The Return of WINTERLIGHT – December 11 2016!

On Sunday December 11th 2016 at 4.30, over 300 people from Calderdale took part in a procession from Sowerby Bridge Railway station to the Winterlight Festival site. The parade involved the six Gigantes y Cabezudos of the Mortal Orchestra. They were escorted by attendees, dressed in chef’s illuminated costumes, lantern carriers from local schools, illuminated geese choreographed by Calderdale Theatre School and torch bearers from local community groups.

The procession was accompanied by a fugue, specially written for the giant puppets. When the procession arrived at the Festival site on Hollins Mill Lane they were greeted by a performance to deliver a giant egg with a devised by Calderdale Theatre School. The flying geese, which were made in community workshops, decorated the street alongside illuminated lanterns and other sculpture and lanterns.
When the procession arrived at the Festival site on Hollins Mill Lane, lead elements from the parade performed an opening ceremony culminating with a goose fly past dance and a giant egg laying moment. This specially devised theatrical interface between the parade ending and the main event beginning triggered a dramatic moment for the bespoke light projections and the opening band to start Winterlight 2016.

The festival began with Hope and Social to a bespoke video projected on to the buildings by digital artist Andy McKeowen. The projections included over 350 portraits via Instagram of local people. Fire Beneath the Sea performed on the fire station stage. The crowd were entertained by Granny Turismo, shopping trolley dance display team and were engaged with a roving performance consisting of Bunraku-style illuminated puppets, a human tree and a musical mangle. Mr Wilsons Second Liners entertained the audience by a walk-about music performance with with a six metre, inflatable illuminated mobile lobster performed by Artizanti.

The interior of the building included an installation of lanterns from local students and a creative collaboration of Companies Historique, Inztant, Avanti and Wally Range All Stars. Window designs were created for the festival by The Ryburn Art Group and Calderdale college.

The evening concluded with Mr Wilson’s Second Liners playing to a fantastic firework display created and delivered by Peter Williamson of Skyblazers Sowerby Bridge. Approximately 3000 people attended the event from 4.00pm to 9.00pm.

The event was videoed by Tim Peck and photographed by Darren Fleming see photographs of the event here. The stage manager was Geoff Amos and the event compèred by Mike Hancock. Artistic director was Bryan Tweddle and Musical Director was Peadar Long. Lighting and sound was designed by John Anderton. The event was produced by Phil Hawdon.

The festival helped us to deliver our long term plans to enhance community life for our local citizens through performance, music and art. The huge turnout of 3000 people confirms a desire for a continuation of our Winterlight festival We included people from different parts of the valley and from a wide age range, including primary, secondary pupils, parents and teenagers to senior citizens.