The York Museum Gardens will be transformed into a ten acre magical wonderland later this Autumn for the return of Illuminating York (Wednesday 31 October – Saturday 3 November). In addition, old world meets new, as the hauntingly beautiful ruins of St Mary’s Abbey (more recently the backdrop for the York Mystery Plays), the stunning facade of the Yorkshire Museum and part of the City Walls provide the backgrounds to three large scale cutting edge projections.
This will be York’s largest Illuminating York Festival yet, with comedian Vic Reeves given a free reign to unleash his absurd and magical creations in the centre of York. At just £5 per adult, this ticket is a passport to another land.
Illuminating York 2011 saw 60,000 people flock to the festival that not only gave artistic pleasure for York’s tourists and residents but also brought an estimated £1.7 million to the local economy.
Illuminating York 2012 will be joining this year’s York 800 celebrations by granting Vic Reeves and partners Bright White, Chetwoods and Arup the freedom to take over the Museum Gardens to create their own Wonderland. Inspired by absurdist works such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, they are creating a new world that turns the expected upside down and revels in the beauty of the unexpected.
As well as three large scale projections, the botanical gardens will also be brought to magical life using innovative lighting around trees and plants. This has been made possible with a new partnership with Blackpool Council who have allowed the creative team to borrow many core items from their enormous store of lighting technology.
Cllr Sonja Crisp, Leisure, Culture and Social Inclusion today said: “The scale and ambition of this year’s festival will be truly spectacular. We have never attempted anything this big before and after seeing the plans I can’t wait to see the gardens transformed into a magical and surreal experience right here in the centre of York. We are also very pleased with the scale of public and private partnerships which have made this year’s festival possible, including a partnership with Blackpool Council.”
Chris Walker from Bright White Ltd today said: ‘Illuminating York 2012 has given us a unique opportunity to explore the role that absurd art plays in our lives, and to create an enchanted space with lighting that will define the Museum Gardens space at night – a first for the City. The work of Vic Reeves is a perfect match for this absurd world, what’s so great about being serious anyway? It was titled Wonderland in tribute to Lewis Carroll, the creator of Alice in Wonderland, a masterpiece of absurd storytelling.’
Supported by the City of York Council, Arts Council England, York Museums Trust, Blackpool Council and Visit York, this year’s festival once again uses cutting edge technology and over £500,000 worth of lighting technology to celebrate York’s rich heritage and challenge visitors to see York in a different light.
Wonderland is also supported by a programme offering visitors the opportunity to visit other famous sites at night, as many of York’s iconic visitor attractions open their doors after hours and invite visitors to a series of special performances, light installations and art exhibitions.
To encourage visitors to make an evening of it, many city centre bars, restaurants and cafes are also offering meal deal offers and discounts. The 2012 Festival runs from 31st Oct – 3rd Nov from 6.30pm-10.30pm each evening.
Tickets go on sale on 17th September, costing £5 per adult, Under 5s: free, 6 – 16 £1 (under 12s must be accompanied by an adult). Timed passes giving an approximate time of entry with no pressure to leave, so you can spend 10 minutes or 2 hours. Tickets are available from York Theatre Royal in person or on 01904 623568 or www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.