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Reading Festival of Weather, Art and Music 1 – 3 June 2012 PROGRAMME

WAM Director’s message Reading is a town of well-kept secrets. Not just artistic and musical: how many of us Reading people realise that we live in one of the world’s leading centres for understanding and predicting weather? With WAM taking place for the first time over Jubilee Weekend in Royal Berkshire we aim to let the cat out of the bag. By mixing the three ingredients of weather, art and music together, WAM brings you a recipe for exploring the great British obsession with the weather in ways you may never have dreamt of. Pierrette Thomet Festival Director

Maybe the kids will brew up a cloud in a bottle and paint a weather mobile, or you’ll find yourself in a unique experiment to forecast the weather by being part of a giant human computer. Or maybe you’ll hear the world premiere of a piece of music commissioned by WAM inspired by the weather, or you’ll be stopped in your tracks by a hurricane in a staircase, put there by one of our WAM artists. Have a look inside and see what piques your interest. There are world leading experts to answer your questions about climate change, a renowned International Diva who will blow you away with her interpretations of Berlioz and Cole Porter, a Weather Fair where you can record your memories of the winter of ‘47, and much, much more. With a full programme of events at the Town Hall, the Town Hall Square and the Forbury Gardens on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd June, most of them free, welcome to WAM, the world’s first festival of Weather, Art and Music. I hope you enjoy it!


/WAM Festival

WAM, the brand new Reading Festival of Weather, Art and Music comes to Reading Town Hall, Town Hall Square and Forbury Gardens for the first time during Jubilee Weekend, 1 -3 June, 2012. This unique event celebrates Reading’s position as a global centre of meteorology and its rich artistic and musical heritage with a wide range of events for all ages.

It’s all happening this Jubilee Weekend at WAM! WAM is the brainchild of a group of musicians, scientists and artists who want to highlight the amazing talent and expertise Reading holds in their fields. WAM works in partnership with leading local freelance artists and musicians, and the leading research institutes and organisations that give Reading its international standing in scientific terms: the Royal Meteorological Society, the University of Reading, the Met Office, and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. We are also working in partnership with Reading Borough Council. Thanks to the generous support of our partners, most of our WAM events are free.

Children’s events are for children from 5. Children under 10 should be accompanied at all times by an adult, including during participation in a workshop. To manage numbers, participation in the Forecast Factory is by free ticket, available from the Town Hall Box Office. There is no booking fee.

So come and find out what happens when weather, art and music collide! Experience the Town Hall transformed. Explore art and sound installations, enjoy exhilarating music concerts, discover fascinating weather displays. Take part in a giant weather forecasting experiment, make a barometer, or add your stories to a national memory bank of weather stories. And there’s plenty for the kids: whether it be painting a thunderstorm, making a weather mobile, or recording a weather forecast in front of a blue screen like on the telly.

Entry is free for most events. Tickets for our classical music recitals are available for sale at the Town Hall Box Office. To buy online, go to, or call the Box Office on 0118 960 6060, or buy in person at the Box Office in the Hexagon Theatre or the Town Hall. Tickets are subject to a booking fee.

The Weather Fair Saturday 2 June 10am to 4pm, Concert Hall and Town Hall Square Free event A mix of exhibitions and stalls where you can find out all sorts of fascinating things about the weather, and about studying and forecasting the weather, both now and in the past.

Come and check out the Royal Meteorological Society’s workshop area where you can make your own rain gauge, barometer and other weather instruments and have a go at presenting the weather yourself on the same system used by the BBC weather forecasters. See the mobile weather observatory and how you could set up your own little weather station in your back garden, and chat to theWeather Club people about the vast network of weather enthusiasts that you could plug into to discuss all things weather-related.

Marvel at some of the old ways people used to make forecasts, the instruments they used and the stories those tell, and then chat to the scientists from the University of Reading and the Met Office at their stalls about how weather is researched today. Compare modern forecasting to the way forecasts were made in olden times, and chat to the historians from the University of Reading to see if astrometeorology makes for better or worse forecasts than the Met Office supercomputer forecast!

Dr Anne Lawrence from the Department of History at Reading University presents the ancient art of Astrometeorology - predicting the weather by the stars! Have you ever wondered how weather was predicted before modern meteorology? The answer is Astrometeorology, and it was an important science from the 12th century to the 17th. Medieval kings and emperors employed astrologers to forecast the weather as well as political events, and printed almanacs made this exclusive knowledge available to all from the 16th century onwards. Dr Lawrence will demonstrate historical examples, offer her own forecast for the Festival Weekend, and show how this science worked.

