Ambitious 12-month arts project to kick off in new year

Thursday, 16th October 2014

A HUGE free arts project which aims to inspire, excite and give people across the borough the chance to have a taste of the arts is set to launch in January – giving Tamworth people a real year to remember.

I Am Tamworth is the biggest and most ambitious arts project ever to take place in Tamworth, and is the culmination of two years of hard work by the borough council’s Arts & Events team.

Its aim is to encourage people of all ages who may never have attended arts events or taken part in anything ‘arty’ to get involved, by trying out different things for free, including dance, drama, visual arts, music and writing – and even a ground-breaking dance performance by one of the country’s top dance companies.

I Am Tamworth has also been timed to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Tamworth Assembly Rooms – although a lot of the events won’t be happening there, but out and about in the community and in venues throughout Tamworth.

The I Am Tamworth project has been funded by Arts Council England, which has awarded the Arts & Events team a £78,000 grant. It will involve accomplished artists from across the genres bringing their skills to Tamworth and working with the public.

It is split into 15 areas, each celebrating a different form of the arts. Projects throughout the year-long festival include:

  • I Am Dance – including a spectacular outdoor performance using Tamworth Castle and the Castle Grounds by award-winning dance company MotionHouse and Tamworth Dance Company.
  • I Am Visual Art – shops and empty spaces across Tamworth being turned into pop-up art galleries, creating a portrait trail across the town.
  • Trotters Trail – a trail of pigs throughout the town, inspired by the famous Tamworth Two. Pigs will be created by local artists, community groups, schools and local businesses.
  • I Am Music – raising the profile of the existing local music scene and encouraging new and emerging musicians.
  • I Am Words – creative writing and poetry project, encouraging the people of Tamworth to tell their own stories in their own words. It will include the publication of a book and the creation of poetry trails.
  • I Am Drama – a number of drama groups to be established across the borough to cerate short pieces about their areas. This will be brought together in a summer showcase called Tales of Tamworth.
  • I Am Heroes – inspired by the stained glass windows in St Editha’s church which were funded by the people of Tamworth to honour those who died in the First World War. Residents, working with artists, will be encouraged to create their own artwork based on the windows, which will be displayed in the church and Tamworth Library.
  • I Am Development – a series of events and workshops to support local artists and give them the chance to share their knowledge and skills.
  • I Am the Beat – giving families the opportunity to learn a new skill together.
  • I Am Art – the finale of the year-long festival will be a huge celebration which will put the community of Tamworth centre stage.

I Am Tamworth will be launched in January with a 12-week taster programme, giving people the chance to try out new things and develop new skills – all completely free and taking place in community venues throughout the borough.

Taster sessions will include arts & crafts, painting, dress making, street dance, songwriting, salsa, singing, guitar playing, creative writing and drama, as well as many more.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Economy, said: I Am Tamworth is the most ambitious arts project which has ever been put on in the borough and will give every single person in the borough a chance to have a go at the arts and try something different.

“We really hope that a large number of people will get involved in some way and enjoy it so much that they go on to take up an arts activity or join a group as a result.”