The Birmingham 2022 Festival launched in style as the open-air spectacle Wondrous Stories captivated the crowd in Centenary Square.

People from all walks of life watched the free event which runs over into this weekend, finishing on Sunday, March 20.

Choirs, dancers, acrobats and poets were among some of the highlights in a show created by Leamington Spa dance-circus company Motionhouse. Wondrous Stories is in association with Birmingham 2022 and the Birmingham 2022 festival will now run until the end of September with six months of memorable events planned.

The script was 18 months in the making and lasted an hour in front of a packed crowd. Motionhouse artistic director Kevin Finnan MBE opened up on what the show and message was all about.

This is a story about the fact that life is now noisy. And if we listen to each other, it’s now going to be better,” he said.

“This show is a visual spectacle, loads of things flying around in the air, fabulous stuff happening on the big screen. But it’s about the fact everyone of us is important.

“I’m so delighted, the cast were fantastic and the audience were fantastic tonight. It felt like a genuine celebration.

“There was joy here and response all the way through. Honestly, it made me tearful.

“It was like coming back to life. It’s been so grim and dark yet here we are in the centre of Birmingham, it was a joyous occasion.”

Birmingham 2022 CEO Ian Reid was in attendance at the show which featured a variety of performers from different backgrounds. And he gave his thoughts on the festival kickstarting the festival of celebration leading up to, and after, the Commonwealth Games.

“It showcased the city. Thousands of people have come out, free access and people have enjoyed it.

“I saw a little girl at the end break down in tears. She was just so emotional and that’s what this is all about.

“Getting people to participate who might not have traditionally participated before. And that was probably a highlight for me.

“Hopefully people will agree with me that we’ve had a really positive start to the festival. There’s six months of content so there’s hopefully something for everyone.”

Source: Robson McCallister