Join in with an exciting national research project into our memories of weather events and their effect on family life. Run by the University of Nottingham and the Royal Meteorological Society, this is a unique opportunity for you to come and share those amazing memories you have of weather events that made an impact on your life: that frightening thunderstorm that kept you awake, or that day you saw the best rainbow ever, or that freezing winter that kept you home - our researchers want to hear it all!

... And then go and paint a picture about all you’ve learnt and the things you like about the weather in one of our art workshops downstairs in the 3B”s café.

OPAL Trailer Mobile Weather Observatory 10am to 4pm, Town Hall Square Free event Visit the OPAL trailer and record a weather forecast in front of a blue screen, just like they do on the television. Can you do better than Laura Tobin? The OPAL Trailer is packed full of fascinating weather information and activities, from satellite tracking to making clouds in a bottle or measuring the temperature of clouds from the ground. It’s surprisingly easy! Parked on Market Square also is the Mobile Weather Observatory - it will show you a whole new aspect of weather forecasting and science, focusing on local weather and local data collecting. Perhaps you’ll get the bug and start collecting data yourself... in which case, head indoors to the Weather Fair and the Royal Meteorological Society stand in the Town Hall Concert Hall to find out how!

These events are suitable for all ages. Children under 10 will need to be accompanied by an adult and supervised by them at all times, including during workshops.

And all the while, artists Robert Luzar and Robyn Appleton’s work, performed and displayed on the Town Hall Square, will interact with the science in all sorts of unexpected ways.

The Weather Clinic

The Forecast Factory

Saturday 2nd June 2pm to 5.30pm Town Hall, Victoria Hall Free events

Sunday 3rd June, Concert Hall 10am - 12noon, and again at 2pm - 4pm Free event - but booking is required due to restricted numbers. Book your place at the Town Hall Box Office

Your chance to hear from leading figures in meteorological science and ask them your burning weather-related questions. A series of talks and question-and-answer sessions that will amaze, inspire and challenge you to think about weather and climate in a different way. Come and find out how the weather has influenced music. Find out about making snow in Didcot and the challenges of measuring volcanic ash. And come to our Climate Change Question Time and challenge leading figures in the field of climate research to explain what’s going on. 2pm to 3pm Professor Giles Harrison, University of Reading

Reading the Weather Hear about making snow in Didcot, measuring local heatwaves, and how University of Reading scientists use weather balloons to monitor the fall out from volcanic eruptions in Iceland. The talk will explain why understanding weather depends on combining measurements of hugely different aspects of the atmosphere, from liquids and particles to heat and motion, and describe the benefits to aircraft from monitoring turbulence and volcanic ash.

3pm to 4pm Dr Karen Aplin, University of Oxford

Weather in Classical Music Find out about the different ways weather has been depicted in classical orchestral music through the years. From explicit mimicry using traditional and specialised orchestral instruments, through to subtle suggestions of weather, Dr Aplin will illustrate her talk with excerpts from some well known and not so well known pieces.

4pm to 5.30pm

Climate Change Question Time Chaired by Prof Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, this is your chance to ask our prestigious panel of leading scientists your burning questions about climate change and the future of weather and climate prediction. With Prof Sir Brian Hoskins CBE FRS, the Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, London and Professor in Meteorology at the University of Reading, Prof John Mitchell OBE FRS, Principal Research Fellow at the Met Office, Prof Alan Thorpe, Director-General of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, based in Reading, and Prof Averil Macdonald FInstP FRSA, Professor of Communication at the University of Reading.

WAM brings together the best in the field of climate research and science communication to give you access directly to those in the know. We invite you to submit your questions in advance either online at, via Twitter @wamfestival or by completing a Question Time slip on the day and putting it in the box by the Town Hall reception desk.

Featuring BBC Weather forecaster Laura Tobin

Presented by Dr Andrew Charlton-Perez and the University of Reading How are weather forecasts actually made? And what goes on inside the giant supercomputers used by the Met Office? If you want to find out the answer, then come along and join in this unique, free, community event. You will be part of our attempt to recreate the Weather Forecast Factory imagined in 1922 by the visionary British scientist, Lewis Fry Richardson, one of the founders of modern meteorology. This unique event will create a ‘peoplecomputer’ on a size and scale never tried anywhere in the world before, which will compete against a laptop to produce a simple weather forecast using methods which form the basis of all current weather and climate forecasting. Who will win - people power or laptop circuits? The Forecast Factory is a world first, and an absolute must for anyone with kids interested in science and maths. Join the members of Reading’s meteorological community and our very Special Guest, Met Office and BBC weather forecaster Laura Tobin, in making meteorological history! Please book your free ticket at the Reading Town Hall Box Office. Numbers are restricted so booking for this event is essential. If you have a calculator or a mobile phone with an integrated calculator, please bring it along. If you don’t have a calculator, we’ll provide you with one to use on the day. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. The event is suitable for children 8 and above.

