New CBSO music director
The identity of a key cultural figure will become known in 2014, when the new music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is named.
Andris Nelsons doesn’t leave for the Boston Symphony Orchestra until the summer of 2015, but the hunt has already begun for his replacement.
The Latvian conductor was relatively unknown when he took over at the CBSO in 2008 but has become a huge favourite with the orchestra and audiences.
CBSO chief executive Stephen Maddock said: “It’s clear to everyone that we have very good taste in music directors and you can trust the CBSO to bring another outstanding talent to the podium in Birmingham.”
Roxana Silbert, artistic director of Birmingham Rep
Roxana took over the reins at the Rep last year for its centenary celebrations, but she is now getting into her stride.
The first play she directed at the theatre was in November, a very Brummie version of the French classic Tartuffe, starring Mark Williams.
February will see her bring her RSC production of Bertolt Brecht’s A Life Of Galileo to Birmingham, starring Ian McDiarmid.
Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Greg Doran is now really making his mark on his Stratford-upon-Avon theatres after a successful 2013 which saw him reunite with David Tennant to direct him in Richard II. It was the first RSC production to play live to cinemas around the world in November.
Coming up this year, Doran will direct his partner Antony Sher as the comic knight Falstaff in Henry IV Parts I and II.
Felicity Jones, actress
Now she’s turned 30, it looks like Felicity might finally break through to the big time.
She grew up in Bournville and attended Kings Norton Girls School and King Edward VI Handsworth School. As a teenager she appeared in The Archers and The Worst Witch, and after graduating from Oxford she’s appeared in the films Brideshead Revisited, Flashbacks of a Fool, Cemetery Junction, Chalet Girl and Like Crazy.
But her profile will be higher than ever in 2014 with the release in February of The Invisible Woman, in which she plays Charles Dickens’ secret lover opposite Ralph Fiennes.
She is also among the cast of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and True Story, which also stars James Franco and Jonah Hill. And she will be filming Theory of Everything, playing physicist Stephen Hawking’s wife Jane in a movie in which she is billed above Eddie Redmayne, David Thewlis and Emily Watson.
The city of Birmingham
Birmingham itself will become more of a cultural icon in 2014 thanks to increased time on screen – even if some of the time it will be pretending to be London.
The six-part thriller The Game comes to BBC1 in the spring, starring Tom Hughes, Brian Cox, Shaun Dooley and Judy Parfitt. It’s a spy drama set in the Cold War of 1972, in which London is recreated in Birmingham. The old Central Library was turned into M15 headquarters and the Lickey Hills doubled for Hampstead Heath.
Birmingham can be itself, albeit in the 1950s, in the BBC1 drama WPC 56. And there are high hopes that the city will feature more heavily when filming begins on the second series of Peaky Blinders.
While very firmly set in the Birmingham of 1919, the first series, starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill, was mostly shot in Liverpool and Yorkshire with a few scenes at the Black Country Living Museum. Now the BBC2 gangster drama may feature more actual Birmingham landmarks.
Mary Griffin on who will be cooking up a storm in the world of food in 2014
The godfather of Birmingham’s food scene is putting fingers in new pies this year.
Andreas arguably kick-started Birmingham’s culinary success when his Michelin-star restaurant Simpsons moved to Edgbaston from Kenilworth in 2005.
But spring 2014 brings a new Brum-based adventure in the form of Pure Bar and Kitchen, a venue set to open in Waterloo Street, between Victoria Square and the Cathedral.
Teaming up with Warwickshire brewery Purity, Andreas is bringing his expertise to this food-meets-beer operation.
The partnership was formed in 2013 when Simpsons’ executive chef Luke Tipping created a five-course menu matched to five specialist beers, including two Purity brews, to serve at the inaugural Birmingham Beer Bash.
We’re expecting the Waterloo Street venture to be a family-friendly venue focused on taste - a more grown-up version of John Bright Street’s Brewdog.
If anyone can rival Andreas for sparking Birmingham’s Michelin glory, it’s Glynn Purnell.
In his first head chef role, Glynn won a star and beat competition from all of England to the title of “Restaurant of the Year” at Jessica’s in Edgbaston (the same year Simpsons moved to Birmingham).
Two years later he opened his own restaurant, Purnell’s, in the city centre winning a star in 2009.
Since then he’s launched his second venture, Asquiths restaurant and Ginger’s cocktail bar, and this year he’s set to give his fans a glimpse behind his kitchen door, revealing the history and back story to some of his most popular dishes.
The book, Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales, is expected to be published by Kyle Books in May.
Adam has recently left his head chef position at Simpsons restaurant in Edgbaston to take on a new challenge in Kenilworth.
Simpsons owner Andreas Antona has enticed the chef to lead the kitchen of The Cross, a former pub-turned-restaurant.
The Coventrian (and mad Cov City fan) wowed the world at the Bocuse D’Or in 2013 when he represented the UK in the competition dubbed the Olympics of the culinary world.
In the qualifying European round his meat dish of truffled blue legged chicken with mushrooms and tarragon was marked best in class.
At the world final in Lyon he achieved Britain’s best ever result by finishing fourth, with the best meat platter in the competition and subsequently received the Chairman’s Award from the British Culinary Federation.
It almost seems unfair to urge readers to look out for accolades for The Cross during 2014 (no pressure, Adam) but accolades are so richly deserved for this venture (see our recent restaurant review) that it also seems unfair not to.
Amy was the brains behind The Birmingham Whisky Club, setting up monthly tutored tastings of marvellous malts two years ago.
She spent her first year gathering a loyal following at the monthly club and developing an online community of whisky fans across the Midlands.
In 2013 she took the venture a step further, launching Whisky Birmingham, the city’s first whisky festival, which drew hundreds of connoisseurs and enthusiasts to Digbeth’s canalside venue The Bond.
This year not only sees the return of Whisky Birmingham (on March 1) but the launch of Amy’s new enterprise, The Food and Drink Events Company, coming in February, a collaborative venture with Ian Harvey of The Wine Tasting Company.
Hungry Brummies can find the company on Facebook and should expect imaginative events and gastronomic adventures with local producers, suppliers and chefs, including tasting events, cookery courses, tours to local artisan producers.
Last year was an eventful one for Adam Stokes.
The Peterborough-born and Northampton-bred chef moved to Birmingham to open his first restaurant, won a Michelin star within six months of serving his first diner, and celebrated the birth of his first child, Jenson.
A former Trenchers sandwich shop in Bennett’s Hill was chosen as a temporary venue for Adam’s eponymous restaurant, with the promise of a more permanent venue to follow this year.
The chef has previously hinted at a city centre venue but Edgbaston’s growing food and drink hub would surely give him a warm welcome if he chose to set up shop there.
Our review found his food “imaginative, distinctive and precise”. Could his new venture be the first in Birmingham to win two stars from the Michelin inspectors?
Ones to watch in sport
Ones to watch in the business world
Ones to watch in politics
Ones to watch in health and education