Coventry’s year of culture to begin in May 2021

Published: 6 July 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Justine Themen and Nigel Jamieson who will create the signature event for Coventry 2021

Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture will begin in May 2021, with a programme including major international artistic events, world premières and commissions across theatre, music, dance, literature, comedy and visual art.

Details have been released of the city’s signature event, a “mass city-wide celebration”, which will feature thousands of residents of all ages “whose music, performance and dance will weave throughout the epic event presented across hundreds of structures”.

It will be directed by Nigel Jamieson and Justine Themen. Jamieson was part of the team that created the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony and has since directed events around the world for the Commonwealth Games, Pacific Games, World Expo and the openings of the European Capital of Cultures in Liverpool and Aarhus, Denmark. Themen is deputy artistic director of Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and played a major role in the city’s bid for City of Culture.

Jamieson said, “following the challenges of these recent dark months it’s a particular important time to offer the world images of beauty, light, imagination and hope, featuring communities directly engaged in forging images of the future to which they aspire.

“Events such as these only come to a city once in a lifetime, and I hope as many people as possible will join us on what will be a thrilling journey and experience they won’t forget.”

Themen added, “exciting things happen when you collaborate with communities and invest trust, time and resources in them to create something extraordinary.

Coventry City of Culture gives us a chance to lead the way in how we create work, whose stories we tell, what platforms we give them and what impact those stories can have on the world around us. It’ll be a truly landmark moment to project the voices of our co-creators on a city-wide scale.”