Princess Royal visits Coventry University

DSC_0400The Princess Royal commissioned the multi-million Engineering and Computing building at Coventry University on the 8th of February. Princess Anne, who arrived at around 10.40am with her accompanying entourage was received by the vice-chancellor of Coventry University, Professor Madeleine Atkins, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the High Sheriff of West Midlands; Mr Stewart Towe and the clerk of West Midlands Lieutenancy; Mr martin Tunstall.

It is just over ten years ago when her Royal Highness opened the library building which sits just next door to the new engineering building. After a tour in parts of the building, she was taken to the flight simulator centre which is name after Dr Majid AlSadi; one of Coventry University’s highest achieving alumni. She was welcome by Professor Mike Blundell, other members of staff and two aviation students Joshua Holmes and Ana-Maria Cotofan.

Joshua Holmes caught wind of the visit weeks ago when he was invited to one of the lecturer’s office for top secret chat. When asked about his conversation with the Princess Royal Joshua said: “My heart was pounding at first, however she was very friendly to talk to and that put me at ease.”

Ana-Maria Cotofan described her conversation with Princess Anne as a very quick one but she was happy. Adding: “She asked about what I was doing at the control desk and I explained how important it is for aviation students to understand air traffic control.”

The Princess Royal was then accompanied to EC1-29 where a crowd of about 150 including invited guests, staff and students were waiting for the unveiling of the plaque. In her address to the audience, Professor Madeline Atkins expressed her thanks to the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation for their generous grants towards the cost of the building. She added: “I’m delighted that we have been able to name the two lecture theatres downstairs to recognise their contribution.

Professor Atkins also thanked the Sir William Lyons Trust and the 29th of May 1961 charitable trust who have been generous in the way they have given money and support to students in the faculty.

Officially opening the building, the Princess Royal said: “Thank you for showing me some of the work you do here. I know it’s just a little of it but its all exciting stuff. All that technology progresses at such speed and this building will need to maintain that level of speed.”

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Princess Royal in Coventry University

National Libraries Day

The Lanchester Library of Coventry University celebrated National Libraries Day today with a series of events which run simultaneously from 11am to 5pm. Activities included Sound and Vision Installation, interactive arts, a question and answer session, synchronised ironing and more so, an amnesty on all library fines below 10 pounds.

The Interactive Arts session was run by Lynne Langton; MA Contemporary Art Practice student, who had a large sheet of white paper spread out on the floor with books scattered around. I love drawing and that’s what brought me to Coventry to study she said.

Adding: “I have been holding conversations with people who walked by and invite them to draw on the white sheet or throw a book on the floor in whichever direction they wanted.”

Jenny Parkin, study support lecturer for Lynne said: “What she is doing is incorporating the text and thought of a book. A library can seem sterile sometimes but Lynne is opening drawing and text for all ages in a relaxed and informal way which is good.”

Amy Weir and Emma Smith, second year music performance students, dressed as house wives demonstrated synchronised ironing; which is meant to be a random form of visual art for people to look at as they walked past.

Access Development Manager for Coventry City, Sorrelle Clements’ session reminisced on the libraries of ‘the good old days’ and the libraries today. She commented: “People have different expectations of what a library should be like. Some like a library where children can come and have a story telling time with noise while others prefer a quiet library. We to try to cater for all individuals.”

Poetry writer, Deborah Alma, dressed in a white coat with a stethoscope ran the emergency poet work shop. Emergency Poet ran like a clinic where people go in, lie down on the couch and after a ten minute consultation, she prescribed them an appropriate poem. Her patients were people at the library who were feeling tired, stressed, anxious or even lovesick.

She said: “What I do seems like a silly idea but it’s underpinned with something serious.”

As keen readers and book lovers were milling about on all floors of the library, students flocked to the reception desk in their numbers to have their library fines waved off.

Kaleidoscope Man

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Scenes for kaleidoscope man were shot this evening in broadgate Coventry. Kaleidoscope man is a thrilling new science fiction movie director Simon Cox is hoping to release in 2014.

The movie is about Dr Thomas Dunn whose life falls apart and his confidence shatters after the death of his young daughter. He discovers his wife Mandy is pregnant again and see this as a chance to move away from the tragedy of the past and find faith.

As a doctor who cares for paranoid schizophrenics, narcissistic personality disorder and manic depressive patients, one day he has a horrific vision about fire, destruction and the end of the earth. Mandy his wife has the same vision and so does his three patients Harriet, Floyd and Samantha. Thomas Dunn is astounded why these three patients have the same vision as him.

