Illuminating York in 2011
Illuminating York in 2011

York/Blackpool cultural exchange supports illuminating York

7 October 2012

A cultural collaboration between the City of York and Blackpool is set to light up York Museum Gardens during Illuminating York 2012.

The agreement, signed between the two local authorities, includes world-class tourist destination City of York Council borrowing Blackpool Council’s market-leading lighting stock – and its expertise – to help create the awe-inspiring spectacular known as Vic Reeves . Wonderland.

Illuminating York in 2011
Illuminating York in 2011


Blackpool Council has allowed the creative team behind Illuminating York 2012 to borrow many core items from its enormous store of lighting technology. The loan will include some four kilometres of festoon lighting to decorate stalls and walkways, specialist projectors to create three large-scale feature projections, innovative lighting solutions around trees and plants as well as fluorescent fittings as part of a total £500,000 worth of equipment employed to realise this concept.

York Museum Gardens is a spectacular backdrop with its riverside setting, the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the half-timbered Hospitium, a section of City Walls including a Roman tower and the Yorkshire Museum itself within its ten-acre grounds.

But from Wednesday 31 October until Saturday 3 November, it will be transformed into a magical kingdom inspired by absurdist works including Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books. The creative team, York-based Bright White Ltd, Leeds-based architects Chetwoods and lighting designers ARUP have been working with comedian and artist Vic Reeves. This creative collaboration is supported by City of York Council, Arts Council England, York Museums Trust, Blackpool Council and Visit York.

Vic Reeves . Wonderland will be running alongside a a city-wide programme of lighting displays and performances which will throw new light on York. Full details of the city-wide Illuminating York Festival can be found at .


Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said:

Sharing ideas and experience should be at the heart of local authority ambitions, and this creative collaboration will serve to light up York in one of its most successful and spectacular annual festivals in the significant year of York 800.


Cllr Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, added:

Our Illuminations team share resources to help light up all corners of Britain, and we’re delighted that we have been able to help with the famous Illuminating York festival.

We are really happy to be working with City of York Council, and our partnership shows what can be achieved by local authorities sharing knowledge and resources. A lot of councils do similar jobs but under different circumstances, so it makes sense that we work together to get the best results for both resorts.


Illuminating York 2012 runs from 31 Oct – 3 Nov from 6.30-10.30pm each evening. Tickets are on sale now: adults £5, young people aged 6-16 years £1 (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult), under 5s free. Tickets are issued as passes with an approximate time of entry and exit by 10.30pm.

Tickets are available now from York Theatre Royal, by phone via 01904 623568 or online at


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