Celebrating Light Night 2019

The image is taken at night. There is a large building in the background, lit by yellow and green light. There are people in white outfits holding large drums. A tall puppet made of white lights is stood between them.

We can’t believe that it was 5 years ago this week that Light Night Stoke-on-Trent 2019 took place in Burslem with a huge range of partners including the New Vic Theatre. Light Night Stoke-on-Trent was an amazing opportunity brought about by the city’s bid for UK City of Culture and Arts Council England and Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s ambitions for arts and culture in the city. We hosted international, national and local artists as part of the programme and worked with the Cultural Champions through the Cultural Forum to decide the newly commissioned local artists and artworks.

We’re still completely inspired by the event, and love hearing people’s memories of those snow and ice filled nights in 2019. Did you join us on one of those chilly, winter nights in the mother town?

Although our relationship with evening and light started with Walk the Plank’s Fire Garden at Hanley Park in 2014 with Friends of Hanley Park, we’re still using that event to create experiences in the area. We’re using this anniversary to look at those too.

In January 2021, after our collective experience of COVID we started the New Year with a poignant poem, The Gift, created by Gabriella Gay for the people of Stoke-on-Trent. A line from the poem, ‘Roar Open With Hope’, lit up the sky in Stoke-on-Trent City Centre as it took pride of place on top of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to lift people’s spirits. This project was supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke-on-Trent BID and created by Neon Workshops

The image shows Neon lettering against a night sky on top of a building. The lettering reads ‘Roar Open With Hope’.

Image by Andrew Billington 

Our love of light didn’t stop there! To brighten up the dark nights during lockdown we had Sound Intervention‘s Projector Bikes tour the streets of Cross Heath, Chesterton and Kidsgrove in December 2020 and then again in January 2022.  The musical bikes projected the likes of dinosaurs and dancing bin’s onto people’s homes and streets. We loved seeing people come out of their houses at teatime to enjoy the display! You can catch a glimpse of what we got up to in our film

Images by Andrew Billington 

In March 2022, we worked with Illuminos to create Down the Rabbit Hole especially for Harecastle Tunnel in Kidsgrove, in partnership with Canal & River Trust. Illuminos worked directly with students from The King’s C of E Academy to create animations that came to life during the night and went down the rabbit hole of the Harecastle Tunnel. Small lanterns also lined the way along the tow path, created by our friends at B Arts with support from Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Borough Council and funding by the European Regional Development Fund and HM Government through Welcome Back funds

Images by Clara Lou Photography

Ahead of our Down the Rabbit Hole 2023 event, a group of women with Bright Ideas took part in our lighting design project with expert lighting designer Daniella Beattie. Their creation, along with work by young women at The King’s C of E Academy, lit the canal side across two evenings. We worked with Illuminos and a new cohort of King’s C of E Academy students to light a bridge across the canal as well as partnering up with our friends at Canal & River Trust

Images by Andrew Billington 

Luma by AirGiants made a glowing appearance at last year’s Newcastle-under-Lyme Christmas Light Switch on. As well as our Newcastle Common space being open for visitors and community consultation, Luma the snail also warmed the hearts of audiences on the chilly November evening.

Images by Andrew Billington 

Just as we shone the light on the historic buildings of Burselm during Light Night, down the road in Middleport we illuminated the historic mill building for two nights in January, alongside presenting four illuminated pieces on the canal and in Middleport Park for A Magical Middleport Winter, created for people local to the area by Appetite and Middleport Matters with support from Canal & River Trust and the Denise Coates Foundation.

Images by Andrew Billington 

Thank you to everyone over the years who has helped us to light up Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, including the amazing artists whose work we’ve presented, the production teams and partners who have helped to bring the events together and, of course, to everyone who came along to experience it all – you definitely lit up our evenings by being there!

Want to know what else is going on?

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