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Who hasn’t enjoyed the morning TV coverage and excitement of our athletes going for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games?

The new world records, the podium national anthems, the emotional celebrations, there’s so much to love about the Olympics.

The good news is that there’s lots more sporting and cultural action to get excited about, and it’s much closer to home.

The city and wider West Midlands will come alive throughout next year as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games rolls into town, bringing with it global TV coverage and thousands of extra visitors to the city.

Here’s the Staying Cool guide to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Family having a photo taken with Perry the Bull outside Birmingham Library. Credit: Denise Maxwell, Lensi Photography
Credit: Denise Maxwell, Lensi Photography

When are the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?

The Commonwealth Games will be taking place right on our doorstep between Thursday, July 28 and Monday, August 8, 2022.

With 11 days of swimming and diving, eight days of cricket, eight days of gymnastics and seven days of athletics, including the marathon, the summer of 2022 is set for a spectacular home event.

Since the Games were awarded to Birmingham in December 2017, the city has hosted the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships, Badminton Open Championships and Gymnastics World Cup. Brum has hosted more European and World championships than any other city in the UK!

The Commonwealth Games was first held in Hamilton, Canada, in 1930, when 11 countries sent a total of 400 athletes to take part in the inaugural event.

Fast forward to 2022 and there will be almost 300 sessions across dozens of different sports, featuring more than 5,000 competitors from across the Commonwealth.

The Birmingham 2022 competition schedule features more medal events for women than men for the first time in Commonwealth Games history, as well as a fully integrated para-sport programme.

But that’s not all, Birmingham 2022 will also be a region-wide celebration of art and culture with an ambitious cultural programme described as ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity to positively disrupt the region’s cultural sector and inspire lasting change’.

Taking place over six months it will entertain at least 2.5 million people, setting Birmingham and the West Midlands in a new creative light.

An Urban Festival will embrace youth and diversity with music, free running, skateboarding, BMX, street dance and sport climbing.

Oh, and let’s not forget the official Birmingham 2022 mascot: Perry (named after Perry Barr) is a proper Brummie!

He’s described as ‘strong, kind and a little bit cheeky’ and will be seen by more than a billion people all over the world.

Commonwealth Games organisers are looking for more than 13,000 volunteers to be the heartbeat of the event and to help deliver the biggest sporting and cultural event the region has ever seen.  

‘The Commonwealth Collective’ will represent the vibrancy and diversity of people at Birmingham 2022, a home Games for every nation.

Amal Simms British Judo Athlete - (Credit Denise Maxwell, Lensi Photography)
Amal Simms, British Judo Athlete. Credit Denise Maxwell, Lensi Photography

Which sports take place at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?

Birmingham 2022 will see the debut of 3×3 basketball and also bring wheelchair basketball into the Games for the first time. The event will also see the return of judo, alongside a whole list of elite athletics, aquatics, cycling, tri events and more.

EVENTS

Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Athletics – Marathon

Athletics and Para Athletics

Aquatics – Swimming and Para Swimming

Aquatics – Diving

Badminton

Basketball 3×3 and Wheelchair Basketball 3×3

Beach Volleyball

Boxing

Cricket T20

Cycling – Mountain Bike

Cycling – Road Race

Cycling – Time Trial

Cycling – Track and Para Track

Gymnastics – Artistic

Gymnastics – Rhythmic

Hockey

Judo

Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls

Netball

Para Powerlifting

Rugby Sevens

Squash

Table Tennis and Para Table Tennis

Triathlon and Para Triathlon

Weightlifting

Wrestling

Warwickshire-Bears-Wheelchair-Basketball-team. Credit: Denise Maxwell of Lensi Photography
Warwickshire Bears Wheelchair Basketball team. Credit: Denise Maxwell of Lensi Photography

Where is the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games taking place?

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is taking place across the West Midlands with Birmingham at its heart. The venues being used for the Games stretch from Coventry, Solihull, and Royal Leamington Spa to Cannock Chase Forest, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton.

Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, pictured above, is at the centre of the action. The stadium is being rebuilt and will host all athletics events and the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.

The Alexander Stadium reconstruction plans involve a new residential neighbourhood, redeveloped railway station and changes to major roads in the area to create a legacy for Perry Barr.

