This May 10th – 22nd, the Isles of Scilly will come alive like never before in a 13-day celebration of music, theatre, spoken word, visual arts and island life, including pop up events and intrigues to delight and inspire.
The Creative Scilly festival, organised by Islands’ Partnership’s Creative Islands team with support from Arts Council England, will feature an eclectic mix of events, workshops, courses, demonstrations, talks and performances in the most unique of island settings, welcoming a host of imaginative and artistic talent from artists and creatives on the islands themselves, and across the 28 miles of water in Cornwall and beyond.
Scilly is home to a thriving community of talented artists, creative writers and inventive artisans, and has inspired artists including Kurt Jackson, Luke Jerram, Gordon Young and Anthony Garratt, as well as writers such as the former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo and crime novelist, Kate Rhodes who have both set several of their books on the islands.
Indeed, Kate will be joining the festival to share her new work which is based on Scilly including the Hell Bay crime series whilst Luke and Gordon will also share details during the festival of their respective plans – for a proposed moon sculpture to mark the opening of the new Dark Skies Observatory on St. Martin’s and a public installation on St. Mary’s.
Further highlights of the 13-day festival include performances of charming music and the spoken word by the celebrated folk quartet The Story Republic, who will be popping up all over the islands (so keep an eye out); Stamp and Go, who will deliver a radio play telling the scandalous story of the Bishop and the Diva set on Rosevear when the Bishop Rock lighthouse was being built; and Ed Rowe, the Kernow King, who makes another welcome return to the islands he so loves for a stand-up comedy night, performances at the Five Islands Academy and a community reading of a new play script. Rogue Theatre will dish up a taste of their magical and hilarious performances; celebrated Cornwall based novelist and writer Wyl Menmuir leads a creative writing walk, and Harbottle and Jonas return to Scilly for a couple of folk concerts around the islands.
Creative Scilly will also see the launch of “Walking stories” – five new audio books which have been specially commissioned to be best enjoyed on each of the inhabited islands. Highlights include stories by local musician Piers Lewin set on his beloved St. Agnes and a Tresco set story by Sam Llewellyn.
Paint the Day returns this year as part of Creative Scilly – as budding artists young and old, local and visiting, amateur and professional, are challenged to capture a day on Tresco (on Saturday 11th May) with the resulting masterpieces all displayed and shared at the Tresco Island Gallery, and prizes awarded to the winning entries in a number of categories.
Throughout the festival, there will also be a range of arts and crafts workshops led by local and mainland artists, in particular from the Phoenix Craft Studios, a co-operative of six artists and craftspeople on St. Mary’s whose work beautifully bears witness to Scilly’s untamed wildlife and landscapes.
Other highlights include the chance to join artist Sue Lewington, well known for her published sketchbooks of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, on a sketching walk, the opportunity to learn to weave at a workshop on St. Agnes with Trish Peacock of Twisted Bobbins, a “magical fish” pottery workshop with Bryher’s Alex Bagnall, a “cowbell” workshop with St. Martin’s based silver jewellery maker, Fay Page, and an evening of music at the candlelit Old Town Church with talented local musicians Duo Prosperro.
In addition to the Creative Scilly Festival, Creative Islands is hosting a three-day symposium from 8th – 10th May in collaboration with Isles of Scilly library and the Isles of Scilly Museum. Kindly funded by Cultivator Cornwall and Plymouth University, the cultural symposium will see around 30 delegates from various island communities and arts organisations around the UK arrive on the Isles of Scilly for a series of lectures and seminars, as well as trips to the some of the other islands to visit studio workshops.
David Jackson, Executive Director for Visit Isles of Scilly, says: “We’re delighted that Creative Islands has put together such a fantastic programme for our first Creative Scilly festival and are extremely grateful for the support that Arts Council England and our local sponsors have afforded us. We are equally delighted to be hosting the cultural symposium as a fringe event, which not only provides an opportunity for us to showcase the wealth of creativity and artistic talent on the islands, but also to share learning and exchange ideas with peers and professional colleagues from further afield.
“May is a fantastic time to escape to Scilly, with longer, warmer days and colour flooding into the landscape and we look forward to welcoming visitors, old and new, so that they can soak up and celebrate with us the fantastic artistic and creative talent that fills our islands.”
The full programme is available to view at www.visitislesofscilly.com/creativescilly and tickets are on sale now.