Memories of a Child Pageant Superstar

Memories of a Child Pageant Superstar brings together a series of plays written for Arts & Science Festival that explore childhood memories.

Featuring four monologues, the plays centre upon the industry of child beauty pageants, a growing and controversial industry said to be worth millions. What is the appeal of these curious and divisive events? Are they a symptom of a society that puts too much focus on physical appearance and celebrity? Are they the result of pushy parents and spoilt pre-teen divas? Or could there something more sinister about this growing trend?

Join four individuals as they reflect on incidents which have changed their lives forever. They look at memories and the re-writing of memories after traumatic events and in the process explores themes of gender, sexuality, parenting and childhood, to ask: ‘can you really trust your own memories?’

Presented by MRes Playwriting Studies in collaboration with MRes Directing.

Eye of the Storm

Meet Emmie Price.

Her life has been a whirlwind. Torn between caring for her mam and proving she’s got what it takes at school, Emmie knows one day her world is going to change. One day she’s going to become a storm chaser…in America. But will her invention for renewable energy be enough to win her a bursary to study in the USA?

Multi award-winning Theatr na nÓg present an unmissable original musical play, set against the backdrop of the Welsh Valleys with an original live soundtrack written by Grammy Award winner Amy Wadge.

A theatrical event of courage, determination and compassion for children aged 8+ and adults of all ages.

Please note, latecomers may not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance.

Presented by Theatr na nÓg and Swansea Grand Theatre.

The Neutrino Passoire

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the “discovery of neutrino oscillations”, recognising key contributions to experiments which demonstrated that neutrinos – the elusive particles in the Universe – change identities. This discovery changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter!

The peculiar behaviour of the omni-present neutrino, which passes through normal matter, the earth and our bodies, rarely interacting with them, is the insp-iration for a new collaboration between University of Birmingham particle physicists and contemporary dancers Mairi Pardalaki and Fanny Travaglino.

The dancers will use the image of a colander (‘passoire’ in French) as a metaphor for the human body, through which neutrinos pass without realisation or memory of the event itself.
Presented by the Particle Physics Group

Julia Bardsley: An Apian Paradox

With just a couple of turntables, two female bee-ings remix Belgian symbolist poet Maurice Maeterlinck’s classic natural history text The Life of the Bee, in its entirety, to a soundtrack of drone music by Earth.

Creating a hive party and under the influence of exotic substances secreting from their own bodies, anthropological questions rise to the surface when the vinyl grooves are scraped by venom styluses in this elaborate installation. Why are these workers planning to massacre the males? Are you OK Honey?

Presented by Fierce Festival with support from Arts & Science Festival.

The Good Sisters

When Germaine wins a million Green Shield stamps, she goes giddy with plans to cash them in and transform her tatty flat into the poshest pad in the block. She can’t do anything until the stamps are stuck into their books — so she gets the girls round for a “lick ‘n’ stick party”.

These feisty and formidable women would do anything for a share of the jackpot to help them escape the drudgery of their daily lives. A single stamp is pilfered and soon, whole books are being stuffed into handbags and hidden inside hair-dos. As resentment bubbles up and tempers flare, the night turns into a rowdy and raucous disaster, with cat-fights across the kitchen table and dark secrets coming to light.

Eat the Stars

Six ingredients, that’s all it takes. Six ingredients to make the stars, your sandwich, goats, flowers and you. Well, six and a little shake of this and that. In Eat the Stars you’ll use all your senses to triumph in a game of extraordinary imagination, whimsy and fun. We are all made of stardust after all.

This performance takes place along a guided trail with short walks on wheelchair-friendly paths. You will be immersed in a world of captivating sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. This is an all ages show that is accessible to everyone.

Newhampton Arts Centre
16 & 17th November 2019 | Book Tickets

Sense TouchBase Pears
29th & 30th November 2019 | Book Tickets (29th Nov) Book Tickets (30th Nov)

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
14th & 15th December 2019 | Book Tickets

Presented by Spectra



Lie down, look up, and listen – this is an unmissable immersive, entertaining, mind-expanding experience in a mobile planetarium dome with 360 degree visuals!

The performance brings together an astrophysicist, two poets and a musician in a careful balance of voices, music, sound and visuals.

Astonishingly well put together in that this is the ultimate ‘sensory’ experience. Clever. Disorientating. Insightful. Beautiful.

Please arrive ten minutes prior to performance – late entrants will not be admitted under any circumstances. Please note, the performance is experienced from the floor – mats and cushions are provided.

Myth Today

Myth Today is a collaboration between PhD candidate Oonagh Pennington-Wilson and award winning playwright and University of Birmingham alumnus, Matthew Gabrielli.

