Colors: Red Color

Students from Arena, City, Jewellery Quarter and Rockwood academies – CORE Education Trust schools in Birmingham – have joined forces with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, to launch their first charity Christmas single.

Featuring celebrated Birmingham-born Gospel artists Audrey Mattis, Ray Prince and Gary Hayles, Lift Every Voice and Sing will be released via streaming services on Wednesday 8 December 2021, with all proceeds going to the homeless charity Shelter.

Pop stars Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny were among the most-streamed artists of 2021, according to figures from Apple Music and Spotify. But it was newcomer Olivia Rodrigo who took the top spot in the UK - with her punk-pop anthem Good 4U emerging as the most-played song on both services.

Globally, her debut hit Drivers License was the biggest song for Spotify users. Apple's audience preferred the slick pop of BTS, whose single Dynamite was the most-played song of the year.

Tighter rules on the use of the N-word and other discriminatory language is being adopted by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Following new research carried out by the BBFC, it said it was now "highly unlikely" content including the N-word would be classified lower than 12A/12. Racist language in older films, however, may be given a PG rating.

Following the celebratory reopening of Birmingham Rep this autumn with critically acclaimed productions of East is East, the brand-new musical What’s New Pussycat? and the presentation of Grenfell: Value Engineering, Artistic Director Sean Foley announces a new collection of work to follow his own production of the classic comedy The Play What I Wrote.

Featuring six world premieres, the season continues Foley’s aim of bringing artistically ambitious popular theatre to the Rep and Birmingham: The programme includes brand new musicals and new writing that explores issues of class and race, reinventions of classics, and combines work from established and new talent alike.

The trustees of the Birmingham International Piano Competition and Birmingham City University have formally completed an agreement to transfer responsibility for the competition to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC).

The move marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the globally acclaimed event and in the story of music in Birmingham, with the next competition set to take place in the Bradshaw Hall at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in summer 2022, including early rounds on 23 and 24 June, and the final on 3 July. The Birmingham International Piano Competition was founded in 1979 by Miss Gladys Lily Brant and named after her parents, Robert William and Florence Amy Brant.

Miss Brant had been a promising young pianist but had lacked the necessary financial support to study at an advanced level. Having followed an office-based career, she founded the competition as a way of encouraging young pianists and helping the best to continue their studies and forge a career.

Run by Miss Brant for nearly twenty years and established as a charitable trust in 1986, the competition administration was later passed to Town Hall Symphony Hall (now B:Music) in collaboration with the trustees of the charity. In 2017 the event was rebranded as Birmingham International Piano Competition before being transferred to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in November 2021.

Colin Timms, former chair of the competition, said: “The charity known as Birmingham International Piano Competition is closed, but the competition continues. The former trustees are extremely grateful for the loyal support of the competition’s friends, donors and supporters over the years, and delighted that Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has become the home of the competition and is providing an ideal institutional basis for its future development.”

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is a passionate advocate of the solo piano recital and, with the Bradshaw Hall as the Conservatoire’s flagship venue housing its exceptional fleet of concert grand pianos, the competition will continue to be staged in the city and to offer opportunities to young pianists who are resident in the UK.

Interim Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Dr Shirley Thompson, said: “On behalf of all at the Conservatoire, I would like to thank the trustees of the Birmingham International Piano Competition for entrusting us with its future: we are extremely proud to be the competition’s new custodian and are committed to ensuring that it goes from strength to strength.”

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre invites you inside the rehearsal room with exclusive new rehearsal photographs for this year’s spectacular family pantomime Cinderella from Saturday 4 December 2021 – Sunday 9 January 2022.

The pantomime stars AJ and Curtis Pritchard (Prince Charming and Dandini), Denise Pearson (Fairy Godmother) and Evie Pickerill (Cinderella) are joined by Tam Ryan (Buttons), Ian Adams (Dame Penny Pockets), Ella Biddlecombe and Britt Lenting (Wicked Stepsisters) and Julie Stark (Wicked Stepmother). The ensemble are; Laura Marie Benson, Chloe Evans, Sophie Sheridan, Eddie Slattery, Philip Town and Michael Dean-Wilson.

Crimestoppers and retailers are urging shoppers across the West Midlands region to #ShopKind when they visit local high streets this Christmas, as new national polling reveals that over one third of shoppers (38%) have witnessed violence and abuse against shopworkers.

With at least two-thirds of consumers flocking back to the high street, retailers, the Home Office and charity Crimestoppers are reminding customers to be kind to shopworkers and fellow customers.

Not many rappers grow up on a farm. But Norway’s biggest breaking talent, 21-year-old Ash Olsen, isn’t your average rapper. Spinning hypnotic rhymes inspired by her life in rural Norway with the bravado of an American street rapper, she’s ready to graduate from her bedroom to the big stage.
She’s already hotly tipped at home - she’s a mainstay on national radio, played two packed shows at by: Larm, and will perform at P3 Gull (Norway’s equivalent to the BRITs) tomorrow.

Members of UB40 have launched a new series of maps celebrating the rich music heritage of Birmingham being rolled out at 30 railway stations across their home city.

Revealing the first specially commissioned map at Hall Green station as part of the Musical Routes project, the reggae superstars welcomed the installation which immortalises music and musicians from the area, where alongside UB40, major artists such Ocean Colour Scene and Laura Mvula started out in their careers.

The Kingdom Choir have gone from strength-to-strength after coming to global attention with their inspirational performance at the Royal Wedding in 2018 in front of an audience of two billion people. Since then, The Kingdom Choir have sold-out shows all over the world, including a prestigious performance at the Royal Albert Hall; hit the Top 20 of the UK Official Albums Chart with their debut album ‘Stand By Me’, which also received Breakthrough certification from the BRITs/BPI in recognition of 30,000+ sales from a new artist; and enjoyed a spell on Radio 2’s A-list with their first original song ‘Real Love’.

Having spent many years volunteering in a Dog Rescue Centre, Arabella portrays the behaviour and possible thoughts experienced by the dogs through a series of entertaining happenings. The book is set to become a firm favourite among dog and animal loving children and is aimed at those aged 6-9 years. 

In addition, parents who are rescuing a dog for their family will benefit greatly from purchasing this book for the whole family to enjoy together.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, has been announced as a key partner in a national Arts Council England project aimed at unlocking musical talent in communities across England.

The Fair and Inclusive Classical Music project will see the acclaimed centre of music work alongside professional and community-based orchestras, partners in music education, broadcasters, record labels and schools to help widen access and develop pathways into classical music over the next decade.

The All Africa Festival in Dubai at the weekend showcased a raft of great talent over three days. Rising dancehall artist, singer and songwriter Shenseea is worth a special mention though.

Her headlining performance on Friday 22 October was powerful and super fun – testament to her growth as an artist. With the iconic Burj Khalifa as a backdrop and over 3,000 people in the crowd at Burj Park, Shenseea stole the show.