Back in January, I posted a piece on the e-Luminate Cambridge Festival and tonight it opened, with fabulous light installations illuminating some of the city’s most iconic buildings.
It’s a really cold night here in Cambridge but I wanted to get some photos, just taken on my phone, to give you a flavour of the event.
Firstly, Senate House with its installation “I See”, created in collaboration with The Ordered Universe Project.
In Bene’t Street, another moving image projection, “Bright Lights – The Colours of the Brain”, has been created by artists working with Cambridge community groups in a series of workshops.
Gonville & Caius College is looking glorious with its installation “The Colours of Caius College” created by artist Patrice Warrener using the Chromolithe technique that he developed thirty years ago.
At The Fitzwilliam Museum, projection artist Ross Ashton has created a colourful projection which shows some of the most iconic artefacts held in the Museum’s collection.
You’ll find more installations outside King’s College Chapel, at Trinity Hall and at the Guildhall. Full details of all these are on the event website. It may be freezing out there but it’s really worth wrapping up and getting out to see the city in a whole new light.
The Watersprite International Student Film Festival returns to the city from 23 -25 February, showcasing the wealth of emerging talent in student short film making from around the world and offering a springboard for the film makers of the future as they start their careers.
This year, the organisers have received around three hundred and ninety submissions from ninety five countries. Fifty nominees have now been chosen for a dozen award categories, including fiction, documentary, animation and original film music – you can find their details on the Watersprite website. Overseas nominees will be flown into the UK to attend the Awards Ceremony at the Fitzwilliam Museum thanks to the continued support of Red Arrow Studios, the Festival’s official Film Maker and New Talent partner.
The prestigious Film Maker of the Future award will go to a film maker who tackles modern day issues in the world, creating a film that tries to make a difference or presents to us a story that we haven’t heard before. Part of that prize is the opportunity to participate in a producers’ workshop in Cannes, enabling the winner to network within the film business. In fact, the Festival gives all the entrants a chance to collaborate with other film makers and to forge new creative partnerships.
Aside from the screenings, there’s a packed schedule of talks and workshops led by leading professionals in the film and TV industry. Films will be showing at various venues across the city but most nominee screenings will be held at King’s College while talks and events will happen at St John’s College Old Divinity School where you’ll also find the Festival hub.
The Festival started life in 2010 as Cam’era and Film of the Year was awarded to Will McGregor’s “Who’s Afraid of the Water Sprite?”. Will has gone on to make a very successful career as a screenwriter and director, working in film, TV and commercials. With producer Hilary Bevan-Jones, the Festival’s Patron, Will has developed his short film into a feature film, “The Dark Outside”, which is currently in production. And in honour of that first winning film, the Festival was renamed “Watersprite” in 2011.
The Festival is open to everybody. It is entirely free for film makers to enter plus all the events and screenings are free thanks to sponsors such as Decca Publishing and Fox Networks Group. Local companies also get involved. Jocks and Peers, a beer brand recently launched in the city by three Cambridge alumni, is sponsoring drinks at one of the event’s ceremonies. Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite or you can just turn up at an event or screening and if there’s room, you’ll get in.
e-Luminate returns to the city on 9 February and for six glorious nights, some of our most iconic buildings will be bathed in mesmerising light installations.
For Festival Founder, Alessandra Caggiano, inspiration struck as she walked home through the dark Cambridge streets one evening in 2012. “All this wonderful architecture around me was unlit,” Alessandra tells me, “and I felt it was such a missed opportunity.” Teaming up with business partner, Hugh Parnell, together they set up a community interest company.
“We decided to hold the Festival in February because that’s when we’re all craving light,” says Alessandra, “and the timing also fitted well with the city’s busy event calendar.” They researched light festivals across the world, talked to light artists, consulted with local stakeholders, built a board of advisers, wrote a business plan, obtained funding and put on the first e-Luminate Festival in February 2013.
That pilot event may have been small but it proved their concept and they were able to grow the project year on year. Since September 2016, the Festival has been run under the umbrella of Cambridge Live Trust, which Alessandra believes was the natural next step forward for this very popular event, of which she is now Artistic Director.