WAM Programme listing Friday 1st June 7:30pm

4pm – 5.30pm Victoria Hall, Town Hall

Victoria Hall

‘Seascape’ - Festival Opening Recital Pierrette Thomet, mezzo-soprano Stephen Faber, piano Prof Paul Hardaker, Guest Speaker

Weather Clinic: Climate Change Question Time chaired by Prof Paul Hardaker, Royal Meteorological Society, and featuring a distinguished panel of climate scientists and science communicators. Free event

Tickets £20 (£17conc). Available from the Town Hall Box Office.


Concert Hall

With Guest of Honour Sir John Madejski OBE DL Alison Pearce, soprano Mark Packwood, piano Toki Quartet

Saturday 2nd June 10am – 4pm

Concert Hall, Town Hall & Town Hall Square

WAM Weather Fair Free event

10am – 4pm

Town Hall & Town Hall Square

WAM Art exhibition Free event

11am – 4pm

Town Hall (Ground Floor)

Art workshops Free event

10am – 4pm

Town Hall (Ground Floor)

Iconik Sonik installations Free event

1 – 2pm

Victoria Hall

Tickets £50 includes champagne reception and charity art auction £25 (£22 conc.), £15 (£12 conc.) Available from the Town Hall Box Office

Sunday 3rd June 10am – 12noon 2- 4pm

Concert Hall Concert Hall

Lunchtime recital Tickets £5 (£3conc). Available from the Town Hall Box Office

Victoria Hall

Weather Clinic: Talk Prof Giles Harrison, University of Reading - Reading the weather

The Forecast Factory Free event Please note that due to numbers restrictions, you will need to reserve your free ticket at the Town Hall Box Office

Gerard Cousins, guitarist

2pm – 3pm

Cosmos - Gala Jubilee Recital

12noon – 4pm 12noon – 12.45pm 1.50pm – 2.30pm

Forbury Gardens

The Big Jubilee Picnic Sing for Fun Singers County School of Dance showcase

Free event

Free event 10am – 4pm 3pm – 4pm

Victoria Hall

Weather Clinic: Talk Dr Karen Aplin, University of Oxford - Weather in Classical Music

Free event

Town Hall

WAM Art Free event. Exhibition only, no workshops

WAM Art WAM art is where WAM really finds its greatest expression: weather influencing art, inspiring artists to create new works, helping us all to see science in a new way and appreciate the beauty and power of nature while allowing us to express the fundamental importance of weather in our lives in an immediate way and investigate the world from a different perspective. WAM is presenting artwork created by Reading artists on the theme of weather each artist rising to the challenge of engaging with the weather and meteorology in unique and individual ways. The artwork represented in the festival covers a wide range of disciplines responding to, interpreting and translating weather data into visual form. The different artworks include drawing, painting, 3D form, textiles, installation, performance and photography, a visually exciting display of work with something to inspire everyone. The artworks are displayed throughout the Town Hall and outside in Market Square, so pick up a plan on the day, find the different artworks and be inspired.

Artists represented: Anna Mitchell Christine Holley Danielle Corbishley Ingrid M Jensen Jenny Kiehn Julia Rogers Robert Luzar Robyn Appleton Roxana Tohaneanu - Shields

‘Cosmos’, our Gala Jubilee Recital on Saturday 2nd June, with Guest of Honour Sir John Madejski OBE DL, will feature a Charity Art Auction of selected WAM Art as part of our exclusive Champagne Reception after the Recital. So book your Champagne Reception tickets at the Town Hall Box Office to celebrate the Jubilee in style!

Art workshops Saturday 2nd June Town Hall, 3B’s Caf´é 11am to 4pm Free event

An opportunity to create your own WAM Art! Come to our workshop studio on the ground floor and get busy with the pencils, the paints, the glue and the glitter. Create a cloud, become a hurricane and paint a wild picture, or explore how a storm made you feel - then display your work on our Art Wall in the Concert Hall, for all to admire! Artist Jenny Kiehn will be leading the first workshop, “Hurricanes Make their Mark”, at 11am on Saturday 2nd June, with a hurricane and storm inspired drawing workshop that focuses on force, wind direction, pressure and the gesture of drawing. Our WAM art workshops are for children of 5 upwards. Please note that an accompanying adult will have to remain to supervise children under 10 and will have to be responsible for the child’s safety and behaviour at all times. Art materials provided free of charge. All art works left behind at the end of the day will be kept for one week.

