Birmingham’s Rotunda gets its own beer & arts festival
Aparthotel Staying Cool at Rotunda celebrates 15 years in Birmingham with a special edition Brummie beer & celebration of city creativity
and live on Freeview channel 276
Cheers to the Rotunda as super stylish aparthotel group Staying Cool launches an iconic beer to celebrate fifteen years at Birmingham’s original skyscraper.
The limited edition ‘Rotunda Pale’ is a collab with Birmingham Brewing Company and it’s being launched as part of Staying Cool’s Creative Heights II celebration of city architecture, art, food and drink, in support of local charities including LoveBrum.
It’s the second time that the independent aparthotel has run a year-long programme of events to showcase the wealth of talent in Birmingham’s creative industries.
The first Creative Heights celebration took place in 2018 to mark Staying Cool’s tenth birthday, with events selling out immediately. Creative Heights II was launched on Thursday, May 18, with the unveiling of a sky-high piece of ‘COOOOL’ window artwork in a Staying Cool penthouse, featuring Birmingham’s post-war architecture designed and illustrated by city-based Window Artists.
The Window Artists illustration features Brutiful Birmingham buildings including Smallbrook Ringway, Alpha Tower, New Street Signal Box and, of course, Rotunda itself.
Working with fellow indies from across Birmingham, Creative Heights II is giving a sky-high platform to even more talented artists, local designers and fab food & drink providers. Residents and visitors to Birmingham alike will have the opportunity to visit Rotunda and take part in workshops drawing the skyline, listen to literature talks or see new art against the stunning backdrop of the Brum cityscape.
Food & drink pairing events with long-term collaborators The Wilderness will showcase local independent venues from the city’s booming dining scene and will shine a light on restaurants, with the support of creative drinks providers.
Gavin Burns, Staying Cool at Rotunda General Manager, said: “What better way of celebrating 15 fantastic years in Birmingham than with our very own beer – the Rotunda Pale. Partnering and promoting Birmingham’s brilliant independent businesses has been at the heart of our thinking since we welcomed Staying Cool’s first guests back in 2008. We’re so thrilled that we are still giving creatives a platform all these years later.”
What’s happening at Creative Heights II arts festival at The Rotunda in Birmingham?
Drag & Draw - Sunday 11th June 2023. 2-5pm - Drag & Draw offers a variety of creative materials including, pencil, pen and felt tip but this is not your traditional art class, this is about inclusivity and creativity. Starting off the workshop with a glass of fizz and drawing exercises to get you warmed up, you’ll then move onto model poses. Flic will be there to guide you through the drawing process but this is about expressing yourself rather than being taught traditional techniques. Unlike conventional life drawing, Phil will be clothed, expect an outrageous outfit in their spectacular signature drag style!
Wine tasting with The Wilderness - Thursday 20th July 2023. 6-9pm - As part of our Creative Heights celebrations, we’re welcoming back our old friends and long-time collaborators, The Wilderness. Join tastemaker and first-class sommelier, Sonal Clare, and troublemaker and chef, Alex Claridge, for an evening of wine, conversation and, in all likelihood, a little mayhem. The Wilderness pair will be taking over the Penthouse for one night only, serving up a wine flight inspired by the Rotunda.
Bring your Rotundas to Rotunda - Sunday 6th August - Let’s get creative! This competition is open to all age groups. We are seeking your interpretation of Rotunda in your choice of media. It could be a one foot model, it could be a drawing, a photo, a Lego version, Jenga version. Whatever it is, we want to see it.
Bring your Rotundas to Rotunda and be in with a chance of winning a framed Rotunda artwork! And if you can’t physically bring your Rotunda to Rotunda, book in a Zoom slot to show it to us. Best model wins a night in the penthouse, a set of images by Stacey Barnfield and the kudos of winning of course!
Tour Rotunda for Heritage Week - Sunday 10th September 2023. 2-5pm - Rotunda is one of Birmingham’s landmark locations and a post-war architectural icon, with a fascinating history of highs and lows. Saved from demolition and now listed as protected, join Birmingham heritage experts for a talk about Rotunda’s design, history and fascinating facts about our wonderful home.
Photography Open House - Sunday 1st October 2023. 6-8pm - Staying Cool’s skyscraping setting has been the perfect place for Birmingham’s photographers to flex their creative muscles, capturing sunrises, sunsets and everything in between. This is your chance to come along with the camera and capture something different. Our open house photography sessions are open to hobbyists and professionals alike. Please be aware, tickets go fast!
Ruth Millington: A Dinosaur on Broad Street and other stories of Birmingham’s surrealists - Thursday 19th October 2023 - Join local art historian Ruth Millington to discover Birmingham’s sites of surrealism, from Balsall Heath to the Trocadero. Learn about the city’s surrealists, including Emmy Bridgwater, Conroy Maddox and Desmond Morris who were opposed to London’s artists, forged direct links with Paris and staged surrealist stunts, including planting a dinosaur on Broad Street.
Secret Film Screening - November 2023 - What better place to watch a movie screening than 20 storeys above the city centre with a Brumset as the big-screen backdrop? Join us as we host a special screening in one of our gorgeous apartments with drinks, nibbles and, of course, popcorn.
Murder She Cooked - December 2023 - Wouldn’t you love to be a guest at Jessica Fletcher’s dining table but in the heart of Birmingham city centre? Or to sample one of her homemade cookies as you sit and discuss a horrible crime at her kitchen table? Well, here’s the next best thing. Recipes from the homes of Dame Angela Lansbury and many of her wonderful co-stars are here for you to enjoy as you settle down to watch an episode of this fab show as author of Murder She Cooked, Jenny Hammerton takes you behind the scenes. You’ll be surprised at what you don’t know!
#Ultraopticon with Stan’s Cafe - Friday 15th & Saturday 16th December 2023 - An attempt to watch the whole world for a day by Stan’s Cafe – a Birmingham-based theatre company. From high in The Rotunda, looking out with telescopes and digital devices, our sentinels scan an ever turning world. They are surveying everything. Their reports mix with found sounds and glitches, everything is processed and webcast to you in an hypnotic 24 hour stream from the Ultraopticon.
The Stacey Barnfield Retrospective - Thursday 7th March 2024 - Stacey Barnfield’s Draw My City project captures brilliant Birmingham in watercolour and ink, shining a light on the city’s architectural landmarks and lesser-known buildings. Featuring Snobs, Mr Egg and, of course, Rotunda, the drawings have been seen by thousands of people at Grand Central at New Street – next door to Staying Cool – and in this event he talks about which buildings have been the most popular and why everybody should carry a sketchbook on their travels. There will be sketching treats for guests!