Shambles might be one of the most famous streets in the world, renowned for its fascinating history and picturesque present, but there’s been something sadly missing throughout its seven hundred-year history. Glitter balls.
But not anymore. York’s most visited street is getting a nightclub-style revamp as part of the 10th Illuminating York Festival, which runs from October 28-31, with an installation of glitter balls above its ancient cobbles.
The festival, which aims to help people see the city in a new light, is curated this year by artistic directors Hazel Colquhoun and Andrew Knight.
Museum Gardens lit up
£6 adult (advance ticket booking), U16 £5 (advance ticket booking), under 5s free.Available from York Theatre Royal
Among the many highlights is Illuminati Botanica which will transform the 10 acres of Museum Gardens throughout the four-day festival.
Here, light and sound will be used to make animals and plants appear to come to life in the darkness.
York’s churches will also play a starring role. Artist Nayan Kulkarni will project hundreds of candles from a single point on to the pavement outside St Helen’s, All Saints on Pavement and St Michael le Belfrey in a piece called Three Graces.
Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier will take control of some of the city’s street lights as part of Watershed, which records the shadows of people walking underneath street lights and plays them back later for others to interact with.
And, in the passageway that runs alongside the Mansion House, Esther Rollinson will use light-filled clouds in her creation, Flown, to gently illuminate the space.
Other festival highlights
Conjuring Tommy: Viewing the First World War through the Magic Lantern
York Army Museum
October 29, 6.7.30pm
Hundred-year-old slides tell soldiers’ stories from First World War at York Army Museum. This is a rare chance to see a Victorian magic lantern.
Text:Technology, Disability & Art
According to McGee
October 30-31, 8-10pm
Light artist Nick Walters turns tweets and poems by young disabled people into text art.
The Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre
October 28, 7-9pm
Costumed actors guide you round the Georgian house at night to shed light on its fascinating history.
The Bloody Tour of York: Underneath the Rose Window
October 28, 4-8pm
Mad Alice (seems a bit harsh) divulges some of York’s more gruesome stories in a series of 90-minute tours.
Fairfax After Dark
October 29-31, 7.30pm
Lord Fairfax, Miss Anne Fairfax and their staff welcome you to a candlelight performance at their home on Castlegate, giving you a rare glimpse of 18th century life.
Merchant Adventurers’ Hall
October 29-30, 6.30-8.30pm
A costumed guide leads candle-lit tours that bathe the historic timbers of the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in a whole new light.
The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments
National Centre for Early Music
October 30, 7.30-8.45pm
Unusual 17th century sounds fill St Margaret’s Church as the past is given a musical airing in a modern day setting.
York Visions Talk
All Saints’ Church
October 31, 5-8pm
Find out what role one of the city’s most important churches played in the York Visions and enjoy some atmospheric Gregorian Latin chanting.
Locos in a Different Light
National Railway Museum
October 28-31, 6.30-10pm
Train fans will be getting all steamed up at the NRM as it shows off its wonderful collection of locos in a new, dimmer light.
Torch Lit Tour
York Art Gallery
October 30, 5.30-7pm
The gallery stays open later than usual to host torch-lit tours of the building at night.
Blessed City: Lamentations and Light
St Michael le Belfrey
October 31, 7.30-9.45pm
Explore the once forbidden psalm Allegri’s Miserere and listen to the Lamentations of Jeremiah set to music.
Christingle at St Helen’s Church
St Helen’s Square
October 30, 5.30pm
Christmas comes early at St Helen’s Church where a special Christingle service is being held for families. (Bring your own orange.)
York Castle Museum
October 28, 6-9pm
Pilot Theatre puts together a mix of fact and fiction in the cells of York Castle Museum to help connect with the past through specially-organised workshops.
Castle Howard Illuminated
October 30, 5-7pm
Revisit one of Yorkshire’s most iconic stately homes by candle and fire-light. Even the famous Atlas Fountain gets in on the act for one night only.
Dancing in the Light
October 30, 6-7.30pm
A DJ helps three dancers confined to the limits of the shop to express themselves through colour, light and movement.