Symphony of Us
From the intimate to the epic, the real-life stories of six Coventrians are brought to the stage with orchestral accompaniment against the backdrop of Coventry Cathedral
Written by Paul O’Donnell | Original composition by Daniel Fardon | Directed by Tessa Walker
As part of Coventry UK City of Culture
4th and 5th February (7.30pm), 5th February (3pm)
From the maker of the smash hit We’ve Got Each Other comes an epic and personal spectacle made by six people of Coventry, a local creative team and Orchestra of the Swan. As part of Coventry UK City of Culture, Symphony of Us will be performed live in Coventry Cathedral, supported by an original live composition from Ivor Novello Award-winning composer Daniel Fardon and played by the region’s most established chamber orchestra.
These six proud Coventrians, either born in the city or who have made it their home, are each quietly changing the world. Primary school teacher and passionate LGBTQ+ advocate Duncan Brightside brings his experience as the Chair of Prism LGBTQ+, a network supporting children or young adults coming to terms with their sexuality. Meanwhile, Coventry City Football Club Fan and former Chair of the Sky Blue Trust Moz Baker tells his story of a football team displaced, and his want to just be ‘an ordinary fan’ in his home city.
Malaysian-born mother of six Nor Aziz is a keen gardener and considers herself a ‘community pollinator’, she finds strength from her garden and learns a lot about the world from it. Sam Collinge, a bereavement midwife with over 30 years experiences was the first person in her role in the local area and devised the process of support from scratch. Also passionate about supporting families through bereavement, Guyanese-born Spiritualist Minister Lynette Coulston is aged 88, a mother of nine and a retired teacher. The youngest participant is 21 year old Roze Navab who has been a ‘Cov kid’ ever since moving to Iran from Coventry aged 2. Roze was inspired by Coventry’s Twin City history to build creative connections across the world.
Paul O’Donnell said, “As an artist born and bred in Coventry I am aware of how joyfully self-deprecating we as people can be and how we often celebrate the city’s past but forget about its present. I am hugely excited that our contribution to our UK City of Culture year flips this on its head by celebrating who we are right now. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with six people of this city and a full Cov creative team to make something truly spectacular together”.
Paul O’Donnell’s is an artist who aims to expose the ‘ordinary’ in a ‘spectacular’ fashion. His past work includes: an all singing all dancing harem of Pauls (Nothing!), one very 'real' cowboy in a very 'real' saloon (So Far West), a mime artist trying to break free of his glass box (One Thing On His Mime) and a full scale West End Bon Jovi musical that is almost entirely imagined by his audience (We've Got Each Other). Paul is an Associate Artist at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and with Theatre Absolute and also Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Coventry's Shoot Festival which supports and develops artists in Coventry and Warwickshire. In 2018 he won BE Festivals Audience Prize voted for by the audience for We've Got Each Other as well as the Audience Prize and Best Performer Prize at FITT Festival in Tarragona, Spain. He has toured across the UK, Spain, America and Canada.
Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 started in May 2021, running for 12 months. The 365-day cultural programme will reflect Coventry as a diverse, modern city, demonstrating that culture is a force that changes lives. Coventry is known internationally as a city of welcome, a city of activists and pioneers, peace and reconciliation, innovation and invention, and now a City of Culture.
Coventry is the city where movement began, from innovation in the transport industry to a history of welcome, it has moved people for centuries. For a whole year, Coventry will celebrate with events, music, dance, theatre, and large-scale spectacle. As well as these big celebrations, it will show its unexpected side, with more intimate experiences and ways to get involved in every neighbourhood. And it’s not just Coventry. This epic celebration will also witness the entire region getting involved and benefitting from the opportunities that being City of Culture brings. It will be co-created with the people of Coventry and bring about long-term social, economic and cultural benefits.
Running Time: 90 mins excl interval | Suitable for ages 7+
Translation available with Polish, Chinese, Arabic, Gujarati, Urdu captions
Symphony of Us
4th-5th December | Fri, Sat 7.30pm, Sat 3pm