For Arts & Science Festival, Oonagh and Matthew present a brand new play inspired by the Greek Myth of Pandora; the culmination of an innovative project in partnership with secondary school pupils from Christopher Whitehead Language College.

The event will be followed by a discussion led by Dr Polly Stoker from the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, who’ll shed light on Pandora and her role in the classical world.

Presented by the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology.

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Marking the 70th anniversary of Fassbinder’s birth, Little Earthquake joins forces with the University to stage the Birmingham premiere of this classic melodrama from the boozed-up bisexual bad boy of German cinema.

Petra von Kant is the queen of the Bremen fashion scene, and having buried one husband and divorced her second, she unexpectedly finds love in the form of Karin, a much younger woman who becomes her model and her muse.

But when home truths start to flow along with the gin and tonics, the stage is set for Petra’s downward spiral into self-destruction, all set to a sizzling soundtrack of German kitsch pop classics.

Light Show

A fantastic show of light effects and experiments inside a darkened dome!

Don’t miss this fabulous, fun, high energy romp through light and colour. Investigate what light is, where it comes from, how it travels and how we see.

This dazzling and enlightening display of effects and experiments is made all the more impressive in the pitch dark of the dome.

Presented by Arts & Science Festival

Mad(e) in Hades

Greeting, my house! And greeting, doorway to my hearth! What happiness to see you, as I come at last Back to the living world!

Having dealt with the three-headed guard dog of Hades, Heracles returns home to save his family from the tyrannical Lycus. Unfortunately for his own wife and children, Heracles’ killing has only just begun…..

Written by students of the University of Birmingham’s Masters Playwriting course, under the guidance of Course Convenor and playwright Fraser Grace, these three new solo plays present a startlingly modern take on ancient story.

Directed with a professional cast by Robert Ball, in a script-in-hand performance, this event aims to raise funds for the annual Playwright’s Workshop, which will showcase student thesis plays later in the year. Support your local playwrights!

Presented by Department of Drama & Theatre Arts 

Live Art for the Green Heart #3 (Illumination)

To celebrate the launch of the University’s Green Heart, Dr Pablo Pakula, Teaching Fellow in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts, has curated a programme of live art for the Green Heart.

During each season of the festival, University students will attend a series of workshops led by established live art practitioners to explore live art methodologies. The workshops will culminate in a new live art intervention, which will respond to the specificity of the Green Heart and the festival theme of ‘illumination’.

For the winter season, students will work with live artist, contemporary dancer and lighting designer, Aleks Wojtulewicz.

His practice is rooted in the physicality of his body and he has been exploring ways of creating performances and installations that offer a full-body experience of art. Aleks is co-founder and co-director of Home For Waif and Strays, a live art initiative in Birmingham which provides a home for artists from near and far. He is also part of performance duo KAKE.

Presented by the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts.

Mary Shelley

In 1814 the teenage Mary Godwin meets the radical Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley for the first time. Their love is instant, passionate and irreversible. In the face of parental opposition and social scandal they elope to Europe in search of personal and artistic freedom. Helen Edmundson’s compelling play charts the emotional fallout of this legendary affair and the emergence of Mary as the brilliant author of Frankenstein.

Presented by Department of Drama & Theatre Arts 

Cancelled :: Animal Farm by George Orwell


The University of Birmingham has been very carefully monitoring the national position in relation to the progress of coronavirus, and has been taking note of advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Public Health England (PHE) and other sources, including local partners.

Based on this most up-to-date information, and with very heavy hearts, it has regrettably become necessary for us to cancel the four sold out public performances of Animal Farm which were scheduled to take place this week.

To read the full statement and for information about refunds etc., visit the event page.


Adapted by Nelson Bond
Directed by Little Earthquake

A pig has a vision about a new way of life — a fairer, freer world in which all animals are equal. The rebellion that follows against their vicious human masters seems to make everyone’s dreams come true. Until the milk and the apples start mysteriously disappearing.

Soon, a new ruling class emerges from within the ranks of the revolutionaries – a ruthless elite who will trample over anyone and anything standing in their way. As the standard of living goes down and the list of casualties goes up, the real cost of taking back control becomes chillingly apparent.

The production will be presented in a promenade staging, with audience members moving around the stage with the actors for the full duration of the show (approx 75 minutes without interval.)

The production will address themes of animal welfare and the meat industry, and it will include scenes of violence and simulated animal slaughter. We therefore recommend the production as being most suitable for audiences aged 15 and above.

