About

Capsule is a cultural alchemist: an innovative curator initiating, producing multi disciplinary work, this encompasses festivals, cultural events, and artist development through partnerships with a range of organisations. Capsule crafts extraordinary cultural projects for curious audiences; we seek to reveal the otherwise indescribable connections between art forms. Our aims are to introduce new audiences to our programme of activity, provide a platform for new work sonic/visual practice, expand the opportunities available for artists to develop and champion the unclassifiable. We have a unique ability to present the highest quality experimental work in a playful and imaginative way in different contexts, allowing us to reach out to diverse audiences. We create a context and critical mass for new work.

From hand crafted wooden structures designed by the award winning Studio Myerscough which acted as a billboard for the opening of the largest library in Europe to an immersive installation with remote control cars with styli attached, which raced across a track constructed from 1000’s of disused vinyl records nestled under a giant viaduct, to a stupendous procession of unexplored rhythms, unsung songs, unexplainable creatures and un-mythical beings set on a village green in Stoke on Trent.

 

Key projects include:

Supersonic Festival opening night with Neurosis at Town Hall Birmingham 2019 edition
Supersonic Festival – an experimental music and arts festival

 

“UK’s best small festival – by embracing the heaviness in Birmingham’s heritage, and adding a strong dose of eccentricity, Supersonic is world-class.” – The Guardian

 

Nowhere else will you find a festival experience quite like Supersonic’s – since 2003, we have been hosting superior weekends for the adventurous audience, taking care to present only the most artistically relevant and irreverent acts from the UK and across the globe, while simultaneously making sure to fill every moment with the opportunities to let loose and party, or sit down at engaging talks, discussions and workshops, or take in exclusive screenings and exhibitions.

 

“the mother of British underground festivals” – The Quietus

 


 

Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler at the opening of the Home of Metal, Black Sabbath 50 years exhibition in June 2019.
Home of Metal – a large scale heritage project

 

“Home of Metal turns the Midlands up to eleven. Heavy Metal was born in the Black Country when its furnaces still blazed. Now the area is celebrating its heritage” – Stuart Jefferies, The Guardian


Home of Metal’s exhibitions and events join the dots between music, social history, visual art and fan cultures to produce a new perspective on Heavy Metal. One that is celebratory, eschews notions of high/low art and joins audiences and performers together. Home of Metal is devoted to the music that was born in and around Birmingham. Music that turned up the volume, down-tuned guitars, and introduced a whole new meaning to the word ‘heavy’.


What people say about Capsule

‘Maverick’ The Guardian

‘Supersonic blazed out of the traps nearly 20 years ago as an important part of the musical calendar if you were into progressive, extreme, underground and exciting music and culture, but as time has gone on, and most other events of its scale have stumbled and fallen, it’s simply become one of the most important fixtures in the world. Long may Supersonic thrive… and see you down the front.” The Quietus

‘connects, challenges and inspires’ The Skinny

‘The Birmingham-based Supersonic Festival,  has a distinct identity in the UK’s increasingly crowded festival calendar – but it’s also commendably hard to sum that identity up in a few words.’
Frieze Magazine on Supersonic Festival

‘Contrast, without which we cannot perceive the world, is a phenomenon that defies homogenisation, where pleasure is relief from pain, and pain can be a prime for pleasure; where art is opposed to commerce, and the mundane is pushed back, often all too temporarily, by creativity. Capsule, the curators of the annual Supersonic Festival clearly understand this: from the coarse granularity of its urban, industrial environment so strongly set apart from the fallow fields of most other  festivals, to the finer details of its handpicked programme of new music, installations, workshops, walks and talks, all deftly juxtaposed across a long weekend, the festival never fails to nurture new connections and rupture old ones.’
Musique Machine on Supersonic Festival

‘Its squalid bogs and towers inspired the landscape of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and, during the seventies, it became the concreted ‘Detroit of England’ which galvanised Justin Broadrick to pioneer industrial metal. There was also that sentient, superhero-car called Brum. But let’s not focus on the far-away or recent past – alongside these aforementioned institutions another name should be added to Birmingham’s ‘Star Walk’ that genuinely lines its crippled pavements. And that name is Capsule.’ The Quietus

