COVENTRY was brought to life by theatre, poetry, lights – and 20 kilometres of blue ribbon – at a major event at the weekend.
Faith was a co-production between Coventry City of Culture Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and created with faith communities, City Voices and artists from across the city.
The 24-hour event began with dinner in Swanswell Park at dusk on Friday, with 200 people from Coventry’s faith communities coming together to break bread and share their ingredients for a good life.
On Saturday, 17 faith centres and four faith groups opened their doors to welcome visitors to learn more about different cultures while four new plays led audiences on journeys around the streets of Coventry.
The production ended at dusk with a Ceremony of Lights in Millennium Place.
The four plays, written by Chris O’Connell and Chinonyerem Odimba, were all directed by RSC deputy artistic Director Erica Whyman and told different stories relating to faith.
City Voices, a project led by Theatre Absolute, gave a platform to citizens to share their thoughts and stories of Coventry, which were brought to life in pop up events in the city centre and as part of the pledge during the Ceremony of Lights.
RSC theatre designer Tom Piper, famed for his poppies display at the Tower of London,
created a visual connection of what ties the city’s communities together as blue ribbons adorned more than 20 faith buildings and joined them together with a trail of Coventry blue.
Artist Laura Nyahuye collaborated with Tom to create a reflective installation in the Cathedral Ruins exploring the relationship between faith and mental health.
The whole event was broadcast live and recorded on the Coventry City of Culture YouTube Channel, while a number of pre-recorded films were made, including a series of cook-alongs, to help learn create new dishes from different faiths and cultures.
Erica said: “It was wonderful to see so many people getting the opportunity to enjoy Faith and be part of such an ambitious event for the city.
“Audiences moved with the plays as they made their way through different parts of the city and told stories that were relatable for people from all backgrounds, communities and faiths.”
The plays and the Ceremony of Lights can be viewed again at Coventry City of Culture 2021’s YouTube channel here.