Teesside University’s internationally-renowned Animex festival is expanding in a drive to get the wider community engaged and enthused about the annual event.
Animex is one of the world’s largest and longest running festivals of animation and computer games, which, over the years, has attracted guests including the voice of Bart Simpson and visual effects legend Ray Harryhausan.
Now, for the first time, the five day festival will take place primarily at Middlesbrough Town Hall in a bid to attract the general public and make Animex more of a community event.
Across the area as well, there will also be screenings, exhibitions, workshops and a whole host of activities that people can get involved in.
The expansion into Middlesbrough Town Hall also supports the Tees Valley’s continued development as a key area for the burgeoning digital sector, with Teesside University playing a leading role in establishing the region as a hub for digital innovation and growth.
Jo Noble, principal lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technology, is one of the organisers behind the Animex festival.
She said: “Animex is a fantastic event which has been incredibly successful for many years. However, there is a feeling that it is viewed as a closed university event and something that is only open to students and people from the industry.
“Our ambition is to open the festival up to the Tees Valley community and expanding into the Town Hall is the first step in that process. It is more than just a venue though – it will enable us to put on a number of different activities and screenings that members of the public can come along to.
“Animation and computer games are part of people’s everyday lives – whether you are a casual consumer or a dedicated gamer. We are really excited about bringing Animex into the town and seeing how people react to it.”
Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for culture and communities, added: “Teesside University has played a significant role in helping to establish Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley as a superpower for digital technology and innovation.
“We are delighted to be hosting the Animex Festival from the Town Hall and hope it will help to engage even more people with the vast array of opportunities that are available within games and animation.”
The Animex Festival recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and every year boasts a stellar line up of animation and games industry experts from around the world.
Instantly recognisable industry names such as Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic and Rockstar Games have regularly sent representatives to Animex to provide insight and expertise on the latest releases.
This year’s Animex Festival takes place from 11 to 15 May. For more details about the line-up and the range of events taking place, visit www.animex.tees.ac.uk.