The beach volley ball takes place at Smithfield which guests at Rotunda will be able to see from their apartment windows. That said, you can’t beat a ringside seat!

Alexander Stadium Birmingham Credit: Birmingham City Council/Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Alexander Stadium Birmingham Credit: Birmingham City Council/Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

What are the venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?

Alexander Stadium

Arena Birmingham

Cannock Chase Forest

Coventry Stadium and Arena

Edgbaston Stadium

Lea Valley Velopark

The NEC

Sandwell Aquatics Centre

Smithfield

St Nicholas Park

Sutton Park

University of Birmingham

Victoria Park

West Park

Who is competing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?

You can expect to see stars from an anticipated 72 Commonwealth countries coming to Birmingham and the West Midlands, with the four home nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) making it a total of 76.

As of June 30th 2021, 91 English athletes achieved 105 qualifying performances for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. National team selection is an ongoing process but at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Team England’s track and field athletes and para athletes won five gold, five silver and seven bronze medals.

Birmingham-born Myles Hesson, who currently plays basketball in France, will represent England in the 3×3 Basketball at the 2022 Games, while another Brummie with high hopes is gymnast Joe Fraser, the 2019 world champion on the parallel bars.

Staffordshire swimmer Adam Peaty is expected to be competing plus Cricketer Amy Jones, from Solihull, will be representing England in the 2022 Games, hot on the heels of playing The Hundred Cricket for Birmingham Phoenix.

In an interview with the event organisers, Amy said: “It’s absolutely brilliant that women’s cricket is taking centre stage at my home Games, and I can’t wait to compete for gold at the world-famous Edgbaston stadium, which also happens to be my home ground.

“I’m proud that Birmingham 2022 is giving women’s sport such a huge platform, and I have no doubt that it will inspire young girls in the West Midlands and around the world to follow in our footsteps.”

Perry-the-bull-and-Delicious-Orie-England-Boxing-credit-Denise-Maxwell-Lensi-Photography
Perry the Bull and Delicious Orie of England Boxing. Credit: Denise-Maxwell, Lensi Photography

Is there an arts festival for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham?

Running alongside the showpiece sports, a festival of culture will aim to double the reach of the sporting events of the Games themselves – reaching at least 2.5 million people and participants.

Artworks ranging from the playful to provocative will fill high streets, neighbourhoods, parks, waterways, venues and civic spaces of the West Midlands, across traditional art forms and more experimental mediums.

The cultural programme will encourage people to explore and play in public spaces, to discover the region’s heritage and offer opportunities for all ages to find the ‘common ground’ in Commonwealth, especially children and young people.

From March to September 2022, a six-month arts festival will encapsulate and explore the spirit of the Games, and give Birmingham its moment in the spotlight. It will reach artists and audiences across the West Midlands region.

Three simple themes represent the starting point. They are: Our place in the Commonwealth, The present moment and Stories of Birmingham and the West Midlands.

At the time of writing, the programme schedule is being confirmed, with the search ongoing for community groups to work with artists. Creative City Grants are available through an application portal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games website.

How do I buy tickets for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?

Tickets to the 2022 Games are being sold through a series of Ticket Ballots. The Main Ticket Ballot will open to everyone from 7 September. The West Midlands Ballot closed at the end of July.

Approved sales channels for Commonwealth nations will be listed ahead of the Main Ticket Ballot in September. Following the ballots any remaining tickets will be sold.

To apply for tickets to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, you will need to create an official ticketing account at tickets.birmingham2022.com. By registering a ticketing account you’ll be the first to find out when the ballots open for applications.

Commonwealth Creative Team: L-R Stephen Knight, Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness, Maeve Clarke and Iqbal Khan standing infront of the Bullring Bull outside Staying Cool's rotunda apart hotel.
Stephen Knight, Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness, Maeve Clarke and Iqbal Khan

Who is creating the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony?

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is among the creative team that will deliver the opening ceremony for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The event will take place at the Alexander Stadium on July 28th in front of 30,000 people at the stadium and a TV audience of 1.5 billion.

The same team will also produce the closing ceremony on August 8th.

