A destination station
Birmingham New Street Station is the city’s main travel hub and an important crossroads for those traveling through or meeting in the city centre. With an extensive food and retail offer and statement modern architecture, the station is a destination in its own right. OPUS regularly transform this central thoroughfare into a platform for live performance, a canvas for creative design, and a place for the people of Birmingham to come together at key moments of the year.
OPUS and Network Rail have designed a year-round programme of events at Birmingham’s New Street Station, marking significant dates for the city’s diverse communities and enhancing people’s experience in a major public location through high-quality programmes and thoughtful design interventions.
Collaborating at each event with local cultural organisations and artists, the station comes alive with music, remarkable temporary installations, and pop-up interventions bringing smiles to people's commutes.
Designed to align with the wider city centre experience and passengers’ existing use of the station, the programme speaks to the unique character of the city and animates a well-used public space with events for everyone to enjoy.
2023 has so far seen:
OPUS deliver 10 events and activations
90% of spend going into the regional cultural economy
109 artists and 16 cultural organisations, community groups, charities and CICs get involved
This year so far
Collaboration is key
OPUS work with local arts organisations such as the Chinese Festival Committee and FATT Projects to co-curate programmes, ensuring appropriate representation and spotlighting the breadth of Birmingham’s diverse talent. Marking dates such as Valentine’s Day and HM the King’s Coronation enabled the city to experience major events together and be treated to giveaways, performances and eye-catching installations.
A new platform, Station Sounds, saw OPUS partner with independent programmers and music schools in the city to give up-and-coming artists paid opportunities to meet new audiences in an area of high footfall.
Design interventions are a crucial component of OPUS’s work at New Street Station, from subtle branding defining the Station Sounds experience to showstopping, ambitious installations which create an enhanced experience for visitors.
From a stunning blossom tree - a traditional symbol of the Lunar New Year - to a Valentine’s Day heart-shaped aerial rig, to an interactive Photo Booth and gallery celebrating women of Birmingham on International Women’s Day, OPUS’s design interventions provide opportunities for engagement and make for irresistible selfie points, cementing New Street Station as not only a space for people to pass through, but to stay and experience memorable moments.
When appropriate for the event, carefully designed interpretation boards provide context and key messaging to anyone passing by.
Local economic impact
Working with a local supply chain, the year-round programme of events has benefitted the regional economy with nearly 90% of spend going to organizations, businesses and freelancers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. So far, 109 artists and 16 cultural organisations, community groups, charities and CICs have been part of events at New Street Station, directly supporting artistic and community ecologies.
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Lunar New Year - Photos by Verity Milligan
Valentine's Day - Photos by Lensi Photography
International Women's Day - Photos by Hayley Salter
Celebrating Pride - Photos by Verity Milligan
Diwali - Photos by Ahsen Sayeed