Festival showcases the Art of Science

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With its biggest ever theatre programme, plus exhibitions, science photography and specially commissioned artworks, the 2017 Edinburgh International Science Festival is showing just how well art and science can Get Connected. 

As part of the celebrations around the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals, the Science Festival will add more artistic work than ever to its already packed programme of events, workshops, demonstrations and discussions. 


Leading the way is the Festival's theatre programme, Science in the Spotlight, back for a second year with an expanded offering of scientifically themed onstage work for all ages.

For families there's a brand new production from Grid Iron and Lung Ha Theatre Company, Dr Stirlingshire's Discovery, which will take audiences around Edinburgh Zoo in search of a possibly mythical creature. 

New specially-commissioned piece, Cosmonaut tells three intertwined stories of the early space race, while A Stone's Throw from Giddy Aunt sees a girl forced to save the world after she accidentally knocks the sun out of the sky. 

In Ensonglopedia of Science, award-winning writer-performer John Hinton performs an alphabetical array of songs about science, and there's also the return of 2016's hugely popular commissions, Uncanny Valley and Lost at Sea

Barbara Smith, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: 

We are delighted to be hosting the world premiere of Dr Stirlingshire’s Discovery, as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. This is an entirely new venture for us and is a great way of engaging a whole new audience. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has been collaborating with the Edinburgh International Science Festival for many years and we are particularly excited to host a theatrical production for the first time, as part of the festival. It is a wonderful way of bringing the arts and science together.

There's plenty of scientific stagework for adults too, of course, with work including Girl in the Machine, a new play written by Stef Smith, Associate Artist at the Traverse Theatre and directed by Traverse Artistic Director, Orla O'Loughlin. 

Around the corner at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, award-winning playwright Zinnie Harris will direct Caryl Churchill's chilling sci-fi drama, A Number, which will be accompanied by a number of pre-show talks, with speakers from the worlds of science, theatre, literature and music discussing the issues in the play.

There will also be another chance to see Faslane, Jenna Watt's Fringe First-winning play on the nuclear deterrent, and the lineup is completed by Isaac's Eye, a new look at the early years of Sir Isaac Newton's career, and The Big Data Show, an interactive look at digital citizenship and hacking. 

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Art and Photography 

The Science Festival will also feature a number of artistic installations and exhibitions, including Connect: Contemporary Connection at Summerhall, which includes a 3D sound journey into a black hole, Lily Hibberd's Black Hole Horizon. The exhibition also features Beneath and Beyond: Seismic Sounds by Stephen Hurrell, which creates a live sound and visual piece inspired by the movements of the Earth's tectonic plates and the material which lies beneath. 

Firedamp: Revisiting The Flood from Sean Caulfield looks at the impact of technology on ourselves and our environment, while A Hidden Order explores connections between art, music and geometry, and Lichtsuchende: Cybernetic Sunflowers With Maslovian Behaviours features an interactive photo-kinetic sculpture created by small robots. 

Other work on show includes The Royal Photographic Society’s new exhibition, International Images for Science 2017, and The Scottish National Gallery's Constable's Clouds, a hands on workshop inspired by some of the weather-related work in the gallery's collection. 

Finally, at the National Museum of Scotland, four specially commissioned pieces of art will form part of Play On, an interactive, family-friendly exhibition. Work featured includes The Dennis & Debbie Club's VR experience Pause Reality, Roy Shearer's Be The Goalie, a mix of real life gaming agility and table football, Katakataan interactive digital sculpture from Kirsty Keatch, and Abstract Playground, offering visitors the chance to play with the structure of the Museum's Grand Gallery. 

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:

Festivals are excellent at promoting Scotland’s rich culture, heritage and distinct identity on the world stage. As Edinburgh’s Festivals celebrate their 70th anniversary the International Science Festival 2017 is a fantastic opportunity to show the power of creative collaborations between art, science, digital technology and local and global audiences. 
The Scottish Government Expo fund provides festivals including the Science Festival with assistance to promote themselves overseas and invest in the work of talented Scottish artists and performers. I look forward to this year’s festival which will focus on exploring the world we live in and the role that creativity, science and digital technology have in shaping our future.

Edinburgh International Science Festival takes place from 1-16 April 2017. Find out more about the Festival, including links to programme and ticketing details.

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