Festival lights the way again

Durham Cathedral during the Lumiere festival.
Durham Cathedral during the Lumiere festival.
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A FESTIVAL which will light a city’s skyline is expected to give the region a tourism boost when it makes its return this year.

Lumiere will be hosted in Durham from Thursday, November 17, to the following Sunday, with organisers promising it will be brighter, bigger and bolder than its debut in 2009.

Its programme will include a raft of new works by internationally-renowned artists and new commissions from local artists and creative people under the Brilliant banner.

The event has been commissioned by Durham County Council with support by Arts Council England.

The inaugural festival drew an estimated 75,000 people into the city over four nights, and generated £1.5million for the local economy.

More than 20 artworks, projections and performances took place in the first celebration, picking out and transforming the landmarks, streets, river and bridges of the city.

This year’s programme will be announced in the summer.

Simon Henig, leader of the council, said, “We are delighted to be once again working in partnership with Artichoke as they have such a strong track record of producing live events that leave a lasting impression on the people and places they transform.

“At Lumiere 2009 we witnessed first hand how culture can touch people’s lives in the most remarkable way, with residents and visitors alike enjoying a series of spectacular displays, and local businesses benefiting greatly from the influx of visitors who flooded the city to be part of the event.

“Lumiere 2011 will undoubtedly further cement Durham’s position as a major cultural destination.”

For this year, Artichoke, which is planning the event, and NewcastleGateshead are looking closer to home to commission work with artists and creative people living in the region, with up to £40,000 available to support the commissions, which will be showcased throughout the festival.