‘Fiercely independent, outward looking and highly collaborative’
Mark Ball, director of Lift Festival

‘a willingness to escape the traditional’
Spencer Hickman, Rough Trade/Death Waltz Records

‘The work with Capsule has been incredibly rewarding. Home of Metal has been the most successful festival in the Black Country in recent history. Bringing some of the highest visitor numbers to the region for an event of this kind, attracted more press, media and braodcast coverage than any other event or festival and created more political and local authority director interest than any other events programme – all due to Capsule’s diligent and hard efforts. I would recommend Capsule to others as an organisation that do go that one step further and really make a difference’
Max Bailey, Black Country Arts Partnership

‘The personal approach as real enthusiastic members of the fanbase of the music they are curating, as well as being the curators themselves, provides a level of respect and integration which has continued to be a pleasure to encounter’
Stephen O’Malley, artist and musician

‘I’ve performed at Capsule organised events / Supersonic a number of times and every time has been an invaluable experience.  I’ve also been invited to take part in large scale participatory projects with internationally renowned artists which have been some of the most inspiring and rewarding musical experiences I’ve had.’  Katharine Eira Brown, artist and musician

‘Capsule are responsible for initiating an array of consistently diverse and engaging projects, including projects in which I have played a role. Each occasion has been facilitated by an openness to communication which has assisted in the development of the project and has been marked by their wanton enthusiasm and determined professionalism which create an ideal environment for collaboration.’
Nicholas Bullen, artist and founding member of Napalm Death

‘I like to think of Capsule as the peristaltic pump of the independent music scene , a reliable heart pumping blood to the tips  and branches of good music wherever that might be.’
Geoff Dolman, Static Caravan

‘a highly visual festival experience with some of the most eclectic, deconstructed musical minds on the planet.’
Clash Music on Supersonic Festival

Evolving, challenging music that demands interaction from the audience is Supersonic’s speciality.
Stool Pigeon on Supersonic Festival

‘the most consistently brilliant and forward-looking festival in the UK, if not the world’
Vice
on Supersonic Festival

‘memorable to me and I’m sure to each and every attendee, was the richness of the events. The visual art was extraordinary, the Birmingham Museum show alone was something that a few of us thought of hiding out at for a few weeks, the movies, the MUSIC!!’
Professor Deena Weinstein on Home of Metal


Team

Artistic Director/CEO: Lisa Meyer
Executive Producer: Kate Self
Programme Coordinator: Rosie Tunley
Operations Manager – Supersonic Festival: Sean O’Keeffe
Finance Administrator: Neisa Reid
Home of Metal Project Manager: Nicola Shipley

Capsule also work with a range of regular freelancers on different projects including:
Production: 
Urban Audio www.urban-audio.co.uk
Photography:
Katja Ogrin www.katjaogrinphotography.com
Design and illustration: David Hand www.alongbirdalley.co.uk 
Website:
Jacob Masters www.gabba.net

volunteers

Volunteers
There are plenty of opportunities to be a volunteer at Capsule and join our team, you are able to gain an overview of how our projects work, and to contribute real input and value to what we do. In addition we have a number of intern opportunities during the lead up of Supersonic Festival. Get in contact via volunteer[at]capsule.org.uk


Vacancies

 

JOIN OUR BOARD
Capsule Board is seeking new membersDeadline: 5pm, Wednesday 21 February 2024.

 

★★★★★ – The UK’s best small festival, Supersonic is world-class.” THE GUARDIAN

This is an exciting time for the organisation, 2023 saw us deliver a very special edition, celebrating 20 years of Supersonic Festival, in Digbeth where we have been based since the beginning. The city is undergoing major redevelopment work, and the cultural and creative landscape is changing – we are looking for board members to support and assist us in our move into the next exciting chapter.

Working closely alongside the Artistic Director and Executive Producer, our Board members play a key role in helping create Capsule’s vision, setting our long-term goals, monitoring progress and helping develop partnerships, increase income and ensure resilience and sustainability.

