Yesterday I was invited to have a sneak preview of the Midlands Arts Centre which opens on 1 May after a massive refurbishment. The mac is a place that I have grown up with, and it is great to see it back and brought into the 21st Century. Gone are the dark rabbit warren corridors, gone are the pointless areas on multiple levels. The place is now light, airy, colourful and fully accessible.
As well as the much-loved Hexagon theatre and main theatre, there is now a third theatre space; the cinema has been refurbished with much more comfortable seating ; the renovated dance studios where I remember having lessons provide a beautiful view across Cannon Hill Park. There is also an impressive new gallery space which got me very excited. The square meterage will give scope for bigger, more in-depth exhibitions and the high ceilings give the potential for much bigger works. One of the pieces in the first exhibition will be the HP Sauce sign, liberated from the recently demolished factory.
There is so much going on over the opening weeks that I heartily recommend looking at the website (although mac techy people – it would be useful to have the dates displayed without having to click onto each individual event…) There is a great selection of films being screened and the workshop programme, something I am particularly looking forward to will be announced on 1 May. Amongst other events on the opening weekend, there will be a beautiful interactive Rangoli demonstration and a performance of the City Sings, a new work written by Artmusic’s composer Helen Ottaway to celebrate the re-opening of mac. During the last year Helen has worked with musicians across the city to produce this new anthem for mac with versions of The City Sings being performed on the bells of Bournville Carillon and city events. Over the opening weekend you will be able to learn the song, watch string quartet rehearsals and listen out for fragments of the anthem floating around the city and Cannon Hill Park. It will be an awesome experience and not to be missed.
The mac is back! I can’t wait to visit when it is open. I will certainly be a regular visitor.