First shows announced for Assembly Festival Garden 2022 – Coventry City Council

The Assembly Festival Garden returns to Coventry from Thursday 14 April, as part of the finale for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture 2021.

Part of Coventry City of Culture Trust’s Legacy, the Assembly Festival Garden will deliver an exhilarating programme of music, theatre, circus, and comedy throughout the summer to late September. 

The Festival Garden was a hub for City of Culture activity last year, and will once again bring the very best acts and artists touring the UK and the world to the residents of Coventry and visitors to the city. 

Returning to the Coventry University site opposite the Council House right in the centre of Coventry, the Assembly Festival Garden will return with the spectacular Queen of Flanders spiegeltent, the world’s largest purpose-built venue of its kind; the Treehouse bar; and the bijou Piccolo spiegeltent for another summer of festival fun. 

The Assembly Festival Garden will reopen on Thursday 14 April with two foot-stompingly fantastic music shows. Leading the line-up in the Queen of Flanders is a capella super-group, The Magnets: Legends. From the creative minds that brought you The Choir of Man, The Magnets: Legends will take you on a legendary musical journey, featuring the hits of Queen and The Beatles, to The Jackson 5, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and much more. The Magnets are a must-see act on the international circuit with a reputation for outstanding festival appearances from the Adelaide Fringe to Glastonbury. From Rat Pack to Rock Band, Nashville to Nightclub, The Magnets own each genre, effortlessly switching scene with their trademark inventive choreography and lashings of charm. Get ready to sing and dance to the ultimate soundtrack of your life, Magnets style!

Stepping into the aptly named Queen of Flanders next will be the night out we’ve all been missing: Queenz! Five vocal powerhouses armed with songs, sass and plenty to say. Expect an all-singing, all-dancing hour of live vocals and chat with the Queenz as they guide you through an eclectic party playlist – this is drag as you’ve never heard it before. Join these divas as they dance like Britney and sing like Whitney; serving up remixed and reimagined classics from The Spice Girls, GaGa, Shakira, Little Mix, and everything in between. 

The fun doesn’t stop there; as spring turns into summer Coventry’s audiences will have even more to enjoy as more headline acts make their way to the City of Culture.

Inspired by the iconic TV show Friends, the hilarious parody musical Friendsical (21 Jun) will pivot its way onto the Queen of Flanders stage. When Ross’s wife leaves him for another woman, he fears he will never find love again. But then Rachel runs back into his life… will he end up with his one true love? With original new songs such as ‘(He’s her) Lobster!’, ‘Richard’s Moustache’ and ‘You’re Over Me, When Were You Under Me?’, the gang take on a power cut, and a dinosaur convention! What could possibly go wrong?

And, back by popular demand, the sell-out sensation of UK City of Culture summer 2021, the West End hit The Choir of Man (17 May) returns to Coventry for an encore run. The greatest pub gig you’ve ever been to; The Choir of Man is a party, a concert, a lock-in like no other – indisputable joy for all ages. Combining stunning harmonies and foot-stomping singalongs with world-class tap dance and the incredible talent of nine ordinary guys who perform everything from sing-along classics to classic rock.  With a real working bar on stage, come ready to drink in the action. The first round is on us!

Across the Garden in the Piccolo spiegeltent, the summer season kicks off with some brilliant family entertainment. There’s a Shark in the Park (14 Apri) over the Easter weekend. From Nonsense Room Productions, see all three of Nick Sharratt’s ‘Shark in the Park’ books live on Stage. Featuring Shark in the Park, Shark in the Dark, and Shark in the Park on a Windy Day – this fin-tastic, family musical follows Timothy Pope (and his telescope!) on three exciting adventures.

There will be more nonsense later in the summer as the team bring You Choose (3 June) to the Garden. Based on the brilliant book by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt, Nonsense Room Productions bring a brand new interactive musical show for all the family. But in this show – YOU CHOOSE what happens! Using the picture book as inspiration and through a series of games and challenges each show will be unique with different characters, locations, costumes and much more every time!

And Mr Bubbles will return with his extraordinary soap bubbles in all shapes and sizes in The Bubble Show (21 April). Enjoy bouncy bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, smoke bubbles, square bubbles, giant bubbles and even fire bubbles! Interactive and suitable for all ages, The Bubble Show is a unique blend of magic, storytelling, science and Bubble-Art!

This is only the tip of an iceberg of excitement and entertainment that will take place at Assembly Festival Garden this year; with more headline shows, more family fun, music, comedy, and special guests to be announced in the coming weeks. 

William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director Assembly Festival, said: “We are delighted to be returning to Coventry this year for the finale of its year as UK City of Culture and as the first event in its legacy programme. The Assembly Festival Garden proved itself a hit for the Coventry audience in 2021 and we hope that it will again be a central celebration for the city.

“We have hand-picked some of the very best acts to appear in the Queen of Flanders this summer; brilliant family entertainment, more terrific musicals and theatre, and an encore performance from Choir of Man fresh off their West End run. It’s going to be another fantastic summer of entertainment at the Festival Garden; we look forward to welcoming everyone through the gates soon.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, said: “We are delighted that Assembly Festival Garden is returning to Coventry as our year as UK City of Culture comes to a close. The Festival Garden was a huge draw for locals and visitors to Coventry last summer and hosted so many memorable events and moments, from Circolombia, The Choir of Man, Ed Sheeran, the Euros and the Last Night of the Proms. It’s a festival site that has already created so many great memories, we look forward to creating many more.”

Professor John Latham CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “We are delighted that the Assembly Festival Garden will return this spring. We value our relationships and the work we do with our local communities extremely highly and it was great to see how much people enjoyed and valued our venue. 

“It will be wonderful to see the site full of happy faces this year and we anticipate it will prove to be a big success once again.”

Nic Doodson, Producer and Director Choir of Man, said: “Coventry 2021 was such a brilliant experience, and we had such great feedback from the audience that when the opportunity arose to come back, we just couldn’t say no. We’re looking forward to returning to Coventry and bringing with us everyone’s favourite pub gig. 2022 is set to be even bigger, with more fun, more dancing, and more brilliant audiences. We can’t wait!”

The Assembly Festival Garden was hugely popular during Coventry’s UK City of Culture, welcoming tens of thousands of visitors and Coventrians during its 2021 residency. The pop-up venue will reopen on Thursday 14 April, and once again provide a buzzing social hub for Coventry’s UK City of Culture finale. 

Coventry University has provided the site of the former Civic Centre buildings to the City of Culture team for use as the exciting entertainment hub. The university has cleared the area for development but is giving use of it for free during the city’s year in the national spotlight.

To keep up to date with dates and programme announcements please visit www.assemblyfestivalgarden.com. Find on social @AssemblyGardens.

For full information about Coventry UK City of Culture programme visit www.coventry2021.co.uk.

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