Running from March to September 2022 as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will feature hundreds of creative commissions across the region, benefitting hundreds of artists and thousands of participants, communities and audiences.

To bring the festival to life, £12million of funding has been independently fundraised by an in-house team. As previously announced, major support has been dedicated by Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer at the Birmingham 2022 Festival said; “The fantastic support of our partners and funders has enabled the Birmingham 2022 Festival to become the most ambitious cultural festival ever connected to a Commonwealth Games, animating the city and wider region with a celebration of creativity across the West Midlands.”

Announced today, a core programme of projects and productions within the festival will explore LGBTQIA+ stories within Birmingham and beyond, supported in part by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Paul Hamlyn Foundation uses its resources to support social change, working towards a just and equitable society in which everyone, especially young people, can realise their full potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives.

Among these projects will be The Healing Gardens of Bab, a multi-disciplinary arts programme designed by Birmingham’s LGBTQIA+ communities in collaboration with artists from across the Commonwealth, offering transformative experiences and a space for respite, healing and discourse through performing arts, participation and design. More details will be revealed in early 2022.

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has also committed generous support toward the execution of these mass participation events. One such example is a project supporting the LGBTQIA+ community to come together during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, providing a social safe space.

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and will continue to support activity in the region.

Throughout the festival, a number of commissions will present new work from international artists from across the Commonwealth. Canada Council for the Arts have granted funding to support a number of artistic projects throughout the Birmingham 2022 Festival linking Canadian artists and performers with West Midlands creatives.

Previously announced funded projects include Critical Mass supported by Spirit of 2012, Creative City Grants funded by Birmingham City Council and a series of international research and development projects made possible thanks to the British Council.

The Birmingham 2022 Festival will open on 17 March 2022 with Wondrous Stories created by world renowned and Leamington Spa based dance-circus company, Motionhouse. This free to attend spectacular show will transform Centenary Square in Birmingham with an extraordinary production featuring a giant aerial spectacle with a flying book and a colossal globe alongside innovative digital projections and a cast of over 300.

More information on the Birmingham 2022 Festival can be found at birmingham2022.com/festival. The full programme of events will be announced in early 2022.