‘A long-form pilgrimage’: Coventry hosts 24-hour interfaith celebration

In a celebration of one of the crucial religiously numerous cities within the UK, Coventry is to host 24 hours of artwork, theatre, music, meals and debate geared toward exploring perception and selling the connections between faiths.

The Royal Shakespeare Company and Coventry City of Culture have teamed as much as produce Faith, a collection of free stay occasions in September, together with 4 promenade performances and an artwork set up by the creator of the 2014 Tower of London poppy memorial.

Erica Whyman, the RSC’s deputy creative director, described the occasion as “a long-form slow pilgrimage through the city”. She has labored intently with local people leaders and religion teams since launching the undertaking 4 years in the past.

She mentioned that she had by no means executed something on this scale, “especially through a pandemic”, and that “it feels like mobilising a city to have a conversation about how we see each other and what we share”.

The promenade performances, with a forged {of professional} actors, inform the tales of Coventry individuals whereas utilizing town because the stage. Written by Chinonyerem Odimba, a playwright and the creative director of tiata fahodzi, and Chris O’Connell, a author and the creative director of Theatre Absolute, their themes embody love, loss, worry and resilience.

Odimba mentioned engaged on the dramas by means of the pandemic had been difficult. “The project is so place-based, but I couldn’t be there to get to know the city,” she mentioned.

Instead, she relied on Zoom conversations with religion and neighborhood leaders. “The extent of dialogue between them was extraordinary. They were always pointing me on to another faith community. In Coventry, all these faiths don’t just exist alongside one another, they actually support each other.”

Tom Piper, who created Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the acclaimed set up that includes 1000’s of ceramic poppies that marked the centenary of the outbreak of the primary world battle, is bodily connecting totally different religion communities with a tapestry of blue ribbons. This will likely be accompanied by an authentic rating by the Coventry-based composer Sayan Kent.

Places of worship and religion centres all through town will open their doorways to guests, providing sacred music, prayer, quiet reflection and tea. The 24-hour occasion will culminate in a ceremony of lights, with 500 candles lit at nightfall within the metropolis centre.

Whyman mentioned she was additionally eager to draw individuals of no religion. “There are people absolutely firm in their nonreligious views who, in moments of crisis, feel very small, in need of a moral compass, searching for the strength to continue. We might talk about the human spirit, or our community, or God or gods. There’s a point of commonality in adversity, and that’s really driven the project.”

Chenine Bhathena, the inventive director of Coventry City of Culture, mentioned the humanities had “a unique power to strengthen connections, promoting understanding of our significant differences as global humans, but also recognising our similarities, as we all work together for peace, justice and healing in our world.

“With music, theatre, art installations, rituals, food and conversations, there really is something for everybody, and we invite audiences to open their hearts and minds to the diverse ways in which we as humans lead our lives and live by our beliefs.”

Faith will happen on Friday 10 September and Saturday 11 September.

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