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Date: 
Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 10:00

Eden Project Communities ambassadors Jo Brand and Eddie Izzard will be headlining the popular visitor attraction’s first online festival, which is hoping to be the “perfect antidote to lockdown” says Sir Tim Smit, Co-Founder of the Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall.

The Festival of Discovery on 20-21 November is aiming to help people connect from across the UK through lively discussions, fun demonstrations and inspiring stories.

Covering topics from climate change and food security to inclusive communities and wellbeing the virtual festival is hoping to bring together families and neighbours during the challenging next few weeks.

Eden Project closes its doors to the public for the second national lockdown at 4pm, Wednesday 4 November and plans to reopen on Thursday 3 December in line with Government guidance. During closure it will instead offer virtual access during the Festival of Discovery to the wonders of the outdoor gardens and dramatic landscapes of the Biomes.

Festival-goers will be able to take a virtual tour around the world-famous Eden Biomes and walk amongst the exotic plants whilst watching exclusive talks and workshops focusing on encouraging people to explore a better future, for themselves and their communities.

Guest speakers will include marathon man and comedian Eddie Izzard who will be talking about exploring identity and making humanity great again, and fellow comedian Jo Brand will be telling people about some of the things she’s personally discovered during her extraordinary life and career.

Speaking about the Festival of Discovery Eddie Izzard said: “We have to remember that this time will turn around and we need to be ready to head towards a more positive future. Eden’s Festival of Discovery is both an antidote to lockdown and a reminder to connect with others, share ideas, spread the positivity and focus on what we can do to make humanity great.”

Online performances will take place across a number of virtual stages including the Med Motivation Station where you can go from having a workout with Mr Motivator before listening to Guinness World Record holder and long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont in conversation with Peter Stewart, Eden Project’s Executive Director.

Another guest speaker is Greg Whyte OBE, a former Olympian who has helped train numerous celebrities to undertake tough physical challenges and extraordinary feats of endurance. He mentored David Walliams as he swam across the English Channel, took Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles and Gary Barlow up Mount Kilimanjaro and helped Radio 1’s Greg James on his five triathlons in five cities in five days. Greg explains how exercise and positivity can help anyone to achieve their goals.

On the Open Mic Stage you will be able to listen to the inspirational real-life stories of Esther Mujawayo who talks about her work helping to rebuild shattered lives and communities in Rwanda in the wake of the 1994 genocide, and Derrick Errol Evans MBE, the man behind the iconic lycra-clad fitness instructor – Mr Motivator.

Young dinosaur fans will get a treat from BBC's CBeebies Andy Day as he entertains the kids with Jurassic raps and wild adventure themed activities. Plus, anyone with creative interests can join in virtual lantern making classes, a poetry session or learn painting skills in workshops put together by artist Alison Critchlow.

The festival is part of the Eden Project’s Communities program, all made possible by the National Lottery, and follows the first virtual Big Lunch that took place in the summer.

Sir Tim Smit said: “This second wave is going to be tough for everyone and we know how important it is that people feel connected and stay positive. The Eden Project is a natural convener and while our fantastic site in Cornwall is closed, the Festival of Discovery offers the perfect antidote to lockdown. We can still bring people together to have meaningful conversations online that help us work towards a better future for ourselves, our communities and the planet.”

The free Festival of Discovery will take place over the weekend of November 20-21 with all the events taking place via www.thefestivalofdiscovery.com.