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STRONGWOMEN SCIENCE - Circus Skills & Discoveries - a new circus-science show for children and families!

10am ~ 8th & 9th May ~ Event now over

As well as the main film (button above) you can watch three short films showing you how to have fun with science, and each film is accompanied by a fun-sheet you can download to help you.

1. Using engineering to make stuff ~ FILM ~ FUNSHEET

2. Balancing Tips and Tricks ~ FILM ~ FUNSHEET

3. Custard Juggling ~ FILM ~ FUNSHEET


How can you balance a chair on your chin? Can you juggle water?

How do circus performers eat fire? 
When science meets circus, anything is possible!
StrongWomen Science is a new circus science show starring two women scientists turned circus performers. 
Aoife is an engineer and Maria an environmental scientist. Together, they will reveal the amazing science behind their astounding tricks.  
StrongWomen Science promotes enquiry, inventiveness, teamwork, accessibility, and fun in science, making it open to everyone!


StrongWomen Science is a Circus250 Production.

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'Brilliant - juggling liquids for crying out loud! 'Jaw-dropping, informative and fun. Loved every minute!’
'If ever there were role models I would like my own daughter to have – the two StrongWomen would be them.'
‘Fantastic stuff! STEM to write home about!’

TISHANI DOSHI – with poems that span time and continents.  


From flightless birds and witches to black holes and white actresses, here is a collection of poetry that bestows power on the powerless and deploys beauty to heal trauma. It includes poems fed by rage, such as I Found a Village and in it Were All Our Missing Women, and others with playful spikiness, such as Why the Brazilian Butt Lift Won’t Save Us. 
Forward Prize and Eric Gregory Award winner, Tishani Doshi is a Welsh-Gujarati poet, novelist, dancer, and author of six books of poetry and fiction. Her latest collection of poems is A God at the Door.

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Photograph: Carlo Pizzati


Most events are FREE to view at the advertised times!
But the Festival needs your help, to survive this year and return next.
Suggested minimum donation: £5 per event. Thank you!

SALLY BAYLEY – with a story of Shakespeare and a

family’s missing men.


How can a child find answers to troubles it cannot name? How can characters in Literature ‘help us re-imagine and redeem the challenging people we encounter in our own lives’?
Set against a backdrop of English history, No Boys Play Here roams through Shakespeare’s plays in search of answers to today’s continuing social divides: between the king in his castle and the man on the streets. It illustrates both the tumbledown trajectory of poverty and the vital need for imagination to restore spirit and character in the world.
Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Oxford and the author of The Private Life of the Diary and Girl With Dove, Sally Bayley put herself into care when she was fourteen and was the first person from her county’s care system to study at university.

Sally Bayley credit Alice Sholto-Douglas
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Photograph: Alice Sholto-Douglas

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FESTIVAL WRITING WORKSHOP – with Victoria Gosling.

2-4pm ~ Event now over


Writing well is both a tricky and a solitary business. That is why it’s good to connect with other writers and address questions like these.  
How can we create a great story? How can we produce work that we like and others want to read?
Together, we will be looking at the building blocks of storytelling - from initiating incidents, to the hero’s journey, to the journey’s end.  
The workshop will include analysis of texts that demonstrate the techniques in question; writing exercises; group work; and a list of useful resources.  
Participants will leave with new skills, inspiration, and the confidence to move on with their own chosen writing project. The workshop is suitable for experienced writers and for those who are just starting out. All are welcome! 
Editor, writer, and founder of The Reader Berlin, a platform offering creative writing workshops and literary events, Victoria Gosling was born in Wroughton near Swindon and lives in Berlin. Her debut novel Before the Ruins is published in May.

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PADDY FITZPATRICK & LEE SIMPSON – on life and learning, on the inside of boxing.


What do you think boxing is all about? Stand offs, show offs, and bloody noses or stability, sanctuary, and a sense of peace? 
Here are two people with a wealth of direct experience in the world of boxing and learning with answers that surprise, inform, and transform.
Paddy Fitzpatrick, a former professional boxer, is a coach who has worked with some of the best fighters in the modern era. He has been in the corner for world-title fights at Wembley Stadium, learnt his trade in Los Angeles, but practices it and has come good in Swindon. He is now setting up a community interest group in town and intends to create a school, with boxing at its heart, for the education of young people who find mainstream methods a struggle. He is the author of Hats, Handwraps, and Headaches written in collaboration with Lee Simpson, who is a Director of Learning in State Education and has written articles on Pugilistic Pedagogy, which explores how teachers can improve their classroom practice by observing boxing coaches. 

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JOHN GIMLETTE – on fantastical landscapes, beguiling creatures, and isolated tribes.


What is the world’s fourth largest island? Where in the world is there no evidence of any human life until as recent as 10,000 years ago? Where in the world have you not been?
Author of six books and brilliant award-winning travel writer, who has travelled through almost 100 countries, John Gimlette has been to every corner of Madagascar, and his latest book, The Gardens of Mars – Madagascar, an island story, tells us exactly what he found: sorcerers, gem prospectors, militiamen, rioters, the descendents of seventeenth-century pirates and lots lots more! 

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RICHARD DURRANT – in concert, with Sumer Is Icumen In.


One of the leading guitarists of his generation, a remarkable composer and concert guitarist, who has played at the Royal Albert Hall, the ukulele at Buckingham Palace, live performances on Radio 3 and 6 Music, in a cathedral on Orkney, by trees in Sherwood Forest, and by rivers in the heart of South America, Richard Durrant now returns to Swindon. 
Well, almost. This time, Richard revisits with a live streamed concert, with a strong ecological focus, to celebrate the lengthening of spring and summer days. He will play classical and acoustic solos interspersed with tales of land and sea. 
The concert will come live from Richard’s studio in Sussex. It is presented in close online collaboration with two other organisations – Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham and Sopwick Hall in Lincolnshire - who join the Swindon Festival of Literature to celebrate a reawakening in times of Covid and summer coming in! 

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