My Inspiration: What A Wonderful World Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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What A Wonderful World Festival is an innovative festival celebrating the world we inhabit and returns from Friday 30 June – Sunday 2nd July for a second year, featuring thought-provoking music, dance, debate, film and culinary delights.

The entertainers and climate experts converging on Alnwick Playhouse and Alnwick Garden to entertainingly discuss a sustainable future include songwriter and seven-time BBC Radio Two Folk Awards winner Karine Polwart and fellow Scot Dave Milligan who perform the awe-inspiring Songs Of Tree And River, Stone And Sea at Alnwick Playhouse on 30th June.

On Sunday 1st July, Watershed — Journey of a River and Journey of an Activist will explore the challenging journeys ahead if we are to establish a sustainable future and in the evening , Imagining The Future takes over the Bill Hugonin Auditorium. Damian Cruden (CEO and Artistic Director, Alnwick Playhouse) is joined by Paul Brannen (Visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University), Chi Onwurah MP (Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Digital), Aidan Harrison (retired local farmer) and student activist Tamara Ullyart for a debate and Q&A session.  

Other highlights include The Loving Earth Exhibition at Alnwick Playhouse Gallery, which shines a light on global treasures threatened by environmental breakdown via beautiful 30×30 textiles, and the Deep Dive Into Water session complete with experts on Northumberland rivers ready to answer questions.

Here, Liz Anderson, Co-Director, of What a Wonderful World Festival tells us more about what inspired the event…

The main inspiration for the What a Wonderful World Festival came from Mike Berners Lee – brother of Tim – who launched his brilliant book, There is no Planet B at Hay Book Festival in 2019. 

The Louis Armstrong song seemed a good fit for a title!

We have all heard about forest fires, hurricanes, the melting polar regions, floods and drought – but most people seem to feel too overwhelmed to take personal action.  So a festival about the beauty and wonder of our planet illustrated by musicians, writers, dancers, visual artists, theatre makers and poets of the natural world seemed worth a try get the conversations about climate change started with family, friends and work-mates.

Our first event in October 2021 was a free Climate Action Day in the centre of our local town Alnwick, bringing together local primary and high school kids with their songs and theatre performances to flag up the imminent COP 26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow.  They produced a fantastic ‘Trash Fashion’ show dressed in potato sacks and charity shop finds for the catwalk.  

This is our second Festival in collaboration with Alnwick Playhouse and the Alnwick Garden. Highlights include inspirational singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, local songster and comedian, Tim Dalling with his hilarious show ‘Unsustainable Songs,’ Tyneside MP, Chi Onwurah and Tamara Ullyart a young activist and others ‘Imagining the Future’.  With our ‘Deep Dive into Water’ event we hope people will ask questions about our polluted rivers, the prevention of coastal erosion and whether beavers can provide a solution to flooding.

Our artists and panellists certainly inspire me afresh and I hope people will come out for the fun and go home with a conviction that we can create a sustainable future.

 

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