Festival of the Sea

Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

Free Tickets but please book, Starts 2P.M.

Overlooking the sea, this day of eclectic events celebrating the ocean will feature performances and activities alongside conversations and demonstrations from world-leading scientists and local people, brought to life in a famous marine community. Tik-tok shanty sensation The Longest Johns will stage a unique concert. The event includes activities for all the family including the Story Boat Project, a miniature maritime museum, and an arts and crafts workshop.

These events will take place across the day, all are at the Marine Theatre with timings for each activity released nearer the time:


Born out of a mutual love of traditional folk songs and shanties, the Longest Johns rock maritime songs alongside the more unusual and less traditional folk tunes. In a few short years they have gone from singing sea shanties in a kitchen to International folk festivals, tours, TV appearances and gained a huge online following. As the face of the 2021 sea shanty revival with their track Wellerman, the Johns are reaching millions of new fans all across the globe and showing them just how great these songs can be.


Across the day local artist Jessame Coulson is running a drop in children’s art workshops related to themes and characters in the festival of the sea: science, conservation, sea creatures and fishing.

Children can enjoy a mixture of expressive, messy based artwork and craft activities like mask and animal making inspired by whales, lobsters, and fish. For ages 5-10, materials are provided, free.


Newspapers around the world recently reported vital research that found plastic in marine habitats at the island of San Cristobal. This is where Charles Darwin first landed in the Galapagos. Dr Ceri Lewis, of the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute will show a short film and talk about marine plastics and sealife in this special area of the world.


LSpindrift is a trio of singers Gail McGarva, Penny Dunscombe and Diana Takezoe, performing original a cappella songs of the sea. The songs – written by Gail, who is a traditional wooden boatbuilder – draw you into a captivating and haunting world of the sea with beautiful harmonies arranged by Penny.


Recent discoveries show that the strange social structure of tiny fish called emerald coral gobies may be explained by family loyalty. Hear the amazing story of how Dr Theresa Rueger followed 73 fish in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea to discover the importance of family life to the tiniest of fish.


​The Story Boat is a miniature maritime museum created by traditional wooden boat builder Gail McGarva. The Story Boat gives a new lease of life to the retired fishing boat Vera of 1923 by upturning her and transforming her into a miniature world of the sea. Gail is passionate about preserving traditional boats and their heritage. Her talk ‘Disappearing Lines’ shines a light on endangered craft along our shoreline.  

Boat Noise Makes Fish Skip Breakfast

Dr Sophie Nedelec’s research examines human impacts on the environment and sustainability. As a marine scientist, she will be sharing her latest research which looks at the impacts of boat noise on fish. Her work recently showed that boat noise near reefs cause clownfish to hide, skip meals and attack their neighbours..


Did you know that only humans and some whales have the menopause? That’s because of the special complex social structures that value the roles of grandparents in raising young. Groundbreaking research using data from over 500 whales across 40 years has shown new discoveries about the menopause in Orca whales! Hear the story in this short talk with Mia Lybkaer Kronborg Nielsen and Darren Croft.


Many people are so attached to the ocean that it forms a key part of their identity, new research led by Dr Pamela Buchan of the University of Exeter suggests.

This emotional attachment to the ocean comes from positive experiences and can lead someone to become a “marine citizen”. Find out if you are a marine citizen in this short event!


History holds valuable lessons – and stark warnings – about how to manage the ocean’s resources, says a new study by the University of Exeter. The work, by an international team of 28 historians, environmental scientists and marine ecologists, looked at examples from around the world. Ruth Thurstan explains what the study tells us we can do for future conservation.


Scientists have studied leadership in guppies by looking at how likely they were to lead a scouting party to look for a predator. They worked out the relationship of this behaviour to their own genes. Sylvia Dimitriadou, of the University of Exeter, tells the unique story of how leadership runs in the family for these tiny fish.


Gray’s beaked whales living in the deep oceans of the Southern Hemisphere are rarely seen alive and their ecology has remained a mystery to scientists until a recent study by ocean scientist Dr Kirsten Thompson of the University of Exeter. Discover one of the sea’s most elusive characters in this special event.

The Chantry Buoys

Based in Colyton, they sing traditional sea shanties, and other well known songs.They have performed at many Sea Shanty festivals, including Falmouth, Teignmouth, and recently performed on Lymes’ Marine Parade, to close Lifeboat week

Lyme morris

 Lyme Regis Town Morris Side, Lyme Morris are frequently seen performing and entertaining crowds,  with their lively repertoire of entertaining stick dances on the seafront of Lyme Regis and surrounding areas of Dorset and East Devon. 

All boats have a story to tell

Lyme Regis boatbuilder Gail McGarva is passionate about preserving traditional boats and their heritage. This talk shines a light on endangered craft along our shoreline.  


Sailors on shore in eighteenth-century Britain looked different. Their walk, their stoop, their hands, and their often multiple injuries or disabilities marked them out, and contemporary caricaturists routinely represented them as an alien species, limping amongst the crowds of coastal Britain. This short talk will explore how sailors felt about their own bodies revealing the unseen realities of their lives.

This event is part of Future2021

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036029