WAM music

Lunchtime Recital

‘Seascape’ Festival Opening Recital

Saturday 2nd June 1pm Victoria Hall. Tickets £5 (£3 conc) available at the Town Hall Box Office.

Friday 1st June 7.30pm Victoria Hall. Tickets: £20 (£17 conc.). Booking fee applies.

Gerard Cousins, guitar Passionate and virtuosic, award winning guitarist Gerard Cousins takes his audience on a journey of magical sounds. Take a break from the hurly-burly of the day to musically travel from a stormy Welsh coastline to South Africa via Japan!

Pierrette Thomet, mezzo-soprano Steven Faber, piano Prof Paul Hardaker, Guest Speaker Mezzo and WAM Festival Director Pierrette Thomet kicks off WAM with a specially-devised programme of inspiring music and intriguing science. ‘Seascape’ celebrates through word and song the fundamental influence the sea has on our weather and our lives. Ernest Chausson’s romantic evocation of Love and the Sea, Elgar’s mysterious Sea Pictures, Rossini’s exciting Venetian Regata and Cole Porter’s very silly Tale of the Oyster all come together to invite you on a voyage of musical discovery and delight! Weaving in and out of the music will be glimpses and views of the sea from a scientific perspective, presented by our Guest Speaker Prof Paul Hardaker of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Gerard’s lunchtime recital in the Victoria Hall will include the atmospheric Wind, Colour, Vector by Takashi Yoshimatsu, Uhadi Rain by South African composer Derek Gripper, and Gerard’s own Phantasia on ‘Ar Lan y Mor’.

“Acute artistic and technical prowess...passionate, profound...with a great range of tone from his instrument” Classical Guitar Magazine

‘Cosmos’ A Gala Jubilee Recital Saturday 2nd June at 7.30pm Concert Hall. Tickets £50 (no conc.), £25 (£22) and £15 (£12) Tickets available from the Town Hall Box Office. Top price tickets include a Champagne Reception following the concert.

Iconik Sonik sound installations Saturday 2nd June 10am – 4pm Town Hall Ground Floor. Free event Katie Minien, Oliver Doyle and Phil Maguire Have you ever wanted to take control of the weather? Iconik Sonik is here to show you how! Follow the haunting music of the Mermaid’s song to the WeatherStick room, where you

will be able to re-create the weather and generate your own sonic storms and weather events, as well as giving you an insight into how weather is caused and measured. Iconik Sonik merges both music and electronics to create sonic art installations, contemporary compositions and intricate sound designs. As you visit the Town Hall, listen as all around you sound recreates weather!

With Guest of Honour Sir John Madejski OBE DL Alison Pearce, soprano Mark Packwood, piano and introducing the Toki Quartet Join us for a special Jubilee Gala Recital, and let Alison Pearce, Mark Packwood and the Toki Quartet sweep you off into the sparkling universe of music...

Rhian Samuel commissioned by WAM, Alison and her pianist, Royal Covent Garden’s Mark Packwood, will bring you an extraordinary Jubilee experience to cherish.

Alison Pearce, International Soprano and star of the opera and concert stage, brings her unique musical sensibility and technical virtuosity to entertain you with a programme of music spanning time and space. From musical rarities such as songs by 18th-century English composer Linley and Arne, to luscious and dramatic Romantic music by Berlioz; from the delights of classic Broadway songs by Porter and Gershwin to the excitement ‘Haze and the Absence of Clouds’, a brandnew composition by noted British composer

WAM is thrilled to be able to welcome Sir John Madeski OBE DL to celebrate the Jubilee with us. Don’t miss out on the chance to meet the artists and fellow WAM enthusiasts at our Champagne Reception and be sure to book your tickets at the Town Hall Box Office.

” ...A fascinating personality, ravishing voice and an interpretation full of moving passion made her the star of the evening...”

