Date to be dazzled – Illuminate, Plymouth’s spectacular light festival returns

The clock tower at Royal William Yard picture credit: Fotonow

Plymouth’s spectacular light festival returns to Royal William Yard.

The incredible light-based festival, Illuminate, returns to Plymouth’s historic Royal William Yard from 22 to 25 November 2018 with a host of projections and light installations set out across the yard, live performances and interactive opportunities.

Claire Honey, Project Manager for the festival said: “Last year’s Illuminate was an amazing spectacle, which was enjoyed by more than 5,000 people over three days. We’re aiming to grow this event in the lead up to 2020’s Mayflower 400 commemorations and beyond and are really excited to welcome new artists creating unique, awe-inspiring experiences that will be enjoyed by adults and children alike.”

This year, international artists Xavi Bové and Thomas Voillaume will be involved. Bové’s piece, ‘Visual Songs’, creates a link between songs and their visual representation. Performed live, visitors can conduct virtual brushes to create their own personalised artwork, which they can print and take home with them afterwards.

Picture credit: Fotonow

Voillaume will bring ‘Human’, a sculpture of a humanoid form that light and video is projected onto. The light gives the sculpture emotions and reveals its history, blurring the lines between reality and hallucination. Also new for this year is the use of water screen technology, as artists experiment with projecting onto the sea as well as land.

Other artists creating installations include Mark Parry, Paige Alexander, Jamie Knight, 1000 Errors, Juliet Middleton-Batts, Josh Small and Effervescent.

Part of the wider Mayflower 400 programme, Illuminate will open and close the Mayflower commemorations in November 2019 and 2020. Charles Hackett, Chief Executive of Mayflower 400, said: “Illuminate is one of the key events planned for the commemorations and as well as being an amazing spectacle for Plymouth it will connect the partner destinations across UK in 2020. The festival builds on the core values of Mayflower 400, which include Freedom, Humanity, Imagination and Future.

“It’s fantastic to see Illuminate growing year on year, providing an unforgettable experience for families and helping to showcase Britain’s Ocean City in a completely new light.”

Illuminate is free and runs for four days, an increase from three last year. Families are welcome and there are plenty of interactive and playful workshops for everyone to get involved in, both during and in the lead-up to the festival.

Illuminate is delivered by Made in Plymouth CIC – a collaboration between RIO, Plymouth College of Art, University of Plymouth and Plymouth Culture – with support from Urban Splash, Plymouth City Council and Visit Plymouth. For more information please visit