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100 Days of Unboxed

A note from Chief Creative Officer at UNBOXED, Martin Green MBE

100 Days In: Your Support Has Brought UNBOXED To Life

Thank you for joining us in celebrating the creativity and curiosity of people right across the UK.

Our audiences are making this an extraordinary year.

100 days since we opened, we’ve delighted in meeting people throughout the UK and seeing their reactions to our first six commissions. From the beginning, we wanted UNBOXED to bring cutting edge ideas and technology to audiences mostly far outside of the capital, as we believe that you should be able to encounter world-class work regardless of where you live – and we’ve been overwhelmed by the public response.

Time and again we are hearing from communities, living in the locations we visit, who tell us how proud they are to see this type of work being staged “in my town”. We’re seeing first-hand how this makes people know they’re valued and helps bring communities together.

Our first commission, About Us, saw over 120,000 people join us in five towns and cities across the four nations. We were blown away when we realised that nearly twice as many people saw About Us in Caernarfon as live there!

Our Place in Space saw more than 60,000 people journey through the solar system in Derry-Londonderry. It’s just opened to an incredible response in Belfast, after which it will move onto Cambridge, and then we’ll be launching its app allowing people to take part in this wonderful Oliver Jeffers experience anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, Dreamachine sold out its entire run of tickets when it opened (to five-star reviews) in Cardiff and London, while Tour de Moon showcased the radical imaginations of hundreds of young and emerging creatives (many from marginalised communities) throughout its multiple stops around England. Dandelion has already started to grow across Scotland and recently had its first major free festival in Glasgow (attended by over 40,000 people), while thousands have already celebrated the beauty of our Green Spaces under Dark Skies using lighting technology invented by young engineers at Siemens.

And there is still so much left to come.

StoryTrails is fast approaching, bringing history and people’s stories to life through new technologies, in libraries and towns across the UK, while SEE MONSTER is straining to be set free and make its journey to Weston-Super-Mare. GALWAD is building new worlds and ideas to imagine Wales in 2052, and PoliNations – a technicolour city centre forest-garden - is preparing to take over Birmingham in September as a co-commission with the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

From the very beginning, we wanted UNBOXED to be an investment in our creative futures. We are engaging thousands of young people to inspire in them a future career in the creative industries, helping prompt a conversation on how crucial creative skills will be across science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths (STEAM) as the world of work evolves in the UK and globally.

To date, more than 75,000 school children and young people have engaged in classroom activities and over 50 creative partnerships have been mobilised across the STEM and arts education sectors, while 54 countries are actively engaged in UNBOXED through the RSA research enquiry and the British Council global network.

UNBOXED is also supporting the jobs and the creative ambition of almost 2,000 people, building on the 500 individuals and organisations supported through the initial R&D phase of the programme, delivered throughout the pandemic, investing in over 100 freelancers. We will continue to play a critical part in our creative industries’ recovery, advancing creativity through STEAM and supporting new talent to work in the industries they love.

I am inspired by the audiences, communities and participants who have given their enthusiasm to UNBOXED so far, and I know in the months ahead we have so much more to explore and discover together.