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The Laboratory

The Laboratory is a small stage dedicated to all things science. In keeping with its name, the stage hosts experimental approaches to science communication, so you won’t hear any lectures or dry technical talks! Expect music, interactive demonstrations, quiz shows, interviews and Q&A sessions that reveal an entirely different and entertaining side of science (and scientists).

2023 Line-up

Sam Lee

Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, conservationist, song collector, award winning promoter, broadcaster and activist, Sam has shaken up the music scene breaking boundaries between folk and contemporary music and the assumed places and ways folksong is appreciated.

Science Futures founder with filmmakers from the BBC Natural History Unit (L to R: Emma Sayer, Jonny Keeling, Mark Brownlow, Fredi Devas)

Behind the Scenes with BBC Studios Natural History Unit

Meet the team from Planet Earth, see how the films are made and catch a sneak peek at the upcoming Planet Earth III. Includes a demonstration of the very latest camera tech.

Andrew O’Neill – Occult Comedian

Andrew O’Neill is an award-winning comedian, musician and best-selling writer. A psychedelic non-binary whirlwind, they combine surrealism, polemic and good old-fashioned stagecraft to produce uniquely counter-cultural stand-up.


Sound Science with Ian B Dunne

Science Showman, Storyteller & Maker has performed all over the country and beyond. For the festival he will be bringing “Sound Science and Sustainability” a stand-up show featuring a theremin, strange sounds, wonderful things.

Rosie Eade – Folk Pixie

Combines the lyricism of singer-songwriterdom with the attitude of rock ‘n’ roll“, (Rock-n-Reel, 2020). Inspired by Kate Bush, Sandy Denny, The Who and Steeleye Span, Rosie sings stories about people, nature and gin, merging her love of working as both a climate scientist and a musician.


The Great Ape Challenge

Take part in the puzzle box challenge featured in New Scientist; how do your puzzle solving skills measure up to other great apes?

Why does it always rain on me? Is it because Big Oil lied back in the ’70s? 

Darren Jones (Labour MP for Bristol North West), Lucy Symons-Jones (Net Zero expert) and Nigel Shipley (Extinction Rebellion Bristol). Flooding, storms and heatwaves are happening more frequently and with greater intensity. Could the climate crisis have been avoided if oil giants had been honest about what they knew about the impact of burning fossil fuels decades ago? Or did we need climate change to be a now problem to confront the crisis? And is the current response strong enough to avert future climate catastrophe?


Arcadia – The science behind the spider with Bertie Cole

Ever wondered what it takes to bring a 50 tonne, flame-throwing mechanical spider to the fields of Glastonbury Festival? Discover the science and engineering behind Arcadia, one of the festival’s most iconic and spectacular stages, with Arcadia co-founder & director Bertie Cole.

Take The Jump

A grassroots project created by normal people, Take the Jump is for anyone worried about the state of nature but are not necessarily ‘environmentalists’. Our society is hooked on stuff and it’s destroying our planet. Another way is possible! Take the Jump works towards a world ofless stuff and more joy’, where humanity is in balance with nature. This show is for anyone looking for constructive, positive, and impactful steps we can take in our own lives.

Screenshot 2023-06-04 at 13.52.51

Science Storytelling with Jenny Jopson

Kick off the day with a science story, featuring well-known songs, shakers, bubbles, a parachute – and experiments! We’ll be adventuring across the ocean, out into space, or into the body on a fun-packed voyage of discovery. These sessions have a healthy dose of science pizzazz for young children (age guidance 1-6) and their grown-ups. Ignite your natural curiosity – a lifetime of exploration awaits!

Off to Space with Andrew Jenkins

Join our backyard scientist and discover what it takes to build rockets! In this experiment-filled family adventure, explore rocket science as we create explosions and prepare for launch. Strap-in, countdown and blast-off for a show that’s out of this world. Presented by Edinburgh Science and supported by the PlaCE Programme.


Artificial Intelligence WTF?

Artist Eric Drass aka shardcore has spent years making things with AI, including publishing the world’s first GPT authored book in 2019 and Deep-Faking Ian Hislop for the BBC.

He is here to answer your questions and (possibly) allay your fears about all things AI.

Beats of Science with DJ Mike Whitfield aka Funk and Soil

DJ Mike Whitfield hails from Lancaster and will be blending house, funk and disco with soul and sciencey sounds!

On Saturday and Sunday morning, bring your brunch for a chance to chill out at the Laboratory and have a chat with some of our resident scientists (from 11:15am).


Climate Change Q&A with Prof. Richard Betts

How serious is the climate crisis? Is there still time and what can we do? Professor Richard Betts MBE is a world-leading climate scientist at the Met Office and University of Exeter, and an IPCC lead author. Ask him and his guests anything about climate science and evidence for action.

A Tale of Two Cities: A conversation on the relationship between technology and nature – with Prof. Gordon Blair

This Q&A will look at the complex relationship between digital technology and the environment, how such technology can help us understand more about the natural world and its response to climate change and how digital technology poses a threat to the environment, including through its burgeoning carbon emissions.

Past line-ups

You can see the 2022 line-up here

University of Exeter