This uplifting and often humorous film (released in 2016) tells the true story of a group of African American woman who are working on the early stages of the NASA space programme.

Facing prejudice (both racial and gender), the three main protagonists, played with great zest by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, defy the odds to establish themselves at the heart of the space race. Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst offer great support, and the film captures the spirit of the age without every feeling overly polemic or heavy handed. Also look out for Mahershala Ali, who was superb in the recent Oscar winning Moonlight and is equally strong here.

As Empire magazine put it in their four star review: “You’ve seen films about the Space Race before — but probably never one about space racism. Theodore Melfi’s film is both a thunderously effective feel-good experience and a reminder that even as we look to other planets, Earth still has a long way to go.”

Given the subject matter of the film, we are also very pleased to announce that Hidden Figures will be preceded by a special guest speaker, Monica Grady, who is a leading British space scientist, primarily known for her work on meteorites. Since 2005, she has been Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University, and is currently Head of the Department of Physical Sciences. Monica was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to space sciences. She is the first UK scientist to be President of the international Meteoritical Society. (Almost as importantly, Monica is from Leeds!)

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