Warwick Arts Centre has been awarded £200,000 to create a new, inclusive art and culture project linked to the Commonwealth Games.
The project, entitled Playing Out , focuses on community development and cohesion in Canley, Coventry, using play to deliver a listening and storytelling project that brings together disabled and non-disabled people.
Regular play workshops hosted at community venues will engage around 400 participants, including those with long-term illness and disability.
The project will culminate in the production of two spectacular carnivals as part of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme, inspired by the unique moment of the Games.
Doreen Foster, director of Warwick Arts Centre, said: “This funding is a fantastic opportunity to expand our proud history of working closely with people in our neighbouring communities, especially Canley. I am constantly inspired by the ability of arts and culture to unite diverse groups, and I am excited by the potential of this project to firstly bring together hundreds of people over a two year period, and then to put on two amazing carnivals in 2022 and 2023.
“Coventry is already hosting rugby sevens, judo and wrestling competitions at the Commonwealth Games, so it’s fantastic that the city has a key role in Birmingham 2022’s cultural programme, too.”
The Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme is an arts festival running from March to September 2022, alongside the sports programme. It will include new work, installations, exhibitions, performances and major events across the West Midlands.
Warwick Arts Centre is one of three organisations to receive a share of £600,000 from the West Midlands Challenge Fund, a collaboration between Spirit of 2012, the London Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy Funder, and Birmingham 2022. The fund is designed to help build strong communities, improve wellbeing and empower inclusive participation in the arts.
Susie Rodgers MBE, non-executive director, Spirit of 2012 and Paralympic gold medallist, said: “Large scale sporting and cultural events have the power to bring people together in hope and celebration; I know this through my own personal and professional experience as a Paralympic athlete, competing in and experiencing both London 2012 and Rio 2016
“It is a privilege to be able to fund Warwick Arts Centre to deliver this fantastic project that will create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to come together to celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, their Commonwealth stories and be part of the biggest celebration of sport and culture in this country since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I know the true value that sport has, particularly in changing attitudes, unlocking what is possible, and demonstrating how we are all interconnected. That is why I am excited to see these brilliant projects innovate in bringing people from all parts of the community together to create something truly special.”