Piers Bizony’s Yuri events choice

As a space writer and science historian, I’ve always tried to blur the boundaries between technology and culture. Most people (and most funding bodies, too) think of rockets as belonging firmly in the ‘science’ box. It’s really good to hear that the London Science Museum will be marking the 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight with some events next year. I adore that place – always have. But I’m even more pleased to see that the UK’s most prestigious cultural institution, the Royal Shakespeare Company, is presenting a show about the rocket engineer responsible for Gagarin’s triumph.

Rona Munro’s play Little Eagles runs from 16 April – 7 May 2011 at the Hampstead Theatre, London. It tells the story of Sergei Korolev, unsung ‘Chief Designer’ of the early Soviet space programme. We, too, were interested in bring facets of his story to a wider public (and especially to young people) in our graphic story, Yuri’s Day. So it’s wonderful to see that we were not alone in our fascination for the behind-the-scenes story of Gagarin, Korolev and the strange missiles that both defined them, and were defined by them.

Check out  https://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/little-eagles/

We’ll keep you posted on other Gagarin and Korolev-related events in the lead-up to the 50th Anniversary of that first human flight to orbit. Our graphic version of key events, Yuri’s Day, gives a vivid flavour of the extraordinary atmosphere at the dawn of the Space Age – but there is room for so much more by way of theatre, film, music and – yes – party, party, parties! Keep an eye out on the web for Yuri’s Night. Every April 12 there’s a worldwide party to celebrate this most famous of space explorers. This coming year, 2011, will be the biggest bash of them all.

Space and rockets are not just science for geeks. They are deeply, fabulously – and sometimes dangerously – human. And that’s why we love space flight, and wanted to do our bit to mark this momentous anniversary. Plus do some dancing, of course.

Piers Bizony

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4 Responses to Piers Bizony’s Yuri events choice

  1. Sergey Koroelv

    Dear Mr.Bizony!
    I’d like to introduce myself first.
    My name is Sergey Korolev and the main character of the play Little Eagles, Sergey Pavlovich Korolev, is my grandfather. I’m writing this letter by request of my mother Nataliya Sergeevna Koroleva, the only daughter of the legendary ‘Chief Designer’of Russian Space Programme.
    Some years ago my mother wrote a book about her father and it has been translated into English. I suppose this book may be interesting to the people involved in the staging of the play Little Eagles.
    By the way a few years ago in our country a feature film based on the book was made.
    Of course my mother would like to visit the first night of this performance.Is the 16 of April the date fixed for it?
    We would be happy to give any assistance to those who are interested in it.

    With best wishes. Sergey Korolev.

  2. Martin Redfern

    This is a message for Sergey Korolev. I’m making a feature about Gagarin’s flight for BBC World Service and would be very interested in getting in touch with you and your mother.
    Thanks and best wishes,

  3. Manoj

    Have you read Nick Abadzis’ 2007 graphic novel Laika’? Although it’s a motlsy fictional story on a related theme, it does compare rather well as a graphic novel product: 200 pages of full colour, quality artwork for a315. I’m afraid 64 pages of (sorry) mediocre art in black and white for a310 seems expensive. I look forward to the written biography.

  4. P Hodkinson

    Nick Abazis did a commendable job and we wish him well. Yuri’s Day is based on factual evidence collated during visits to Russia and interviews with soviet cosmonauts. It is basically a visually distilled version of Starman. It was put together by a team of engthusiasts over a period of 12 months. Extreme care has been taken with historical accuracy as much as possible. Our illustrations may not be of top professional comic pros. However, a required deep understanding of the narrative meant we did the illustrations ourselves. Also, this was not done as a publisher commission hence, prohibitive costs also helped our decision. I have made a rather unhealthy, undisclosed loss, which hurts. However, I am proud of what we have achieved, with a budget of £0. If you are concerned about the value… please be aware I am prepared to walk to the post office everytime I get an Amazon order which gives me a huge profit of £2.60. I hope you are more ‘in the picture’ so to speak. x

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