Trade in Lunacy – exploring 18th century private asylums


27th, 28th and 29th June 2013
Shop Front Theatre, 38, City Arcade, Coventry

Cure, containment, corruption: a theatrical examination of 18th century private asylums.

Trade in Lunacy is a chamber theatre performance inspired by the practices of treating those diagnosed with ‘diseases of the mind’ in asylums in private homes, set up by individual entrepreneurs to generate income and enhance claims to cure.

An exciting new collaboration between Warwick Centre for the History of Medicine (CHM) and Talking Birds – this event builds on Professor Hilary Marland’s research into the history of mental disorder and its institutions.

On Thursday 27th June, a panel discussion and reception will follow the 6.30pm performance.

For information about the project and the Centre for the History of Medicine, visit the project website.

Tickets available from OxBoffice or 0845 680 1926.

The wait is over: the #OakMobile will be unveiled this weekend!

This Saturday (June 22nd) in Victoria Square Birmingham, from 11am – the OakMobile – our rather special (and up until this point top secret!) collaboration with the National Trust will be unveiled.

To launch the OakMobile, the National Trust is putting on a whole load of stuff for people to do in the square, with activities running all day (11-5). Yes, we know the weather forecast isn’t great, but after Taking Flight in the monsoon last week we’re ready for anything, so bring a brolly and come out to see us….!

This week: Taking Flight (or, ‘You’re just too little, Mr. Whittle’)


Taking Flight is a performance celebrating the life and work of Sir Frank Whittle, Coventry-born inventor of the jet engine. With music by Derek Nisbet, lyrics by Peter Cann and choreography by Emily Lloyd-Roberts, Taking Flight is sung by 100 children from 4 Coventry schools (Sir Frank Whittle, Edgewick, Sacred Heart and Courthouse Green) and is made in collaboration with the Performing Arts Service as part of Coventry’s Mysteries week. The performance will take place in Millennium Place at the feet of Sir Frank’s statue and will incorporate choreographed movement, film, live music and song to tell the story of the man from Coventry who shrank the world.

Performances Thursday 13th and Friday 14th June at 12.45 and 1.30 in Millennium Place, Coventry.

Coventry Mysteries Schedule

– See more at:

Coventry Mysteries Festival starts today

IMG_6137There’s lots of interesting stuff happening around Coventry over the next week. Ludic Rooms are running another mobile phone trail around the city centre – look out for yellow dots in the windows of participating shops in the precinct and answer the questions posed by the scrolling LEDs to take part. Ludic Rooms were responsible for the rather brilliant EnactCov trail last year, so this should be fun.

Talking Birds (and its individual artists) are also involved in the festival:

For the last month, Janet has been working with Hi8us Midlands and Anne Forgan on the Think Space project, exploring with a group of young people how they can harness design and making skills to transform their living spaces in temporary accommodation. The Think Space Lab – opposite the main West Orchards/Debenhams entrance – where they’ve been working now houses an exhibition of objects made or upcycled using their newfound skills. More info on the blog.

Next Tuesday (June 11th) is Pecha Kucha Coventry’s latest event – this time curated by Ludic Rooms as part of the Mysteries (which means Janet gets to enjoy PKN as a punter instead of organising it for once, which she’s rather looking forward to!) More details here.

Meanwhile Derek has been working on Talking Birds’ official contribution to the Mysteries Festival! With Peter Cann (director of Talking Birds’ Greek space epic ‘Troy Story’) he has been crafting a series of songs inspired by the life of Coventry-born inventor of the jet engine, Frank Whittle. Containing such memorable lines as “I’m afraid you’re just too little, Mr. Whittle!”, these songs have been practised and practised by children from four Coventry schools (Sir Frank Whittle, Courthouse Green, Edgewick Park and Sacred Heart) and – along with choreography & direction by Emily Lloyd-Roberts – will be performed in Millennium Place (under the Whittle arches outside the Transport Museum) on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th June at 12.45 and 1.30pm.

For the full Mysteries Festival schedule, check out the 2013 online brochure: