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Arts Around Town Family Day

A family arts day during February half term is a regular feature of the Stamford Arts Centre calendar – but this year, they’re taking to the streets... The Moment talked to programmer Simon Hollingworth about what’s in store.

What’s new with the Family Fun Day this year?
Normally events take place in and around the building itself, but this year it got some additional funding to take things further out into the community, so it’s going to be an ‘across-town’ family arts day, happening in a variety of churches and halls and possibly even a shop, all around town. There’ll be a trail with a map that people can follow and do them all, but also the idea is that people might just stumble across them

What will be happening at the Arts Centre itself?
Some things aren’t yet confirmed, but Wildcats Theatre School will be doing workshops themed around wizards, witches and magic beasts. An artist called Karen Neale will be in the gallery making something stupendous – last year she made a townscape of Stamford, and people were free to join in for five minutes or five hours. Down in the Cellar Bar we’re going to have ‘mini-cine’ – home movies playing in a repeating programme through the day. There’ll be face painting – of course! – and in the Ballroom a group called Ijad Dance will be doing a performance called ‘Celestial Bodies’ three times a day. It can involve up to 60 people at a time and is an interactive dance show, but one in which you also learn about physics and the planets in a really playful way.

And what will be happening out in the town?
Among the things so far confirmed is the Illumaphonium. It’s hard to do it justice in words, but it’s kind of a huge, upright LED xylophone which we will have in a public place somewhere, and people can just come and have a go. It’s cleverly constructed so that whether you smack it or just tap it gently it makes this beautiful ethereal noise so it’s perfect for all ages. The idea is the sound will carry down the High Street and create this unique atmosphere, and as it gets darker it also lights up. I think it will be a real hit. People just can’t resist having a go!

We’ve also got a company called the Whalley Range All Stars – a fantastic street theatre company who will be bringing a show called ‘Python on the loose’. The premise is there are three zoo keepers who are trying to find a python that has gone missing… The python itself will be somewhere in town and there will be gentle mayhem as the keepers go through town trying to track it down. There’ll be Mambo Jambo, a Hull-based multi-instrumental duo who do music, poetry and rap. We’re also hoping also to have a musical loop-pedal workshop from Tom Adams, and Stephen Fisher – a creative technologist from the University of Lincoln – will be bringing an augmented reality experience where children can paint in mid-air. Much easier to clean up afterwards…

All will be within easy walking distance of each other, stretching out beyond the building itself. The day is not themed around anything – we just wanted to just have a day full of bizarre, brilliant, funny and magical things that people can discover. It’s just to create a different and unusual creative experience – some of which will be simply watching something happening, while others will be about having a go and getting involved. Hopefully that will mean reaching more people – including those who perhaps might not think to go to the Arts Centre – to surprise and delight them and maybe think differently about visiting Stamford Arts Centre in future!

Arts Around Town Family Day
Friday 22 February 11am-4pm
Stamford Arts Centre – and beyond!

Most activities are free, but pre-booking is essential for the sessions in association with Wildcats Theatre School.

For the latest details, visit: www.stamfordartscentre.com

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