Illuminating York Festival 2013

Get on a trail of lights that aims to be the best and the largest York Festival
Weds 30th Oct – Sat 2nd November 2013
This October, one event that is not to be missed is Illuminating York 2013. You are cordially invited to a festival of lights that can be seen in different places in the city. There will be two sites for projection with many different lighting activities and a special programme for all the fringe activities.

You will see York in a completely new light that has never been seen before. York will come alive with lights as Ross Ashton and Karen Monid display their artwork labelled Triquetra. Immersive will partner Gaia Nova to bring together the best of the cinema and animation.

In addition, there will also be a Fire installation by renowned artists, Walk the Plank, by the river and more supporting artworks in city centre spaces. Another new event for the Festival is SPARK; as part of the Festival’s commitment to new and emerging artists, five artists have been selected to illuminate trees in a trail that starts outside The Treasurer’s House.

This year’s Festival once again uses cutting edge technology to celebrate York’s rich heritage and challenge residents and visitors to see the city in a different light.  Artists this year were asked to create an artwork based around York’s Viking history as the city celebrates 1000 years since the first Danish King of England, King Sweyn Forkbeard. Ross Ashton and Karen Monid are using projections and a beautiful soundscape. Triquetra will be projected onto Clifford’s Tower in the Eye of York, and the hill on which it stands, will tell the tale of the three Viking Kings of Denmark who had a great influence on York and England.  In particular Sweyn Forkbeard who was briefly buried at York, and Cnut the Great his son.

The Yorkshire Museum will once again be a canvas for the Festival, but this year in a way unlike any other that has gone before. Using actors and film, as well as digital 3D mapping, Immersive and Gaia Nova will be narrating a tale, ‘The Storyteller’, loosely based on the legend of Eric Bloodaxe, a Viking king whose only goal was to enter Valhalla, but who unfortunately was just too good at fighting.

Tickets will be available for Triquetra and The Storyteller from York Theatre Royal Box Office from 1 October and will be just £6 (adults) for both locations. In addition, ticket income from the 2012 Festival has allowed the event to grow, with many more free artworks as well as ticketed ones. In the Memorial Gardens off Leeman Road by the river, Walk the Plank will be creating a fire, while in Parliament Street Same Sky will be creating Thor’s Oak, a tree of light. Moving down Coppergate, JORVIK Viking Centre will be the backdrop for Fiske and Croft’s projection inspired by the Viking sagas, and strating the Treasurers House will be SPARK, where five emerging artists will be creating their own artworks in and around trees, inspired by the theme ‘Tree of Life’.

There will also be the biggest ever supporting festival with iconic visitor attractions across the city offering visitors the opportunity to visit their famous sites at night, in a series of special after hours tours, light installations and candlelit performances.

City of York Council portfolio holder for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Councillor Sonja Crisp, said “We have been working towards extending the scale of the Festival this year and I am delighted that visitors and residents can now make a full evening of it with artworks across the city. We have also listened to public opinion and while we do still need to make a small charge for the main projection sites, there is also the opportunity to see nine illuminating artworks free of charge.”

Ross Ashton, artist for 2013,said “York is one of the most beautiful cities in the world – you are literally stumbling over history on every street corner. It is full of stories waiting to be told and this year Karen and I are excited to be working for the first time with such an iconic location, both the building and the landscape on which it stands”.

Illuminating York is supported by City of York Council, Arts Council England, Visit York, York St John University, English Heritage, York Museums Trust, York Archaeological Trust and the people of York.

The 2013 Festival runs from 30 October – 2 November from 6pm – 10pm each evening. Tickets for the two main projections cost just £6 per adult and £5 for under 16s. The events will be free to for Under 5s (under 12s must be accompanied by an adult). Tickets will be available from 1 October from York Theatre Royal in person or on 01904 623568 or

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