Wirral has revealed a busy programme of major public events to mark its Borough of Culture 2019 title.
Discovery, exploration and the great outdoors are the core themes being explored over a 12-month celebration which borough bosses hope will showcase Wirral to the wider world.
The Borough of Culture initiative was introduced by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and designed to encourage cultural activities across the region. St Helens held the inaugural title, which will be formally handed over to Wirral next weekend.
The Wirral programme features a number of new commissions and exciting collaborations.
They include The Seeds of Change – a new outdoor spectacle which is set to be presented in Birkenhead Park, Hull and Waltham Forest (London Borough of Culture for 2019) providing a unique and shared experience for audiences across the country.
Cultural events will build on the borough’s Imagine Wirral initiative and will take place in galleries, museums and performance spaces as well as the great outdoors, and will encompass regular annual festivals and events including Mersey River Festival, Wirral Festival of Firsts, Wirral Arts Festival, and the Hillbark Players’ Shakespeare in Royden Park.
A summer programme of art outdoors includes collaborations with Finsa, Open Eye Gallery, Wirral Met College and local arts organisations which will see exciting pop up and temporary exhibitions appear in some surprising locations and settings across the borough.
Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: “We’ve had an amazing year in 2018. More than a quarter of a million people made memories to last a lifetime at some fabulous events, which also brought a major impact on our local economy.
“Our events programme this year has shown Wirral is capable of hosting these large-scale events and creating incredible moments for our residents and visitors.
“With the line-up of confirmed events so far, 2019 looks set to be even better. We will use our Borough of Culture year to tell the story of our magnificent peninsula through some truly memorable cultural experiences.”
Here are 10 things to look forward to in Wirral in 2019:
Animated Square Revisited - March
Rediscover the breath-taking projection show by award-winning Illuminos on to Birkenhead Town Hall, as seen as part of Wirral’s Tall Ships celebrations earlier this year.
This extraordinary show will be accompanied by a family festival for all in Hamilton Square.
Made of Iron exhibition – From April
Venues including the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and Birkenhead Priory will host an interactive exhibition developed in partnership with National Museums Liverpool and Cammell Laird.
Made of Iron will chart Wirral’s unique contribution to the world of shipbuilding and maritime exploration.
Radio Local – April
Wirral and Heart of Glass come together to bring Hunt and Darton’s latest touring production to the borough. Live for a day, this radio show built by locals for locals will be exciting and fun entertainment for all.
Mersey River Festival – May
Wirral and Culture Liverpool come together for the return of the ever - popular Mersey River Festival in May, with spectacular performances, installations and fun-filled family entertainment.
The Seeds of Change – May
Hull’s Absolutely Cultured, Wirral and Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 join forces to create a new and spellbinding outdoor spectacle in three amazing locations.
In May, Birkenhead Park will be the setting for an enchanting production.
Designed to connect people and inspire imagination and curiosity, the performance will draw on the unique characteristics of each place, weaving a story between the three and working with local communities and artists to inspire the creative direction.
Rembrandt in Print – June to September
Lady Lever Art Gallery is to display 50 prints by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, on loan from the Ashmolean Museum’s collections.
Widely hailed as the greatest painter of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt was also one of the most innovative and experimental printmakers of the 17th century.
Future Yard – August
The first Future Yard Festival will be the opening edition of an annual, show-stopping, agenda-setting contemporary music festival.
Developed by the team at Bido Lito! following this summer’s successful Wirral New Music Collective events, the festival will present exceptional national, international and local artists, in a collection of Birkenhead's iconic spaces.
Constellations – Autumn
A series of awe-inspiring cultural events linked to the moon and stars will bring together communities across Wirral in autumn 2019.
In partnership with hi-impact, National Museums Liverpool and others, an accompanying programme of activities will encourage children and young people to think big and go beyond.
Walker Cup – September
Wirral will play host to the prestigious Walker Cup in 2019. The 47th biennial match between the amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland and the USA will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake as the Club celebrates the 150th anniversary of its foundation.
Distinctly exhibition – October-November
Gathering work by eight documentary photographers shot over the last six decades, the Distinctly exhibition will come to the Williamson Art Gallery as part of the 2019 LOOK International Photo Biennial curated by Open Eye Gallery.
For more information on Wirral’s 2019 programme visit www.imaginewirral.com or follow @ImagineWirral on Twitter.