What A Wonderful World Festival to return to Alnwick

An innovative festival celebrating the world we inhabit is returning to Alnwick for a second year with the promise of even more thought-provoking music, dance, debate, film and culinary delights.
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The What A Wonderful World (WaWW) Festival debuted proper in 2022 when leading entertainers and climate experts converged on Alnwick Playhouse and Alnwick Garden to put a creative spin on securing a sustainable future.

And this year organisers have built on the success of last year’s festival after assembling a star-studded cast of global performers, artists, panellists and thought leaders who share a passion for saving our planet.

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Leading the way is seven-time BBC Radio Two Folk Awards winner Karine Polwart. The Scottish songwriter, composer, theatre-maker and author is renowned for her commitment to climate awareness.

Musician Karine Polwart.Musician Karine Polwart.
Musician Karine Polwart.

Following the soaraway success of her song Enough Is Enough, penned to coincide with COP 26, Polwart and fellow Scot Dave Milligan will present the awe-inspiring Songs Of Tree And River, Stone And Sea at Alnwick Playhouse on June 30.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate the amazing world we live on and to learn how each and every one of us can do our bit to safeguard this planet,” said WaWW’s co-director Liz Anderson. “It’s our only possible living space and a place we need to protect.

“Karine’s inspiring and challenging songs are a profound reaction to the pressures that we are putting our life support systems under. She’s a fantastic addition to what is another wide and varied line up for our second festival.”

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Watershed — Journey of a River and Journey of an Activist will explore the challenging journeys ahead if we are to establish a sustainable future. Taking place on July 1, the two- part performance focuses the ideas, energy and enthusiasm of young, local performers as they make sense of a planet damaged by previous generations.

Alistair Anderson, co-director.Alistair Anderson, co-director.
Alistair Anderson, co-director.

Another highlight follows hot on the heels, as Imagining The Future takes over the Bill Hugonin Auditorium on the evening of July 1.

Damian Cruden (CEO and Artistic Director, Alnwick Playhouse) will be joined by Paul Brannen (Visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University), Chi Onwurah MP (Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Digital), Aidan Harrison (retired local farmer) and student activist Tamara Ullyart for a debate and Q&A session.

After the interval Tim Dalling lightens the mood with songs to put smile on your face but make you think.

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“We have brought together a diverse range of speakers bringing their unique perspectives on the future of our planet,” said WaWW’s co-director Alistair Anderson. “This will be a fantastic opportunity for an informed debate at a time when key voices need to be heard if we’re going to safeguard our planet.”

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a raft of arts-based activities.

The Loving Earth Exhibition, originally curated by the Quaker Arts Network, shines a light on global treasures threatened by environmental breakdown. Beautiful 30x30 textile panels illustrate some of the beloved places, people and wildlife at risk as a result of the climate crisis: 100 of the panels will be on display at the Alnwick Playhouse Gallery.

“There’s an opportunity to celebrate everything that’s so precious about the world we live in through the arts, science and creativity,” added Liz.

For more information visit www.whataww.org

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