Glowing reviews for Liverpool LightNight

Last week, Liverpool lit up with over 130 events, exhibitions and light masterpieces on display across the city centre.

For one night, Light Night arts festival returned to illuminate the city for the sixth consecutive year (on Friday 15 May) with thousands of visitors exploring and celebrating the city’s world-class cultural offer.

This year’s theme Looking to the New World saw over 100 organisations join forces to offer special free events for all ages from mass dance workshops, exhibitions and walking tours, to light installations, science demos, dress up photo booths and concerts.

Vintage buses were also in action on the city’s streets as Merseyside Transport Trust provided a heritage bus service.

Mike Cammack of Merseyside Transport Trust said:

“Our team of volunteers at Merseyside Transport Trust were really looking forward to showing off some of our historic double-deckers on LightNight. We work year round to conserve Merseyside’s largest collection of preserved historic vehicles, and regularly display our vehicles throughout the region.

“LightNight is a new opportunity for us, and it was great to have the LightNight audience hopping on and off our classic buses from the past.”

Charlotte Corrie, Director of LightNight organisers Open Culture, said:

“It was great to have the support of Merseyside Transport Trust and their incredible buses for LightNight this year, giving our audiences a new way to move from venue to venue. The classic buses aren’t often seen on the streets of Liverpool so it was great to have an alternative way to experience the city and the festival – and save your feet!”

LightNight has always had a strong focus on events for all the family, and this year was no exception. At the Cunard Building children and adults were able to enjoy Time Liners, a new installation by Make Space Create that brought real stories and experiences of those who worked on the liners to life with projection, storytelling and interactive installations.

Altru Children’s Theatre had a pop-up tea party at Rococo coffee shop where families were able to meet some of Lewis Carroll’s zaniest Alice in Wonderland characters, and 10% of all money raised on the night has gone to Altru Arts CIC to allow them to continue their work with young people.

At the Open Eye Gallery Urban Canvas hosted the Light Packets lantern-making workshop, inspired by the cargo ships that sailed between Liverpool and the New World. Participants were able to add a handwritten message to their lantern and, once the sun had set, they were launched onto the canal which created a beautiful floating light installation.

Central Library was a hive of activity with readings from Scottie Writers and WOW Fest, storytelling from Petite Ullaloom and the Cryptid Petting Zoo puppetry from Headstrung Theatre. There was also the ‘third largest book in the world’, a writing workshop from Writing Advice Desk and performances from In Harmony, Southport String Ensemble and Ukulele Club Liverpool.

Hex// Light DiVision is a newly commissioned performance, and visitors were able to watch 8 local musicians perform a futuristic science-fiction ‘ritual’ by the Dyads who wore illuminated double sided masks and colourful costumes representing two visions of the future – nature and technology.

The masks will display wirelessly operated colourful light shows accompanied by a new composition performed live. Performances took place at the iconic locations of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Plateau, University Square on Brownlow Hill, the Pier Head and William Brown Street.

Co-Director and Production Manager for the piece Laura Spark said:

“Hex// Light DiVision pulled together a number of components from composers Joel Murray, Simon Knighton and Rory Ballantyne, resonating and euphoric beats, geometric choreography”

“Hex// Light DiVision is a science fiction ritual conducted by a dynasty of dualistic ManMachines called Dyads. These prophetic ‘Future Gazers’ show us two opposing perspectives on the New World, and deliver an illuminated interpretation of their foresights to determine whether or not there can be a harmonious balance between the two.”

Liverpool Samba School presented the ever popular Samba Showcase in Exchange Flags and at St Peter’s Square during LightNight, with colourful costumes and rhythmical samba drumming attracting visitors.

Earth, Sound & Fire took place at Wellington’s Column later on in the evening and was a resounding success.

After 10 years rocking the city, the people behind Batala Liverpool have reformed and are now Liverpool’s largest, loudest, most vibrant drum ensemble called Katumba Bloco.  They took LightNight as the opportunity to officially launch and were joined by BrazUKa, fire artists from Bring The Fire Project as well as Capoeira For All CIC acrobats.

The acts combined to create a spectacular performance, keeping crowds enthralled throughout.

Two outdoor light projections were on display at FACT and LJMU John Lennon Art & Design Building, as well as one indoor projection at Anglican Cathedral which was created especially for the festival.

FACT presented a new commission by artist Erica Scourti.  It explored ideas of memory and erasure in relation to technology and our mental health.

Mike Stubbs, Director at FACT said:

“Here at FACT we always look forward to LightNight, the evening always has a brilliant carnival atmosphere and it’s an opportunity to welcome new visitors to our building. This year we opened our Group Therapy exhibition – which explores the important issue of mental health in a creative and interactive way – and commissioned artist Erica Scourti to transform Ropewalks Square into an outdoor gallery with large-scale projections and performances.”

LJMU’s John Lennon Art & Design Building will saw 10 minute mapped light projections by LJMU alumni and Deutsche Bank Winners MAPOUT.

Visualising [the] Unseen sparked the imagination of onlookers, with the artist intending to influence the audience’s perception of architecture through sound and projected light.

For the first time on LightNight a large-scale light projection took place indoors, on the ceiling inside Liverpool Anglican Cathedral by artist Andy McKeown.  Visitors were able to see fragments of cathedral stained glass forming and reforming live, in kaleidoscopic motion. The result was an epic and unique display of light and colour on a stunning backdrop.

Look out for our coverage of Light Night 2015 in this weeks newsletter!

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