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Illuminate returns for 2021

Illuminate returns for 2021 bringing magical light art and immersive digital installations from 15 to 28 November.

Led by Real Ideas Organisation, Plymouth’s much loved annual light art event last took place in November 2019 and despite attempts to run it in November 2020 and February 2021, COVID restrictions and lockdowns prevented it taking place.

Much has changed in the two years since the event last ran so it feels only right that Illuminate changes too. In the world we’re now living in we can’t continue with a large-scale event of 50,000 visitors that packed Royal William Yard. Instead with are creating a two-week programme, mostly in and around Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard and at the Market Hall in Devonport of light art, installations and immersive experiences for everyone to enjoy as well as a host of workshops and sessions for people to participate in.

Given the fragile state of our world and environment, Illuminate will also reflect on and respond to COP26 with a focus on the Climate Crisis, exploring what it means to each of us and how we can all  contribute to making change happen.

This year will also see greater focus on commissioning work from British creatives and local artists to support the cultural sector, which was so hard hit during the pandemic and to creating participative activities for children and people of all ages.

To help run the event safely, Illuminate will be managed through free tickets to ensure social distancing and COVID regulations can be observed. Free tickets will be released in early October – stay tuned to Illuminate socials for more details. 

Claire Honey, Head of cultural experiences at Real Ideas said:
‘We’re thrilled to announce that Illuminate is back! After postponing activity planned for November 2020 to February 2021 then ultimately cancelling due to COVID, we are making plans to bring the joy and magic of Illuminate back to Plymouth this winter and we couldn’t be more excited!

“Naturally we’ll be making some necessary changes to keep our audiences safe and socially distanced, but with Illuminate 2021 we intend to engage and inspire like never before! 

“This year’s Illuminate will focus on the theme of Climate Crisis, with installations and immersive experiences telling the stories of our fragile environment, asking questions and helping us understand what we can all do to help. And, with the immersive dome in Devonport now open, Illuminate will span Ocean Studios and the Market Hall offering two locations for light art and immersive experiences as part of this year’s festival. 

Tickets for Illuminate 2021 will be available HERE.

To find out more visit: https://illuminate-festival.co.uk/ and follow our social feeds.


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The chosen title of the exhibition, ‘We See You’ responds directly to the generosity of the children in Kabul who agreed to share their art and the meaning they attach to it with distant strangers living very different lives.
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The focus of the exhibition is Care for Creation, giving youngsters a voice and say on their future.
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MayFest 2024 is in full swing, with up to 50 events taking place at The House Theatre in Plymouth, across the last two weeks of May.
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Head to Flavour Fest, the south west’s largest free food and drink festival!

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