Star Disc launch for town festival

Gateway to the Stars: Artist Aidan Shingler, Wayne Tomlinson, Stewart Pegg and Andrew Williams of construction firm J.C.Balls, Leigh Myers of Aspire Solar and electrician Rob Gill pictured by the Star Disc, a celestial amphitheatre that has been built in Stoney Wood and will be officially opened as part of the forthcoming Wirksworth Festival.
Gateway to the Stars: Artist Aidan Shingler, Wayne Tomlinson, Stewart Pegg and Andrew Williams of construction firm J.C.Balls, Leigh Myers of Aspire Solar and electrician Rob Gill pictured by the Star Disc, a celestial amphitheatre that has been built in Stoney Wood and will be officially opened as part of the forthcoming Wirksworth Festival.
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Theatre goers will be able to enjoy outdoor performances under the stars – as a landmark amphitheatre launches in the Dales.

The £135,000 Star Disc project is opening in Wirksworth in time for the town’s annual arts festival.

Television’s Sky at Night presenter and astronomer Pete Lawrence will be launching the outdoor performing arts venue on Saturday, September 10 at community woodland, Stoney Wood.

Wirsworth artist Aidan Shingler designed the 40ft 21st century stone circle which he hopes will inspire, engage, entertain and educate.

He said: “Throughout my life, I have been enchanted by the mystery and magic of the stars.

“The inspiration for the Star Disc stems from a vision to create environments where people from all walks of life can gather, contemplate, and connect with, whatever lies beyond the sphere of our world.

“The Star Disc is a temple without walls.”

The free launch event will take place from 7pm and will include an open air screening of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind staged by Derby’s QUAD.

The major project has taken Aidan six years to bring into reality with funding coming from several groups and organisations including Arts Council England, the National Lottery, Wirksworth Town Council, Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Dales District Council plus contributions from The Rennie Partnership, Starfish Communities and White Peak Astronomical Observing Group.

The disc has a giant star chart that mirrors the northern hemisphere night sky, carved into black granite, surrounded by 12 stone seats representing the 12 months of the year.

Aidan hopes the disc will be used for drama and music productions as well as by schools and astronomical groups.

The project is part of the continuing development of Stoney Wood, the reclaimed and regenerated Stoneycroft quarry donated in the late 1990s by Tarmac to Wirksworth Town Council for community use.

Chris Bristow of Stoney Wood Group, said: “It will be a real asset and very useful as a performance space.

“I think it will be well used by lots of groups including schools.

“It should bring more people in to Stoney Wood and raise our profile.”