Assembly teams up with Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

18 May 2021

We’re delighted to announce that we have been invited by the Coventry UK City of Culture Trust to partner with them in delivering their central pop-up performance hub, which will sit at the heart of this year’s celebrations. The Assembly Festival Garden, inspired by our summer home in George Square Gardens, Edinburgh, will play host to three exciting performances spaces, which will welcome a selection of famous festival favourites and rising stars.

Open for three months this summer, the Garden will also be home to a mouth-watering selection of local food makers and will serve as a social hub for those wishing to make the most of their visit to the UK’s City of Culture.

The Garden has been designed from the ground up to include covid-specific adaptations to ensure events run as smoothly and safely as possible. The Garden and performances spaces will have flexible configurations to align with evolving UK Government guidance. This will be combined with a number of measures, including contactless payments and ticketing, increased ventilation and a robust contact tracing process.

We’re very excited to reveal that we’ll be welcoming a brand new performance space into the Assembly Festival family, with the stunning double-decker Queen of Flanders spiegeltent (pictured in header) serving as the flagship venue. It will be ably supported by our pint-sized Piccolo spiegeltent and our Treehouse performance space to offer a range of flexible spaces to experience what’s on offer.

Photograph of the front of a red Spiegeltent performance space called Piccolo. The tent is located in a festival garden and is pictured at night.

Piccolo spiegeltent pictured at night

Most importantly, the Garden will offer a long-awaited opportunity for artists to get back on stage and for audiences the chance to experience the magic of live performance again. The first shows in an exciting programme of comedy, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, and more will be announced at the end of May.

Edinburgh 2021

Over the past 40 years, we’ve provided a stage to both new and established artists at the world’s greatest arts festival. We are resolutely focused on being part of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, pending the necessary support and guidance from the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Speaking on our new hub as part of the Coventry UK City of Culture, Assembly Festival artistic director, William Burdett-Coutts, said:

“Assembly has been at the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the past 40 years, and we were honoured to be invited by the City of Culture Trust to play a part in this year’s celebrations in Coventry.

“The team can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best and creating a fun-filled festival centre which is set to delight audiences from Coventry and beyond. Our aim is to attract a wide audience and welcome those who might be exploring cultural events for the very first time.”


Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry UK City of Culture, said:

“With more than 40 years experience and an outstanding reputation, Assembly are experts at putting together world-class events, so we are delighted that they will play such a key part in the Coventry UK City of Culture celebrations. We are all excited about the ambitious plans we have for Assembly Garden and can’t wait to work together to create another great reason to visit Coventry this year.”


Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr George Duggins, said:

"It is brilliant news that Assembly will be running such a key events space right in the heart of the city centre.

"Our year as City of Culture will see a wide variety of events in all sorts of spaces and venues as we tell our story and celebrate our year, and the Assembly Festival Garden will offer something new and exciting to the city for residents and visitors to enjoy.

"A real partnership approach has made this possible, and a particular thank you to Coventry University for its generosity in making such a wonderful site available and adding yet another attraction to the coming year."

Make sure to follow @AssemblyFest across social media to be the first to hear about our summer programmes in Coventry and Edinburgh.


Find out more about Coventry 2021

Header image: The Queen of Flanders spiegeltent equipped for a circus show with a dining configuration.