Go on, have a go… and be a Commonwealth hero
Join Games’ Gold Coast medallists – and try top sports – at Birmingham’s “Homecoming” event
- City unveils Commonwealth Games “Homecoming” at Victoria Square on Saturday, 21 April, 2018
- Free party set to feature Team England athletes from the Gold Coast
- Public “have-a-go” sessions showcasing Commonwealth Games sports
- Music and dance entertainment including Britain’s Got Talent winner Tokio Myers, who will perform npower’s new version of Jerusalem – Team England’s Official Anthem
Birmingham will host a spectacular open-air “Homecoming” celebration for Team England’s stars of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Victoria Square, Birmingham on Saturday, April 21.
The free public party follows the official handover of the Games’ baton to Birmingham, which will stage the global sporting extravaganza in 2022.
A host of Team England’s athletes from the Gold Coast are expected to attend the event, which starts at midday and runs till 5pm, outside the Council House. The public will get a chance to see the stars, who will also attend a special civic reception.
Inspired by the sporting feats performed in Australia, local people of all ages will get a chance to try a range of “have-a-go” taster sessions, staged by Sport Birmingham, in Victoria Square and adjoining New Street. The wide-range of activities will include basketball, boxing, gymnastics, judo, cycling, rugby 7s – and, of course, netball.
Maybe there will be a future star of Birmingham 2022 among the party-goers? This is the perfect time to find out, with everything to win, and nothing to lose, at the fun taster sessions.
The sporting activities will be complemented by a full programme of live arts performances – including Birmingham’s own stars of the Gold Coast handover ceremony.
Erdington rapper Lady Sanity and city spoken word poet Amerah Saleh, who both took part in the Games’ closing extravaganza on Sunday, will reprise their performances. Film-maker Daniel Alexander, whose two-minute short about Birmingham was broadcast at the Games, will also be replayed on the big screen.
Sharing the stage with Lady Sanity and Amerah will be an exciting line-up of regional performers including Afro-fusion dance group ACE Dance and Music, Humanhood, MDK Crew B-Boys, Birmingham MC P-Shand, Bollywood dancers from Shiamak Company, award-winning vocal group Sons of Pitches, and teenage singer Kellimarie, from Coventry. DJ G-Z and Hi-Wave, led by music director David Austin Grey, will keep the crowds moving. Dance in its many forms will have a prominent role as Birmingham cements its reputation as the “city of dance” and prepares for the Urban Street Festival that will be part of the 2022 Cultural Programme of the Games.
The organisers have also confirmed that Britain’s Got Talent winner Tokio Myers, and The Voice star and athlete Jazmin Sawyers, will be performing npower’s new version of Jerusalem, Team England’s Official Anthem.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham (a civic role and the First Citizen of Birmingham) Councillor Anne Underwood said: “We are delighted to be hosting Homecoming for the stars of the 2018 Games. This exciting free event, in the heart of Birmingham, is a great opportunity to celebrate the UK’s sporting achievements on the Gold Coast and look forward to the Games coming to Birmingham in 2022.
“Birmingham excels at sports and the arts, and we love to party, so Saturday’s homecoming celebration promises to be a great day-out for the whole family.”
The event, compered by Blue Peter’s Radzi Chinyanganya, will be staged by Culture Central with support from partner Sport Birmingham, and National Governing Bodies of sport.
Mike Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Sport Birmingham, said: “We will be staging sporting demos with top athletes as well as fun, have-a-go sessions from 17 different sports for members of the public. All the sports featured at Homecoming will be part of the official programme in Birmingham for the 2022 Games.
“You don’t need to be an expert player or competitor to take part. Far from it. All that’s required is enthusiasm. And who knows, maybe we will uncover a future gold medal winner?”
There will be taster sessions of sports including: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, judo, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling. All the sports will take place at the Birmingham Games.
A packed programme of music and dance will run throughout the afternoon to keep the crowds entertained.
Monique Deletant, deputy CEO of Culture Central, said: “We have assembled an outstanding line-up of singers and dancers for Homecoming, including Bollywood performers and artists championing the best of rap, grime and pop.
“We will once again be celebrating everything that is distinctive about Birmingham’s cultural scene with a focus on dance and music, youth and talent, and featuring the stars of the Handover ceremony.”
The Homecoming party will be delivered by Culture Central, the organisation behind the successful Commonwealth Games Handover and Birmingham Weekender 2017.
About Birmingham 2022
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will demonstrate the very best of Global Britain to the world, showcasing the region’s strengths of: being connected and accessible; youth and inclusivity; and a focus on regeneration and rejuvenation. Birmingham is perfectly positioned to attract people to the Games and to ensure that the benefits of hosting extend from the city and region, to the UK and the Commonwealth.
Birmingham 2022 has the full support of the UK Government, Commonwealth Games England, and the wider Midlands region, including: Birmingham City Council; three regional local enterprise partnerships – Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP; Black Country LEP; Coventry and Warwickshire LEP; the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Mayor of West Midlands; the city’s universities; and the Midlands Engine. In addition, Birmingham 2022 is supported by The Birmingham Commonwealth Association.
About Culture Central
Culture Central is the collective voice and development organisation for culture in the Birmingham City region. Culture Central has been created by a founding group of cultural organisations with the purpose of placing culture and creativity at the centre of economic and social future of the region. Dance Hub Birmingham (DHB) is an initiative of Culture Central, working to amplify and further develop the region’s position as an international centre of excellence for dance.
Culture Central work closely with a growing range of anchor institutions including universities and the business sector alongside an increasingly wide group of cultural and creative organisations to deliver exceptional cultural projects.
