All set for the return of the dark nights festival

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will return to the Isle of Lewis in February 2022, with an arts and astronomy programme bringing together Scotland’s new Astronomer Royal Catherine Heymans, singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni, award-winning science communicator Roberto Trotta and lots more.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:24 pm
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni. Pic: Gaelle Beri
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni. Pic: Gaelle Beri

The fourth annual Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is supported by new funding from Caledonian MacBrayne and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It will open on Friday 11 February 2022, kicking off a two-week programme of arts and astronomy events at An Lanntair, community venues across Lewis, and online. Events announced today include:

- The Universe: Does Anything Matter?, an opening night of astronomy and comedy by Astronomer Royal for Scotland Catherine Heymans and astrophysicist and comedian Joe Zuntz

- A closing night show by acclaimed singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni.

- The Edge of The Sky/Oir Nan Speur, a new, bilingual theatre adaptation of Roberto Trotta’s internationally acclaimed book in which the Italian astrophysicist attempts to tell the history of the Universe using only the 1,000 most frequently used words in the English language.

- A Dark Skies exhibition featuring newly commissioned work by a group of Hebridean artists

- A science-themed comedy show with Bright Club, headlining a day of astronomy talks on the festival’s opening weekend.

- Stargazing events across the island with Highland Astronomy plus indoor, weather-proof stargazing with Cosmos Planetarium

Tickets for Hebridean Dark Skies Festival events will go on sale throughout November, with more programme announcements and updates to follow over the winter months. A new festival trailer, by Lewis film-maker John Macdonald, is available online from today.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is led by An Lanntair, in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Lews Castle College UHI, Gallan Head Community Trust and Calanais Visitor Centre, with support from Caledonian MacBrayne, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Outer Hebrides Tourism, Visit Scotland, and Cala Hotels.

Festival director Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival back for a fourth year, and very grateful to CalMac and HIE for their support. Lewis is a breathtakingly beautiful place to be in winter; on a clear night our views of the stars and the Northern Lights are just incredible. And even if the weather is against us, we’ve got another packed line-up of indoor events, exploring astronomy, the night sky, and our relationship with darkness through comedy, music, theatre, film, visual art, workshops and more, some of it coinciding with the school half-term holidays.”

Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to join the 2022 Dark Skies Festival in celebration of one of the Hebrides’ most famous natural resources - its pristine dark view into the wilderness that is our Universe. With music, art, theatre, comedy and science there is something for everyone to enjoy whilst we wait for the Sun to set and the clouds to clear, to stargaze out into the cosmos.”