The Opportunity

In 2022, we learned that there are hundreds of groups in Birmingham who love performing together. Birmingham Festival 23 will be an opportunity to celebrate them. We are looking for Birmingham-based groups to perform as part of the Birmingham Festival 23 Made in Brum programme.

The Made in Brum programme will take place from Monday 31 July to Friday 4 August. Groups will perform roughly between 1 – 2 PM. Two or three groups will perform each day.

The Made in Brum programme will show audiences examples of creativity in Birmingham. It will include different performance styles. This could mean, for example, steelbands, youth music ensembles, bhangra and breakdance performance groups. These are just examples: other genres and styles of performance are also welcome.

The Made in Brum programme will include people from different backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of Birmingham.

There could be other opportunities for groups to perform in different parts of the Birmingham Festival 23 programme. We will ask you more about this during the application process.

What we're looking for

  • Live performance
  • Performances that last between 15 – 25 minutes
  • Complete performances, OR, if made up of different sections, these should smoothly transition into each other
  • Performances that will work on a 7 metre x 10 metre stage. You can think about creatively using the space in front of the stage too
  • Performances that have a set-up time of no more than 15 minutes and a packdown time of no more than 10 minutes. However, we can be flexible if groups need more time to accommodate performers with disabilities
  • Content and performers that are pre-rehearsed and ready to perform to a large, live outdoor audience. This could include elements of audience interaction or engagement
  • Performances that are suitable for family audiences, including children.

We are especially interested to hear from groups who played a part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games experience and would now like to share their work in front of a new audience, on a new platform.

This could include community groups who were part of/contributed to:

  • Birmingham 2022 Festival Creative City Grants Programme
  • Birmingham 2022 Neighbourhood Festival Sites
  • Bring The PowerGen22
  • Opening and Closing Ceremony
  • United By 2022

What we're not looking for

  • Individual performing artists (but one or more solos in a larger piece is fine)
  • Workshops, craft activities, stalls, visual art, dramatised plays, fashion shows, charitable or fundraising activities, demonstrations, or presentations
  • Content that for the most part, and/or clearly, promotes organised religion
  • Content that for the most part, and/or clearly, promotes any political party or group
  • Performances that require more than 15 minutes to set up and 10 minutes to pack down
  • Groups that require rehearsal on the stage before they perform (with the exception of groups with disabled and/or neurodiverse members who may benefit from stage orientation in advance).

Who can apply?

We are looking for groups that are based in Birmingham.

This means that the space(s) where the group usually meets should be in one of the 69 Birmingham wards.

You can find a list and details about Birmingham wards on the webpage link here:

If a group doesn’t meet regularly in the same space(s), most of its members should live in Birmingham wards to be able to apply.

If you are not sure if your group can apply, please email [email protected] and one of our team will help.

What will be provided for performances?

  • Support from the Birmingham Festival 23 team, including someone to show your group around the space on the day, technical staff, and a Producer to help you throughout the process
  • A PA system on the day to amplify the music you’ve chosen (live or recorded)
  • Introduction of your performance from our Festival Host, getting audiences excited about your group and performance
  • Space for your group in our Back of House area. This is where your group can go before and after their performance
  • Water, tea and coffee, fruit, light snacks in the Back of House area
  • British Sign Language interpretation and Audio Description for performances. A few weeks before the performance we will ask you for any lyrics and a simple description of visuals and movements in your performance, if applicable. This is to share them with our BSL Interpreters and Audio Describers so they can prepare in advance.

Access Provisions

We want to make Birmingham Festival 23 as accessible as possible for everyone, including performers. As such, we are planning to have these things in place:

  • Ramped stage
  • Option for accessible Back of House space.This is where artists will go before and after their performance
  • Option for separate changing room and toilets for performers aged under 16
  • Accessible toilets
  • Quiet space and prayer room.

We will ask you about specific access requirements for your artists ahead of the event to ensure we can plan around their needs as much as we are able.

Fees and costs

Please let us know the amount your group would need to be paid to deliver one performance as part of the Made in Brum programme. There is a question about this in the application form.

The payment would need to cover, on your side:

  • Transport for your group
  • Any fees for your group leader or leaders
  • Your rehearsal time and space
  • Any equipment, for example costumes and musical instruments, or anything else not provided by us (see WHAT BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL 23 WILL PROVIDE FOR PERFORMANCES section above)

How to apply

Please apply by responding to the questions in the Made in Brum Application Form.

You can respond in writing by completing the fields on the Made in Brum Application Form webpage. Wordcount limits are indicated in each question.

Or you can respond by sending a video or voice recording of your verbal responses. You can upload this on the Made in Brum Application Form webpage. In this case, please make sure your application is no more than 10 minutes long.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 18 April.

The selection process and important dates

Selections for the Made in Brum programme will be made by the Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team.

The Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team includes:

  • The Birmingham Festival 23 Creative Director
  • Two Birmingham Festival 23 Artistic Associates. These are creative people with a developed artistic practice and strong links to local communities who advise on the overall Festival programme
  • Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces (OPUS) Producers, who make up the producing team for the Festival.

After applications close on 18 April, the Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team will review all applications.

The Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team will look for applications that:

The Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team will also aim for the overall Made in Brum programme to be as representative of Birmingham as possible.

This will be achieved by ensuring that the Made in Brum programme includes:

  • Groups that come from different parts of Birmingham
  • A mix of artforms and styles
  • Performers of different ages and backgrounds.

The Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team will also look at total set up and pack down times. This is to make sure as much time as possible is dedicated to actual performances. Exceptions can be made to this to accommodate any performers’ access needs.

The Birmingham Festival 23 Programming Team will arrange calls with some groups if we feel we need more information to make a final decision.

Performance slots for the Made in Brum programme will be offered to selected groups on the week beginning on Monday 1 May.

When the selected groups agree to perform, they will be sent a contract for their group leader to sign.

The selected groups will be announced publicly as part of the full Birmingham Festival 23 programme launch at the end of June.

Tuesday 28 March Made in Brum Open Call opens for applications
Tuesday 18 April Deadline for submission of applications (11.59pm)
From Wednesday 19 April Birmingham Festival 23 Programme Team read applications and set up calls with applicants where necessary
Week beginning Monday 1 May All groups are informed of whether they have been selected or not

The selected groups will be announced publicly as part of the full Birmingham Festival 23 programme launch on 28 June.

For more info: