Birmingham Weekly Arts Roundup, September 18 – 24

Eastside Projects has a brace of fine new shows opening on Saturday (September 20).  Broken Ensemble is a hugely exciting new work from 2010 Turner Prize-winning sound artist Susan Philipsz.  With Eastside’s building dating back to the time of World War I, Philipsz’ site-specific piece fills the gallery with the sounds of brass instruments damaged during the Great War.  Meanwhile, the second show, Old Hill Uprising, features paintings of cartoonish melancholy from Sandwell-based Polish artist Rafal Zar.

Also opening on Saturday (September 20), the Mac has the honour of hosting The last known pose, one half of the new exhibition from the wonderful Qasim Riza Shaheen.  Along with the other half, Auto-portraits in love-like conditions, which can be found at the Cornerhouse in Manchester, the show rounds up work from across Shaheen’s career as well as new pieces, as the artist explores the minutiae of social interactions and concepts of identity.  It’s preceded at the Mac on Friday (September 19) by his repetitive, hypnotic performance piece One.


There’s some great new stuff at the Library of Birmingham this week.  Already open is Square pegs, the latest instalment of Square Magazine’s European touring exhibition, which attempts to progress photography away from mere documentation towards an incorporation of fiction.  Then, from Saturday (September 20), Turning ’Ages is an installation exploring our deep relationship with books and associated ephemera.

Two new shows at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery from Saturday (September 20).  The Making Of Mordor looks at the influence of Black Country industry on Tolkien in The Lord Of The Rings, as well as presenting responses to the area’s post-industrial landscape from talents including Richard Billingham and Brian Griffin.  Meanwhile, Parallel Realities merges different “Black Country” locations from around Europe in a reflection on the industrial past and a potential future without hard graft.

Meanwhile, Digbeth’s One Love Community Studios present a wide range of archive films and shorts in Creative Sidewalk Studios from Thursday (September 18), while the RBSA has a new solo show from Robert Perry from Monday (September 22) entitled New Landscapes And A Glance Backwards.

Plenty for theatre fans this week too.  The Mac hosts the intriguing Blind Hamlet on Wednesday (September 24), an experimental show involving no actors whatsoever.  With writer Nassim Soleimanpour losing his sight, this is an exploration of the very notions of acting and interacting in a world that’s closing in.

Opening at the Rep on Monday (September 22), The Kite Runner is an adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel, in which a childhood friendship is marred by tumult in Afghanistan.  There’s also a Young Rep production on Wednesday (September 24), with Tweet Tweet exploring the perils of adolescence in the smartphone age.

On Saturday (September 20), the Old Joint Stock presents three performances of local playwright Jonathan ap Emrys’ intimate, interactive Two Degrees, with a maximum of 12 audience members at a time reflecting on the uncertainty of modern life.

And the Crescent Theatre remembers World War I this week.  Opening on Saturday (September 20), the tragic My Boy Jack has Rudyard Kipling sending his son off to war, while from Sunday (September 21), the Crescent Theatre Company present an evening of commemoration in At The Going Down Of The Sun.


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