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How the National Lottery is helping these brilliant Coventry artists light the way to City of Culture 2021; Talented musicians, theatre shows, dancers and festivals are buzzing with activity as Coventry prepares for world stage for UK City of Culture 2021 - see how the National Lottery has helped.

Byline: Josh Layton

Through the hoardings and scaffolding swaddling Coventry city centre you can feel the excitement and energy building for the City of Culture year.

Talented artists, musicians, dancers and actors are bursting with creativity and inspiration.

From swashbuckling tales of chivalry to electrifying dance performances, dedicated Coventry artists are working hard ensure our city welcomes the world with pride.

Imaginative shows pay tribute to the likes of Doctor Who creator Delia Derbyshire, Bon Jovi, groundbreaking art and more.

Many groups have received funding from the National Lottery, which is marking its 25th birthday this year.

The Lotto recently announced an astounding [pounds sterling]5.2 million funding deal for Coventry's UK City of Culture 2021 programme.

Over the past quarter of a century, the lives of many more ordinary people in Coventry have been transformed thanks to [pounds sterling]150 million in National Lottery funding - invested in arts, heritage, community and sports projects across the city.

The millionaire-maker is currently welcoming projects to enter its 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards -- the search for the UK's favourite ever National Lottery-funded projects, you can find more information and enter here

Here's a look at some of Coventry's amazing artists lighting the way to UK City of Culture 2021, with the help of National Lottery funding.

Having spun weird and wonderful tales across the land, The Fabularium is ready to hit the streets closer to home forCoventry City of Culture 2021.

The theatre company, established in 2010 atCoventry University, weaves yarns with a medieval theme outdoors, using three vintage carts and a processional pageant wagon.

The troupe's latest show called There Be Monsters! received [pounds sterling]13,850 from theNational Lottery, and is typical of its accessible, playful approach.

The 'wakabout' performance follows noble knight Don Quixote and his side-kick Sancha Panza as they fight beasts and try to revive the age of chivalry.

A runaway success, the play was designed for a crowd of 200 but drew numbers of between 300 and 400.

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Now a limited company, the The Fabularium's CV includes rolling out its medieval wagon at Coventry Mysteries Festival and a roaming brief at Kew Gardens.

Company director and performer Joshua Patel said: "It's a very exciting time.

"We're looking forward to celebrating our UK City of Culture year by going out on the streets, to schools and the community with outreach productions.

"We want to develop participation and interaction."

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Joshua added: "Coventry's logo is the Phoenix and it's remembered for so many things from the war.

"It's a city that has risen from the ashes and the creative industry is thriving with the likes of The Belgrade and Warwick Arts Centre and the local festivals."

Paul O'Donnell hasn't let the limitations of being an independent theatre maker stop him paying homage to Bon Joviin spectacular style.

Boosted by National Lottery funding the multi-talented showman brings the rock spirit alive in rousing style by inviting the audience to use the power of imagination.

Paul said: "The idea of the show is that I (a poor solo independent theatre maker) am unfortunately unable to resource the multi-million pound spectacle that we come to expect of full-scale musicals.

"So instead, you are left with me on an empty stage accompanied by 180 lighting cues playing in real time, and 12 cover versions of Livin on a Prayer acting as the score.

"Together you and I bring this full spectacle to life using the powers of our imaginations.

"It's 30% theatre, 30% musical, 30% stand-up comedy... and 10% cathartic group sing along!"

Paul, Associate Artist at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Theatre Absolute, has received rave reviews.

It hitsWarwick Arts Centreon May 10 - but is already sold out and is a prime example of how the Coventry creativity is capturing people's imaginations ahead of the UK City of Culture year.

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To enter your project into the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awardsclick here

Some of the world's finest exponents of the spraycan created a splash of colour at the first Urban Culture Coventry Street Art Festival.

Launched in June 2018 at Fargo Urban Village,The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and sites in and around the city centre, the event featured live music acts, a temporary indoor skatepark and workshop opportunities for young people.

Artists included Andy Clare, who ownsSpray Station in Fargo Villageand brought Aerosolgrafia to Coventry - the world's fastest growing art trend.

Andy said: "Urban Culture saw some of the world's finest graffiti and street artists create, alongside local artists, a range of murals, some temporary and some permanent."

"The event was very successful with no recorded incidents of unwanted tagging or vandalism or injuries and with an increase in footfall at Coventry's creative quarter and Herbert Art Gallery.

"We received positive feedback from visitors and participants and an overwhelming response on social media."

Artist Michael Bachelor, known as Dynamick, also contributed to the festival, showcasing his bold, colourful and thought-provoking designs.

The festival was made possible through a [pounds sterling]14,800 National Lottery grant.

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Doctor Who musician Delia Derbyshire has been celebrated in a new age by an enterprising Coventry theatre company.

Hymns For Robots, which mixed drama, comedy and expressionism, garnered rave reviews after going on tour last year.

