The former Smithfield Market site was transformed into a temporary Games venue hosting Beach Volleyball, 3X3 Basketball and Wheelchair 3X3 Basketball competitions. The vibrant open-air Festival Site area featured a large bespoke designed multi-sided screen and stage structure - the Beacon Stage. With bold visual commissions and lighting design, this became an iconic visual spectacular in the centre of the site, visible from the surrounding roads and shopping centres.
Smithfield Festival Site housed a number of new installations encouraging audiences to dwell and interact, such as our City Playscape, an inflatable art installation reimagining the architecture of the city, and a living woodland created by the National Trust and featuring more than 70 young trees. Here, you could relax on a hammock listening to main stage DJs, or pick up a racket and play badminton between the trees with friends. Post-Games, the trees were “adopted” by community groups, schools and local residents.
Smithfield was a festival of festivals; each day a different festival or cultural organisation took centre stage presenting DJs, musicians, dance interventions and participatory active sessions. Collaborators included Simmerdown, Sandwell and Birmingham Mela, Swingamajig, BBC Asian Network, Selextorhood, MADE Festival and Birmingham International Dance Festival. Each festival brought a flavour of what they do best to our audiences across the Beacon Stage, the stretch tent space and through roaming performances across the site.
The programme included two special commissions: a colourful new carnival extravaganza by ACE Dance & Music with over fifty performers in full carnival costume, and a celebration of identity and individuality from the Queer community by Break Mission and Eric Scutaro featuring drag performances, whaackin, DJs, live music and more.
Additionally, we staged two brand new Birmingham 2022 Festival commissions; Anthem Anthem Revolution - a competitive installation which pitched your table tennis skills against a robot, played to a new national anthem for Australia created by Tasmanian schoolchildren - and Amaechi, a contemporary performance blending music, basketball and text from the biography of John Amaechi - the first openly gay basketball player in the NBA. For this, we worked with the Sports Competition Managers to stage the performance on the official 3X3 Basketball warm up court, which sat within the festival site footprint. Audiences also enjoyed daily interviews with queer athletes hosted by Pride House, aerial circus performances inside a spectacular globe from acclaimed dance-circus ensemble Motionhouse, and a host of brand new films, music videos and digital commissions screening throughout the day, including a new digital visual spectacular.
A Festival of Festivals
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games //
Birmingham 2022 Festival
Outdoor Digital Productions, a collaboration between
OPUS - Programme Producers
JA Productions - Production
ADI - Technical
Simmer Down Festival, ACE Dance & Music, Sandwell & Birmingham Mela, Swingamajig, BBC Asian Network, Selextorhood, MADE Festival, Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul, Break Mission and Eric Scutaro, Birmingham International Dance Festival
Interviews by Pride House Birmingham
Amaechi by Michael Wolters and Sean Clancy
Anthem Anthem Revolution by Terrapin Theatre
Wondrous Stories Globe Duet by Motionhouse
6 PM Moment by Takt Productions
Installations and Commissions
[T]he real party — and I do mean PARTY — is taking place over at the home of our outdoor basketball and volleyball courts... Don't let this beaut of a Brummie pop-up slip through your fingers. The buzz about Smithfield is something else.