What We Do

Since being founded in 2000, Nu Century Arts has established an international reputation for producing ground breaking and influential work of a global standard. Based in the Handsworth area of Birmingham UK, its mission statement is to make a lasting difference.


NuCentury Arts are launching a new and innovative performance space – THE BACK YARD- right in the back gardenarea of their offices in Hamstead Road, Handsworth!


Comprising a timber-decked stage with cabaret seating in the round, the new venue will  be officially unveiled with a celebration on  Saturday September 7 from 1pm-8pm. 


Music, dance, drama and spoken word will be the order of the day at the opening of this innovative and exciting artistic venue.


Soweto Kinch, the multi award-winning saxophonist will headline the event, and serve as lead MC for the launch. Due to limited space, attendance will be by first come, first served only. Call the NuCentury office ASAP to book your seat.


THE BACK YARD is the latest addition to a stable of NuCentury projects that have grown audiences and have assisted the development of artistic communities in Birmingham and across the West Midlands.



Established NuCentury initiatives include the popular LIVE BOX and the internationally successful Flyover Show at Hockley underpass, which has attracted artistes the calibre of Speech DebelleGoldie and Maxi Priest to perform there.



Artistic Director Don Kinch has high hopes for the new ventureand he believes that small, embedded, neighbourhood-based performance spaces may well be the creative answer to continuing austerity.



“THE BACK YARD will stand out as a venue in the heart of the community,” says Don.  “It will carry a big sign at the front of the building. It will be clear what it is and will say what it does. It will let local people know what's on and when it's on. It will also let people know how they can get involved.



“The name THE BACK YARD will also have a special significance and appeal to people from African Caribbean backgrounds,” adds Don.  “Jamaican heritage audiences in particular will connect with it at two levels (1) The garden and (2) Back-A-Yard as in back home in Jamaica. Others will connect with the idea of personal ownership and the sense of playing in one’s very own back yard or garden.”


Plans for the creative space reveal a boldly executed concept, influenced by the performing arts, both aesthetic and functional. The dimensions are approximately 30m x 15m of the entire garden.  The flooring will be a mix of timber decking for the stage and timber decking, gravel and paving for the audience areas. Attractive mosaic stepping stones are being used to decorate the flooring and cabaret style seating is meant to emphasise the uniqueness of the occasion.


Access to the venue would be through Henderson House, the main building that houses NuCentury Arts, and there will also be a side entrance and exit from Hamstead Road.


Don: “We hope for a vibrant and yet intimate setting that allows for freedom of expression. At the same time it can be utilised as an area of peace, tranquillity and relaxation.”


Development of new audiences and local talent will be key priorities for the new venue - as well as providing greater access for disadvantaged residents who want to get into the performing arts.



Don:  “ASK FOR THE KEY" is a BACK YARD idea designed to encourage community members to come and take part in activities ranging from attending a meeting to learning to play an instrument or to leading a class. We will be saying to local people ‘don’t wait for us to organise an activity for you, take the key and organise activities yourselves and we will facilitate’.   This we believe will impact on both local artists and the community at large and create a personal connection and interest in artistic activity at the venue and across the city. “



The new neigbourhood-based venue will link with a considerable network of international artists developed by NuCentury Arts.



Don: “ We will add a national and international dimension by drawing on our relationship with internationally renowned Birmingham based artists such as Julie DexterSoweto KinchLaura MvulaShabaka HutchingsNeil Charles and others such as EmpiricalFemi TomowoEska Mtungwazi, Invisible and Ayanna Witter who have all grown through and benefited from our Live Box project.  We will draw on our international connections with L'Acadco Dance Company(Jamaica) Stage One Theatre Company (Barbados) The South African State Theatre (South Africa) Ghana National Theatre (Ghana) Nordic Black Theatre (Norway). This will broaden the experience for local artists and residents and at the same time offer new ground and new opportunities for local artists to expand their work.”


THE BACK YARD,” says Don “Is the child of austerity.  It ‘s going to be a  small and inviting artistic space, and one whose aim is to have an international reach.”

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