This year there will be a huge range of arts and cultural events to celebrate Knowsley Borough of Culture.

Knowsley’s theme for its year as Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture is Storytelling and central to the theme is the opportunity to capture and bring to life the stories of the borough’s people and places.

The storytelling will include everything from local folk tales, traditions and heritage that are unique to Knowsley to exploring people’s hopes and dreams of what the borough may become in the future.

Through all of the events and activities, people will be encouraged to share their stories to help build up a picture of life in Knowsley and ensure that all aspects of culture are showcased, shared and celebrated.

The Borough of Culture was introduced by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in 2018 to encourage and enable each Borough to deliver cultural programmes which create a lasting legacy across the whole region.

Knowsley Borough of Culture Events

A New Dawn Programme of Events:

Aqualux (14 – 28 January 2022, Kirkby town centre) 

Aqualux is a stunning 8 metre by 3-metre-wide light installation that will be situated in Kirkby town centre for two weeks.

The artwork consists of 48 containers which can hold up to 1,000 litres of water – the average consumption of a household over a year. Coming to life after dark. the illuminated artwork will also be accompanied by music to create a memorable and magical experience while raising awareness of the need to conserve and protect our fragile water supplies.

A switch on event will take place on 14 January which will include Spark illuminated drummers to welcome the installation to Kirkby. Aqualux is delivered in partnership with Blackpool Illuminations.

The Magic Wood (21, 22 & 23 January 2022, Halewood)

Over three consecutive evenings Court Farm Woods in Halewood will be transformed into an enchanted spectacle of light, music and fiery woodland creatures. Hand crafted, intricate fire sculptures will transform the space into an outdoor gallery of wonder where visitors will be able to wander through the attractions or stand and watch the spectacle unfold.

The Magic Wood – A Fire Garden by Walk the Plank will be unique to Halewood and will feature performances from Bring The Fire Project, harpist Rebecca Mills and a special family performance set in giant golden birdcage.

Numbers are limited so tickets need to be booked in advance. See www.cultureknowsley.co.uk for details.

Gaia (28 January – 18 February, St. Chad’s Church, Kirkby)

Luke Jerram’s ‘Gaia’ is an astonishing 6-metre-wide replica of the earth based on imagery and data from NASA. Suspended in the air and slowly revolving, the artwork – which will be housed in St. Chad’s Church in Kirkby – gives people a chance to see the planet, floating in three dimensions.

A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture.

As a touring artwork, Gaia is famous across the globe and an exciting programme of events and activities is being devised for its visit to Kirkby.

Tall Tales (4 & 5 February 2022, Stockbridge Village)

Tall Tales is a brand-new large-scale community artwork that will see Merecliff – a residential 16 storey tower in Stockbridge Village (adjacent to the M57 motorway) – animated and illuminated in light. The dramatic projection which will be accompanied by a soundtrack, will tell the story of local people and communities who have shared their stories, memories, hopes and dreams about the place they call home. It’s a fitting event for the Knowsley Borough of Culture.

These Tall Tales, captured, interpreted and exaggerated by artists Illuminos will be brought to life over two incredible evenings in January. This event is being delivered in partnership with Knowsley Council, ForHousing and the local community.

Submergence (12 – 26 February 2022, Huyton Village Centre)

Submergence is a reflective, immersive walkthrough experience that will go on display in Sherbourne Square in Huyton Village. Consisting of thousands of individual points of suspended light, visitors are encouraged to enter the artwork to experience the amazing light illusion for themselves.

Alongside Submergence, Huyton will also be home to a second light installation still to be announced by world renowned experts Squid Soup. More details will be announced soon.

New Dawn Light Spectacular (18 & 19 February 2022, Knowsley Hall)

The New Dawn programme will come to a spectacular climax over two consecutive evenings in February. In two showings per evening, the iconic Knowsley Hall will be illuminated in a series of dramatic projections recreating a vision of a pop-up story book – a fairy-tale of lights and sound telling the stories of Knowsley.

Delivered by video projection artist’s Illuminos and accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack from renowned composer Patrick Dineen the spectacular will create a unique and memorable moment for all visitors.

Numbers are limited, so anyone interested in attending should register to be part of a ballot to receive ‘golden tickets’ to this spectacular event. Details can be found here www.cultureknowsley.co.uk/new-dawn-light-spectacular/.

All of these events will be free for the public to attend (although some will require tickets to be reserved in advance).

Knowsley Borough of Culture- New Dawn Light Spectacular, Knowsley Hall. Photo- Illuminos

New Dawn Light Spectacular, Knowsley Hall. Photo- Illuminos

Quentin Blake ‘Illustrating Verse’ (17 January to 16 April 2022)

Kirkby Gallery will present ‘Quentin Blake: Illustrating Verse’ – a free exhibition of 120 works by the world-renowned artist and illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake.

A highlight of the exhibition will be his illustrations for Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and The Pussy-Cat’ and illustrations for a poem by William Shakespeare – writers who will both be celebrated throughout the year.

‘Quentin Blake: Illustrating Verse’ is an exhibition from House of Illustration – www.houseofillustration.org.uk

The Owl and the Pussy-cat Sculpture Trail (Dates TBA soon)

Most people are very familiar with The Owl & the Pussy-Cat poem that tells the tale of two animals setting off to sea in a ‘beautiful pea green boat.’ But what many people do not know is that the poem, by Edward Lear, was actually written at Knowsley Hall. This fascinating fact and Lear’s connections to Knowsley are set to be celebrated throughout 2022 with a huge sculpture trail featuring 16 pairs of 2 metre-high owls and pussy-cats.

The Opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse (Summer 2022)

Tying in with the Knowsley Borough of Culture celebrations, the Shakespeare North Playhouse will open to the public in the summer of 2022. The much-anticipated arts venue in Prescot will complete the Shakespearean triangle with The Globe in London and The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon. Alongside innovative, high-profile Shakespearean drama, The Playhouse will also host a wide-ranging programme of performances and cultural activity that spans art forms and appeals to a broad range of audiences.

The programme for the opening season is due to be announced soon.

For more information visit www.shakespearenorthplayhouse.co.uk

Knowsley Flower Show and Feel Good Festival (6 & 7 August 2022)

The Knowsley Flower Show and Feelgood Festival will return for 2022 and take place across the weekend of Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 August at Court Hey Park, Huyton.

The two days promise to provide something for everyone to enjoy. From fantastic floral displays to fun family activities to boost your wellbeing and mental health, the weekend is set to attract record numbers of people to these free events.

National Gallery Masterpiece Tour (10 October – 17 December 2022)

Work from world renowned artists including Cezanne, Degas and Renoir will go on display in Kirkby Gallery from 10 October 2022 to 17 December. The Gallery is only one of three places chosen across the UK to host the National Gallery Masterpiece tour of Degas’s ‘Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study’, sponsored by Christie’s.

For more information about the Knowsley Borough of Culture 2022 programme of events visit www.cultureknowsley.co.uk