Critical Mass Delivers Successful Legacy

Critical Mass was an inclusive dance project that engaged 242 young people (aged 16-30) in 600+ classes, rehearsals and performances over a 14-month period in the lead up to the Games, which aimed to redefine genuine inclusion in mega-events.

​Participants formed an integrated mass cast with 45% self-identifying as disabled, neurodivergent or living with a long-term health condition.​ Together they danced their way through key moments of Birmingham 2022 Festival and were a central part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. 

The project was a unique collaboration between Birmingham 2022 Festival, FABRIC, Arts Connect and the Dance Development Leaders Group. It was generously supported by Spirit of 2012 the London 2012 legacy funder. 

The Playbook

In order to achieve its ambition of long-term impact there was a huge emphasis on gathering learning to impact future large-scale projects. The Critical Mass Playbook is an amalgamation of these project learnings and can act as a useful guide for anyone taking on an inclusive project of this nature. You will find reflections and lessons learned from Critical Mass as well as practical hints and tips across areas of project design and set-up, delivery and close-down.  


"All of us involved hope that this work marks not the ending of a project, but the beginning of a legacy, and that with it comes an invitation for others to pick up where Critical Mass 2022 left off. For others to take a different approach with the same bold principles, to challenge what they already do with the smallest adjustment, or just to be inspired by the possibilities that come from being audacious about inclusion.’" Raidene Carter, Executive Producer (Birmingham 2022 Festival) & Tara Lopez, Senior Producer, Critical Mass (Birmingham 2022 Festival) 



Fest22 Image of Angel Critical Mass 2021 by Lensi Photography

Case Study: Angel's Story

Music and dance are for everyone!

When I first attended Critical Mass I was a little anxious as I tend to be shy with new people. However, the welcome I received, from the receptionist to the Team Leaders, was amazing and as the weeks progressed, I made some new friends. What really struck me from the get-go was the diversity of the group, which demonstrates that dance is not just for slim able-bodied people. Music and dance are for everyone!

I have learnt new dance styles and have enjoyed creating new choreographed pieces with friends. We have laughed a lot as we gradually got to know each other, and especially at the Winter Celebration Party. The Commonwealth Games enables the 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth to come together, and celebrate difference through sport. I believe Critical Mass really embraces this ethos through dance and creativity…we’re inclusive irrespective of race, gender, disability and sexual orientation.

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