There are currently 6 Board members, and we are now looking to recruit up to 3 new members to join the Board from anywhere across the UK. We are particularly interested in attracting applications from individuals with experience in one or more of the following areas: 

 

  • Marketing and / or PR expertise – we are looking for support to help significantly increase the awareness and / or raise the profile of our work 
  • Finance, business, commercial strategy and / or entrepreneurial expertise – we would be interested to hear from anyone used to maximizing and generating revenue, as well as someone with expertise in financial reporting and / or accountancy
  • Someone with a senior role from an arts, cultural and / or heritage organisation, with an insight into opportunities on the horizon and professional national/international networks you are willing to share
  • Fans of our work –passionate about Capsule’s work and/or the music and art we champion, and willing and able to contribute invaluable insight and constructive criticism to improve what we do

 

We are committed to diversity and inclusion, and are keen to appoint candidates of different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. We particularly encourage applications from LGBTQ+ candidates, under-represented ethnicities, and people with a disability.

 

For more information:

PDF: Capsule Board Recruitment Info Sheet
PDF: Capsule Organisation Information Sheet

 

And to apply please send the following information to [email protected] by Wednesday 21 February:

 


History


Board

Benedict Fisher
A communications specialist, Ben has worked in the arts, tourism, property, and utilities sectors. He is currently director of communications at the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A huge fan of Capsule’s work since 2002, he has enjoyed dozens of our events over the last two decades.

Dr. Lina Khatib
Is the co-founder of the World Metal Congress and the director of the SOAS Middle East Institute. She is also Chair in Middle East Studies and Professor of Practice in Politics and International Studies at SOAS University of London. Previously she was director Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. Outside of her work in policy and music, she has created visual art, published seven books and is currently developing a theatrical performance. She is also an Associate of the Imperial War Museum Institute.

Laura McDermott
Is Creative Director of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. The space (formerly Gardner Arts Centre) is an interdisciplinary arts hub connecting University of Sussex to Brighton & Hove and the wider national and international arts and research community. Previously (2009 – 2015) Laura was Joint Artistic Director (with Harun Morrison) of Fierce Festival – an international festival of live art, queer politics and activism in Birmingham.  In 2012-13 Laura was awarded a CLORE Fellowship in Arts Participation and Engagement, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Laura was a creative producer at BAC (Battersea Arts Centre) in London, from 2005 – 2009, where she programmed seasons, festivals and was lead producer for the Punchdrunk and BAC co-production The Masque of the Red Death.

Pippa Moore
Is the Director of Development at the Young Vic theatre in London. Pippa was formerly Head of Fundraising at the De La Warr Pavilion, where she helped to develop and fund the Outlands experimental music touring network in 2017. Outlands included nine national partners, including Supersonic, who commissioned and toured six new productions across the UK and the world.

Stuart Rogers (Chair)
Stuart Rogers was born and educated in Birmingham and has worked in theatre management/production since 1973 when he became Theatre Programmer for the Birmingham Arts Lab. He then moved on to manage the Gulbenkian Studio Theatre and Newcastle Playhouse in Newcastle upon Tyne, followed by periods as Executive Director for Chester Gateway Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse. Following a couple of years in the southern Italian city of Bari working with the international touring theatre company Teatro Kismet, Stuart returned to Birmingham in 2002 to take up the post of Executive Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He left that position in 2019 to concentrate on freelance producing.

Past Board Members

Gina Crane (Director of Communications and Learning Esmée Fairbairn Foundation), Anna Russell (Regional Director National Trust), Debbie Kermode (CEO/Artistic Director Midlands Art Centre).


Contact

Please note our new postal address:

Capsule
Unit 317, Zellig Building
Gibb street
Digbeth
Birmingham UK
B9 4AT

0121 7730402

info(at)capsule.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter @supersonicfest

Please note, we welcome new artists to send samples of their work for future consideration however Capsule receive a lot of emails and letters from artists and whilst we endeavour to look into everything that’s sent our way, we cannot guarantee a personal response.


Support

Capsule gratefully acknowledges the support we receive from Arts Council England as part of their National Portfolio Organisations

ace_grant_award_logo_hires 


WEBSITE ACCESSIBILTY

Capsule is committed to ensuring digital accessibility. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone applying relevant accessibility standards. For more detailed information download our policy which we will review periodically.