The Witching Hour approaches
As dusk falls over Birkenhead Park each night from 17 to 19 May 2019, visitors will step into The Witching Hour, a brand-new outdoor spectacular for Wirral’s Borough of Culture year, in partnership with Hull-based Absolutely Cultured. The show will be seen in East Park in Hull from 3 to 5 May before it enchants audiences in Birkenhead.
The Witching Hour will inspire imagination and celebrate local tales, memories and folklore, exploring stories of local wise women, magical mythical characters and childhood memories from these two places on opposite sides of the country. The Witching Hour will immerse audiences in a unique and shared experience, weaving a story between the two locations.
Building on the landmark project Land of Green Ginger, one of the highlights from Hull’s UK City of Culture programme in 2017, this large-scale, outdoor, immersive performance by renowned theatre company Periplum has invited local residents from each location to share their stories, memories and urban myths.
As audiences enter, they will be spellbound by spinning tales of alchemy and legend from the two parks. Featuring live performance, a specially commissioned soundtrack, pyrotechnics and promenading action taking place in and around the audience, The Witching Hourexplores local legend and folklore from Birkenhead Park in Wirral and East Park in Hull. Although the main story remains the same in both locations, the performances will resonate directly with the two communities through the inclusion of local tales that will be woven into the narrative.
Lucy Barrow, Assistant Director for Culture & Visitor Economy at Wirral Council commented: “The Witching Hour is going to be an unmissable highlight of 2019, and unlike anything that’s been seen in Wirral before. Periplum are renowned for creating extraordinary experiences and this incredible event will create lifelong memories for those who enter The Witching Hour.
“Fire, flickering lights and pyrotechnics will transform Birkenhead Park for this night-time spectacular and we’re excited to see how local stories from both places will be brought to life, bringing Wirral and Hull together.
“Having seen what Absolutely Cultured were able to achieve as UK City of Culture, we’re delighted to be working with them during our Borough of Culture year.”
The Borough of Culture initiative was introduced by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and is designed to encourage cultural activities across the region.
Katy Fuller, Chief Executive and Creative Director of Absolutely Cultured, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming people to the curious and magical world of The Witching Hour and telling these stories that have come directly from the communities themselves.
“As the sun sets and anticipation rises, a little bit of magic will take visitors on a special journey. Is there more to those tricks of the light, shadows and fleeting images glimpsed from the corner of your eye when the witching hour of dusk is upon us!
“Building on the learning from Land of Green Ginger we wanted The Witching Hour to create something magical for these communities, giving them a unique and unforgettable experience.
“The Witching Hour is about two amazing locations, using culture to inspire imagination and connect people and communities. We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when this is done, and the results are something spectacular.”
The Witching Hour is free and no booking is required. Performances will begin at 9.45pm and last approximately one hour.
Wirral’s Borough of Culture programme is supported through funding from Arts Council England. The Witching Hour received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £100,000 to help deliver this exciting project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will capture the stories and legends passed on through generations in two areas of the country.
For further information about The Witching Hour, visit imaginewirral.com.