Lumiere: What you need to know about Durham's festival of light

Durham's festival of light returns this week and for the first time it is reaching beyond the city, and into the county as a whole.

Lumiere 2021 kicks off today (18 November) followed by a four-day programme of 37 international artworks.

What is there to see?

Highlights this year include Marks in the Landscape, six major new works to light up landmark locations across County Durham.

There is also a newly-commissioned work in collaboration with Durham University, New Writing North and leading international poets, whose illuminated words will be projected onto Durham Castle, a video-mapped journey from reflection to celebration on Durham Cathedral’s facade, and Lumiere’s first online interactive artwork that allows anyone to take part from wherever they are.

Covid-secure measures are in place, including ticketed time slots throughout the eventto manage audience numbers in a 'controlled central Lumiere zone' and clear protocols forall working on the festival.

  • Helen Marriage, director of Artichoke

Some of the works to be shown

Apollo 50, Mader Wiermann, 2019 Credit: MARK DOBSON
Go With the Flow/ Swim Against the Tide, 2017 Credit: TIM ETCHELLS
Hymn to the Big Wheel, 2021 Credit: LIZ WEST

Ticket information

  • Lumiere is open each night between 4.30pm and 11pm (County programme is 4.30pm to 10pm).

  • The festival is completely free to attend and 29 of the 39 installations are accessible without a ticket at all times.

  • In a change from previous years, the controlled city centre area of Lumiere will be ticketed for the entirety of the festival opening times every night. This is to manage audience numbers as part of measures in place to offer a Covid secure experience.

Digital ticketing in the 'controlled central Lumiere zone'

  • A timed ticket will be necessary to visit the controlled central Lumiere zone at any time between 4.30pm and 11pm when the festival closes.

  • There is no time limit once inside the controlled zone.

  • Tickets are available for the following time slots: 4.30pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm.

The festival, which runs from Thursday 18 November to Sunday 21 November, is commissioned by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England and a host of additional funders and supporters including Durham University.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, says, “As the UK’s leading light festival, Lumiere has truly put County Durham on the map and is a shining example of how culture enhances the vibrancy of our communities.

“It also demonstrates the scale of our cultural ambitions, which are driving forward the Durham 2025 campaign and no doubt helped to secure our place on the UK City of Culture 2025 longlist."