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Wondrous Stories

From the 17 – 20 March 2022, Centenary Square in Birmingham was transformed into our stage for Wondrous Stories, a spectacular open-air show that kicked-off the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Motionhouse’s professional dance-circus artists were joined by aerialist LJ Marles alongside a mass cast of hundreds from Critical Mass, Freewheelin (an inclusive wheelchair dance group), Motionhouse Youth, Motionhouse community class participants, Timmins Academy and the Centre of Advanced Training programme run by DanceXchange and Sampad, audiences witnessed large-scale immersive action and thrills as characters tumbled out of a giant book in the night sky, celebrating our human connection to stories.

Wondrous Stories was a show for everyone, made by a local and international creative team. Created and directed by Kevin Finnan MBE, Artistic Director of Motionhouse, who was choreographer and movement director of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The show featured additional choreography by Jamaal Burkmar (Extended Play, Phoenix Dance) and Sonia Sabri (Sonia Sabri Dance Company), live spoken word performance from Coventry and Birmingham-based artists Raza Hussain and Sebbie Mudhai, and actor Leon Finnan. Birmingham’s Choir With No Name sang to an uplifting soundtrack by Sophy Smith and Tim Dickinson, and designer Sophie Donaldson led Birmingham City University students in costume creation. Digital projections by Logela Multimedia and an incredible aerial dance-circus spectacle in the night sky thrilled audiences.

Wondrous Stories won the Access All Areas Diversity and Inclusion Award in January 2023.

Presented by Birmingham 2022 Festival. Wondrous Stories was created by Motionhouse and produced by Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces (OPUS). Generously supported by Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 

Images by Brian Slater

Images by Dan Tucker

Images by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

Read the Wondrous Stories programme

Live-streamed performance

If you couldn’t make it to Birmingham, you can watch our live-streamed performance of Wondrous Stories, which is now available on our YouTube channel.

Wondrous Wednesdays

Follow the journey of the making of Wondrous Stories in our blog series!

Wondrous Wednesdays documented the creation and evolution of the show. We shared exclusive interviews with the team behind this amazing show as well as never-before-seen clips from rehearsals.

Read the latest blogs to find out more about the creation process, including clips from our first exploratory creative sessions with our dancers.

Sharing stories from across the region

Wondrous Stories was inspired by our connections to stories and storytelling. We invited people from across the region to share their story to form a snapshot of life in the area as Birmingham and the West Midlands become the focus of international attention through the Commonwealth Games.

We received loads of beautiful stories, some of which were used in a magical scene in the show. To find out more and read people’s stories visit our Wondrous Stories website.