Imagineer’s Bridge — a new outdoor experience

A programme of free events and happenings coming to Coventry in September.

Bridge is an ambitious new outdoor experience coming to the city in September, produced by Coventry-based company Imagineer Productions.

A beautiful bridge will appear in Broadgate, Coventry, with a gap where the keystone would be. For three days, it is host to pop-up events and happenings that will bring people together in new and playful ways, including a free immersive headphones experience which offers an insight into the meaning of the divided bridge.

On the Saturday evening, the bridge will become the setting for a memorable outdoor performance. Gravity-defying circus acrobatics, dance, comedy, theatre and live music, inspired by local people’s stories, will create a thrilling and moving montage of the courage, compassion, imagination and humour needed to bridge a divide.

The project is rooted in the community, with hundreds of local people being invited make their own bridges and share experiences of bridge-building, in all senses.

Using a specially made kit, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s design for a self-supporting bridge, people who wouldn’t normally meet will come together to build a bridge in public spaces in their neighbourhood.

Jane Hytch, Chief Executive Imagineer said: “Bridge takes its inspiration from many different sources, from engineers and artists to people who are bridging social, spiritual and political divides. It is hugely exciting to see the project taking shape with such accomplished engineers, artists, performers and communities.

“At Imagineer, we are interested in producing new and extraordinary outdoor work through creative collaborations in order to transform spaces and most importantly for us to build human connections where you might least expect them. Bridge will certainly deliver this as well as creating some
unforgettable experiences along the way both for those involved and those who experience Bridge in Coventry.”

At the centre of the project is the surprising, beautiful and (in engineering terms) almost impossible, broken bridge structure.

Behind the structure is Sydney based designer Dan Potra, responsible for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 Opening Ceremony, working alongside structural engineer Neal Fletcher, circus specialist Tarn Aitken, engineers from ARUP and a skilled team of theatrical technicians and fabricators to create a workable design for the bridge.

The size, scale and specialist requirements of the bridge has resulted in Imagineer creating a pop-up Creation Space – the likes of which did not previously exist in the Midlands – to enable the development of the Bridge performance, which includes high skill aerial and acrobatic circus performed at a height of up to 12 metres.

Imagineer’s pop up creation space, with training facilities in a range of unusual circus disciplines including Chinese pole and Cradle, allows the international cast of 9 circus, dance and physical theatre performers and 3 musicians to rehearse and train whatever the weather.

Orit Azaz, Artistic Director for Bridge said: “Bridge has been imagined by artists; created by designers and engineers and inspired by people’s stories, it really is a project for our time and is already bringing people together in unexpected and joyful ways. Bridge is about the gap between two sides – the bit that is broken or unfinished – and the effort, good humour, courage and imagination of people needed to connect across the gap.

“In order to realise the project, Imagineer have created an unprecedented environment for the creation of the final bridge performance. Bringing together a world-class team, Imagineer’s pop-up creation space is a fantastic achievement.

This is hugely exciting, not just for the development of our project but Coventry as a City of Culture and the UK outdoor arts sector as a whole.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “Coventry is a city known for building connections across communities and bridging global divides. This project from Imagineer will be an opportunity for people across the city to come together, share their stories and experience a brilliant new work by this nationally renowned company. We are delighted to be supporting this project.

“Bridge will bring people together, demonstrate the innovation that exists in the city and throw a spotlight onto the great creativity of artists based in Coventry.”

Bridge comes to Broadgate, Coventry from Thursday, 26 September until Saturday, 28 September 2019.

Further information on Imagineer’s Bridge can be found on their website.