Review: Sound of Sci-ence, St George's Bristol
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
It is rightly known as one of the country's leading concert halls, but did you know that St George's Bristol also hosts a programme of events for children and families?
We recently attended one of these events, the Sound of Sci-ence by presenter Matthew Tosh. Matthew is a former teacher and TV presenter, who splits his time between live events and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) engagement at schools and festivals. He also plays percussion and even collaborated with Aardman Animations to create special effects and explosions for the movie Early Man, which was released in 2018.
After reading these impressive credentials, we eagerly took our seats in the hall as we waited for the show to begin. My sons eyed up the equipment which was already on the stage, as they anticipated what was to come, but Matthew's introduction immediately got us to use our ears, rather than our eyes, as we 'heard' him backstage. It was a clever and humorous start to the show, which grabbed the attention of both the children and the adults in the audience straightaway.
When Matthew did enter the stage, he was just as engaging in person, and talked us through important questions, including why do burps and farts make a noise? Why do things sound funny underwater? And could we break the sound barrier without breaking St George’s?
There was plenty of audience interaction too, with many willing volunteers being invited onto the stage. Matthew's background in teaching was evident, as he clearly explained all of the scientific concepts and moved in a logical way to the show's conclusion after an hour, which was just the right amount of time. Although this show was advertised for 'families' (with a separate show later in the day specifically aimed at teenagers), some of the subjects were too complicated for the younger children in the audience to understand. I think this show was most suitable for children in KS2 (age 7 and above), as my sons certainly enjoyed it and were able to discuss what we'd seen (and heard!) afterwards. It personally reminded me of sitting in a Physics lesson - in a good way!
A quick note about the venue: St George's has recently opened a new £6.3 million extension to the Grade II listed concert hall. The result is a fabulously light and open space which still retains a very welcoming feel. The new cafe bar is gorgeous and open throughout the day. There is also a new exhibition space which we enjoyed looking around before the show started. Even if we hadn't been attending a performance, I would have been very happy to spend some time in what now feels like a 'new' venue, in one of the best locations in Bristol. I'll certainly add it to my list of family-friendly places to visit in the city.
See St George's upcoming events and book tickets here.
Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary family ticket to the Sound of Sci-ence in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. All photos were taken by me (excluding picture of Matthew Tosh).