Illuminate 2017 set to light up new areas of Plymouth

Illuminate, an event marking the anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, has grown for 2017, and taken on a new location in Plymouth’s historic Royal William Yard. From 24-26 November the former victualling yard will be lit up with light installations, immersive visual art and light projections, being linked to the Barbican through the travelling of light.

Plymouth will see Royal William Yard illuminated by design, art and inspiration inspired by the values of Mayflower 400; freedom, humanity, imagination and future. The four day event will start with a civic reception on Thursday 23rd November where the Lord Mayor along with representatives from Mayflower 400 will board a boat near to the Mayflower Steps and journey by water to Royal William Yard.

Emily Handslip, Director of Urban Splash said: “The festive season at The Yard is one of the most magical and important times of the year, so we are delighted to be working with Plymouth City Council to celebrate this incredible festival of light. Our amazing buildings at Royal William Yard will provide the perfect backdrop for the Illuminate light art and we hope everyone visiting The Yard over this four-day event has a fantastic time.”

The big night will then take place on Friday 24th November, with workshops, installations, performance and projections continuing through to Sunday 26th offering various opportunities for families and children to take part in activities or simply to wonder at the incredible illuminations lighting up the former naval victualling yard.

Charles Hackett, Chief Executive of Mayflower 400 said: “Illuminate is one of the milestone international events in the Mayflower calendar and we’re really excited to see this year’s event grow and develop into a light festival across multiple days. Our vision is that Illuminate combines community participation with artist exhibition. We aim to build Illuminate year on year to create a signature event that not only forms a signature part of the Mayflower 400 programme, but has the strength and legacy to continue well beyond 2020.

To see Illuminate grow and take on a new location for this year is very positive and I look forward to seeing the event encompass more areas of the city in future years.” ​

Light projections have been designed and mapped by The Media Workshop and Plymouth College of Art, who as part of the European funded project Euranim, will be working in collaboration with animation students from across France, Belgium, Hungary, Denmark and Finland.

Light Art installations and visual pieces will also form part of the event, created by the staff and students from the University of Plymouth’s School of Art, Design and Architecture, led by Professor Chris Bennewith who was formerly Creative Director for Wellington’s LUX Light Festival in New Zealand and has worked both in the UK and internationally on major light events.

Professor Chris Bennewith, Head of School Art, Design and Architecture of University of Plymouth said: "Light Festivals around the world create wonderfully vibrant and social events for cities and their citizens to enjoy. They are a fantastic display of a city’s creativity and a great, fun, family event that gives people something to look forward to during the dark winter months. We are excited to be able to show off some of the region’s excellent creative talent, something to be really proud of!"

Find out more about the plans for Illuminate and Mayflower 400 at or

For further details, images or press trips contact:

Elliot Pettifer, Onshore Media

01752 262432

Simon Whittam, Onshore Media

01752 262432


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