Who’s Behind the Light

(Written for the It’s Liverpool website)

With just a week until the city comes alive and open its galleries, museums, libraries and studios late into the night, we find out who’s behind Light Night (15th May), the event that puts culture in the spotlight on a not-to-be-missed evening in Liverpool. At the helm is Charlotte Corrie and Christina Grogan, both directors of Open Culture, a Community Interest Company set up in 2007. Charlotte gives us the lowdown:

“Phil Redmond came up with the concept of Open Culture. At the time he was Chair of Liverpool Culture Company and wanted to engage with more local people during the build up to Capital of Culture in 2008. Initially we were working on four projects including the 800 years poem with Roger McGough, but this mushroomed pretty quickly to take in a TV Channel, a large scale talent show at the Echo Arena and loads more. By 2009, our roles were no longer required by the city council.

“We felt there was still work to do. We loved the experience of developing cultural projects in local communities and in 2010 we created a social enterprise. Soon after we started this rollercoaster journey with Light Night. The Arts Council, Liverpool City council and some sponsors got what we were trying to do, and here we are now about to create Light Night for the sixth time in 2015.”

This year’s theme is ‘Looking to the New World’ which starts the official programme for One Magnificent City, Liverpool’s two month maritime inspired Festival. Two of the organisations involved in Light Night gave us the low down on their involvement:

Hex// Light DiVision is a futuristic science fiction ritual for the streets specially commissioned by Open Culture for Light Night with talented musicians, euphoric beats, dualistic costumes that emit their own light and choreography. As Laura Brownhill, Art Director, explains:

“It is important for us that we reach out to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and Light Night provides us with this opportunity. This is our third year and Open Culture have been consistently supportive of our left-field vision. We hope our relationship with them continues long into the future as they continue to elevate Liverpool’s Cultural heritage by supporting local artists with big dreams.

“Thanks to LightNight we’ve been able to pull together an incredible team, helping us further strengthen diverse creative partnerships in the city. The team is comprised of musicians and artists from the Liverpool scene including members of The Harlequin Dynamite Marching Band, The Kazimier, Costumologists, The Well, The Royal Standard and lighting technician Charlie Patheica.”

There will be four performances taking place: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Plateau : 20:35 University Square on Brownlow Hill: 21:20 Pier Head opposite the Liver Building: 22:20 William Brown Street: 23:20

Light Night will also see the launch of a new band in Liverpool, combining styles and techniques from a myriad of diverse cultures across the World. Katumba is made up of some familiar faces in Liverpool as Musical Director Ritchie Tunstall explains:

“After 10 years of rocking the city, the people that brought you Batala Liverpool are reforming into Katumba, to become Liverpool’s largest, loudest, most vibrant drum ensemble and we’re excited to be launching on Light Night! As part of the Brazuka family, we’ll be joining forces with Liverpool’s best fire artists ‘The Liverpool Fire Tribe’ from Bring The Fire Project and capoeira acrobats from ‘Capoeira For All CIC’. This will be an unforgettable performance, with over 80 performers and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the Light Night audience!”

Drumming band Katumba

So six years after creating one of the city’s must-see events, what makes Charlotte and Christina’s enthusiasm so infectious:

“We see ourselves as the glue between the venues and the performers. By increasing the number of visitors to key attractions in the city during Light Night we will help to raise the profile of arts and culture organisations across Liverpool. Providing a platform for showcasing talent, reaching new audiences and providing an opportunity for residents and visitors to see our buildings in a new light. I’m so lucky, it’s hard work but I have to admit, I have a lovely job!”

Visit the website for more information on Light Night