were erected at the main entrance, a huge mural on a glass façadelocated at the entrance facing New Street station and three fountains in St Martin's Square in the shape of cubes, which are illuminated at night in different colours. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/your_birmingham/bullring/bullring_art.shtml Artwork of the Bullring] BBC]
Contemporary African Caribbean artists and photographers who have exhibited internationally include
Pogus Caesar, Keith Piperand the late Donald Rodney.
Current art galleries
The Barber Institute of Fine Artsis housed at the University of Birminghamand although only a small gallery it was declared 'Gallery of the Year' by the Good Britain Guide 2004.
*Birmingham has one of the largest collections of
Pre-Raphaeliteart in the world at The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
Ikon Galleryis housed in a neo-gothicformer school in Brindleyplaceand showcases modern art. Number 9 The Galleryis close by.
Halcyon Galleryis located inside the International Convention Centre. It opened with a major retrospective of Robert Lenkiewicz, and has continued with exhibitions by artists as diverse as Rolf Harrisand L. S. Lowry.
*The Waterhall gallery in the
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallerydisplays a regular showcase of modern art which includes local artists and others sometimes from the city's own extensive collection.
Harborne Gallery, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artistsand the 'New Gallery' in St Paul's square also shows local artists.
*The old Bird's
Custard Factoryis now one of the largest media and arts villages in Europe, with occasional exhibitions and modern sculptureand water features.
*The mac hosts
theatreperformances, concerts, literature and poetry showcases, courses, film screenings and small art exhibitions.
Drum Arts Centrefeatures works of African, Asian and Caribbean contemporary artists.
Selly Oakball park is home to many graffiti murals that change on a regular basis. Other graffiti art can be seen across the city on disused buildings and canal towpaths as well as subways.
There are a variety of other small and private galleries in the city.
Albert Austin(born 13 December 1881 or 1885) was an actor, film star, director and script writer, primarily in the days of silent movies. He was born in Birmingham. He worked for Charlie Chaplin's Stock Company and played supporting roles in many of Chaplin's films, and working as his assistant director.
In the 1920s
Oscar Deutschopened his first Odeon cinema in the UK in Perry Barr. By 1930 the Odeon was a household name and still thrives today.
In 1930 the
Birmingham Film Societywas set up.
Electric Cinemaon Station Street is still open and is said to be the oldest working cinema in the UK.
The first known Birmingham
newspaperwas the "Birmingham Journal", which was published by Thomas Warrenfrom 1732 and whose early contributors included Samuel Johnson. [cite web|url=http://www.search.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/engine/resource/exhibition/standard/child.asp?txtKeywords=&lstContext=&lstResourceType=&lstExhibitionType=&chkPurchaseVisible=&txtDateFrom=&txtDateTo=&x1=&y1=&x2=&y2=&scale=&theme=&album=&viewpage=%2Fengine%2Fresource%2Fexhibition%2Fstandard%2Fchild%2Easp&originator=&page=&records=&direction=&pointer=&text=&resource=4215&exhibition=1310&offset=8|title=Johnson in Birmingham|accessdate=2008-01-05|work=Revolutionary Players of Industry and Innovation|publisher=Museums, Libraries and Archives - West Midlands|quote= ] The most notable of the town's early newspapers however was " Aris's Birmingham Gazette", which was founded in 1741 and continued publishing until 1956. [cite web|url=http://www.newsplan.co.uk/wm_newsplan/modules.php?name=history|title= Newspaper history in the West Midlands region|accessdate=2008-05-26|year=2005|work=|publisher=NEWSPLAN West Midlands]
Birmingham now has two local daily newspapers - the "
Birmingham Post" and the " Birmingham Mail" - as well as the " Sunday Mercury", all owned by the Trinity Mirror, who also produce " The Birmingham News", a weekly freesheet distributed to homes in the suburbs along with "Forward" (formerly "Birmingham Voice"), the Birmingham City Council's free newspaper distributed to homes and via community centres and public buildings. Several local newspapers serve Birmingham including the " Sutton Coldfield Observer" and " Sutton Coldfield News" for the area of Sutton Coldfield.
Birmingham is also the hub for various national
ethnicmedia, including The Voice, The Sikh Times, Desi Xpress, The Asian Today [ [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/newspapers Newspapers in Birmingham] Birmingham.gov.uk] and Raj TV(based in The Mailbox [ [http://www.raj.tv/info/contact.aspx Raj TV contact] ] ). National showbiz magazine Ikonzis based in Birmingham, one of the few outside of London.
The area was one of the first to receive programming from the new
ITVnetwork in 1956. The networks' original representatives were Associated TeleVision(ATV) who served the area during the week and ABC Weekend TV who broadcast at the weekends. In 1968 ATV won the contract to serve the area seven days a week and built new studios off Broad Street at the heart of the city featuring the landmark Alpha Tower. In 1982 ATV was reorganised and became Central Independent Television, which was rebranded as Carlton Central in 1999 and again as ITV Central in 2004. ITV's Birmingham studios are famous for many shows, including " Tiswas", "Crossroads" and Bullseye.
Current stations and programmes
BBChas two facilities in the city. The Mailboxin the city centre is the location for the national headquarters of BBC English Regions, [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/about.shtml About Us - Information about BBC English Regions] BBC] the regional headquarters and television centre for BBC West Midlandsand the headquarters of the BBC Birminghamnetwork production centre. It is here programmes including " Midlands Today" and the world's longest running radio soap opera, " The Archers", are produced. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2005/01/13/bbc_at_mailbox_feature.shtml BBC Birmingham Features] ] The overnight programmes of BBC Radio 2are also broadcast from here.
BBC Drama Village, based in Selly Oak, is a production facility specialising in television drama and is the home of nationally networked programmes such as " Dalziel & Pascoe" and "Doctors". [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/05_may/09/drama_village.shtml Lights, campus, action for BBC Birmingham's Television Drama Village] BBC Press Release] Before 2004 the BBC's Birmingham home was at the famous Pebble Mill Studios. Sky TVhas its own news team bureau based in the University of Birmingham's Aston Campus. Local cable and satellite broadcasters include the Natural Health Channeland Asia 1TV.
Major arts events
For several years the city has hosted an annual arts festival "
ArtsFest" during September, where families can enjoy many of the city's arts, for free. It is said to be the largest free arts festival in the UK. In December 2006 the City Council announced that it would no longer hold Artsfest. [http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/mail/news/columnists/thestirrer/news/tm_method=full%26objectid=18192354%26siteid=50002-name_page.html] , but it seems set to continue in 2008.
Konow, David. "Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal" (New York: Crown, 2002) ISBN 0-609-80732-3
* [http://www.birmingham-alive.com Birmingham Alive!]
* [http://www.createdinbirmingham.com Created in Birmingham]
* [http://www.artsfest.org.uk Birmingham ArtsFest]
* [http://www.macarts.co.uk mac (Midlands Arts Centre)]
* [http://www.bhamcomfest.co.uk Birmingham Comedy Festival]
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