BE THERE OR BE... SQUARE ; Thousands flock to open-air arts fest [Sunday Mercury (England)]
(Sunday Mercury (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) SQUARE dancing has taken on a whole new meaning in Birmingham after four landmark public squares became open-air entertainment venues.
Oozells, Centenary, Chamberlain and Victoria Squares were the setting for music, dance and theatre to celebrate the opening of the city's Pounds 188 million library.
The 4 Squares Weekender kicked off on Friday and finishes today.
Crowds joined in the carnivallike celebrations to mark the launch of the library and re-opening of Birmingham Repertory Theatre earlier this week.
Lined up were pop-up performances by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, aerial acrobatics from NoFit State Circus, appearances by Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Drum community centre's summer music show, Simmer Down.
Emma Gray, director of marketing services for VisitBirmingham, said: "Birmingham is a dynamic and diverse cultural centre, home to over 50 festivals that attract visitors from across the globe each year.
"The 4 Squares Weekender is a fantastic new addition to the city's events calendar, promising an exciting programme of world- class culture and creativity. Attracting 33.8 million visitors in 2012, Birmingham continues to draw record numbers to experience its unique offerings.
"The hotly anticipated launch of the Library of Birmingham and re- opening of Birmingham REP will further cement the city's reputation as an artistic hotspot."
Roxana Silbert, artistic director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, said: "The experience of last year's London 2012 Festival with events such as The Voyage and Mandala, as well as other outdoor performances such as dance piece Wings of Desire, underlined the popularity of outdoor arts activity in the city.
"The opportunity to build on Birmingham's reputation in this field, the demand from audiences for large scale spectacle and the desire to celebrate this iconic moment in the city's cultural life is too great to miss.
"Birmingham's arts organisations are a great asset to the city and we will all be out in full force over the 4 Squares Weekender."
City council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "Not only do we have a wealth of creative talent in Birmingham, but we also attract the highest calibre of artists from outside the city and I look forward to the national and international performances.
"We are fortunate in Birmingham that so many arts, business and community groups put on events across the city throughout the year."
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