Review: X Trillion documentary at Alnwick Playhouse

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The gripping documentary film X Trillion came to Alnwick Playhouse, one of 12 locations on its UK cinema tour.

Afterwards, a Q&A with director Eleanor Church was hosted by Alistair Anderson, co-director of Alnwick’s forthcoming What a Wonderful World Festival.

The very human story told how the 2018 eXXpedition crew of 14 women - artists, economists, scientists, designers, engineers and just two experienced yachtswomen - set out to explore the North Pacific gyre, an area 1,000 miles from land.

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Known for the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, a collection of marine trash three times the size of France, this part of the ocean is relatively unexplored but holds vital information that could shape the future fight against plastic pollution.

Participants in the documentary X Trillion.Participants in the documentary X Trillion.
Participants in the documentary X Trillion.

Despite the shocking and depressing discovery that even the remotest part of the ocean is a “dense soup of tiny plastic pieces”, with an estimated half a million pieces of microplastics per square kilometre, the film offers a life-affirming story of adventure, discovery, science and solidarity.

Hearing from Church after the film was a privilege, and the audience wanted to discuss the practicalities of filming and sailing (one youngster asking, “were you sacred?”) and the impact that the mission has had politically and scientifically.

Church told us that she sought to capture the realities of data collection - from shark watches, storms and seasickness - whilst giving a positive message of how we can move forward.

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The film was emotive and eye-opening in equal measure, a must-watch for anyone who wishes to be more informed about our impact on the marine world.

For more thought-provoking cultural experiences, visit the WAWW Festival this June, details at

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