Immersive Peaky Blinders festival to launch in Birmingham

The popular gangster-based TV series will be brought to life across two days in the Digbeth area of the city.

Press Association
Last updated: 2 August 2019 - 12.10am

A new festival based on Peaky Blinders will entertain fans with live music from Primal Scream and Anna Calvi, as well as immersive theatre and special effects later this year.

Called the Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, the event will celebrate the popular drama series across two days in Birmingham’s Digbeth area in September.

Some 20,000 fans are expected to attend each day of the festival, which has been co-curated by the show’s creator Steven Knight and will include appearances from cast members.

Rockers Primal Scream and Mercury-nominated artist Calvi, who created the score for the new series, have been confirmed as headliners, and there will also be performances from the likes of Nadine Shah and Slaves as well as a BBC Introducing Stage.

Live recreations of scenes from the gangster period drama involving 200 actors will be shown, as well as fashion shows and displays of men’s grooming inspired by the series.

Using Digbeth’s historic streets, warehouses and factories, special lighting, sound, smoke, video mapping and special effects will bring the post-First World War era to life.

Contemporary dance company Rambert will stage a specially-commissioned performance, choreographed for the event by artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer.

The festival will also include a cinema, a museum, food and drink offerings and poetry, among other activities and sights.

In addition, Knight will take part in a Q&A session along with special guests, and David Beckham’s fashion brand Kent and Curwen will showcase its official Peaky Blinders collaboration.

Knight said: “It is with enormous pleasure that I announce the first ever Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, which is happening in the streets and alleys of Digbeth, Birmingham, on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 of September.

“It will be a festival of live music, performance, poetry, immersive theatre and experiences which will celebrate the swagger of the men and women who walked these same Digbeth streets 100 years ago.

Peaky Blinders
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in TV hit Peaky Blinders (BBC)

“Along with the music line-up, we have the world-famous ballet Rambert performing a specially written and choreographed Peaky Blinders ballet. There will be fashion shows, street food, pop ups and bars including a re-imagined Garrison Tavern.”

Knight told fans to “expect the unexpected”, adding: “Expect 1919 to come crashing into 2019 and, be assured, everything is officially by order of the Peaky Blinders.”

The festival’s director and founder John Empson described the festival as a “brand new concept”, referring to its blend of music, art, immersive theatre, pop-up performances, bespoke food and drink and ballet.

Singer-songwriter Calvi said: “I’m thrilled to be performing at the Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival. Scoring Peaky Blinders has been a major project for me this year and I’m excited to be bringing a special one-off version of my show to the festival.”

Councillor Mohammed Azim, Lord Mayor of Birmingham, said: “I am so excited that this amazing Peaky Blinders festival is being hosted here in our great city as a tribute to the polished BBC series, set on the streets of post-war Birmingham, which has captivated audiences worldwide.

Anna Calvi
Anna Calvi will perform at the Peaky Blinders festival (David Parry/PA)

“The show has brought Birmingham into the spotlight; gripping and beautifully shot, it has gained national attention and I am particularly pleased to hear that Peaky Blinders is coming home, with the current and future series being shot locally. So now is absolutely the right time for this festival, which will be a unique and exciting experience for fans of the show, as well as an opportunity for those who have not yet seen the show to find out what they are missing.”

The Bafta-winning series, starring the likes of Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Helen McCrory, Sam Neill and Paul Anderson, has been a hit across the world.

It will soon return for its fifth series on BBC One after having jumped from BBC Two following a successful fourth series.

Tickets for the festival will be on general sale from August 9.

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