Fear and paranoia grips people around the world as every discusses the vision only some seems to have experienced. Then, a loud bang, accompanied by a deafening noise and an almost blinding flash of light, a new star appears in the heavens. A telescope point skywards, a gigantic spaceship hovers and the people on earth begin to get zapped.

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Thomas and Mandy miss each other’s phone calls. As the sun sets, a four legged harvester spaceship attacks the hospital and abducts Dr Thomas along with his three patients; Harriet, Floyd and Samantha. They are forced into pods and here they discover the truth behind the horrific visions and why they were chosen.

Another spaceship launches an attack on earth and collects the inhabitants into pods. Dr Thomas discovers he must look deep within himself not just to find faith but the foresight and courage to save the human race but first he must save Mandy and their unborn child.

Speaking to director Simon Cox as he took a break to look over his scripts, he mentioned this is a project he has been working on for ten years. He added: “My aim is to make one of the greatest British sci-fi movies of all times”.

Simon directed ‘Written in Blood’ and has edited numerous programmes for BBC, ITV Channel 4 and Channel 5. He’s also edited shows like The Wombles, Astro Farm and Treasure Island.

Producer Richard Wood who runs ‘Rootstoshoots’ and also the ‘Coventry Warwickshire Filmmakers network’ was also in broadgate. He added: “The reason why I got involved with this movie is the opportunity to look at something commercial that has a lot of hype and buzz around”.

Speaking to Susan Haycock an extra in the movie she said: “I heard about the movie because the director is a brother-in-law. I used to dance years ago but now I’m acting and even though it’s a really minor scene I’m enjoying it”.

Millennium Place Dance

In the last few days I’ve gone from being press officer of the festival to assistant event organizer. I played a very important role in overseeing that the performance came out well.

  

The music for the choreography was being played from the big screen. When all the schools are ready a gentleman on the far end pushes the button for the music to start. My job was to signal him to push the button. It sounds easy but timing was very crucial for the dance to be properly executed.

The whale

The festival continued in the city centre. I aimed to take a trip into the belly of the whale to see the theatrical performance of the lovesick submariner.

 

I entered the belly of the whale, the mouth of the whale shut and the red curtains were drawn. In there sat a mariner with a rather lost expression and an accordion. He said to me he is trying to send a message to his long lost love. He has a limited amount of words that he could write however he has to get all the words in for his note to make sense. We sat for about two minutes trying to figure out how best to compose this letter.

In the end we came up with a solution. Before the exited the belly of the whale the mariner handed me a folded paper with a note to give to his lost love if I find her. I’m not entirely sure where to start looking but I took the note all the same. He sang and played the accordion quite well but as to whether I was serenaded by this love sick mariner. I would leave that to the judgment of whoever went into the belly of the whale when I exited.

“Dance Container”

 ‘Container’, from the Coventry school of Art and Design were in Broadgate today and yesterday from 12 to 2pm with a vivid performance as a response to the theme of urban development and transformation.

The hollow shipping container depicts a cold, industrial and alien environment. The idea is to put a vulnerable and lone human being in this context to see the change in their reaction. This person comes in the form of German-born Joana Tischkan, a 2nd year Dance and Theatre student of Coventry University. The creative idea of the dance is watching how Joana engages with this performance space as an object through her movements.

German sonic artist Wolfram Spyra will capture Joana’s movement and emotional response in the contained environment. He will do this by attaching speaker and amplifiers to the container to intensify every sound Joana makes. 

Nana Ama Akpoblu, 2nd year Journalism student of Coventry University and press officer for the Mysteries Festival said: “Watching Joana rehearsal her dance moves was surreal. The container is wide open but she doesn’t run out. In a still moment she begins to touch the floor as if to see if it’s real. Her emotional change is quite intense”.

BROADGATE, OUR FESTIVAL ARENA

Broadgate never remains static whatever the era. Pedestrianised Broadgate inCoventryis now a large piazza bursting with fun-packed family activities.

Since last October, buses and taxies were banned fromCoventry’s Broadgate area. The £7 million project was aimed at transforming the city ahead of this year’s Olympics.

Following the enormous transformation, more trees have been planted in Broadgate and the area is now a traffic-free zone. An event space needed in the city centre has finally been provided due to the transformation. However, the current effective and dynamic use of Broadgate has overshadowed criticisms that the transformation will lead to a loss of business.

