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Commonwealth Games Handover Ceremony To Birmingham 2022

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Event:
Watch Birmingham talent perform in Commonwealth Games event
Around one billion viewers around the world are expected to be watching when young talent from Birmingham showcases the city in the Commonwealth Games handover ceremony on Sunday. Here's what to expect.

Birmingham commonwealth games handover ceremony, Daniel Alexander, Lady Sanity, Rosie Kay, Amerah Saleh, Celine Gittens
The handover ceremony artists from Birmingham performing at the Commonwealth Games


Leading the 15-minute live performance will be a film-maker, poet, rapper, dancer and choreographer - all intent on telling a distinctive story that Birmingham is rich with young talent and huge opportunities.

From around 11am on Sunday April 15, the handover ceremony will be aired live on BBC2.

For the first time in the Games' history, the handover performance will take place live from across two countries - from the host stadium in the Gold Coast of Australia and Birmingham, where 400 locals aged between 18 and 25 are performing a dance routine in the style of a lip dub video.

They will be led by Birmingham Royal Ballet's principal dancer Celine Gittens and nine of her colleagues in a routine choreographed by award-winning Rosie Kay to the song Mr Blue Sky by Birmingham rock band ELO.

Accompanying them will be volunteers from The People's Orchestra, a 200-strong choir and 10 drag queens. The routine will be performed at a city centre location but has been made for TV in mind, so best viewed on screen or online.

Birmingham commonwealth games handover ceremony, Daniel Alexander, Lady Sanity, Rosie Kay, Amerah Saleh, Celine Gittens. Photo Alison Brinkworth
Left to right: Birmingham Royal Ballet principal dancer Celine Gittens and choreographer Rosie Kay. Photo Alison Brinkworth


The handover ceremony to Birmingham 2022 will start with a short film made by award-winning Daniel Alexander called We're From Birmingham. The 34-year-old film-maker from Oldbury, who is also a youth worker and mentor, has filmed iconic West Midlands landmarks and interviewed a range of people to highlight the diverse cultures and energy that make the region so distinct. Local rap duo Lotto Boyzz feature on the film with their song Birmingham (Anthem).

Following the film, Birmingham rapper Lady Sanity, from Erdington, will perform her track Go The Distance live in Australia's Carrara Stadium. Lady Sanity, who is only 23 but known for her charismatic personality and profound lyrics, says: "I'm not nervous, I'm ready for this. It's a real moment for Birmingham to show the world who we are and what our city is about."

Young poet Amerah Saleh, aged 25 from Sparkhill, will then read her piece Tourist in My City, which has been described as a "love letter to Birmingham". Amerah told me that it "focuses on the aspirational side of Brum, especially for young people". It took her a week to write but said it came naturally as "Birmingham is a big part of me".

Following the poem, the ceremony will go live to Birmingham where the army of dance volunteers and professionals perform a six and a half minute demanding routine that is a mix of ballet, hip hop, jazz and athleticism. It's distinctive of Rosie Kay's style, a dance creator who has made Birmingham her home and was behind the acclaimed 5 Soldiers: The Body Is The Frontline production and choreography in movie Sunshine On Leith.

Birmingham commonwealth games handover ceremony, Daniel Alexander, Lady Sanity, Rosie Kay, Amerah Saleh, Celine Gittens. Photo Alison Brinkworth
Rapper Lady Sanity performs in the handover ceremony. Photo Alison Brinkworth


Gary Topp, chief executive of Culture Central - a development organisation for culture in Birmingham, says: "Birmingham is a world class city for culture. There is a rich international tapestry of people in this city that mirrors the Commonwealth. It's really exciting to share that story with the world and show why Birmingham is the heart and soul of the Commonwealth."

In terms of that rich tapestry, Birmingham is home to 187 nationalities from around the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.

Martin Green, who is producing the handover ceremony, is particularly enthusiastic about portraying the importance that young people play. This seems apt as 46% of people in Birmingham are under the age of 30 and there is very much a theme of using young talent in this handover to say to the world that this is a city you really want to visit now or in four years' time.

Martin explains: "Young people are an enormous advert and credit to us and this ceremony is a timely reminder of what young people can contribute to this world. This is a city that likes to say 'yes', which is an absolute marvel."

Birmingham commonwealth games handover ceremony, Daniel Alexander, Lady Sanity, Rosie Kay, Amerah Saleh, Celine Gittens. Photo Alison Brinkworth
Talking to poet Amerah Saleh. Photo Alison Brinkworth


The dance performance, although taking place in the centre of Birmingham, is being made with TV audiences in mind and is not a public event, so organisers have advised that watching BBC2 for the handover ceremony will give locals the best view.

A homecoming ceremony for competitors in the Commonwealth Games is being planned in Birmingham city centre in coming weeks.

Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 from July 27 to August 7 when 6,500 athletes and officials will come to the city.

Birmingham commonwealth games handover ceremony, Daniel Alexander, Lady Sanity, Rosie Kay, Amerah Saleh, Celine Gittens. Photo Alison Brinkworth
Birmingham is to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Photo Alison Brinkworth
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Why? See Birmingham showcase its young talent
When: Sunday April 15 at 11am
Phone: Promoters for event 0121 285 3760
Where: Watch on BBC2 from secret city centre location
Cost: Free
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