Imagineer were joined by people from Coventry and beyond in three extraordinary sun and rain filled days in Broadgate in Coventry. Underneath, around and on top of the Bridge from 26 – 28 September 2019, Imagineer brought people together who wouldn’t normally meet to share new experiences and conversations.
Over three days, the area 'Under the Bridge' became a stage for local groups and organisations including Coventry Library Services, Coventry Cathedral, Crisis Choir and Motionhouse Youth Dance. The Friday morning saw Coventry Cathedral host a breakfast under the bridge, with food supplied by Langar Aid, bringing people of all faiths, and none, together with community leaders, residents and passers-by to share food and make new connections.
On Saturday, the whole of Broadgate became a festival-in-a-day, with the Bridge of Light sing and sign choir, the Bridge Newsroom and News Cycle hosted by The Herbert Museum and Art Gallery, performances from Ascension Dance, Sprungsters, Open Theatre Company and The Fabularium, and amazing performances and activities from the Foleshill Interfaith project.
Over the three days hundreds of people took part in the Headphones Experience, becoming part of the story or listening to the story about how the bridge came to be broken, or enjoying a quiet moment under the bridge, listening to a podcast featuring the stories of local people and the bridges they have built or burnt, all of which has been the inspiration for the project. People scaled the bridge to put themselves in the picture, posing to physically bridge the gap, view the #BridgingTheGap gallery here: https://bit.ly/2nUlKD7
On Friday 27 September Bridge: An Impossible Performance? played to a packed Broadgate with an estimated audience of 1500. Inspired by the stories of bridge building audiences enjoyed gravity-defying circus acrobatics, dance, comedy, theatre and live music as the awe-inspiring circus engineers explored the meaning of the gap in the bridge and tried their best to cross the divide.
Despite an earlier start time on Saturday, in an attempt to beat the weather, rain stopped play on Saturday evening, fixing the bridge was always going to be difficult but the rain made it unsafe for the performance to continue. The full performance from Friday evening can however be viewed here: https://youtu.be/2MdjPa2BuE0
In advance of the Bridge’s arrival in Broadgate, groups across the city hosted their own Bridge Building events bringing together people who wouldn’t normally meet. The Bridge Kits, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s design for a self-supporting bridge, also formed part of the final image of the Impossible Performance – recognising that Coventry is beacon for peace and reconciliation worldwide and its people are experts in bridging divides.
Orit Azaz, Artistic Director for Bridge said: “Over three days, people of all ages, backgrounds and communities came together in Broadgate to play, laugh, share stories, experiences and conversations. Coventry people made Bridge their own, with many groups and artists creating performances and events in response to bridge themes, including, wonderful online artworks and stories.
“We are delighted with the new bridges built in Coventry as a result of the project and look forward to touring to Bridge to Worcester and other places in 2020, representing Coventry in the lead up to 2021.”
Very Revd. John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry, said: “The Bridge project captures so much of what Coventry is a about, as a City of peace and Reconciliation. The bridges that were built around the community, and by students in the back of the Cathedral, were inspiring installations for both those who created and those who viewed them.
“The Breakfast under the Bridge was a fantastic symbol of everything Coventry stands for. We were absolutely thrilled to be working again with the amazing Imagineer team to see this vision come to fruition – there is so much to celebrate, despite the rain interrupting us at the final hour. But that’s the challenge of peace building, and we will look forward to the next project!”
Bridge is an ambitious new outdoor experience produced by Coventry-based Imagineer Productions and created by artistic director Orit Azaz in collaboration with a creative team that includes choreographer Corey Baker, designer Dan Potra, writer Nick Walker, composer Peter Reynolds and circus director Paul Evans.
Further information on Imagineer’s Bridge can be found at www.imaginebridge.co.uk Follow us on twitter, facebook and Instagram tagging #ImagineBridge
Bridge is funded by: Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Connect, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry City Council, Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, InvestSK, South Kesteven District Council and William A Cadbury Charitable Trust.
Bridge is supported by: University of Worcester, Canal & River Trust, Premier Group, Coventry Cathedral and Medwell Hyde.