• 12,000 expected for three FREE performances in Victoria Square
  • Created by West Midlands-born Simmy Gupta, co-Artistic Director of nutkhut
  • Professional cast and hundreds of local school children involved
  • Come and join in: everyone can learn the dance moves
  • Recognised as part of the official London 2012 Cultural Olympiad
  • Highlight of Birmingham?s Light Night
  • Launched by Denise Lewis OBE
  • Bollywood Steps webpage ?
  • nutkhut website ?

FRIDAY 9 OCTOBER, 8pm – learn the steps from 7.30pm
SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER, 3pm – learn the steps from 2.30pm
SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER, 8pm – learn the steps from 7.30pm

Members of the public are being invited to join a cast of hundreds of schoolchildren, youth dancers and dhol drummers in the countdown to a major British Bollywood outdoor dance spectacular this October. nutkhut?s Bollywood Steps, created by Simmy Gupta, forms the centrepiece of Town Hall Birmingham?s 175th anniversary celebrations and is set to capture the imagination of up to 12,000 people in three, free performances in Birmingham?s Victoria Square on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October.

Created and directed by Birmingham-raised Simmy Gupta, nutkhut?s Bollywood Steps is a breathtaking and iconic show inspired by Bollywood film. Introduced by Bobby Friction, the performance will feature dazzling dance numbers, stunning architectural lighting of Town Hall, fireworks, colourful costumes and water effects. nutkhut?s cast will be joined by hundreds of local schoolchildren, youth dancers and dhol drummers, and there is a moment of mass participation for the entire audience during a magnificent wedding scene.

The project was launched by Olympic gold medallist and BBC Strictly Come Dancing finalist, Denise Lewis OBE. The West Midlands born athlete is known for her love of dance and performed a Bollywood number on last year?s BBC Comic Relief. Launching the countdown to Bollywood Steps, Denise Lewis said: ?Dancing is a really fun way to build exercise into your life and it?s something that absolutely everyone can do. I?ve been really looking forward to trying out the dance moves myself.?

Presented by Town Hall Birmingham in association with nutkhut, this performance of Bollywood Steps is part of the People Dancing programme, part of the West Midlands Culture Programme for London 2012, and has been awarded the Inspire Mark which recognises innovative and exceptional projects directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Bollywood Steps will also be the centrepiece of Birmingham?s Light Night on Saturday 10 October.

Members of the public will have the chance to try the moves from the show beforehand, via a ?play and practice? film sequence at ?, and can enter the online competition by uploading videos of themselves having a go. Popular networking websites will carry exclusive behind-the-scenes content and interviews with those involved. The dance moves can also be learned in advance at a number of events between now and October or half an hour before each performance when Simmy Gupta and compere Bobby Friction will lead a run through.

Over 500 schoolchildren from 18 schools across Birmingham will perform in the wedding scene alongside the professional dancers. 175 children are involved in each show, one for each year of the Town Hall?s existence. Meanwhile, individual dancers and dhol drummers from Midlands youth groups will be incorporated into the show and will perform from between the columns on Town Hall?s beautiful exterior.

Bollywood Steps was originally commissioned for Trafalgar Square and marries such dance forms as salsa, kathak, classical, hip-hop, Bhangra and folk with the elaborate production values of a Busby Berkeley-style Hollywood musical. Simmy Gupta, co-Artistic Director and co-Founder of nutkhut said, ?It?s fantastic to bring Bollywood Steps to my home town and exciting to be invited to the Town Hall?s 175th Anniversary celebrations and to get people in the West Midlands dancing.?

The People Dancing programme is funded by Legacy Trust UK, Arts Council England and Advantage West Midlands. People Dancing is a three-year programme which is part of the West Midlands Culture Programme for London 2012 that uses the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to get as many people as possible dancing across the West Midlands. Bollywood Steps has been granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme. Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said: ?The Inspire Programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games starts now as projects like Bollywood Steps are enabling people in Birmingham and the Midlands to make positive life changes.?



