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Science Festival

Preparations for The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2010 have got off to a flying start – with over 13,000 tickets sold after only a couple of weeks of public booking. With tickets selling out fast, here’s our guide to some of the most explosive, inspiring and entertaining events with tickets still available….

Guest Director Heston Blumenthal has been involved with the Festival since it began back in 2002. This year he returns in conversation with food scientist Harold McGee to reveal why his book was one of Heston’s great inspirations. This is a great opportunity to explore what it takes to achieve culinary alchemy.

As ever, the festival courts controversy as esteemed thinkers debate the big questions. Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies never shies away from innovative thinking, and joins the festival to ask Are we alone in the universe? Other burning issues to come under the microscope include the public perceptions of climate change with Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government John Beddington, the decadent use of drugs with David Nutt and science’s Bad Ideas with Robert Winston.

For a great night out, don’t miss The School For Gifted Children – an evening of glorious comedy and scientific stand-up, this year featuring Robin Ince, Ben Miller, Ray Tallis, Kate Lancaster and Steve Mould. This is the science they didn’t teach you at school – comedy genius!

The programme is bursting with scientific stars. Award winning writer Bill Bryson celebrates 350 years of the Royal Society; presenter Tony Robinson reveals the secrets of Blitz Street and Evan Davis explores the science of sleep.

LabOratory is an exciting new series of events which all bring biomedical science to life. The theme for this series is ‘performance under pressure’ and sees a simulated operating theatre in Imperial Gardens, a chance to try your hand at being a surgeon and a look at stress.

From big thinkers to budding young Einsteins – the programme has something for every age. The free hands on Discover Zone takes over the main hall for the whole festival and offers a dose of free interactive fun! Don’t miss the crazy antics of the Gastronuts Stefan Gates and Andrea Sella, or the secrets of the circus with James Soper. With more experiments, explosions and outright fun than ever before – the festival should delight curious young minds!

This is just a taste of the vast and varied festival programme. Pick up the full programme at the Town Hall, or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com/science – and dive in to five mind-expanding days of truly decadent delights.

Music Festival

From The Four Seasons to Oklahoma!

A treasure-trove of musical riches at Cheltenham Music Festival 2-17 July 2010

The HSBC Cheltenham Music Festival returns this summer with a treasure trove of musical delights. The sparkling programme includes celebrations of Schumann, classical musician with ‘a rock star attitude’ James Rhodes and a group of Tibetan monks.

‘Musically you’ll be spoilt for choice.’ Says Festival Director Meurig Bowen. ‘There aren’t many festivals around where you can hear top-rank classical musicians like Imogen Cooper, Steven Isserlis, Sarah Connolly and the Philharmonia alongside jazzers Jan Garbarek and Gwilym Simcock, prog-rock legend Robert Fripp, cabaret queens Fascinating Aida and some chanting Tibetan Monks.’ With so much to enjoy, here are just a few of the musical riches you can enjoy from 2-17 July.

The festival kicks-off in show-stopping style with a celebration of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Following the huge success of his Cheltenham and Proms performances in 2009, John Wilson returns with musicals diva Kim Criswell and the CBSO to perform hits from Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music.

Don’t miss a host of well loved classics which will be played throughout the festival by some of the finest international performers. Classical BRIT award-winner and exceptional young violinist Alina Ibragimova performs Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Each concerto will be accompanied by specially commissioned poems by former poet laureate Andrew Motion. For an evening of inspiring music and inspired poems – this concert will be hard to beat.

Cellist Steven Isserlis is a self-confessed ‘Schumanniac’, which makes him the perfect choice to Guest Direct a series of concerts to mark the bicentenary of the composer’s birth. Schumann inspired concerts include a mixture of the familiar and unusual, ranging from the Cello Concerto to some exotic songs and piano duets. Look out for fellow Schumanniac Simon Callow in an evening of word and music exploring Schumann’s relationships.

The festival comes to a not-to-be-missed climax with an evening of opera favourites courtesy of Alfie Boe and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Following critically acclaimed performances with the English and Welsh National Operas, Alfie Boe heads to Cheltenham to perform with the specially created Festival Chorus. This evening featuring Verdi, Bizet and Puccini promises the perfect way to end the festival in stunning style.

Spread over two weeks in venues throughout Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, the 2010 HSBC Cheltenham Music Festival promises sublime concerts, stunning locations and outstanding performers. Pick up a brochure at the Town Hall, or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com/music for the full inspirational line-up.