The wait is finally over – on Tuesday (September 3), the brand-new Library of Birmingham opens its doors for the first time. Far from a mere repository of books, the Library is a major new cultural hub for the Midlands and beyond. Thrillingly, the opening programme of events has been curated by the peerless Capsule, centring around the theme of discovery.
On Tuesday (September 3), Australian sonic-arts outfit Super Critical Mass will perform Together We Breathe, a decidedly non-traditional fanfare to mark the grand opening, comprising a scratch brass band scattered throughout the building to welcome in the visitors. Meanwhile, the Reference Works exhibition will display four artists’ subjective photographic responses to the new facility and the demise of the old Central Library, while Juneau Projects will be on hand to present Vegetable Quest, a playful vision of self-sufficiency for a post-apocalyptic future. In all, there’s a huge wealth of new artworks to be enjoyed throughout the Library – check out the Discovery brochure for full details. Stan’s Café will be sending in The Commentators to describe the Library’s opening days as they unfold, beginning with the VIP reception on Monday evening (September 2), broadcasting to the world via their website.
And it’s not just about the Library in Centenary Square this week – the Rep also reopens for business following its two-and-a-half-year redevelopment. Alan Bennett’s new comedy People is the curtain raiser for the brand-new season, beginning on Tuesday (September 3), after earning rave reviews down at the National in London.
While the Library and the Rep enjoy their brave new beginnings, for another local arts institution the end is in sight, as The Public enters the final months of its current operations. They have two new shows this week, displaying ancient Indian civilisation (from Friday August 30) and nature-themed mosaics (from Wednesday September 4).
Down in Balsall Heath, Ort Gallery realise it’ll take something rather special to attract attention away from events on Broad Street – and so Suck The Living Labour concerns itself with nothing less than geriatric vampirism. Opening on Wednesday (September 4), Pil and Galia Kollectiv’s exhibition explores the disquieting impact of austerity upon the young and old alike, and will include a seminar on Marxist demonology.
As for the best of the rest this week, Bilston Craft Gallery’s Autumn Showcase opens on Tuesday (September 3), featuring a range of highly-skilled handiwork, while at the Old Joint Stock, Tell Me About Your Ex is a theatre production derived entirely from the romantic tales of real-life Brummies. Opening night is Tuesday (September 3), but there’s still time to share your tales of joy or woe @TellMeAboutUrEx, using the tag #tellmeaboutyourex.
Library of Birmingham photography by Lee Allen.