Arts Council funding secured for Grantham’s Gravity Fields Festival 2016

Ministry of Science will be a headline attraction in the festival's education programme. Copyright: Tim Parker.
Ministry of Science will be a headline attraction in the festival's education programme. Copyright: Tim Parker.
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A grant of £89,700 has been awarded by Arts Council England (ACE) to South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) to support major outdoor arts events within September’s Gravity Fields Festival.

The Grants for the Arts award will help to fund what is set to be a major celebration in 2016, marking the 350th anniversary of Newton’s ‘Annus Mirabilis’ of scientific discovery under the festival’s theme of Genius.

Tickets for a third festival to commemorate the life and legacy of Sir Isaac Newton go on sale in April, with a packed programme of science, arts and heritage talks, drama, music and literature events in and around Grantham.

1666 was the year Newton spent at his Woolsthorpe Manor birthplace after fleeing the plague in Cambridge, when his work on light, mathematics and gravitation is viewed by the scientific community as the most extraordinary burst of scientific creativity in history.

ACE funding rewards the festival’s aim of showcasing innovation and ingenuity through the centuries, complimenting an indoor programme of arts and science activity.

An ’Ingenious’ outdoor arts programme will reflect key moments from the 17th Century, the Industrial Revolution and modern alternative technology, using new talent alongside local artists and mass participation for young people and communities.

The Festival runs from September 21-25, and bookings are nearing confirmation with international and national artists, including some of Europe’s most creative and diverse performance companies.

Together they will transform the centre of Grantham for Saturday’s colourful finale as part of a large scale processional event.

Woolsthorpe Manor, Newton’s birthplace, will feature largely in the festival as part of its ‘Illuminating Newton’ campaign.

SKDC’s grant application focused on delivering unmissable and outstanding artistic activity to an area of the country not usually on the outdoor arts circuit, explained chief executive Beverly Agass.

“We are delighted to secure this funding, which allows us to build on two supremely successful festivals with another great event, and inspire participants and audiences by the extraordinary association of this area with Newton’s scientific achievement,” she said.

Leader of the council, Councillor Bob Adams, added: “Gravity Fields Festival is rooted in the economic and cultural development of the area and this year’s festival will continue the success which saw the 2014 festival benefit the local economy by over £500,000.

The Arts Council’s area director Peter Knott, said: “Gravity Fields melds arts, heritage and science into a festival to entertain all ages. We’re delighted to be investing in this year’s event and hope it inspires people’s creativity while celebrating the area’s local history and its links to one of the world’s greatest thinkers.”