Booking and Venue Information Most WAM events are free, so you can just turn up on the day. Our classical music concerts are ticketed, please see below for booking details. Due to restrictions in numbers of people who can participate in the Forecast Factory, please book your free place in advance at the Box Office - see below for booking details. Participation in our workshops and community events is for all age groups from 5 upwards. Children under 16 must be accompanied at all times by an adult who is responsible for their safety and behaviour. Venue information: Concert Hall / Town Hall Victoria Hall / Town Hall Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH Admin: 0118 939 9809 The Biscuit Tin Café is open Tue-Sat 10am - 4pm

How to book tickets All tickets for our ticketed events (including the free tickets for the Forecast Factory on Sunday 2nd June) are available in advance and on the day from the Reading Arts Box Office. All major credit and debit cards are accepted, except Diners and American Express. Cheques should be made payable to Reading Borough Council.

To book by phone, call 0118 960 6060 To book online, go to: To book in person, go to the box office in the Hexagon Theatre or the Town Hall. A booking fee applies to tickets except the free tickets for the Forecast Factory. There is a £1.15 per ticket fee for tickets up to and including £10, and a £1.95 per ticket fee for tickets greater than £10. Tickets with a face value of up to and including £5 are subject to a fee of 25p per ticket. The booking fee applies to ticket purchases made with credit cards, debit cards, cheques and cash. Bookings made in person with a pre-paid debit card are not subject to a booking fee.

How to Get to the Town Hall The Town Hall is in Blagrave Street, Reading, RG1 1QH On Foot (from Reading Station) At the station, walk down the new concourse to the Heathrow Airbus exit and cross over the road to Blagrave Street, where you will see The Town Hall on the left. By train From London to Reading: trains run from London Paddington to Reading at least every 15 minutes throughout the day and late into the night. The journey takes just 25 minutes, if you get a direct train. From Oxford to Reading: trains run every 15 - 30 minutes and the journey takes 30 minutes. From Newbury to Reading: trains run every 15 minutes and the journey takes between 20 - 30 minutes.

By Car From the M4, leave the motorway at Junction 11 and head onto the A33 into Reading town centre. Follow signs to the train station and turn into Blagrave Street, which is opposite the Reading Airbus terminal at the station’s side entrance. Parking is available at The Oracle, Queen’s Road, Garrard Street and Reading Station Car Parks.

Accessibility Concert Hall Access The Concert Hall has level access to wheelchair seating. To enhance your safety and comfort we require patrons in wheelchairs to book a designated wheelchair space. Please inform the Box Office should you require level access or have limited mobility as seats are available for this purpose. Toilet for people with disabilities. An infra-red sound enhancement system for the hard of hearing is available for use with or without a hearing aid. Please reserve sets at the time of booking (to be collected from the Box Office or Reception prior to the event-a small deposit is required) We welcome both seeing and hearing Guide Dogs. Please advise at the time of booking. A bowl of water can be provided.Large print and audio brochures are available on request. For deaf patrons, the Box Office Minicom number is 0118 939 0040. Baby changing facilities are available (children under 18 months will require a £1 Babes in Arms ticket).

Wheelchair Access A wheelchair user’s companion is admitted free to all venues. Reading Arts and Venues operates a free escort service for any of our disabled customers who would prefer someone to accompany them to performances, if their usual partner/friend/carer is unable to attend. The escort does not need to pay anything, only to arrive 15 minutes prior to the event, meet the person concerned and generally chat with them. If you would like to participate in this scheme, please contact: Fiona Swell on 0118 937 2017 or To enhance your safety and comfort we require patrons in wheelchairs to book a designated wheelchair space. Please inform the Box Office should you require level access or have limited mobility as seats are available for this purpose.

The Big Jubilee Picnic Sunday 3 June 12noon to 4pm Forbury Gardens

In conjunction with Reading Borough Council, WAM is proud to present its contribution to the Big Jubilee Picnic to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

12noon – 12.45pm The Sing for Fun Singers will entertain you with a selection of songs - spot those with a weather theme running through them, and don’t hesitate to sing along to those you know - after all, no picnic is complete without a good sing-along!

1.50pm – 2.30pm Reading’s renowned County School of Dance dancers will wow you with their dazzling performances of Ballroom, Latin and Street Jazz dancing - totally glamorous, and totally unmissable.

... and if you’ve not yet made meteorological history earlier on Sunday morning by taking part in our Forecast Factory, you can head back to the Town Hall and take part in the second running of the event at 2pm. Come and beat the computers!

WAM - Reading Festival of Weather, Music & Art 2012  

A brand-new festival for Reading, celebrating its local artists and musicians, and its position as a world-leading centre for weather and cl...

WAM - Reading Festival of Weather, Music & Art 2012  

A brand-new festival for Reading, celebrating its local artists and musicians, and its position as a world-leading centre for weather and cl...