Derbyshire, a Coventry music icon and creator of the Doctor Who theme tune, was at the centre of a play that plunged the audience into a weird electronic soundscape.

Noctium Theatre Company was founded by three Coventry University students in 2014.

After graduating, Jessie Coller, Connor Alexander and Charles Craggs managed to jump straight into the industry with their debut show The Country Doctor.

Blending comedy, drama and music, the show toured to venues around the UK with the help of National Lottery funding.

Hymns for Robots appeared at the 2018 Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe garnering great praise and 5 star reviews. It is still currently touring.

Celebrating difference has been at the heart of a pioneering theatre company that has generated more than 70 original works since it was launched more than a decade ago.

EGO landed [pounds sterling]60,564 of National Lottery funding in May 2018 to continue its mission of 'unleashing the creative energies of a young community'.

This furthered its aim of being an inclusive meeting place for people with disabilities, and those without, to develop their creative and life skills.

Established in 2006, the arts pioneers offer a lively space in the city - for everyone.

The company aims to be at the forefront of inclusion and celebrate difference -- a place without boundaries where everyone matters and everyone is invited to contribute.

Actor Rishard Beckett stars in Instrumental, which follows a lonely heart who has love lyrics but is hampered by a broken guitar and a lack of confidence.

Rishard teamed up with playwright Richard Walls for their second play after they first collaborated on a production entitled The Yellow Post-It Notes for the 2016 Coventry Godiva Festival as part of City Of Culture Coventry's Bid Launch.

The productions are among over 75 original theatre performances and short films produced by the company since it was founded.

One EGO associate artist said: "It's hard to find words to express how I feel about EGO and all who make it such a wonderful place. I am never leaving!"

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To enter your project into the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awardsclick here

Lakshmi Srinivasan revived an ancient Indian dance style to celebrate the [pounds sterling]5.2 million National Lottery investment in Coventry's UK City of Culture year.

The classical dancer gave a demonstration of bharatanatyam at the launch event, held at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery.

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"Bharatanatyam is a popular style of dance from south India," she said.

"It was performed earlier in the temples and then moved forward over the years, so it's a very old form of dance, it's about two thousand years old, but it's still being practised today."

Lakshmi, who was introduced byCall the Midwife star Helen Georgeat the National Lottery event on March 7 and has benefited from funding from the millionaire-maker, told of how different faiths and cultures are being united under the City of Culture banner.

She said: "It's amazing to be part of the National Lottery funding and the good part is I'm from Coventry so I'm very happy to hear that Coventry has been awarded the City of Culture.

"I'm looking forward to a lot of performances showcasing the small communities that we are all from. it's good that we are all taking part in City of Culture together."

A youthful troupe of acrobatic, energetic dancers ready to burst onto stages near and far are reflecting a newfound sense of pride among young people in Coventry.

Children aged three and above receive high-quality training in ballet, tap, modern gymnastics, street and other forms of performing arts..

Based at President Kennedy School inHolbrooks, the academy is run by experienced dancers Danni Moorcroft and Kelly Woollacott, who have been best friends since the age of three.

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The principals were on hand as their young talents raised the roof with an electrifying short performance at the National Lottery funding launch event, enthralling guests and gallery visitors alike.

Entitled Power, the sequence combined back-flips, street dance and elements of ballet.

The search is on to find the UK's favourite ever National Lottery-funded projects to celebrate its 25th Birthday. To enter your projectclick here

The National Lottery Awards is 'the search for the UK's favourite ever National Lottery funded projects and people' and the National Lottery Awards programme will be broadcast on BBC One in Autumn

A spokesman for the millionaire maker said: "National Lottery players should feel proud of the live-changing difference buying tickets has made to Coventry.

"Achievements run from constructing the city's creative quarter, Fargo Village, to upcoming events such as the UK City of Culture programme in 2021."

Join the conversation and see how the National Lottery can help your Good Cause by following #CultureinCov and @lottogoodcauses on Twitter.

To enter your project into the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awardsclick here


Credit: National Lottery handout

Skateboarders at Coventry's first urban culture festival

Credit: National Lottery handout

Fargo village during Coventry's first urban culture festival in 2018

Credit: UGC

Credit: National Lottery handout

Credit: EGO/National Lottery

Creative spaces are open to all at EGO performance company

Credit: Coventry Telegraph

Lakshmi Srinivasan revives an ancient dance at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Credit: Coventry Telegraph

Call The Midwife actress Helen George at The Herbert Gallery to announce National Lottery funding for Coventry projects

Credit: Coventry Telegraph

The Godiva Academy's thrilling performance combined Motown and street dance elements.

Credit: National Lottery handout

Fargo Village is a thriving hub of artistry

Credit: National Lottery handout

Fresh designs at Fargo Village
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Publication:Coventry Telegraph (Coventry, England)
Date:Mar 19, 2019
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