Big Ideas by the Sea: New Scarborough cultural festival kicks off with musical premiere

A new cultural festival that aims to become the leading environmental and creative festival in the North of England starts this week.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 1:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 1:10 pm
Kane Cunningham, left, John Oxley and Nick Taylor launch Big Ideas by the Sea.
Kane Cunningham, left, John Oxley and Nick Taylor launch Big Ideas by the Sea.

Big Ideas by the Sea will bring to Scarborough some of the best speakers from across the UK to talk about the big issues related to the environment, climate change, history, the landscape, theatre, artificial intelligence and business.

Organiser Kane Cunningham said: “We want to connect to people, to explore the idea of the sea as being a passage of ideas globally, a conduit for the exchange of culture, ideas, food, books, language, politics, beliefs and trade. An entry point and exit point for people leaving and arriving from all over the world.”

Co-organiser John Oxley said: “We are also planning a community archaeological dig in the Old Town of Scarborough. Our intention is to open 20 small trenches and to look for artefacts and objects which tell us more about the history of Scarborough.

Composer John Pattison, and one of the Wilfred Owen windows.

“This ‘Time-Team’ style dig over the weekend of the 23rd July will take the festival to communities that would not normally take part in such an event. And of course, we have Professor Carenza Lewis of the Time Team taking part in the festival!”

The festival, which has its launch event tomorrow night, has attracted some top speakers and musicians, including mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE; Prof Joann Fletcher; Anj Handa, founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers; Eliza and Martin Carthy; photographer Joe Cornish; TV presenter Paul Rose; and a filmed interview with Sir Alan Ayckbourn.

Friday's (July 16) launch, at the railway station Old Parcels Office, is followed by the world premiere of The Northstar Bells, a suite of original music composed by John Pattison and inspired by the fascinating collection of ships’ bells that have been recovered over the years by Scarborough Sub Aqua Club (SSAC).

It is dedicated to the ongoing underwater explorations of the SSAC and in particular to the memory of wreck hunter, filmmaker and conservationist Andy Jackson, a founding member of the Northstar RIB crew.

The festival, at various locations including the Grand Hotel, starts Friday July 16 and ends on July 24.

Details and tickets can be found on the Big Ideas by the Sea website. The festival is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All and Yorkshire Coast BID.

TransPennine Express has donated £10,000 to the festival, half of it towards the installation of new Wilfred Owen windows.

The artwork that honours the famed First World War poet is situated at the front of the station and towards the end of the platform. The windows feature text and illustrations from five of Owen’s poems; Owen was stationed in Scarborough for part of the war.

A series of six podcasts has been created to accompany the window art installation and will be available for listeners on the festival website.