‘Being Human’: bringing Nottingham heroes and villains to life

Famous characters and key moments from the rich history of Nottinghamshire will be brought back to life in a new public festival which starts on Saturday 15 November.

The nine-day ‘Being Human’ Festival is a series of varied and colourful events organised by the University as part of a national celebration of the arts and humanities.

Experts on outlaws, machine breakers and Luddites, and our rebel writers DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe, will be giving an extensive programme of walks and talks, exhibitions and plays focusing on the topics of ‘subversion and rebellion’ in the history of the city of Nottingham. The events will showcase the city and county’s place in the world and how its cultural impact has sent ripples across the globe.

Dean of the University’s Faculty of Arts, Professor Stephen Mumford said: “This Festival is a terrific contribution to Nottingham’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature as it celebrates our literary heritage within the region’s tradition of rebellion. From medieval storytelling of Robin Hood to the works of Lawrence and Sillitoe, the programme offers an insight into our city’s capacity as a creative centre.”

From Saturday 15 November, an extensive calendar of free and ticketed public events is on offer including a light show depicting the burning of Nottingham Castle, a play about the Luddite revolution set in the very court room where the Luddites were tried and the UK’s first ever live 24 hour Twitter presentation of Alan Sillitoe’s film script for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Members of the public can join in by tweeting interactively with the characters of the famous book and film in this unique event called Being Arthur.

The Being Human Festival also includes a guided walk retracing the 1831 Reform Riots in Nottingham, DH Lawrence tours in Eastwood and a panel talk with academic experts and creative writers on the traditions of the outlaw and storytelling looking at the case of Robin Hood.

Dr Christina Lee from the School of English said: “Robin Hood, although fictional, is arguably one of the most famous characters associated with Nottingham. The idea of standing up to authority and protecting those that are weaker is timeless and the popularity of the most famous of outlaws remains undiminished.”

Director of the University’s Centre for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Pat Thomson said: “We think the Being Human Festival will appeal to anyone who is proud to live in Nottinghamshire and curious about the colourful history of the famous characters and historical events that have been born here. We are delighted to have this chance to bring our research in the arts and humanities to life in this unique way. The events we’ve organised explore the mythical and real characters and moments in history which many people have heard of but don’t necessarily know much about, in their own home city and county.”

The Festival concludes with the screening of We Are Many at Broadway Cinema in Nottingham — when film-maker Amir Amirani will give a talk about his documentary about the anti-Iraq war demonstrations of 2003.

Calendar of events

Click here for a full list of events

More information

Full details on the Festival, including how to sign up for ticketed events are available on the Being Human website.

The Festival in Nottinghamshire, ‘Heroes and Villains: Subversion and Rebellion in Nottinghamshire’ is part of ‘Being Human’, the UK’s first national festival of the humanities, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

The University of Nottingham would like to thank its local partners, Broadway Nottingham, Theatre Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Nottingham Contemporary, D.H. Lawrence Heritage, eXcaVate community theatre and events, People’s Histreh and thinkamigo DIGITAL.

Follow on Twitter @BeingHumanFest

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