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Earth exhibit brings whole new world to Rochdale

14 October 2021

Silhouette of man and child in front of the earth. More details have been revealed about some of the events and performances set to accompany ‘Gaia’ - the stunning replica of planet Earth during its stay in Rochdale this November and December 2021.

UK artist Luke Jerram’s internationally renowned ‘Gaia’ installation will see the huge work of art depicting the Earth exhibited at Number One Riverside in the town centre from Saturday, 20 November 2021 until Christmas Eve. It will be open to the public 7 days a week, 9am–5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9am–6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am–5pm on Saturdays and 1pm–5pm on Sundays.

Measuring 7 metres in diameter and created from detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, it will provide the opportunity to see the planet on a huge scale, floating in 3 dimensions. A surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning Composer Dan Jones will be played alongside the sculpture.

As well as seeing the spectacular ‘Gaia’, there’s a host of special events themed around looking after our environment and its precious resources.

Stefan Gates.

During 'Gaia's' 5 week residency, television presenter and Gastronaut Stefan Gates will perform his 'Extreme Science' show – promising an unforgettable, explosive edible adventure exploring the bizarre science behind our food. Expect vortex cannons, explosions, glowing drinks, edible chemical reactions, colour-changing cocktails and loads of audience interaction in an hilarious and thoroughly educational show. Stefan is renowned for his world-class science and food shows.

Renowned for his exciting live shows that are lots of fun for children and adults, Stefan has presented over 20 television series including the acclaimed CBBC series Incredible Edibles and Gastronuts.

Expect live crickets, marshmallows, purple bug blood food, explosions, huge catapults, spectacular demonstrations and some very cool video footage from his BBC documentary. Renowned for his exciting live shows that are lots of fun for children and adults, Stefan has presented over 20 television series including the acclaimed CBBC series Incredible Edibles and Gastronuts.

Woman on stage performing.

Rochdale’s M6 Theatre Company will tour local secondary schools as well as stage a public performance of ‘The Storm,’ at Number One Riverside, their powerful live theatre production that creatively confronts the climate emergency. 

Skylight Circus will be staging their new production ‘Mammoth’, combining acrobatics, music and stunning lighting effects to tell a thought provoking story about the big environmental issues including extinction and protection of our natural environment.

‘Exciting line-up’

There will also be a spectacular production called Global Circus performed beneath Gaia by Skylight Circus Arts. Animated with specially commissioned music, it will be performed live by a local group of asylum seekers and refugees. 

You’ll even be able to relax and look up to the sky, with a yoga session with a difference – underneath Gaia. It will be accompanied by a visual arts session with Cartwheel Arts and a chance to capture your own visual interpretation of Gaia. 

As well as these family friendly events, lots more activities will be delivered in the borough’s schools during Gaia’s stay in Rochdale, including a photography competition based around capturing close ups of the natural environment, and a climate change summit for secondary pupils aimed at stimulating debate on environmental sustainability. Primary school children are being invited to take part in science experiments in front of Gaia relating to the earth in space, forces or looking after the environment.

silhouette of man with arms out in front of the earth.

Rochdale Music Service will use Gaia to spark creativity in music, delivering performing arts sessions in local schools whilst raising awareness of environmental concerns.

Local nursery and primary school children will be visiting Gaia and be shown how to be an astronaut, see how the earth looks from the moon and learn about gravity, the first lunar landing and travelling to the moon. They’ll even be awarded an astronaut passport for completing their training.

Visual art sessions are being planned with young people from the LGBTQ+ community, leading to a finale exhibition at Gaia.

The exhibition and these supporting events are being staged in partnership with Rochdale Borough Council and Your Trust (formerly Link4Life), supported financially by the Garfield Weston Foundation. 

Councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and co-operation at Rochdale Borough Council said: 

"Gaia is uniquely inspiring, and just seeing it up close in Number One Riverside is going to be amazing. But we also have this exciting line-up of other things to see and do whilst it’s with us. The programme of activities that will run during Gaia’s stay in Rochdale around the themes of sustainability, lifecycles and looking after the environment, is something we can all relate to. It will be an opportunity to give visitors a new perspective of our place on the planet and for children and their families, a lot of fun too.”

Darren Grice, deputy chief executive of Your Trust added: 

“We’re delighted to be supporting Gaia in Rochdale. Just like Dippy, we hope Gaia will spark the imagination of those who visit and help inspire us all to think about the changes we can make to protect our precious planet.” 

Dates, times and booking details, if applicable, will be announced later in October 2021. 

The name ‘Gaia’ comes from Greek mythology, meaning the personification of the Earth.

Gaia is created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. With supporting partners Culture Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral.