The game is on as Cheltenham Science Festival returns at full scale for its 20th birthday with free events, variety shows, spectacular street theatre and interactive fun, including a brand-new drop-in zone for 2022 – The Arcade.

Designed to be an inclusive space, with retro arcade games and pinball machines, The Arcade will be a noisy, playful, colourful area where kids, teens and adults can try their hands at a series of creative and cryptic challenges.

Tik Tok sensation Evie Meg appears in one of over 20 free events happening on the Apollo stage during the six-day Festival. She meets Guest Curator Daze Agahji to talk about living with Tourettes and the misconceptions around it. There’s also poetry, quizzes, comedy, drawing with data and the chance to learn about the world’s most misunderstood body part with the Vagina Museum’s Bajingo Bingo. Read on below for a full round up of the spectacular itinerary.

People enjoying the Cheltenham science festival

Friday night adult-only sessions

On Friday night, leave the kids behind for adults-only sessions in the Discover Zone, finding out about the ground-breaking technology transforming our planet, inventing in the MakerShack, or making, breaking and creating in The Arcade. Free events in Apollo kick off with FameLab: A Celebration with the UK’s top science communicators. Friday Night Apollo variety show sees poet-in-residence Polly Denny join AI Curator AIDA for a unique collaboration, a science-themed musical from Geologise Theatre and mathematical musician Kyle Evans, while puzzle-mad mathematicians Katie Steckles and Ben Sparks pose some late-night brain-teasers to tickle the grey cells. And in the Helix Theatre, the University of Salford presents GameLab, an evening of experimental gaming, virtual reality, e-sports, immersive science and retro game consoles.

Family events over the weekend 

In association with Cheltenham BID, for one day only (Saturday 11 June at 11.30 am and 2 pm) the spectacular CastAway presented by Highly Sprung Theatre takes over Cheltenham High Street for a gravity-defying performance exploring the impact of today’s throwaway society on our waterways. 

From fun demonstrations to explosive experiments, families can enjoy free sessions in Apollo including an unexpected deep-sea adventure packed full of jokes and drawing with BLOBFISH! author Olaf Falalfel, and a hands-on, machine-building workshop with science teacher, author and Family Guest Curator, Alom Shaha. Autism advocate and award-winning author Camilla Pang shares the science of growing up in Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You, plus there’s Fantastic Forensics, The Juggling of Science and more. 

VOICEBOX offers a series of free digital events on Instagram and TikTok covering today’s hottest topics, from neurodiversity and video game design to body image and sustainable fashion.

The drop-in zones offer dozens more free activities on site. In addition to the Discover Zone, The Arcade and the MakerShack, the GE Pavilion has hands-on engineering activities, the Hartpury Science Hub explores the science of sport, exercise and agriculture, and The Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives offer tree-mendous fun and there’s a free Science Trail in Imperial Gardens.

The Festival’s Head of Programming Marieke Navin said: “We're thrilled to be bringing the community together again for our first full-scale Science Festival in two years, with so many free events and activities taking place in and around Imperial Gardens. From family-friendly events in the Apollo to late-night fun in our brand-new interactive zone, The Arcade, we look forward to sparking the curiosity of Festival-goers as we celebrate our 20th birthday.”

View the full free programme for Cheltenham Science Festival 2022 at http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science/whats-on

Tickets for Cheltenham Festivals are now on sale at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science


For all of the best festivals and events happening in and around Cheltenham this summer check out our helful guide: Summer in Cheltenham 2022.

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