The creative team in full:

Iqbal Khan – Artistic Director
A globally renowned, Birmingham born, Theatre Director. Most known for modern retellings of the classics and has worked in the UK and abroad on the world’s most high-profile stages.

Maeve Clarke – Writer
A published novelist and short story writer from Birmingham, Maeve’s credits include Whispers in the Walls, an anthology of new Black and Asian voices from Birmingham.

Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness – Music Director
International rapper and music maker, Joshua has used music to unite and entertain audiences across the world. In 2018 he co-created a project offering music education and recording facilities to youths and underprivileged groups in Birmingham.

Misty Buckley – Production Designer
Recently nominated for a BAFTA Award for Stormzy’s performance at Glastonbury Festival, Misty has extensive international experience of set design for large scale ceremonies and live events. This includes Coldplay’s 2016 Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show, London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony and the Rugby World Cup 2015 Opening Ceremony.

Hamish Hamilton – Broadcast Director
Hamish has directed and executive-produced countless ceremonies, award shows, concerts, and unique special events across the world. He is a twice BAFTA Award winner, plus Grammy and Emmy nominated global authority on live event broadcast.

Steven Knight CBE – Executive Producer
Creator and writer of Birmingham’s most famous export, Peaky Blinders. Steven has also written screenplays for the films Closed Circuit, Dirty Pretty Things, and Eastern Promises, and has directed and written the films Locke, and Hummingbird (also known as Redemption.)

Where can i find official Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games merchandise?

A new Birmingham 2022 merchandise store has opened at the foot of Rotunda, right on Staying Cool’s doorstep, selling soft toys, cute Birmingham Commonwealth Games clothing, small gifts and more.

You'll find the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games store directly beneath Staying Cool's Rotunda apart hotel on New Street in Birmingham
You’ll find the official Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games store directly beneath Rotunda

Can’t wait? All official merchandise, including super cute Perry The Bull soft toys, are also available to buy online at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Shop.

Pick up your very own Perry the Bull mascot from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games store located on the doorstep of Staying Cool's Rotunda apart hotel.
Pick up your official Perry The Bull mascot soft toy during your visit

Where can I stay in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games?

With the 3×3 basketball and beach volleyball taking place at Smithfield, just yards from Staying Cool’s Rotunda aparthotel, and artistic and rhythmic at Arena Birmingham, a short walk across the city centre near Brindleyplace, you’ll be perfectly placed to enjoy the sporting showcase by using our apartments and penthouses as your Commonwealth Games base.

Our stylish spaces are perfect for families to enjoy the once-in-a-generation event with spectacular views, minimalist décor, family games, speciality coffee, popcorn makers and fresh juice from your own juicer to set you up nicely for the sporting celebrations. The Independent also recommended our Birmingham aparthotel as a top eco-friendly place to stay during the games.

We’re expecting the period across the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to be a busy one, so we’d suggest booking in advance to guarantee the best seat in the house!

Fancy visiting Rotunda sooner? Bring the family and check out our Family Guide to Birmingham this Summer.

The sunny city views you can admire from Staying Cool's rotunda apart hotel penthouse balcony.

Birmingham 2022 organisers worked with Staying Cool and Rotunda to shoot a stunning video from our rooftop to raise awareness of the main ticket ballot opening.

Featuring king of the pommel horse Max Whitlock balancing on Rotunda’s roof, the brilliant video features some of Brum’s loveliest landmarks and a signature backflip from the Bull!

Watch it here:

Special thanks to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team for inviting us to work on such a great project

The Birmingham 2022 Festival

A major part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham 2022 Festival is a £12 million six-month-long celebration of West Midlands creativity and culture surrounding the sporting action taking place at the games between Thursday, 28 July to Monday, 8 August.

The Birmingham 2022 Festival starts in March 2022. It will harness the year of the Games to shine a spotlight on the region’s diverse cultural sector.

Described as ‘audacious, playful, and inclusive’, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will ‘connect people, time and is designed to entertain, engage, and embrace audiences’, while positively disrupting and inspiring lasting change.

With the aim of engaging 2.5 million people, both in person – with many events near Staying Cool at Rotunda! – and online, the Festival is designed to reflect the people of the region, exploring heritage, diversity and youth.

