Corby launch for Northamptonshire: Britain's Best Surprise aims to boost visitor numbers

People will be able to access an online one-stop what's on that will champion art and culture across the county

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 9:45 am

A year-long celebration of the county’s arts and culture has been launched at the first event in the county's 'what's on' calendar.

The Museum of the Moon, currently showing at the Core theatre in Corby, kick-started Northamptonshire: Britain's Best Surprise's 2020 Year of Arts & Culture programme.

Supported by more than 50 local partners, they aim to reach two million people from Northamptonshire, neighbouring counties and beyond.

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Helen Willmott, director of Made in Corby and James Miller, chairman of Northamptonshire: Britain's Best Surprise

James Miller, chairman of Northamptonshire Britain's Best Surprise and a Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, said: "We are turning the spotlight on all the arts and culture happening in the county.

"We did some digging and discovered that there was so much going on in the county but surprising how the events didn't link up.

"It's important because cultural activity is healthy for the county. Firstly, offering things to do and places to visit and, secondly, if you are one of these groups that has had funding cuts, it helps them to know that they are not alone."

The 2020 Year of Arts & Culture builds on the success of previous campaigns covering historic houses, churches and food and drink offer.

Northampton Carnival

Led by the Lord Lieutenant David Laing and his deputies, the group is championing a programme of performances, festivals, art and events to 'enrich' lives and help attract new audiences and visitors to the county.

The campaign started with a formal launch on February 4 at The Core in Corby, with the unveiling of the iconic Museum of The Moon light installation as part of this year’s Grow Festival.

Jo Gordon, CEO, Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust and Britain’s Best Surprise board member said: “This year we will celebrate the brilliant artistic and cultural experiences taking place across Northamptonshire, and aim to reach more than two million people with an exciting programme of events.

“Keeping culture at the heart of all the current regeneration initiatives in the county, there is no better time to be throwing a spotlight on all that Northamptonshire has to offer, showcasing the activities of local artists, amateur theatre groups, museums, galleries, festivals and theatres.”

On stage

Northamptonshire already attracts more than 20 million visitors and £1 billion tourism spend each year.

Helen Wilmott, Made in Corby programme director, added: "We're really excited to be launching the 2020 Arts & Culture initiative at Grow Festival and welcoming people to Corby to enjoy some spectacular art.

“This year’s highlights include a magical music and light parade with the Spark! Drummers, a spectacular aerial dance finale from Heliosphere and walkabout acts, multi-sensory experiences and enchanting performances sprinkled all around the town centre."

Regular cultural activity by a variety of organisations, venues and artists will take place throughout the year, but the 2020 Arts & Culture campaign will particularly throw the spotlight on the involving galleries, museums, artists, festivals and carnivals

The spotlight will be shone on Northamptonshire's arts and culture

· Northampton Museum & Art Gallery opening

· Connections Youth Festival at Royal & Derngate February (28-29)

· British Art Portfolio Northamptonshire Exhibition at Deene Park, near Corby (March 20-22)

· In Steps of Sundew, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art at Fineshade Wood, Deene Park and Rockingham Castle (April-October)

· NN Contemporary Arts Relocation, new site opening in May

· Northampton Film Festival (May13-20)

Helen Willmott, director of Made in Corby and James Miller, chairman of Northamptonshire: Britain's Best Surprise with the new logo for the campaign

· Elderflower Fields Creative Festival for Families at Stanford Hall (May 29-31)

· University of Northampton Final Degree Shows at Waterside (June 6-12 )

· Northampton Carnival (June 13)

· Northampton Music Festival (June 21)

· Oundle International Festival (July 9-18)

· Warts & All Theatre Young Artists Festival in Wellingborough (July 17-19)

· Shambala at a ‘secret Northamptonshire location’ (Aug 27-30)

· Greenbelt at Boughton House (August 28-31)

· Tribe of Doris at Stanford Hall (August 5-9)

· The Long Road at Stanford Hall (September 11-13)

· Nene Valley Festival (September 12-20 )

· South Northants Arts Trail (October 3-11)

· NMPAT Youth in Concert at Royal & Derngate (November 15)

Mr Miller has been working with Deputy Lieutenants for Northamptonshire, Charles (Earl) Spencer, James Lowther and Oliver Wicksteed to promote arts and culture in the county.

He added: "It's important to have a legacy. Next year it will be handed over to the people to add their cultural events on the calendar - 'It will be up to you'."