Magic of Illuminate draws thousands to Royal William Yard

Nov 27, 2018

Illuminate – the south west’s largest light show – returned to Plymouth last week with four days of spectacular immersive light installations at Royal William Yard, attracting over 28,000 visitors!

The free event attracted people of all ages, with visitors in their early years joining those in their 90s, to watch, wonder, to create their own digital art through dancing, and some even found gold at the end of the Rainbow in the Dark.

Illuminate was designed and delivered by Made in Plymouth CIC – a partnership between the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), the University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth Culture – as part of the build up to the Mayflower commemorations in 2020.


Illuminate Royal William Yard Illuminate Royal William Yard

As 2018’s installations come down, organisers are already looking ahead to next year with plans to make Illuminate bigger, better and even more immersive and interactive as it launches the international Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2019.

Claire Honey from the Real Ideas Organisation led the Illuminate project team, she said: “We’re thoroughly delighted, and a little overwhelmed, with the incredible response to Illuminate. This event has captured the hearts and minds of people in Plymouth who turned out in their tens of thousands to immerse themselves in Illuminate.

“This event really is a celebration of Plymouth; its historic buildings, the creative talent and vision in the city, and the digital innovation which is beginning to set us apart nationally and internationally – Illuminate is a platform to showcase this to the world.

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible – the artists whose mesmerising work created an unbelievable experience, the Made in Plymouth partners (RIO, University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth Culture), Urban Splash, Plymouth City Council, City College Plymouth. To JHAV and The Media Workshop, as well as everyone who visited and entered into our magical wonderland made of light.

“We can’t wait to get started on Illuminate 2019!”


Charles Hackett, Chief Executive of Mayflower 400 said: “Just a great event. Something for all ages, exploring the Mayflower 400 themes but also showcasing the creativity and innovation within Britain’s Ocean City. Thank you to all who attended, and congratulations to all the organisations and partners that made this event. Excited now to see the scale up in 2019 and 2020 as the opening and closing events of the Mayflower 400 cultural programme.”

Hailey Cattle, Regional Marketing Manager, Urban Splash said: “Royal William Yard came alive as visitors of all ages enjoyed exploring this awe-inspiring festival. The Yard provided the perfect backdrop for Illuminate; from dramatic projections onto our iconic Melville building to enchanting installations in our secret gardens. We are delighted to have been part of an event that continues to cement Plymouth as a cultural destination and we look forward to Illuminate 2019 and beyond.” 

Illuminate Royal William Yard


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