Delivering around 250 commissioned projects, there will be approximately 150 community-led projects and around 100 new works from a wide range of artists including dance, drama, and visual arts projects.

The Spirit of 2012 has generously funded Critical Mass, an ambitious project bringing together a young and inclusive cast of dancers who will perform throughout the Festival and the Games’ ceremonies.

Participants will perform in some of 2022’s biggest cultural events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies thanks to funding from Spirit of 2012.

Creative City Grants will provide up to 150 community groups across Birmingham with grants of up to £20,000 to deliver creative projects that impact positively on their community supported by £2 million of funding from Birmingham City Council.

The Birmingham 2022 Festival has begun work on a number of projects including Critical Mass in partnership with DanceXchange which is currently recruiting over 300 young people aged 16-30.

So what’s happening during the Birmingham 2022 Festival?

Here’s a look at some of the cultural events taking place across the West Midlands. Dates will be announced in the spring and we will keep the blog updated with all the details.

Wondrous Stories brings a cast of 300+ performers to Centenary Square. Image Credit: Iain Jamieson
Wondrous Stories brings a cast of 300+ performers to Centenary Square. Image Credit: Iain Jamieson

Wondrous Stories in Centenary Square

Opening on 17 March 2022, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will officially begin with Wondrous Stories, a spectacular free production in Centenary Square, featuring a cast of over 300 performers.

Wondrous Stories, by world renowned and Leamington Spa based dance-circus company, Motionhouse, will feature free performances every evening until 20 March 2022.

Aerialists and dancers will take to the skies above the public square and giant set pieces, such as a flying book, will hover over the city centre skyline.

Wondrous Stories will be created and directed by Kevin Finnan MBE, Artistic Director of Motionhouse, who was choreographer and movement director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Kevin is joined by a team of artistic collaborators including Birmingham-based choreographers Sonia Sabri and Jamaal Burkmar, spoken word artists Raza Hussain and Sebbie Mudhai, composer Sophy Smith and digital artists Logela Multimedia.

The production will be created and produced by three West Midlands based organisations; Motionhouse, OPUS and JA Productions. It will also feature participants from Critical Mass, a new inclusive dance collective of up to 300 young people, led by Birmingham 2022 Festival and DanceXchange.

Eastside Projects

Eastside Projects will be showcasing various painting, sculpture film and performance projects will explore Birmingham’s positions, affinities and complicities within the Commonwealth by working with four international artists to create a series of new projects across the city.

Jon McCurley (Toronto) will develop a performance public realm project focusing on the global chocolate trade through the lens of his Irish-Vietnamese roots, working class family histories in the UK and his parents’ experience of meeting whilst working for Cadbury’s.

Sri Lankan-Canadian Rajni Perera (Toronto) will expand on her ongoing Travellers series of paintings, sonic artworks and scupltures. Amy Lam (Toronto) will create an offsite public project exploring Birmingham’s colonial role in the Chinese tea, opium, and ‘purebred’ dog trades across the Commonwealth.

Finally, Johannesburg-based painter and filmmaker Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi is developing a multi-site film, performance, and poster project called ‘Equations for a Body at Rest’ which examines the experiences of Black track and field athletes running across time.

Birmingham's historic Tatler News Theatre features in Flatpack Festival's Wonderland.
Birmingham’s historic Tatler News Theatre features in Flatpack Festival’s Wonderland.

Flatpack Festival at Birmingham 2022

Birmingham’s brilliant Flatpack Festival will present Wonderland, a unique heritage project telling the film-going story of Birmingham – from fairground film shows to the birth of the Odeon, from South Asian picture-houses to the modern-day multiplex era.

With a team of partners and volunteers, Flatpack Festival will explore how cinema has shaped the streets, social lives and dreams of Brummies over the past century, leading to a programme of exhibitions and special events in summer 2022.

Members of the public are encouraged to share their cinema stories by emailing [email protected]

Generations photography exhibition

Produced, curated and managed by GRAIN Projects and Multistory, Generations is a celebration of families, individuals, diversity and the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands.

By Julian Germain, Generations is large-scale photographic portraiture exhibition that will appear in public settings across the West Midlands.

Four and five generation families from across the city and region are being called upon to be a part of the project. For more information visit the Birmingham 2022 Festival website.