The first Lumiere light festival took place in Durham in 2009. Originally planned as a one-off, with the support of Durham County Council and other sponsors, producers Artichoke have brought the event back to the North East every other year since then.
Lumiere is a light festival that offers something for everyone. In 2017, a record 240,000 visitors came to Lumiere in Durham enjoying a programme that mixed family-friendly interactive installations with groundbreaking artistic commissions such as Pablo Valbuena’s Methods and Adam Frelin’s White Line, 3-D video-mapping, stand alone light sculptures, neons, a kinetic fire installation, and a flashmob of illuminated umbrellas dancing unexpectedly through the cobbled streets.
There are always plenty of opportunities for local people to get involved in the festival, from applying to the BRILLIANT competition with an idea for a light work, to being part of installations like Our Moon, and volunteering to be part of the fun as a Lumiere festival maker. Over the last ten years, our producers and artists have worked with thousands of local people and schoolchildren in Lumiere projects, including making work with some of the county’s prison population.
Lumiere has also travelled to other cities in the UK. In 2013, Lumiere Derry~Londonderry was the finale to the first UK City of Culture celebrations. Huge audiences enjoyed a dazzling programme including Compagnie Carabosse’s Fire Garden in St Columb’s Park and a giant game of consequences video-mapped onto Ebrington Clocktower by Ocubo.
In January 2016 and 2018, Lumiere London took place in the capital, pedestrianising large parts of the West End including Oxford Street, Regents Street and Piccadilly and transforming Mayfair, King’s Cross, Waterloo and South Bank, clocking up more than one million visits each time.
Susannah Clapp, The Guardian