Speaker rehearsals

11.30am …and we have started speaker rehearsals. Claire, Jeanie and Sara have gone through their talk introductions. I’ve seen Ben Eaton and Patrick Alley in the building, and currently Karima Bennoune is rehearsing her talk. It’s incredibly powerful and moving content, but I’m trying not to listen so I can get the full impact tomorrow. 

11.50am Had problems with logging in to university account and wifi earlier, thankfully sorted, but am now being timed out of the connection. Getting slightly worried about live blogging tomorrow.

12.05pm No such problems with Patrick Alley’s talk, though. He’ll be great. Claire Belcher next up on the rehearsal red dot.

1.20pm I don’t know where the time goes on days like this. Took advantage of the Love Local Food van being parked outside the Northcott, and grabbed myself a fab veggie pie for lunch. There are seemingly hundreds of people milling around – photographers, stage management, production and cameras, volunteers being briefed on health and safety, sponsors, team about to head off to set up in the Great Hall, speakers. Caught Claire Belcher’s rehearsal earlier, but unfortunately managed to miss Joel Gibbard and his robot hand.

1.30pm The very lovely Exeter School Vocal Ensemble is now on stage putting their hearts and souls into a piece by Eric Whitacre. Vinay Nair and Matt Hayler have arrived in the building.

2.15pm It’s all gone relatively serene in the Theatre. I’ve decided Matt Hayler could be a slam poet, with his rhythms of speech, and now Fin Williams has crept in while Vinay Nair is on the red dot, and Sarah El Ashmawy is being miked up.

2.20pm I’m looking round at all the cameras in the Theatre. It’s an impressive array: behind the stage, from the wings on wheels, at the front of the seating, midway back, and at the back of the auditorium.

3.00pm Just had a short trip over to the Great Hall to see how the set-up is going. The table cloths are particularly splendid! The Connections Stand is piled with useful leaflets, but the book stall is a blank page so far. Some of the sponsors have already decorated their stalls… I forgot to say that we had our photos taken at around lunchtime (yes, I’m a sponsor in kind too) posing on the dot and behind the staging.

3.10pm Harry Baker, maths student, is doing his world champion slam poetry thing. Performance poetry about astrophysics and number theory makes the world a brighter place… not that I’m biased as a former maths student myself :)

3.35pm Simon Peyton Jones has come, spoken and gone. Allyson Pollock is up, with her slides and props.

4pm Bandi Mbubi was here two years ago. The red dot has moved in the interim. Ann Daniels is in the photography booth, and she’ll be the last up today. But for me, I think I’m away off home to do some baking.