Grantham’s second Gravity Fields Festival has received a major financial boost with news of an £89,200 grant from the Arts Council England.
It means that arts and science festival organisers South Kesteven District Council can move ahead with ambitious plans for the event on September 24-28, following the theme of ‘Giants of Science.’
SKDC has also named top scientist and former KGGS pupil Professor Valerie Gibson as the festival’s first patron. Prof Gibson, Grantham-born and now a governor at King’s School, is a professor of high energy physics at Cambridge University and works at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.
The town’s second Isaac-Newton related festival will have more of a focus on large scale outdoor performance events, including a giant shadow show dance outlined at the festival’s first workshop last week in Lincoln.
The workshop featured dance artists from the Chantry Dance Company, a contemporary ballet company recently relocated to Grantham from London, who will work with light show creators on spectacular dance and special effects entertainment for the final evening.
Last year’s finale drew an estimated 12,000 people to Grantham and this year’s entertainment - based on stars, orbits, planetary movements and the equations of movement enshrined by Newton - will contribute to an equally compelling spectacle.
Festival director Rosemary Richards said: “We have exciting plans for laser mazes, sophisticated animated costume dancers, LED hoops, giant puppets and mirrored costumes and this workshop was a major success towards making those things happen.”
It’s the second major announcement this year of grants for SKDC, following last week’s news of Heritage Lottery funding for a First World War memorial park in Wyndham Park.
In October, SKDC also celebrated a grant of £58,600 for its Lincolnshire’s Age of Scientific Discovery, a serious of Newton-related projects whose findings will feed into the September Festival – including the Newton Tree Party, a search for Newton’s descendants.
Councillor Frances Cartwright, SKDC portfolio holder for economic development, said: “As a council we are extremely proud to have launched the UK’s first festival dedicated to the life and works of Sir Isaac Newton. We substantially funded the inaugural Gravity Fields event in 2012, which proved to be a huge success and showed that there is an appetite and fascination for all things related to Newton.”
Coun Bob Adams, SKDC portfolio holder for leisure, arts and culture, outlined the importance of Arts Council funding for this year’s event, saying: “We want to continue to celebrate the achievements and thinking of a man described as one of the world’s greatest scientists and this Arts Council funding will allow us to put on a seriously good show come September.”