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The Witching Hour approaches

8th May 2019

Categories: News

The Witching Hour Wirral

As dusk falls over Birkenhead Park each night from 17 to 19 May 2019, visitors will step into The Witching Hour, a brand-new outdoor spectacular for Wirral’s Borough of Culture year, in partnership with Hull-based Absolutely Cultured. The show will be seen in East Park in Hull from 3 to 5 May before it enchants audiences in Birkenhead.
The Witching Hour will inspire imagination and celebrate local tales, memories and folklore, exploring stories of local wise women, magical mythical characters and childhood memories from these two places on opposite sides of the country. The Witching Hour will immerse audiences in a unique and shared experience, weaving a story between the two locations.
Building on the landmark project Land of Green Ginger, one of the highlights from Hull’s UK City of Culture programme in 2017, this large-scale, outdoor, immersive performance by renowned theatre company Periplum has invited local residents from each location to share their stories, memories and urban myths.
As audiences enter, they will be spellbound by spinning tales of alchemy and legend from the two parks. Featuring live performance, a specially commissioned soundtrack, pyrotechnics and promenading action taking place in and around the audience, The Witching Hour explores local legend and folklore from Birkenhead Park in Wirral and East Park in Hull. Although the main story remains the same in both locations, the performances will resonate directly with the two communities through the inclusion of local tales that will be woven into the narrative.
Lucy Barrow, Assistant Director for Culture & Visitor Economy at Wirral Council commented: “The Witching Hour is going to be an unmissable highlight of 2019, and unlike anything that’s been seen in Wirral before. Periplum are renowned for creating extraordinary experiences and this incredible event will create lifelong memories for those who enter The Witching Hour.
“Fire, flickering lights and pyrotechnics will transform Birkenhead Park for this night-time spectacular and we’re excited to see how local stories from both places will be brought to life, bringing Wirral and Hull together.
“Having seen what Absolutely Cultured were able to achieve as UK City of Culture, we’re delighted to be working with them during our Borough of Culture year.”
The Borough of Culture initiative was introduced by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and is designed to encourage cultural activities across the region.
Katy Fuller, Chief Executive and Creative Director of Absolutely Cultured, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming people to the curious and magical world of The Witching Hour and telling these stories that have come directly from the communities themselves.
“As the sun sets and anticipation rises, a little bit of magic will take visitors on a special journey. Is there more to those tricks of the light, shadows and fleeting images glimpsed from the corner of your eye when the witching hour of dusk is upon us!
“Building on the learning from Land of Green Ginger we wanted The Witching Hour to create something magical for these communities, giving them a unique and unforgettable experience. 
 “The Witching Hour is about two amazing locations, using culture to inspire imagination and connect people and communities. We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when this is done, and the results are something spectacular.”
The Witching Hour is free and no booking is required. Performances will begin at 9.45pm and last approximately one hour.
Wirral’s Borough of Culture programme is supported through funding from Arts Council England. The Witching Hour received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £100,000 to help deliver this exciting project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will capture the stories and legends passed on through generations in two areas of the country.
For further information about The Witching Hour, visit imaginewirral.com
ENDS
For more information, please contact Charli McCann on 0151 691 8526 or  07900 138100 or email charlimccann@wirral.gov.uk.

The Witching Hour
Friday 17 – Sunday 19 May 2019
9.45pm
Birkenhead Park (Upper Park)
FREE, no booking required
Running time: approx. 1 hour
Credits:
The Witching Hour by Periplum.
Commissioned by Absolutely Cultured and Wirral Borough of Culture 2019.
Produced by Absolutely Cultured.

Wirral Borough of Culture 2019
As Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture for 2019, Wirral is hosting major cultural and sporting events in unexpected locations throughout the year, with a programme based around the themes of discovery, exploration and great outdoors – designed to showcase Wirral to the world.
Highlights revealed so far include a spellbinding outdoor spectacle in conjunction with Absolutely Cultured; an exhibition about Wirral’s contribution to maritime exploration; a summer of art in parks and urban spaces, and a series of events linked to the moon and stars, along with returning favourites River Festival Wirral and River of Light.
 
For more information, visit www.imaginewirral.com  
Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture
The award of Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture (BoC) was introduced by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in 2018 as part of the 1% for Culture programme – an annual commitment to spend the equivalent of 1% of our devolution funding from central government to support cultural activities.  It reflects the ambitions and aims of the LCR Culture and Creativity Strategy to incrementally build sustainable capacity, creativity and economic growth across the city region.
Borough of Culture does not involve a competitive process but will rotate around the city region (St Helens, Wirral, Sefton, Halton, Knowsley, and Liverpool) on an annual basis, with the aim of encouraging each borough to collaboratively develop its local talent and potential, and generate cultural activities across the region.
Absolutely Cultured
Absolutely Cultured, built on the foundations of the company that delivered Hull’s momentous year as UK City of Culture 2017, is a vibrant, progressive, innovative organisation which is producing a cultural programme that continues to surprise and engage the citizens of Hull and the surrounding areas. A charity formed out of the legacy of 2017, Absolutely Cultured demonstrated, in 2018, the quality and value of what it can achieve through major events, the programming at Humber Street Gallery, its many interventions with schools and other community groups and through the development of its volunteer programme. It is an organisation which is providing opportunity, excitement and impact and which is now poised to deliver more as Absolutely Cultured raises its game and secures its longer-term sustainability and its place on the national and international stage.
The core purpose of Absolutely Cultured is to put culture at the heart of Hulls ambition and aspirations, we commission and produce a high quality, surprising and imaginative programme of cultural events which is accessible to all. It works independently and in partnership with other organisations across the City and beyond to cement Hull’s reputation as a centre for creativity and culture. Events are planned to inhabit and animate Hull’s incredible outdoor spaces, working with artists who create work which connects people and communities and through partnership with national organisations brings significant events to the City.
Absolutely Cultured is an independent organisation with charitable status continuing the work of Hull 2017 Limited. Absolutely Cultured is funded by a range of partners including public bodies, National Lottery distributors and local and national businesses. Key contributions are from Hull City Council and Arts Council England; The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Spirit of 2012 and Nesta support helps deliver the volunteer programme; and Wykeland and Rollits are the company’s corporate partners.
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund 

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