Hundreds have headed to the Beach in the city centre and visited ‘Coventry-on-Sea’ this week. It is free to visit with lots entertainment for kids, including rides around the city centre on the land train, children’s tea cup ride, BBQ stall, ice cream and rock stall, face painting, candy floss and many more. There are free goodies and prizes to be won each day, including a chance to win a home garden gas BBQ worth £500.00.

Next week Broadgate will again be alive with entertainment as the Coventry Mysteries Week arts festival brings in performers from across theUK.

‘Container’, a dance piece in a shipping container will be an intriguing addition on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, ‘The Whale’ will come ashore and is a gentle giant made of metal which swallows audience one or two at a time for an unforgettable three minutes theatre performance. It is suitable for children above the ages of six years. A three minute adventure in the belly of the whale might see audience leave with a gift from the sea. Entering the jaws of the giant silver whale promises audience being serenaded by a lovesick submariner.

‘The Midsommer Mechanicals and their Amazing Carnival of Animals’ will be in town from Thursday the 14th to Saturday the 16th of June. The performers  taking to the streets of Coventry for three days with their traditional pageant wagon and members of the public will see a myriad of colourful characters roaming the streets with short plays, music and circus skills.

Nana-Ama Akpoblu, Press Officer for Coventry Mysteries Week, says “Don’t miss out on the fantastic merry making as Coventrycity centre comes to life with non-stop activities and an exciting atmosphere. Saturday the 16th of june2012 will see an all-day massive festival celebration with poetry tent, art and exhibition tent, street theatre, craft stall, cycling activities and live music.”

For more information about the festival, visit the website www.coventrymysteries.com or pick up a brochure from cafes, museums and Tourist Information.

THE MYSTERY PLAYS REGENERATED

The Coventry Mysteries Festival is back in town promising an even bigger and better line up of activities. There are over 100 events but this year’s Mysteries Trilogy performance promises to attract a huge audience to the Cathedral on 18th June.

Playbox Theatre, a company of young actors based in Warwickshire, will bring to audiences their innovative production of the stories of Creation, Passion and Doomsday. This company enjoys an internationally reputation, known for their engaging, incredible and highly creative performances.

The Mystery Plays are significant because they play an important part inCoventry’s heritage. Nana-Ama Akpoblu, Press Officer for Coventry Mysteries Week, says, “The play and the Cathedral share something in common because the play is acted out in fragments and the Cathedral also has parts of it missing. However, both are united in their sharing of human hopes and fears.”  

The last performance of the Mysteries at the Cathedral was six years ago. Three years ago, the Belgrade Theatre staged the plays from the point of view of other cultures, focusing on the shared heritage of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Staging the play from the point of view of different cultures allowed audience to hear of the many Bible stories also found in the Quran.

The Mysteries Trilogy will be performed at 7.30pm on Monday 18th June. Tickets are just £5 and are available on the door or in advance by calling 024 7652 1210.

Members of the public are also encouraged to attend a pre-performance event at 6.30pm on the same day. Playbox theatre director Stewart McGill will explain how the production was put together and there will be an opportunity to ask him questions.

For more information about the festival, visit the website www.coventrymysteries.com or pick up a brochure from cafes, museums and Tourist Information.

About the Festival:

COVENTRY MYSTERIES WEEK (9th-16th June) is the city’s annual festival of dance, drama, music, film, digital media and visual art. The city’s many varied public spaces, including pedestrian streets, shopping centres, and parks, are attracting artists from across the UK to create new work and, encourage audiences to relate to buildings and people in new ways.

CONTACT – Hannah Grainger on 07535 153123 or hgrainger@coventrymysteries.com

Designs of my Heritage

  

Aspiring fashion designer Jacqui Agyemang has taken to designing vibrant African fabrics to create modern style with a twist.

She said: “My overall inspiration is to be a designer like Cristobal Balenciaga who was known for his incredibly chic, sophisticated and well executed designs.”

Elegant, stylish, smart and casual are themes that form an important part of the clothes that she designs. African fabrics are often rich in colour and as designer with an eye for detail she pays attention to the infusion of colours.

She expresses the desire to work behind the scenes putting together performer’s wardrobe in a theatre or gain experience as custom designer on set. However, in the future Jackie aims to work as an established designer in the fashion industry. Her goal is to have her signature fashion label and also run her fashion house.

The very best to Jackie as we have hope to see her labels the run way. Watch this space guys.