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Staying Cool is celebrating 15 years at Rotunda this year with a year-long programme of events to showcase Birmingham’s wealth of creative talent in arts, literature, food and drink

Working with fellow indies from across the city, Creative Heights II is a not-for-profit programme providing a sky-high platform for talented artists, local designers and fab food & drink providers. Residents and visitors to Birmingham alike will have the opportunity to visit Rotunda, take part in painting, drawing and photography sessions, listen to literature talks or see new art against the stunning backdrop of the Brum cityscape.

After covering all of our fantastic artists’ fees, Creative Heights income generated through ticket sales will be donated to Birmingham charity LoveBrum.

Introducing our ‘Rotunda Pale’ ale

When it comes to raising a glass to celebrate its 15 years in Birmingham, we are doing it in style by turning our iconic Rotunda home into a limited-edition beer. Brewed with the finest British pale floor malt and hopped with Citra and Amarillo, the Rotunda Pale has a thirst quenching freshness.

Rotunda Pale Ale infront of a Rotunda sketch by Stacey Barnfield
The limited edition can celebrates the Birmingham icon we call home and was elegantly designed by local creative Stacey Barnfield.

Our ‘Rotunda Pale’ collaboration with Birmingham Brewing Company forms part of our Creative Heights II celebration of city architecture, art, food and drink and we’re excited to announce you can place an order for your own right here, for a limited time only!

Drag Life Drawing

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

Tastemaker and first-class sommelier, Sonal Clare of The Wilderness Restaurant
Wilderness tastemaker and first-class sommelier, Sonal Clare

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.

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter below for advance notice.

Bring your Rotundas to Rotunda

Sunday 6th August 2023.

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 the fabulous Stacey Barnfield and the kudos of winning (of course!).

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter below for advance notice.

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 as well as a tour of the place.

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter for advance notice.

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!

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter for advance notice.

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.

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter for advance notice.

Evolving Skylines: Workshop

Sunday 29th October 2023. 3-6pm.

Birmingham photographer Verity Milligan invites you to join her in a unique workshop experience atop the iconic Rotunda. In this exclusive session, you’ll gain insider access to one of Birmingham’s most coveted vantage points. Guided by Verity’s expert eye, you’ll explore the skyline of Birmingham from this impressive perspective, Verity will share with you her creative insights and technical expertise to help you discover the perfect balance between capturing the grandeur of the city and the intimate details that often go unnoticed. 

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just beginning your journey, this workshop offers the opportunity to expand your skills and creative potential. Staring in the late afternoon, you’ll witness the city move from sunset to dusk, capturing the ‘blue hour’ when the city really comes alive. This workshop promises to be an immersive experience that will hopefully leave you inspired, with a newfound set of skills and a stunning collection of imagery that encapsulates the evolving beauty of the Birmingham skyline.

Ticket includes entry to the retrospective that follows at

Evolving Skylines: The Birmingham Skyline from Rotunda’s Perspective (2014-2023)

Sunday 29th October 2023. 6-8pm.

This is a celebration of Birmingham’s past, a testament to its present, and a glimpse into its future through the photography of Verity Milligan as she captures the spirit of a city constantly evolving, forever leaving its mark on the horizon.

Embark on a captivating visual journey through the ever-changing tapestry of Birmingham’s skyline in the retrospective photography exhibition, exploring smaller details to grand vistas of a city in flux. Feast your eyes on a captivating collection of photographs taken by Verity Milligan that chronicle the city’s architectural evolution over the past decade and marvel at the juxtapositions and ever-changing nature of Birmingham’s skyline.

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter for advance notice.

Murder She Wrote

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 what you don’t know!

Bookings open on 15 June 2023. Sign up to our newsletter for advance notice.

Ultraopticon with Stan’s Cafe

January 2024.

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.

Bookings open on 1 September 2023. Sign up to our newsletter for advance notice.

The Stacey Barnfield Retrospective

Thursday 7th March 2024.

A beautiful sketch of 1960's style Rotunda in Birmingham by local creative Stacey Barnfield.

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!

Bookings open on 1 December 2023. Sign up to our newsletter below for advance notice.

Attendance places will be limited, so register your interest below to be the first to hear about new events and updates:

    Previous Events


    Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st May 2023 – SOLD OUT

    Footage from Juliet Bashore’s 1991 documentary The Battle of Tuntenhaus.
    Juliet Bashore’s 1991 documentary The Battle of Tuntenhaus

    Programmed by Beth Steventon-Crinks, this unique event offers an immersive look at Queer living, chosen family and the stories that can be found on a bedside table, Beth invites you into the intimate space of a Queer bedroom.

    Originally inspired by two Instagram accounts, @queernightstands and @queerbedsidetables, Wanna Get In My Drawers will fill a Staying Cool apartment with bedside tables from Queer people across the city and asks you to consider what we want from Queer living in the future. The installation sets the scene for Juliet Bashore’s 1991 documentary The Battle of Tuntenhaus, a film about the residents of Tuntenhaus squat in East Berlin – known as “House of Queers” – and their fight against eviction by the West German police.