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Close Encounters At The Royal Albert Hall

Close Encounters at the Royal Albert Hall

Preview by Jack Foley

THE Royal Albert Hall in London will be mission control for all things outer space and extra terrestrial when it presents a week-long, highly innovative festival called Close Encounters in October (2010).

The event promises to combine arts, science, fun and education.

Visitors of all ages will discover a whole new world when they enter the prestigious venue’s ‘Mother Ship’ for a multi-sensory intergalactic experience from October 25 – 31.

Close Encounters forms part of the Royal Albert Hall’s strategy to open its doors to a broad range of audiences.

Featuring a series of artistic events both titled and themed around space, astrobiology, extra terrestrial activity, alien forms, and communication in the solar system, there will be something for everyone throughout this alien, action- packed week, with many of the activities FREE of charge.

The question, ‘is there life out there?’, continues to intrigue and excite generation after generation and so too will Close Encounters.

The Royal Albert Hall’s prestigious Elgar Room will be a hub of activity as it hosts the Craters, Collisions and Catastrophes show in partnership with the Royal Observatory as well as a talk from Dr. Lewis Dartnell on Astrobiology – the hunt for alien life.

There will also be screenings in the Elgar Room of retro films including E.T., where children can dress up as little aliens, Close Encounters and late night showings of Alien and Barbarella for the alien elders- who can dress up if they wish!

Interactive highlights during the week include the Mountains on the Moon workshop, the Make a crater activity and the Down2Earth crater simulator – all fun-filled and packed with facts, aimed at 9-14 year olds.

Kids and adults alike can head deep down into the main Hall and climb into huge, specially erected Planetariums (to hold up to 30 individuals) to further engage and explore!

Two popular Hall series will also be included to coincide with the festival.

As part of the Hall’s reflect series, The Royal Observatory Greenwich and Armagh Observatory will present a free photographic exhibition entitled From Earth to Universe where visitors will be treated to stunning images of the solar system and planets.

Also, as part of the ignite brand, music lovers of all ages will be treated to free space themed concerts in both the Café Consort and Elgar Room, the later featuring the Hall’s very own Albert’s Band.

Inside the venue, there is plenty to see, hear, touch and feel but visitors will also be encouraged to explore the outdoors for signs of alien invasions.

For the duration of the festival, a crashed space ship installation, designed by students from the Royal College of Art will be visible on the South Steps, but the whereabouts of the life force it contained will be unknown and visitors will need to explore further….

Lucy Noble, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We are thrilled to be presenting Close Encounters here at the Royal Albert Hall, which is something very different for us – a week long festival of artistic events through a variety of creative media based around the theme of extra terrestrial activity and communication in the solar system.

“We are looking to broaden people’s perceptions of the Royal Albert Hall, engage with new and young audiences and work with new and innovative partners and I believe that this will be a unique event for Londoners of all ages to be involved in.”

Timetable of Activity:

Mon 25/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
12 noon – Family Ignite (Elgar Room)
2pm – Family Tours – £5 Adults/Children FREE
3pm – Family Ignite (Elgar Room)
4pm – Family Tours – £5 Adults/ Children FREE

Tues 26/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
10am – Mountains on the Moon workshop (9-14yrs)
Noon – Make a Crater Activity and Down2Earth cater simulator (9-14yrs)
2pm – Royal Observatory Show – Craters, Collisions and Catastrophes (Elgar Room) – £8 Adults / £6 Children

Weds 27/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
All Day – Family Tours- £5 Adults/ Children FREE (on the hour and half hour between 10.30am-4pm)
9am – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
10am – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
11am – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
Noon – Planetariums- £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
1.30pm – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
2.30pm – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults / £5 Children

Thurs 28/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
10am – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children – this aren’t confirmed yet for the 2nd day
11am – Planetariums -£6.50 Adults/£5 Children
Noon – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
1pm – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
2pm – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
3pm – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children
4pm – Planetariums – £6.50 Adults/£5 Children

Fri 29/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
11am – E.T. screening with kids in alien fancy dress (Elgar Room) – £10
2pm – E.T. screening with kids in alien fancy dress (Elgar Room) – £10
10pm – Alien screening (Elgar Room) – £14 (ticket price includes an Asahi beer)

Sat 30/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
1pm – Close Encounters screening (Elgar Room) – £14 (ticket price includes an Asahi beer)
10pm – Barbarella screening (Elgar Room) – £14 (ticket price includes an Asahi beer)

Sun 31/10
All Day – Art installation Exhibit
2pm – Lewis Dartnell Talk (Elgar Room) – £10 (ticket price includes a glass of wine)

Tickets are on sale now from or via the box office on 020 7589 8212.