NEWS: Community event and world première of aerial theatre show Taking Flight at Greenwood Academy – TODAY, FREE TO ATTEND

Words by Ed King / Production pics supplied by Highly Sprung

On Saturday 10 September, Greenwood Academy will host the world première of Taking Flight – an exciting and daring new aerial theatre show written especially for Castle Vale, as part of the Festival of Flying project.

For a sneak peak of Taking Flight, look through the special photo gallery below.

Free to attend, and suitable for families and children of all ages, Taking Flight will be performed on the grounds of Greenwood Academy between 8-9pm today (Saturday, 10 September). No advance tickets are needed.

There will also be a community showcase afternoon at Greenwood, running between 4-7:30pm, where local creatives will show off their on-stage talents with singing, dancing, and live music.

Castle Vale dance groups Centre Stage and Mini Movers will be performing a special routine titled Aim High, which was choregraphed to a medley of inspiring music.

Centre Stage and Mini Movers group leader, Tezlin Newell-Harding, prides herself on creating a ‘dance family’ – teaching her dancers the importance of teamwork, resilience, and contributing to their community, whilst challenging their performance skills and building on their confidence and self-esteem.

Tezlin told Erdington Local: “Aim High is about encouraging young people to push their limits and achieve great things – it’s an inspirational dance routine, performed by both Centre Stage and our younger group Mini Movers.

“Our children work really hard to be the best they can be, on stage and off, and Aim High is a celebration of that spirit – one we hope will inspire other young people to believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their dreams.”

There are also free craft workshops for all ages.

Commissioned as part of the Festival of Flying Project, Taking Flight tells the tale of the evil ‘destroyers’, a wild bunch of greedy wrongdoers who are stealing all the natural resources from the planet. But just as a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, destruction never truly wins where hope lies…

Told through high energy dance, music, smoke, fire, and aerial movement, let Taking Flight steal an hour of your day and take you on a journey, to a performance of raw emotion and exciting circus style creativity.

Produced by critically acclaimed performance company Highly Sprung, in partnership with Active Arts Castle Vale, Taking Flight was commissioned and written as part of the Festival of Flying project.

Following on from The Butterfly Effect project in 2015, where Active Arts Castle Vale explored how small actions on the estate can lead to big changes, The Festival of Flying is a programme of new ideas combining arts and engineering.

Performing in Taking Flight is Castle Vale born Charlotte Dodd, who will take centre stage in the world première of this exciting new show.

Growing up on the North Birmingham estate, Ms Dodd has travelled the world performing in theatre, film, and TV shows from the UK to New Zealand – after following her childhood dreams to build a career in the performing arts.

Having worked with Highly Sprung on their show Millennials, after training with them during Active Art’s The Butterfly Effect in 2015, Ms Dodd is coming back to join the company for the world premiere of Taking Flight – once again performing in Castle Vale.

Charlotte Dodd told Erdington Local: “I have lived on Castle Vale most of life, although I went to university in Wales and spent four years living and working in New Zealand.

“When I worked with Highly Sprung, I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my work as a performer.

“They showed me that it is possible to have a career in the arts, and at the time that was a big thing for me. They believed in me.

“They basically kept encouraging me to apply to audition for them and put me into some training to be able to run workshops in schools.

“In doing that I was able to get more work as a facilitator with other companies. Working with them gave me professional industry experience.

“Coming back to perform on Castle Vale and give something back to the community with Highly Sprung feels very rounded. It feels like a journey has been complete.

“I’m coming back in at a very different point in my professional career; it’s good to share the skills that I’ve gained over the last few years. It feels great to be working with them again, and I have loved the creative process.”

Taking Flight will be performed at Greenwood Academy between 8-9pm, following an afternoon community showcase from 4-7:30pm – all are free to attend and suitable for families and children of all ages.

The Festival of Flying is led by Active Arts, funded by Birmingham City Council and presented as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

Having been planned for three years, organisers of The Festival of Flying decided to continue with the world première of Taking Flight and the community showcase at Greenwood Academy in respect of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – mirroring the hope and inspiration the monarch brought to the country and celebrating the coming together of community.

Castle Vale Councillor Ray Goodwin will pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in a special address at Greenwood Academy during the event.

Taking Flight – photo gallery

To know more about The Festival of Flying and other projects from Active Arts, email Active Arts Project Director Claire Marshall on activeartscv@gmail.com

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