Words by Ed King / Pics by Claire Taylor – with additional images of Taking Flight by Andrew Moore
On Saturday 17 September, The Festival of Flying came to a close on Castle Vale – following months of community engagement, creative workshops, and inspiring sessions encouraging people on the North Birmingham estate to realise their ambitions and reach for the skies.
The grand finale, a world première of a specially commissioned aerial theatre performance called Taking Flight, will be streamed online today at 7pm – simply click here to visit the Active Arts YouTube channel, or stream directly via the window.
Told through high energy dance, music, smoke, fire, and aerial movement, 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…
For a sneak peak of the Taking Flight, check out the PICTURE GALLERY below for images from the spectacular show that closed The Festival of Flying on Saturday 17 September.
Led by Active Arts, The Festival of Flying was a continuous programme of community engagement on Castle Vale – encouraging people across the estate to explore exciting new ideas and creative adventures, combining arts and engineering.
The Festival of Flying followed the foundations stones laid by The Butterfly Effect project in 2015, where Active Arts Castle Vale explored how small actions on the estate can lead to big changes
Ending on a day of family fun and spectacle, The Festival of Flying closed with a one day event on the grounds on Greenwood Academy – starting with an afternoon Community Showcase with local talent performing on stage, including Castle Vale dance groups Centre Stage and Mini Movers.
Then at 7pm, hundreds of people gathered for the world première of Taking Flight – produced by critically acclaimed performance company Highly Sprung, in partnership with Active Arts Castle Vale and commissioned and written as part of The Festival of Flying project.
Taking Flight featured a cast of trained acrobatic performance theatre professionals from Highly Sprung, alongside local dancers and performers – including Castle Vales’s own Charlotte Dodds, who has travelled the world performing in theatre, film, and TV shows from the UK to New Zealand.
Charlotte Dodd told Erdington Local: “I have lived on Castle Vale most of life, and 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.
“Coming back to perform on Castle Vale (at The Festival of Flying) and give something back to the community with feels very rounded. It feels like a journey has been complete.”
Check out the PICTURE GALLERIES below for a look at The Festival of Flying Community Showcase, and the live debut performance of Taking Flight.
Watch Taking Flight online today at 7pm:
PICTURE GALLERY (1): The Festival of Flying – Community Showcase / Claire Taylor
PICTURE GALLERY (2): The Festival of Flying – Taking Flight / Claire Taylor and Andrew Moore
To know more about The Festival of Flying and other projects from Active Arts, email Active Arts Project Director Claire Marshall on www.activearts.wordpress.com