This Saturday – The River Project – Birmingham

A Press Release we can’t be bothered to rewrite, but that might interest you:

The River Project
1 City, 16 Artists, 138 Performers, 1 Film
Date: Saturday 7th August 2010
Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm
Venue: Retort House, 9 Gas Street, Birmingham, B1 2JT

This one day event is the conclusion of an 18 month artistic process that is The River
Project. Lead artist Babis Alexiadis along with 16 other artists and 138 performers
from Birmingham have worked together to create an installation, including film, dance
and performance. Dance rehearsals and animation workshops have culminated in this
exciting event that celebrates heritage and identity through dance.
The exhibition consists of screenings of new work, including the film with a
soundtrack performed live by internationally acclaimed band Pram, live dance
performances, a video installation of seven documentaries capturing the making
of The River Project and a time-lapse video about Retort House – the exhibition
venue – capturing its architectural beauty and historical character.
The River Project engaged with people from 7 diverse communities in Birmingham
and created a film using dance as a storytelling technique to represent all voices from
different age groups, ethnicities and genders. The participating individuals had the
responsibility to choreograph a new dance piece with the assistance of a professional
choreographer and dancers. The theme of the film is based on the participants’
experience in understanding dance and using it as a form of expression to tell their own
For the lead artist Babis Alexiadis each group represents a river, embracing its shape,
characteristics, colour and surroundings. As nature commands, the small rivers stream
into a bigger river; this culturally and characteristically integrated river is Birmingham.
Following the journey of the The River Project, it was clear that the quality of the
work created and the participant’s achievements and commitment deserved a public
presentation and celebration.
The exhibition will be hosted at Retort House, a unique Grade II and Grade II* listed
building, dating from 1822, measuring an epic 18,922 sq ft. One of Retort House’s main
features is the Georgian cast iron trussed roof structure, an elaborate and unique tracery
set against the backdrop of original brickwork elevations. The building is unique and
situated in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre. This is the first time it has been used
for an arts event. Both The River Project and Retort House underline the importance of
heritage, culture and participation in the region.
Admission to the event is free.
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The pilot of The River was launched at the West Midlands Cultural Olympiad event, in July 2009, Town Hall, Birmingham.
This project is supported by Arts Council England West Midlands, the BBC Big Screen, Awards for All, and the People
Dancing Strand of the Cultural Olympiad.
For further information and images please contact Babis Alexiadis at
Or visit The River project website at
And our new blog, covering the progress of the project with video bites, photos, and updates:

Editors Notes
Babis Alexiadis: Lead Artist
Born in Greece in 1979, Babis Alexiadis
has lived in Birmingham since
2001. Alexiadis works mainly with
animation and video. He has a specific
interest in projects using city landscapes
as a platform. Alexiadis engages with the
public across a wide range of disciplines
and collaborative settings, creating
inspirational dialogues and exchanges
through his artistic practice.
He had his first solo exhibition, ‘Inner_Dialogues’, in 2006 at Periscope in Birmingham. Since then he
has gone on to work with the English Touring Opera, Opera North, BBC Big Screen West Midlands, and
participated in the award-winning theatre production ‘For The Best’ at Unicorn Theatre in London. He also
collaborated with BBC Big Screen to stage a live animation performance with 300 members of the public in
one week. In 2008 he received a first place award at Greek film festival Platforma Video7, and a Public’s
Choice Award at the Micropolis International Film Festival in Athens, Greece.
Kate Mason: Choreographer
Kate has just completed her national tour ‘Such is Life’ and has choreographed a number of performances
for Ascendance and worked with Bare Bones.
Scott Johnston: Filmmaker
A local filmmaker who has successfully created a number of critically acclaimed short films, and collaborated
with 7inch Cinema and Flatpack Festival, Pram, and the MAC.
A hugely successful Birmingham-based band who have performed nationally and internationally.


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