Friday 9 October, 8pm (learn the steps from 7.30pm)
Saturday 10 October, 3pm (learn the steps from 2.30pm)
Saturday 10 October, 8pm (learn the steps from 7.30pm)
Victoria Square, Birmingham

Created by Simmy Gupta
Introduced by Bobby Friction

Celebrating Town Hall?s 175th anniversary

Admission Free


Artistic Directors: Ajay Chhabra, Simmy Gupta
adj. mischievous (Sanskrit)

nutkhut is a unique, London-based, creative organisation working nationally and internationally. By combining theatre, dance, music, circus and film, nutkhut creates imaginative, witty and visually stunning performances and installations with popular appeal. nutkhut draws inspiration and energy from connection with its wide-ranging audiences and participants. nutkhut?s work is uniquely British in its contemporary energy and voice.

Formed in 2004 by actor/director Ajay Chhabra and dancer/choreographer Simmy Gupta, nutkhut creates work for a range of different scales and settings. The company has produced large-scale, outdoor, site-specific performances; street-based theatre shows; specially-devised indoor spectaculars and created the UK?s first British Asian stilt-walking company.

Bollywood Steps was originally co-commissioned by Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and the Mayor of London, premiering at Trafalgar Square in 2004. Since then it has performed to over 200,000 people and was last seen as the finale of Edinburgh?s 2009 Hogmanay celebrations.

nutkhut is committed to collaboration, working both in the UK and internationally. Partners have included the Mayor of London?s office, Liverpool 08 and iconic fashion house, Diesel. nutkhut often works with local communities in the creation and performance of its work. The company is flexible in its approach, often devising shows or elements of performances specifically for a host city or location.

nutkhut enjoys the creative freedom and direct contact with an audience that working outdoors affords, but is equally at home creating indoor work when the opportunity arises.

Simmy Gupta
Simmy trained in the 500 year old tradition of Kathak dance with Nahid Siddiqui in Birmingham, touring nationally and internationally during the 1990s. Subsequently, Simmy?s work as a dancer and choreographer has spanned theatre, film, television and fashion, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Diesel Clothing Company.

As co-Artistic Director of nutkhut, she created and directed Bollywood Steps, one of the UK?s most successful large-scale outdoor shows, which has been presented in a range of settings, from football stadiums (Wembley) to cathedrals and stately homes.

In 2004, as an Associate Director of Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Simmy programmed the opening of the Silk Route Exhibition at the British Library and was commissioned to create Bollywood Steps for Trafalgar Square. She choreographed the televised opening of Trafalgar Square for the Mayor of London in 2003 and the televised sea of silks down The Mall for the Olympic Torch Relay in 2004.

Simmy has extensively taught Kathak, Bhangra, Creative and Bollywood dance for the past 12 years, working creatively with all ages (4-75 years) for Greenwich Dance Agency, Akademi, East London Dance, Sadler?s Wells, Nahid Siddiqui, Age Exchange and Sampad.

Simmy?s recent work includes creating the choreography for ?Planet Ajay?, a new 13-part CBBC series.

Ajay Chhabra
Ajay Chhabra is an actor, director and producer. His career has spanned film, theatre, television and outdoor performance. He set up nutkhut in 2003 and with Simmy Gupta, creating the UK?s first Asian stilt-walking performance.

As Artistic Director of nutkhut, he directed The Six Figures of City Hall in Oslo, Norway, directed Diesel Clothing Companies launch collection, and created and conceived ?movieplex?.Of Indo – Fijian heritage. Ajay was born in London. He made his debut as an actor in Tamasha’s first play Untouchable in 1989 (Riverside Studios) and is familiar to BBC TV audiences as Anil in the children’s cult classic, The Basil Brush Show, showing in 15 countries and in six languages.

His two award winning productions Hamari-Kahani and Inner City Lives were both pioneering projects, revealing the harsh realities of two very ordinary groups, one coming to terms with old age, the other of gang murder.

He studied Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London and Hotel Management at Westminster College. He completed an Arts Council Directors Bursary with physical theatre specialist David Glass and was awarded a Circus space Bursary.

Ajay is Artistic Director of the London Mela, the largest celebration of its kind in Europe. He is a board director and trustee of Visiting Arts and founder chair of the European Mela Network.

Ajay?s latest project ?Planet Ajay? is due to be aired in September 2009. Planet Ajay is a Bollywood-inspired brand new studio entertainment show for kids. It is set on Planet Ajay – the personal domain of Ajay Chhabra (better known as Anil from The Basil Brush Show). The show will be colourful and chaotic and incorporate music, dance, comedy and characters and sketches along with interactive audience challenges. Ajay will play a number of the comedy characters himself. Anne Gilchrist, Controller, CBBC said, ?Planet Ajay is going to bring a whole new flavour to CBBC ? at the centre of it is Ajay Chhabra who is a great comedy talent and I know CBBC viewers will find this show vibrant and highly entertaining.?