Culture Central members include: Ampersand Projects; Aston University; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Birmingham City University; Birmingham Hippodrome; Birmingham Museums Trust; Birmingham Opera Company; Birmingham Repertory Theatre; Birmingham Royal Ballet; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Culture Card; DanceXchange; Ex Cathedra; Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce; Ikon; mac Birmingham; NEC Group; New Alexandra Theatre; Sampad South Asian Arts; Stan’s Café; Town Hall Symphony Hall; Open Theatre Company; University of Birmingham; The Old Rep.
Culture Central: www.culturecentral.co.uk
About Sport Birmingham
Sport Birmingham is here to make a positive difference to people’s lives through sport and physical activity. It is the city’s strategic sports partnership, working as a leading charity to join up policy and investment with delivery partners who bring inclusive and accessible sport and physical activity opportunity to communities. It provides leadership and support through insight, knowledge and expertise to anyone in Birmingham working towards their vision of a more active city and a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.
Sport Birmingham’s vision is that, through sport and physical activity, individuals will lead more active, healthier, happier, longer and more successful lives; and communities will be stronger, more inclusive, more integrated and more resilient. This reflects the ethos of the Commonwealth Games movement, which provides a hugely significant opportunity which the partnership is very excited about.
Sport Birmingham: www.sportbirmingham.org
About Commonwealth Games England
Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We are affiliated to the Commonwealth Games Federation and work closely with the various sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGBs), our funding partner Sport England, commercial sponsors and Organising Committees. Our purpose is to help prepare and support athletes and their sports to achieve success at Games-time.
Team England is the nation’s most inclusive and diverse team, featuring athletes and para athletes from all over the country and an equal gender split across the team. Team England is also one of the nation’s most successful teams.
Commonwealth Games England: www.teamengland.org
About the Artists
ACE Dance and Music: Founded in 1996, Birmingham-based ACE dance and music is a professional dance company based in the West Midlands, under the artistic direction of Gail Parmel and the musical direction of Ian Parmel. ACE dance and music fuse traditional African and Caribbean dance aesthetics with contemporary techniques to create high quality innovative performance work, outreach and education programmes for adults and young people in a variety of formal and informal settings within Birmingham, but also across the UK and internationally as well. ACE dance and music will perform RAGE: witness a riot of carnival colour, dance and the pulsating rhythms of Trinidad as vibrant costumes soar through Victoria Square.
David Austin Grey and his house-band Hi-Wave: David Austin Grey is a pianist, composer and educator. A graduate of the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Conservatoire, David has worked with well-respected musicians including Courtney Pine and Soweto Kinch. As an educator, writer and leader, previous and current clients include Birmingham Royal Ballet, THSH, Birmingham Conservatoire, Jazzlines, Birmingham Jazz, New Optimists, University of Birmingham, EC Arts, Nu-Century Arts & Birmingham Repertory Theatre. For Homecoming, David will perform with Harry Weir, Jack Conroy, Shivraj Singh and Ric Yarborough.
Humanhood: Humanhood was founded in 2015 by artistic directors Rudi Cole and Júlia Robert Parés. The duo is known by their symbiotic and intrinsic movement quality, which bring both bodies into an organic synchronicity. The company has captured the attention of established dance institutions in England and Europe. Rudi and Julia are associate artists at DanceXchange. The research behind the company’s work resides in its approach to physics, human consciousness and Eastern philosophy. Humanhood will perform Nomadis: Two nomads meet with instant recognition, falling into the force of a vortex that brings them here, shaping the “now,” merging the bodies in curves and falling into the pulse of the encounter.
Kellimarie Willis: Born in Coventry, Kellimarie starting singing at the age of three. She started learning to play the guitar at seven, and by the age of 12 she was writing her own songs. At just 14 years old, she stormed her way into the top ten of the Country Album Charts. The BBC Introducing artist’s debut EP Under The Same Stars shot to number 6. Kellimarie was only 12 when she wrote the songs. Her new album Reflections was released 30 March.
Mad Dope Kru (MDK) B-Boys: MDK is a one of the finest UK’s breaking/breakdance groups. The team of five features Andrei Roman, Aijion “AJ” Brown, Pavel Peregoncevs, Kelvin Clark and Roxane Hackwood.
Sons of Pitches: Sons of Pitches are a multi-award winning British vocal group combining soaring solos, impeccable harmonies and sensational beatboxing to stunning effect. In 2015, they became the first winners of BBC-2’s The Naked Choir hosted by Gareth Malone. With more than two million YouTube hits and a growing international reputation, The Sons have “given a cappella a kick up the backside”. They have just finished filming “Sing – Ultimate Acapella,” one of Sky One’s new entertainment series for autumn.
The Shiamak Dance Team: Defined by their commitment to excellence, high energy and vibrant performances, the Shiamak Dance team is a sought after contemporary and Bollywood dance performance group. Under the guidance of Shiamak Davar and training by SHIAMAK Instructors, this extraordinary ensemble of over 50 dancers continue to enthrall audiences across the UK with their spectacular performances. The Shiamak Dance Team has performed at several live shows across the UK and Spain.
Tokio Myers: Tokio Myers is a multi-instrumental artist and composer, fusing classical piano with electronic sounds and beats, creating an immersive and compelling experience. Tokio has shared the stage with Kanye West, the late Amy Winehouse, Mr Hudson & The Library, The Police and Sting. Tokio captivated the nation during last year’s Britain’s Got Talent with his unique musical style, programming beats and obscure sounds into cleverly constructed compositions, which seamlessly integrate classical and contemporary genres. Tokio’s sense of originality and musicianship garnered immense praise from both the judges and public, crowning him the winner of the show and subsequently earning him a record deal with Syco Entertainment. Tokio has co-produced the Artists for Grenfell charity single in support of The London Community Foundation and is on his UK and Ireland tour. His highly anticipated debut album Our Generation is out now.