By Tilly Foulkes
This year Knowsley will be the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture. 2022’s Borough of Culture theme is storytelling and Knowsley will be focusing on the stories of the people who live there and the places that are important to them. This will include explorations of local folk tales and traditions, fantastic light installations and unique gallery exhibitions. Each demonstration invites you to share your own stories about what makes the area the place that it is.
A New Dawn
Kicking off the sequence of events, A New Dawn is a remarkable set of light installations. Choreographed illuminations will be projected onto town centres, public buildings, landmarks and residential tower blocks, bringing to life the architecture of the borough.
All events are free, however tickets are necessary. New Dawn’s highlights include:
Tall Tales (4 & 5 February 2022)
Merecliff – a residential tower in Stockbridge Village – is to be illuminated by a large-scale community artwork. The animation will tell the story of local people and communities, and will be accompanied by a soundtrack to add an extra layer to the work.
This exhibition will be brought by Illumios for two nights only in February; made in partnership with Knowsley Council, ForHousing and the local community.
Aqualux ( 14 – 28 January 2022)
Exhibited in Kirkby town centre for two weeks, Aqualux is a giant light installation that includes 48 containers holding the annual average water consumption of one person. By night, the illuminated artwork will be switched on and guided by music, in a bid to prove we must protect our water supplies.
The show will debut on Friday 14 January at 4pm. This will include performances from Spark illuminated drummers.
The Magic Wood: A Fire Garden by Walk The Plank (21 – 23 January 2022)
Halewood’s Court Farm Woods is to be transformed into a magical pageant of light and music for three consecutive evenings. The paths will be lined with copper flowers that exhale fire, complexly carved flaming flower boxes, and sculptural trees that will reconstruct the space into a magnificent outdoor gallery.
A spectacle unique to Halewood, the exhibition will feature performances from Bring The Fire Project and music from harpist Rebecca Mills.
Gaia (28 January – 18 February 2022)
Gaia is a touring artwork created by Luke Jerram. Set to come to Kirkby’s St. Chad’s Church in the new year, the piece is a large-scale replica of the earth, using detailed imagery from NASA to recreate the planet’s surface. It serves as a unique opportunity to view our planet.
BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones has created a surround sound composition to accompany the art.
Submergence (12 – 26 February 2022)
Submergence is an immersive walkthrough experience displayed at Sherbourne Square in Huyton Village Centre. It consists of thousands of specific points of suspended light. Visitors are able – and encouraged to enter the artwork themselves to experience the light and illusion created.
Huyton will also be home to a second light installation still in development by Squid Soup – more details to be announced soon.
New Dawn Light Spectacular at Knowsley Hall (18 & 19 February 2022)
The New Dawn programme will come to a spectacular climax over two consecutive evenings in February at Knowsley Hall. Delivered by video projection artists Illuminos and accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack from renowned composer Patrick Dineen the spectacular will create a unique and memorable moment for all visitors.
Quentin Blake (17 January to 16 April 2022)
Kirkby Gallery’s first exhibition of the year will be ‘Quentin Blake: Illustrating Verse.’ Sir Quentin Blake – who has worked with the likes of Roald Dahl and Sylvia Plath – has personally selected 120 of his best illustrations, accompanying everything from comical poems to ballads.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat Trail (Dates TBA soon)
Unknown to most; Edward Lear’s classic poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat’ was written at Knowsley Hall. This, and Lear’s other connections to the borough are to be celebrated throughout 2022 – most notably with a huge sculpture trail, featuring 16 pairs of owls and cats.
The organisers are keen to work with local creatives to bring Knowsley’s cultural identity to life through these magical sculptures. Local artists are encouraged to get involved!
The Opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse (Summer 2022)
Completing the Shakespearean triangle, the Shakespeare North Playhouse is set to open in the summer of 2022. Not only will the Playhouse be host to brilliant Shakespearean drama; it will also have a programme of performances and cultural activity that spans many art forms and appeals to different audiences.
For more information visit www.shakespearenorthplayhouse.co.uk
Knowsley Flower Show and Feel Good Festival (6 & 7 August 2022)
Floral displays and family activities inspired to boost your wellbeing and mental health, the Knowsley Flower Show and Feel Good Festival is a free and fun event set to return on 6th and 7th of August at Court Hey Park, Huyton.
Celebrating Sport (Dates TBA soon)
With many local sporting legends to celebrate, Knowsley will be holding a borough-wide relay to celebrate their great achievements – which span from Olympic medal winners to European cup trophies!
Award Winning ‘As you write it’ Pieces (Dates TBA soon)
During the opening season of the new Shakespeare North Playhouse, the Playhouse will host exclusive award-winning performances by the young people who took part – and won – in the national competition run by BBC’s The One Show.
Ticket information available closer to the time.
National Gallery Masterpiece Tour (10 October – 17 December 2022)
Renowned artists will be displaying their work in Kirkby Gallery from 10 October 2022 until December 17. The exhibition will include work by Cezanne, Degas and Renoir, with the gallery being one of three places chosen across the whole of the UK to host the National Gallery Masterpiece tour of Degas’s ‘Helene Rouart in her Father’s Study’.
This exhibition will coincide nicely with the international touring exhibition from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum – ‘Making an Impressions: Prints by Manet, Pissaro and their Contemporaries’.
These works will be found on the first floor of the Kirkby Centre, opening times being Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm; and Saturdays 10am to 1pm.
For more information about Knowsley Borough of Culture 2022 head over to www.cultureknowsley.co.uk