Bobby Friction
Bobby Friction is a recognised specialist in British Asian music, an influential figure in the Asian club scene and a sought-after broadcaster. He co-presented BBC Radio 1?s, Sony Gold award-winning Bobby Friction & Nihal from 2002 before joining BBC Asian Network in 2005, presenting the station’s Album Chart Show, then The Mix. He now presents the Sony Gold award-winning Friction show.

Over the years Bobby has represented British Asian sound as a DJ all over the world and has built an international reputation as a genre-mixing turntablist. He was the first resident DJ at the Shaanti club at The Custard Factory, Birmingham. He starred in the BBC One documentary This England and fronted the Channel 4 TV show Bollywood Star. He has also presented documentaries The Countryside Sucks and Generation 7/7 for Channel 4.


The following schools are participating in Bollywood Steps. There are six schools involved in each performance – 175 children per show, representing one for each year of the Town Hall?s existence. The children will receive four training sessions, delivered by a professional dancer, trained by Simmy Gupta and her team, over the four preceding weeks and will take part in the wedding scene that is the climax of the show.

Dance Team 1: Friday 9 October, eve
Albert Bradbeer Primary School, Longbridge
Chivenor Primary School, Castle Vale
Kingsthorne Primary School, Kingstanding
New Oscott Primary School, Sutton Coldfield
Twickenham Primary School, Kingstanding
Broadway School, Perry Barr

Dance Team 2: Saturday 10 October, pm
Brookvale Primary School, Erdington
Holy Trinity Catholic Media Arts College, Small Heath
Hillstone Primary School, Shard End
Welford Primary School, Perry Barr
St Edmonds Catholic Primary School, Ladywood
Summerfield Primary School, Winson Green

Dance Team 3: Saturday 10 October, eve
St Augustine?s Catholic Primary School, Handsworth
Cottesbrooke Junior School, Acocks Green
Highters Heath Community School, Selly Oak
Yenton Primary School, Erdington
George Dixon Primary School, Edgbaston
Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Catholic Primary School, Weoley Castle

Youth Groups
Participants from the following youth groups have been confirmed to date. They will receive masterclasses delivered by co-Artistic Director Simmy Gupta and her team, and will dance between the columns of Town Hall?s stunning exterior.

ACE Youth Dance Company, Digbeth
Diverse Dance Company, Perry Barr
Junction 9, Wednesbury


Digital delivery
A unique element of this presentation of Bollywood Steps in Birmingham is the use of social media to open up the learning process and encourage public participation in the lead up to, and during, the 9 & 10 October performances.

A 40-second trailer, featuring Yinka Williams from nutkhut, which teaches the mass participation dance moves, will be available to download for free from ? The video clip, produced by Digbeth based film makers Second Home Productions, will also be distributed freely to mobile devices via Bluetooth at several Town Hall events between now and October, including the public launch [8 September].

Popular networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo will feature exclusive Bollywood Steps profiles and updates, including behind the scenes footage and interviews with the production team and cast, while members of the public can upload their own images and videos to a dedicated Flickr stream and YouTube channel.

Online competition
Aspiring Bollywood and dance fans will also have the opportunity to enter an online competition by submitting their own films of them trying out the dance moves to ?

There are three categories: best solo/duo film, best group film and most fun attempt with prizes kindly donated by Birmingham Hippodrome, Asha?s Restaurant and Town Hall & Symphony Hall. The winners will be announced live on stage at the Saturday evening performance (10 October) by compere Bobby Friction, and some of the best films will be shown on the big screen on each night.

Web addresses
Twitter ?”: #bollysteps
Flickr ? tag with bollysteps
Facebook ?
Bebo ?
YouTube ? tag with bollysteps

Members of the public can learn the moves at the following free events:

ArtsFest, Saturday 12 September
12 noon at Town Hall
2.40pm at Dance Marquee, Centenary Square
4.30pm at DanceXchange Studios

175 TODAY! Birthday Carnival Open Day, Sunday 4 October
1.30pm & 3.30pm at Town Hall

Bollywood Steps
Friday 9 October, 7.30pm, Victoria Square
Saturday 10 October, 2.30pm, Victoria Square
Saturday 10 October, 7.30pm, Victoria Square


People Dancing
People Dancing is part of the West Midlands? Culture Programme for London 2012. It is a three year programme funded by Legacy Trust UK, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands that uses the inspiration of the London 2012 Games to get as many people as possible dancing across the West Midlands.

