Shrewsbury will be celebrating its famous son’s birthday next month, with an exciting schedule of fun and interactive events taking place across the town, guaranteed to entertain the whole family.

From brain teasing lectures to dance workshops, the 2018 DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival will take place from 8th to 24th February and is set to be bigger, better and brighter than ever before.

The festival will kick off on the 8th February with the finals of the very first Shropshire Young Thinkers’ Competition, run by the University Centre Shrewsbury and Morris & Company. The evening will see the finalists in the 7-11 and 12-17 age ranges present their ‘One Great Idea to Change the World’ to a panel of judges, including celebrity judge, children’s author, Isabel Thomas. The winners will be crowned on the night with fantastic prizes presented for each age category.

With over 350 entries from children spanning a ten year age range, this inspiring competition has seen some fascinating proposals. From social ideas to scientific inventions and moral statements, ranging from under the sea to outer space, the children of Shropshire have really risen to the challenge of producing a great idea to change the world, leaving the judges in awe of the talent here in our county. The judging event is taking place at University Centre Shrewsbury and tickets can be booked at: Originalshrewbsury.co.uk/Darwin

The two-and-a-half-week Festival programme will inspire and engage audiences with a diverse range of specialist talks, including a memorial lecture by esteemed Professor Martin Rudwick. An evolution of dance talk and workshop will take place at the Hive and free guided tours of Darwin’s childhood held throughout the festival.

The festival also provides plenty of opportunities to entertain the children during half term, with workshops from the Shrewsbury Museum and The Wildlife Trust allowing children to go Wild about Dinosaurs and even make their own ceramic fossil tiles at the Darwin Rocks event.

The energetic amongst us can join in a Darwin-themed Park Run on 10th February, and those wishing to meet the man himself, can do so in the Square on the weekends of 10th -11th and 17th-18th February.

For a truly engaging experience, an interactive Café Concert will also be taking place at the museum’s Stop Café, featuring the music of Bach, Bartok and Beethoven from world class musicians Zöe Beyers and Peter Adams.

Aleks Vladimirov, Partnerships Manager of Shrewsbury BID said: “We at Shrewsbury BID are so excited about the upcoming programme of events. The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival is set to be a real celebration of our town as the origin of independent thinking. It is a chance for the community to remember and celebrate a man whose ground-breaking ideas influenced world thinking.”

The annual celebrations have been built on and invigorated with the help of a new-look organising committee with representatives from many organisations and support from Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID).

The Festival events, many of which are free, are already proving popular so the public is being urged to book in advance to avoid disappointment. For more information and ticket details for the DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival events visit originalshrewsbury.co.uk/Darwin