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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