Think of Cumbria and what springs to mind? A rural retreat complete with hearty hikes and snug pubs? If these are the images scudding across your mind’s eye, you’d not be wrong. Yet there are more things to do in Cumbria than its outdoor image might suggest. Tourism actually began here back in the 1700s, when clergyman Thomas West published a Guide to the Lakes. It banished forever the idea that Cumbria was wild and inhospitable. It’s thanks to West that when we think of the Lake District, we think of a chocolate-box landscape. Yet the ideal of the ‘picturesque’ is both a blessing and a curse: good for tourism, yet occasionally overshadowing the contemporary art that is made, performed and shown here year-round.
Cumbria is full of artists, from those taking part in the C-Art fest to those exhibiting at Blackwell and Abbot Hall; for them, the landscape’s ability to turn in a moment from benign beauty to lowering skies continues to inspire. It is this that has piqued our interest – and will, we hope, keep yours.
A giant, fluorescent pink and orange striped inflatable, a shoal of Ice Age fish, and a VR encounter with the depths of the earth; six contemporary artists explore the less commonly-observed wonders of the Lake District.
Picnics, dancing, shenanigans, capers, discos, tomfoolery and great, classic, cult and horror films in extraordinary locations. This year’s selection of films includes Pulp Fiction, The Wicker Man and Boogie Nights.
Shortlisted for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, Rails is a play about loneliness, dreaming and trying to hope in a town that doesn’t seem to want you to.
Picnic Cinema provide film fans with the opportunity to see cult comedy Sightseers in its natural habitat.