Lumiere Festival

Alice Hiley
lumiere festival
Durham Cathedral by Lumiere Festival.

Lumiere Festival at Gala Theatre & Cinema, Durham 16 — 19 November 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

Back for 2023, Durham will be transformed into a nocturnal art experience with spectacular light installations by over 30 artists from around the world.

For over a decade, Lumiere Festival has been lighting up Durham’s public buildings, parks and squares with mesmerising installations and interactive light-based artworks. The festival commissions artists from the UK and worldwide including Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan and Canada, tasking them with reimagining the city’s buildings through light.

With an eclectic programme boasting everything from cutting-edge sculpture and LED installations to fire breathers, film screenings and lantern parades, there’s something for culture buffs and families alike.

Taking place across four nights, the biennial festival attracts audiences from the North East and beyond – over 1 million people have visited Lumiere Festival since its inception. As well as projections to admire, performances to enjoy and galleries to wander around, there are drop-in writing, art and craft workshops to take part in.

Community-led works are a huge part of Lumiere. Past festivals have included poetry projects created in collaboration with prisoners at HMP Low Newton, and a musical installation which invited passersby to create projections by playing the keys of pianos.

Many of the details of Lumiere 2023 are still under wraps, but we’ve heard that the following international artists will be having an input into the programme: Ai Weiwei, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chila Burman, Yinka Ilori and Daniel Canogar. Organisers Artichoke will soon unveil the theme of this year’s festival, the 2021 post-covid Lumiere fittingly themed “light at the end of the tunnel”.

If that last festival is anything to go by, this year’s nocturnal spectacle will be another jewel in the city’s crown.

Lumiere Festival at Gala Theatre & Cinema, Durham 16 — 19 November 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Lumiere Festival

North East
Shop
Bookwyrm

This LGBTQ+ bookshop, nestled in the heart of Durham’s city centre, is more than a business but rather is a community hub.

Vennels Café
Durham
Café or Coffee Shop
Vennels Café

Vennels Café is a fantastic venue in the heart of Durham, steeped in the charming history of the city. The word “vennel” comes from a corruption of the French word for an alleyway and the vennels in Durham are the alleyways that date back to the medieval city.

Gavin Shelley Jewellery
Durham
Shop
Gavin Shelley Jewellery

Within the side alleys of Saddlers’ Yard, there is a small shop that many would pass by, but holds a wonderful surprise for those who go in. Going to Gavin Shelley Jewellery you will be able to see a fantastic range of items from rings to pendants, and earrings, it is likely that the piece you are looking to buy has been made by him.

The People’s Bookshop
Durham
Shop
The People’s Bookshop

The People’s Bookshop sits one of the alleyways that comes off Saddler Street and is a hidden gem and a treat for the book lover. Away from the bustle of the main streets, it is a treasure trove of books from all areas and periods and encourages those to enter to discover a whole new theme of knowledge through the book that they have purchased.

Fat Hippo
Durham
Restaurant
Fat Hippo

Founded in 2010, Fat Hippo offers signature burgers and indulgent desserts at purse-friendly price points.

North East
Theatre
The Durham

A home for theatre in Durham, showcasing many talents such as those of the Durham Dramatic Society at greatly affordable prices.

The Mugwump
Durham
Shop
The Mugwump

The Mugwump is a unique boutique on Saddler Street. With a history stretching back to 1966, when it was founded by two art school graduates, it has grown to have something for everyone. The ambition of The Mugwump is to find the most wonderful clothing, glassworks, ceramics, and gifts that can be purchased and bring it together under one roof for all to enjoy and be owned by you.

The Cellar Door
Durham
Restaurant
The Cellar Door

The Cellar Door is a premium restaurant built into an old 13th century baker shop enjoying wonderful, wooded views over the River Wear.

Tango
Durham
Restaurant
Tango

Tango is an independent restaurant providing the best in comfort food with a varied burger menu and in-house deserts.

Durham Castle
Durham
Tourist Attraction
Durham Castle

Durham Castle, initially constructed following the Norman Invasion, now offers guided tours around its historic site, which is also student accommodation.

Nadon Thai
Durham
Restaurant
Nadon Thai

Nadon Thai is part of an independent chain of restaurants with a menu with a traditional and modern palette with a passion for Thai food.

North East
Museum
Museum of Archaeology

Durham University’s specialist museum showcases an exhibition which ranges from the prehistory to modern times, charting the history of Durham.

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