Illuminate 2019 - the international Mayflower 400 opening event

The Mayflower 400 commemoration year will officially launch with the stunning Illuminate ceremony taking place at Mayflower destinations across the globe.

An breathtaking series of events will take place at locations across the UK, Holland and the US, marking the first Thanksgiving that took place between the Mayflower Pilgrims and the native American people in 1621.

Dazzling light shows and cultural extravaganzas will wow crowds on both sides of the Atlantic, taking their inspiration from the words of Governor William Bradford of the original 'Plimoth Plantation':

"Just as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many."

Illuminate at Royal William Yard

In the build-up to the Mayflower 400 commemoration year, Illuminate festivals have been taking place every November for several years, including both Plymouth, UK, and Plymouth, MA.

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 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."

In November 2018, Plymouth UK will hold an incredible light-based festival, Illuminate, at the city's historic Royal William Yard.

The festival offers an immersive experience, with projections and light installations set out across the Yard, live performances and interactive opportunities.

Royal William Yard Illuminate

International artists Xavi Bové and Thomas Voillaume have been invited to bring pieces to the festival. 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.

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.


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