Knowsley’s theme for its year as Borough of Culture is Storytelling and central to the whole idea is the opportunity to capture and bring to life the stories of the borough’s people and places.
The storytelling will include everything from local folk tales, traditions and heritage that are unique to Knowsley to exploring people’s hopes and dreams of what the borough may become in the future.
Through all of the events and activities, people will be encouraged to share their stories – if they wish – to help build up a picture of life in Knowsley and ensure that all aspects of culture are showcased, shared and celebrated.
A key part of the celebrations will be The Owl and the Pussy-Cat Trail. The poem, by Edward Lear, was actually written at Knowsley Hall. This fascinating fact and Lear’s connections to Knowsley are set to be celebrated throughout 2022 with a huge sculpture trail featuring 16 pairs of 2 metre-high owls and pussy-cats.
The Borough of Culture was introduced by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in 2018 to encourage and enable each Borough to deliver cultural programmes which create a lasting legacy across the whole region.
Here’s what to expect from Knowsley’s illuminating start to the year:
Tall Tales – 4 and 5 February 2022 – Stockbridge Village
Tall Tales is a brand-new large-scale community artwork that will see Merecliff – a residential 16 storey tower in Stockbridge Village (adjacent to the M57 motorway) – animated and illuminated in light. The dramatic projection which will be accompanied by a soundtrack, will tell the story of local people and communities who have shared their stories, memories, hopes and dreams about the place they call home.
These Tall Tales, captured, interpreted and exaggerated by artists Illuminos will be brought to life over two incredible evenings in January. This event is being delivered in partnership with Knowsley Council, ForHousing and the local community.
Aqualux – 14 to 28 January – Kirkby town centre
Aqualux is a stunning 8 metre by 3-metre-wide light installation that will be situated in Kirkby town centre for two weeks.
The artwork consists of 48 containers which can hold up to 1,000 litres of water – the average consumption of a household over a year. Coming to life after dark. the illuminated artwork will also be accompanied by music to create a memorable and magical experience while raising awareness of the need to conserve and protect our fragile water supplies.
A switch on event will take place on 14 January which will include Spark illuminated drummers to welcome the installation to Kirkby. Aqualux is delivered in partnership with Blackpool Illuminations.
The Magic Wood – 21, 22 and 23 January 2022 – Halewood
Over three consecutive evenings Court Farm Woods in Halewood will be transformed into an enchanted spectacle of light, music and fiery woodland creatures. Hand crafted, intricate fire sculptures will transform the space into an outdoor gallery of wonder where visitors will be able to wander through the attractions or stand and watch the spectacle unfold.
The Magic Wood – A Fire Garden by Walk the Plank will be unique to Halewood and will feature performances from Bring The Fire Project, harpist Rebecca Mills and a special family performance set in giant golden birdcage.
Numbers are limited so tickets need to be booked in advance from Wednesday 8 December. See www.cultureknowsley.co.uk for details.
Gaia – 28 January to 17 February – St. Chad’s Church Kirkby
Luke Jerram’s ‘Gaia’ is an astonishing 6-metre-wide replica of the earth based on imagery and data from NASA. Suspended in the air and slowly revolving, the artwork – which will be housed in St. Chad’s Church in Kirkby – gives people a chance to see the planet, floating in three dimensions.
A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture.
As a touring artwork, Gaia is famous across the globe and an exciting programme of events and activities is being devised for its visit to Kirkby.
Submergence – 12 to 24 February – Huyton Village Centre
Submergence is a reflective, immersive walkthrough experience that will go on display in Sherbourne Square in Huyton Village. Consisting of thousands of individual points of suspended light, visitors are encouraged to enter the artwork to experience the amazing light illusion for themselves.
Alongside Submergence, Huyton will also be home to a second light installation still to be announced by world renowned experts Squid Soup. More details will be announced soon.
New Dawn Light Spectacular – 18 and 19 February – Knowsley Hall
The New Dawn programme will come to a spectacular climax over two consecutive evenings in February. In two showings per evening, the iconic Knowsley Hall will be illuminated in a series of dramatic projections recreating a vision of a pop-up story book – a fairy-tale of lights and sound telling the stories of Knowsley.
Delivered by video projection artist’s Illuminos and accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack from renowned composer Patrick Dineen the spectacular will create a unique and memorable moment for all visitors.
Numbers are limited, so anyone interested in attending should register to be part of a ballot to receive ‘golden tickets’ to this spectacular event. Details can be found here www.cultureknowsley.co.uk/new-dawn-light-spectacular/.
All of these events will be free for the public to attend (although some will require tickets to be reserved in advance).