As part of plans to get the whole of the UK involved in celebrating the London 2012 Games, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) asked each nation and region in the UK to create a regional specific culture programme to run between now and 2012. The West Midlands? Culture Programme for London 2012 is the West Midlands? response to that invitation and is a programme of creative activity taking place over the next three years in the West Midlands that celebrates the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It includes a major programme of dance activity, a series of community sporting and cultural games events around the region and much more.

London 2012 and the Inspire programme
The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Inspire programme is run by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOGOC). It is an opportunity for everyone to be a part of the London 2012 Games – a broad participation programme spanning sport participation, education, sustainability, volunteering, and business opportunities & skills. New opportunities are being created to inspire young people and encourage the whole of the UK to join in.

Birmingham?s Light Night
Birmingham?s second Light Night takes place in the city centre on Saturday 10 October. Light Night includes entertainment on the stage in Centenary Square from 6pm, followed by nutkhut?s Bollywood Steps by Simmy Gupta in Victoria Square, and culminating in a spectacular firework display at 10.45pm in Centenary Square. There will be street entertainment in brindleyplace, Centenary and Chamberlain Squares, spectacular architectural lighting on Town Hall, lighting trails and craft workshops. Several bars and restaurants will have special offers around brindleyplace and fountains and trees will be lit up around the city. A Choral Concert by Candlelight will take place in Birmingham Cathedral. The Museum & Art Gallery will be open until 11pm to view the extensive pre-Raphaelite collection.

Town Hall Birmingham is one of the oldest concert halls in the world. At the centre of British musical life since the day it opened in October 1834, the much-loved venue marks its milestone 175TH anniversary with a special series of events including concerts, talks, dances, films and more. Tickets go on sale on Thursday 18 June for the series, which runs from October to December.

The 175TH anniversary celebrates Town Hall?s unique and continuing heritage with seventeen events from traditional to contemporary, reflecting the wide range of performance the hall has always presented. From Tea Dances to talks, Salsa to Silent Movie, A Christmas Carol to a Carnival Open Day, there?s sure to be something for everyone.


Thu 1 Oct, 11.30am & 3pm
TOWNHALLDANCES with the Garry Allcock All-Stars Band

Sat 3 Oct, 7pm
Harry Christophers conducts The Sixteen

Sun 4 Oct, 11am-4pm

Mon 5 Oct, 7.30pm

Fri 9 Oct, 8pm (learn the steps from 7.30pm)
Sat 10 Oct, 3pm (learn the steps from 2.30pm), Sat 10 Oct, 8pm (learn the steps from 7.30pm)
Victoria Square, Birmingham
nutkhut?s BOLLYWOODSTEPS created by Simmy Gupta
Introduced by Bobby Friction

Sun 11 Oct, 7pm

Mon 12 Oct, 3.30pm
Illustrated talk by Lyndon Jenkins and Beresford King-Smith

Wed 21 Oct, 7.30pm
Talk by Barry Adams and Anthony Peers

Sat 24 Oct, 7pm-2am
Compere Rohan Brown

Sat 31 Oct, 7.30pm
Improvised organ accompaniment by Nigel Ogden

Mon 2 Nov, 2.30pm & 6.30pm
Talk by Professor Carl Chinn with live music from Garry Allcock and his All-Stars Band

Sun 15 Nov, 3pm
Talk by Professor Steve Jones

Sat 21 Nov, 7.30pm (doors open 7pm)

Fri 27 Nov, 8pm

Sat 28 Nov, 7.30pm
Sun 29 Nov, 4pm
With Ex Cathedra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Wed 2 Dec, 7.30pm

Mon 7 Dec, 7.30pm

Wed 9 Dec, 7.30-m
Sponsored by Jamaica National Building Society

Town Hall 175th anniversary: ?
Town Hall: ?
Town Hall history: ?

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and a thriving education/community department reaches a further 20,000 people of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).

(£2 fee per transaction is charged on all bookings except
purchases made in person at THSH Box Office)

Fiona Fraser/Lyle Bignon
Press & PR Manager/Asst Press & PR Manager
E /
T 0121 644 5008 / 0121 644 6028

Issue date: 16 September 2009