Everything you need to know about next month's Lumiere spectacular in Durham

From a gigantic illuminated mobile over the River Wear to a field of light flowers which will blanket Durham Cathedral's Cloisters - Lumiere will return in all its awe-inspiring glory next month.

Monday, 16th October 2017, 1:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:53 am
The Umbrella Project by Cirque Bijou

The four-day spectacle, which will return to Durham City for the fifth time from November 16-19, was officially launched at Gala Theatre today when all 29 artworks were unveiled for the first time.

Once again, the eyes of the world will fall on the city when it hosts the UK’s largest light spectacle, featuring both international and home-grown talent.

Control No Control by Daniel Iregui

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Helen Marriage, from arts charity Artichoke, who produce the spectacle, said visitors can once again expect an interactive display of art installations, many of which have been produced in collaboration with the people of Durham through outreach arts projects.

She said: “For most people Lumiere is a four-day spectacle which happens every two years, but behind the scenes we’ve been working with communities to inspire creativity for months.”

Among the art works which involve Durham residents is The Common Good by art collective Shared Space and Light, It will see the Miners’ Hall transformed with a 3D video projection of public sector workers, such as firefighters and refuse collectors.

Helen said: “Lumiere is a huge pull for artists and this year just over half the programme is by artists from outside the UK. But we also work with local talent, such as students at National Glass Centre who have made 2,000 hand-blown glass pieces to represent the cosmos which will be installed at St Oswald’s Church.”

Drawn in Light by Ralf Westerhof

Durham hosted the first Lumiere in 2009 which proved so popular it sparked similar events elsewhere in the country, including London.

As the birthplace of the event, which has captured the world’s attention, Helen says Durham holds a special place in the organisers’ hearts.

“We love coming here, it’s such an amazing city, and over the years we’ve got to know it incredibly well,” she said. “Everyone is so welcoming and they always ask what they can do to help.”

Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, who commission the event with support from Arts Council England, Durham University and other funders, said: “In just a few weeks’ time our perfect little city will be transformed once again into a spectacular, mesmerising and fascinating place of light. Illuminating our history and heritage, landscapes and architecture in ways we could never imagine, this year’s line-up looks set to be another global event.”

Heron by Jon Voss


• A free ticketing system will be in operation during peak times between 4.30pm and 7.30pm from November 16-19 for the city centre peninsula area only. There will be a limited number of free tickets available for each night of the festival.

Tickets will be available from Tuesday October 17 at 10am online and in person. Numbers will be limited to six festival tickets per household during the event (not six per night). They will be available in person from Durham’s libraries and Durham Gala Theatre and online at www.durham.gov.uk/lumiereHighlights at this year’s Lumiere will include:

•Illumaphonium by Michael Davis at Walkergate

Illumaphonium by Michael Davis

An interactive piece, touch one of the 100 illuminated bars to activate this musical sculpture.

•Heron by Jon Voss, best viewed at Framwellgate waterside

This large-scale piece will depict one of England’s most-loved birds as if captured in flight.

•Anonymous, by LDCOL at the Gala Theatre

Step inside the glowing white cube, take to the microphone and strike a pose which will be projected onto the side of the theatre.

•Our Moon, by Hannah Fox at Durham Castle

Shimmer by Dan Fox and Phil Supple

The faces of Durham’s residents will be imprinted into the illustration of the moon.

•Control No Control by Daniel Iregui at Prince Bishops Shopping Centre

Use your body to manipulate the graphics of this interactive LED sculpture.

•Entre les Rangs by Rami Bebawi/Kanva at Cathedral cloister

The cloister will be filled with thousands of illuminated flowers.

•The Umbrella Project by Cirque Bijou at various locations

This choreographed performance piece starring Durham residents will see LED umbrellas pop up around the city.

Control No Control by Daniel Iregui
Drawn in Light by Ralf Westerhof
Heron by Jon Voss
Illumaphonium by Michael Davis
Shimmer by Dan Fox and Phil Supple