Impressive line-up revealed for this year’s third Gravity Fields Festival in Grantham

LED umbrellas at the launch of Grantham's third Gravity Fields Festival.
LED umbrellas at the launch of Grantham's third Gravity Fields Festival.
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A spectacular line-up for this year’s Gravity Fields Festival has been unveiled at the festival’s education and community programme launch – complete with colourful LED umbrellas.

The festival will take place from September 21 to 25 and feature Plague performers, an anti gravity box, some of the UK’s top science presenters and the acclaimed Ministry of Science who are all booked for a full education programme complete with a Family Science Day in Grantham.

Gravity Fields Festival curator Rosemary Richards.

Gravity Fields Festival curator Rosemary Richards.

Schools and community groups also heard news of how the main programme is developing for the third biennial science, arts and heritage event inspired by Sir Isaac Newton. They were treated to a mini-performance of colourful LED umbrellas as a foretaste of international performers Cirque Bijou’s Grantham town centre transformation on Saturday evening.

Aerial artists Ockham’s Razor will be performing in St Wulfram’s Church, along with exciting British Baroque instrumental group Red Priest, confirmed festival curator Rosemary Richards, predicting that audiences would travel a long way to see them.

She also forecast that Cambridge scientist and festival favourite Dr Hugh Hunt’s talk at Woolsthorpe Manor on The Genius Engineers of WW2 would be the hottest ticket going.

Woolsthorpe Manor will be staging interactive sessions for students during the week, inviting them to re-live the plague as it happened – or would have happened if it had reached Lincolnshire. Weekend events will offer the same experience for families with plague performers and doctors thanks to Greenwich and Lewisham Young

People’s Theatre.

The festival also represents a major partnership with The Royal Society, supplying several speakers including their president, Nobel-winning structural biologist Venki Ramakrishnan.

Continuing a tradition of innovation, Grantham-based Chantry Dance will be premiering their new work Ulysses Unbound.

Indoor arts events were outlined by Simon Hollingworth, creative director from Lincoln Drill Hall who has joined the South Kesteven District Council organising team. “In difficult times I applaud SKDC for putting this festival on and recognising the difference it makes to the town and the area,” he said.

Jon Clack, headteacher of Great Ponton Primary School, spoke of the benefits of schools and pupils getting involved. His pupils have enjoyed both 2012 and 2014 festivals, attending schools events, getting classroom help for children to be involved in the processions and delivering memorable moments.

Mr Clack said: “We went along to see Dizzy O’Dare in 2012 and I was cured of the pox in front of all my children! It’s unbelievable that it is time for Round Three. I am now on the festival steering committee on behalf of primary schools and I can tell you that the plans are as exciting as ever.”

Grant confirmation of £89,700 was received by SKDC in mid-February for outdoor arts, helping to fund a major celebration of 2016 as the 350th anniversary of Newton’s ‘Annus Mirabilis’. 1666 was when Newton’s work from Woolsthorpe Manor on light, mathematics and gravity is viewed by the scientific community as the most important burst of scientific creativity in history.

Arts council funding demonstrated that the reputation of Gravity Fields is growing, said Coun Linda Wootten, SKDC Executive Member for leisure, arts and culture. “The first two festivals in 2012 and 2014 set a very high standard but I am confident that the programme that is coming together will ensure that this year’s event in September will be even better than ever.

“If you want to help us, remember that there are lots of opportunities for groups of all kinds to be involved in the finale events including primary and secondary schools, community groups and dance-focused teenage groups.

“I hope tonight’s event whets your appetite for what I am sure is going to be a great event. September just can’t come quickly enough for me!”

The education brochure with all booking details is now online at www.gravityfields.co.uk