Coventry City of Culture: Assembly Festival Garden to be created

image copyrightCoventry City of Culture Trust
image captionThe empty lot will be transformed into a city centre oasis with 150 trees and festoon lighting, said organisers

A new 1,000-seat venue will be created on a derelict plot in Coventry for music, comedy and arts performances.

The Assembly Festival Garden, near the council house in the city centre, will also include a smaller 180-seat tent and an outdoor venue, said organisers.

Event group Assembly Festival, involved with Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 40 years, will run the Coventry hub.

The space will be the "centrepiece" for events from 1 July to mid-October, said Coventry City of Culture Trust.

Coventry's year as UK City of Culture officially launched on Saturday with thousands of people tuning in to watch a short film posted on the festival website.

Its signature event Coventry Moves was originally due to coincide with the launch, but was moved to 5 June because of the coronavirus pandemic.

image copyrightCoventry City Council
image captionThe city centre has been given a colourful makeover for the year-long festival

Performances at the Assembly Festival Garden, on the site of the demolished former Civic Centre buildings, will take place in the Queen of Flanders double-decker Spiegeltent. Local food outlets and a box office will also be there.

Cabaret, circus events, comedy and children's shows will form part of the programme.

The old buildings were demolished and the site cleared by owner Coventry University for development. It has handed over the space for free during the festival.

Trees and lighting will transform the space into one with a "family-friendly festival vibe", the culture trust said.

Tickets are set to go on sale for the first major event at the end of May.

The site will eventually be home to Coventry University's new hub for academic and research facilities as well as public spaces for the wider community.

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