Shrewsbury is gearing up to celebrate the life and works of its most famous son Charles Darwin over eight days in February.
The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival will once again focus on all things Darwin-related at venues across the town and online with organisers delighted to return to attended events in 2022 after having to stage last year’s festival virtually due to Covid.
There will be a range of events for people to enjoy around the great man’s birthday, starting on February 6 with a Shrewsbury School Musicians Showcase hosted at St Alkmund’s Church and finishing with the Darwin Memorial Lecture at Theatre Severn given by Professor Robin Dunbar on February 13.
It’s a thought-provoking programme offering something to suit people of all ages and will cover a variety of inspiring and fascinating subjects in tribute to Darwin who was born on February 12, 1809.
Emma Molyneux, of Shrewsbury BID which is coordinating the festival, said: “The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival has established itself as one of the major events in Shrewsbury each year and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the town to learn more about Darwin - and a host of other things - during the festival.
“The programme is now available and provides a great opportunity for people to plan their festival itinerary well in advance.
“There is a good mixture of events being held across Shrewsbury and others being held online, providing the opportunity for visitors to see everything they want to and not to miss out on anything.”
Stuart Cowper, Head of Partnership and Community Engagement at Shrewsbury School added: “We are delighted once again to be involved in the DarwIN Festival. We have worked with The Marches Academy Trust and English Heritage to provide recorded talks and resources about various aspects of Darwin's life from when he grew up in the town to later in his life - these will be made available to schools and will undoubtedly be of wider general interest.
“We are also providing a musical accompaniment to the event, visits to the Darwin treasures in our library here on the school site, and we have also helped put together the accompanying lecture programme - as ever it will show the brilliance of Darwin's thinking and its relevance to us all today.”
The programme will be a blend of in-person and online events, including Professor Chris Thomas of the University of Birmingham delivering an online talk on evolution and the spread of antimicrobial resistance genes – looking at how Darwin’s principles of evolution are still affecting our daily lives.
Another online presentation will explore Shropshire Women of Art and Science, asking: What if Darwin had been born a woman? It looks at the pioneering and inspirational works of Catherine Plymley and Sarah Price - explorers of the natural world who left a substantial legacy.
On February 8, Shrewsbury Library hosts Darwin’s Life, with Nigel Hinton, looking at the life and times of Darwin; Darwin Storytime, a session at Shrewsbury Library, takes place the following day (February 9) and features stories about Darwin, scientists and tortoises; and on the same day there will be a guided visit to see Shrewsbury School’s Darwin Collection of letters, books and publications.
Bear Steps Hall is the location on February 10 for Darwin and HMS Beagle: An Adventure of a lifetime; Darwin’s Birthday toast takes place at The Bellstone two days later - the same day as Charles Darwin’s Birthday Party, a festive tea party at Mount House, the home where Darwin was born and grew up.
February 12 also sees an online presentation of Felis to Felix: The Genetics of Domestic Cats, while The Hive will be hosting Darwin’s Bees Pottery Workshop and the opportunity for people to engineer their very own honeycomb tile.
Then, the following day, there will be a Guided Tour of Darwin’s Childhood Garden.
For a full list of events during the festival, visit https://darwin.originalshrewsbury.co.uk/
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