Presented by the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

368 Days of Kindness: Can Kindness Change the World?

Multi-media show tells the heartbreaking, surprising and challenging stories of that year. Part storytelling, part stand-up,m part live documentary, this show attempts to answer the question: is it possible to change the world just by being kind?

In Search of Water

This participatory indoor and outdoor walk, led by a guide, invites participants to wear Pointy Hat costumes on a walking journey in search of water on campus.

Costumes act as ‘portals of perception’ – bringing awareness to how we experience ourselves, others and the environment. How does a Pointy hat make you walk, talk, think and interact differently? How do others perceive you? Participants will be on the lookout for water at all times and when sighted, will gently ‘ring’ their Pointy Hat bells located at the top of their hats.

The walk ends with a short discussion on how the hat affected our experiences and perceptions, as well as the need for water.

This walk will start from the centre of campus at 12:00. Meet at Aston Webb Reception (R6 on the campus map) and please arrive 5 minutes early.

Presented by Sally E. Dean in partnership with Arts & Science Festival

The Particle Event


This event brings into dialogue two works developed in collaboration with the University of Birmingham’s Particle Physics group: Neutrino Passoire, a performance by contemporary dancers Mairi Pardalaki and Fanny Travaglino and musician Alex Mentis; and The Sketchbook and the Collider, a series of moving image works by artist Ian Andrews.

Consider the connections between movement, interaction and the invisible in this three-way conversation combining two art forms and particle physics research.

Presented by the Particle Physics Group

Where’s My Igloo Gone?

by The Bone Ensemble
Directed by Adam Ledger
Performed by Jill Dowse and Sam Frankie Fox

“Truly magical. Children’s theatre at its best” 

“A wonderful show for kids and grown-ups to make us talk and think about climate change and what we might do”

Oolik is an ordinary girl who goes on an extraordinary journey…Sitting in her igloo, a drop of water falls on her head. Then another! Is her home melting? Join Oolik as she sets out on a journey to find help. On her way she meets some exciting friends – including YOU!

Journey into a dazzling, Arctic world of soaring snow geese, pet husky dogs and starry nights. And the kind of cold that makes your skin tingle! Travelling through snowstorms, across oceans and into our hearts, Oolik is not the kind of girl to give up on her quest…With enchanting live music, it’s a fun, magical experience for all the family, showing that when we work together, anything can happen!

Where’s My Igloo Gone? is very visual in nature and contains no spoken English so is extremely accessible to d/Deaf, hearing and non-English speaking audiences.

Please be aware that filming of the performance will take place for the purposes of research documentation. Signage will be in place at the venue as well as a programme note to detail the purpose of this. Due to the nature of the performance, some audience members will be seen in the film. If you do not wish to be filmed then you may ask not to be featured at the venue and information about how to withdraw your consent at a later date will be provided.

Presented by The Bone Ensemble  in partnership with Arts & Science Festival and The Bramall.

Dover Beach

by Caroline Horton
Directed by Ian Nicholson
Performed by Final Year Undergraduates in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

“Welcome to The Dover Beach hotel. Now is everybody ready for a sing-song? We are the Brits – for those of you we don’t already know – and we’re here with you tonight and every night for your delight with our fabulous entertainment programme – you need never leave!”

Romance blossoms at the seaside but the white cliffs are crumbling and this place is going downhill. A new play combining music hall, poetry and an unusual love story.

Presented by the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts.

It Came From Outer Space!

Boldly go where (almost) nobody has gone before – behind the scenes at the Lapworth Museum of Geology.

We’re inviting you to a theatrical guided tour which lifts the lid on some of Lapworth’s most prized specimens. Step through to a rarely glimpsed space, lined with magical moving shelves, all packed with marvels from deep underground plus some stunning extra-terrestrial treasures.

If we dig even further beneath the surface, what secrets might we uncover — not just about the objects on display — but also about the mysterious tour guide…?

This event coincides with Lapworth’s Family Fun Day and forms part of the Museum’s year-round programme of entertaining, inspiring and educational family activities.

Presented by Little Earthquake in partnership with the Lapworth Museum of Geology and Arts & Science Festival.

Access: There is level, but restricted access on this tour. If you have any access requirements please let us know in advance by contacting us at 


50 years after the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Little Earthquake is joining forces with Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) and the University of Birmingham to celebrate this special anniversary in spectacular style.

Running 16 – 24 July, MoonFest begins on the same day that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched into space 50 years ago, and concludes on the day they splashed down into the Pacific Ocean at the end of their fantastic voyage.

For nine special days expect a programme bursting with events and activities created with artists, academics and audience members.

For full details of the MoonFest programme, visit