This year, the theme of the Festival is “Colour” and Dr James Fox has joined the team as Guest Curator. An art historian, BAFTA nominated broadcaster and Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, James brings his knowledge of and interest in the theme of colour, to explore the complex relationship between light and colour from various perspectives, combining art, science and technology.
Some of Europe’s top light artists and designers will be creating light installations at key buildings in the city, including the Guildhall, King’s College and the Fitzwilliam Museum. A varied programme of events and workshops includes “Let’s Glow Cambridge” (sports and fitness sessions held under UV lights) and a Wine Tasting Experience with Hotel du Vin, during which you can experiment with light and taste to discover whether lighting conditions influence our perceptions of wine. You can even become part of a light installation yourself by joining the “Trail of Light”. Details of all the light installations, these events and more, plus a booking facility, are on the Cambridge Live website.
To get more involved with the Festival, why not volunteer your time as a Light Maker? A variety of roles are available, working on both indoor events and outdoor installations but as I write this post, the team is particularly looking for help on launch night and with the “Trail of Light” events. To find out more and register your interest, please go to www. cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/e-luminate/opportunities
This is such a fun event and the light installations on our beautiful historic buildings are breathtaking as they highlight architectural details and show us new perspectives. So wrap up warm, take a stroll around the city and you will truly see Cambridge in a new light.
What could be nicer at this time of year than snuggling up in front of a Christmas movie?? Well, you can do just that at Enchanted Cinema’s Christmas Film Festival which is happening at The Robinson Theatre at Hills Road Sixth Form College this Saturday, 16 December.
The day starts at 10am with Disney’s “Frozen”, after which a real Elsa will be visiting to sing and chat with her young fans. At 1pm, there’s an autism friendly screening of “The Polar Express”, so it’ll offer a relaxed environment with light levels slightly higher than normal and sound levels slightly lower. Then you can sit back and enjoy the antics of everybody’s favourite hapless singleton in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” at 4pm. And finally, at 7pm you can laugh and cry at Richard Curtis’s Christmas classic, “Love Actually”. That lobster costume gets me every time!!
Cambridge residents may be familiar with Enchanted Cinema’s summer outdoor screenings, complete with deckchairs, headphones and street food, at locations in and around the city. Ellen Downes and Will Morrish set up the business in 2015, initially for small social events. Now they bring an enhanced cinema experience to weddings, parties and corporate events with live music, food, decor and lighting alongside the film screening.
For this event, The Robinson Theatre will be transformed into a cosy, festive space and, as well as live music between films, there’ll be a pop up café running all day next to the theatre, serving hot drinks, mulled wine, cakes and brownies, much of which has been given by local businesses. The mince pies are being donated by Radmore Farm Shop, which I wrote about here on the blog in November.
This Festival is a fundraiser for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices which provide care and support for children and young people with life-threatening illnesses as well as end of life care for dying children and their families. All profits from this event will go to the hospice in Milton where, very sadly, Ellen’s sister passed away in May this year. Ellen and her family are so thankful for all the support and care they received from the EACH team over the years and they are raising funds to help ensure that the wonderful work of the hospice continues with other children and families.
Tickets for the Festival are bookable through Enchanted Cinema’s website where you can also buy tickets for their prize draw, which offers loads of awesome prizes. So go on, take a break from the yuletide prep, head for Hills Road, grab a mince pie and settle back to enjoy some Christmas magic from Enchanted Cinema.
It started with a gig. The pianist, the bass player and the singer looked at each other and said “Let’s start a festival!” As you do.
And they did! In 2014, with no money but with a drive fuelled by their passion for jazz, they recruited some fellow musicians and set up Cambridge Jazz Weekend. Their aim then, as now, was to bring together all the many strands of the strong Cambridge jazz scene into one glorious jazz binge. It went so well that they subsequently received some funding from the Arts Council and attracted local sponsorship. And so the Cambridge Jazz Festival was born.
Now in its third year, the Festival is still run by that original team who put it all together whilst holding down their day jobs. Their mission is to offer an outlet for local jazz musicians, to create a forum which will attract national and international jazz acts to Cambridge and to encourage community involvement through a programme of workshops.
This year’s Festival runs over fifteen days, from 11 – 26 November, and offers a packed schedule of vibrant live music at locations across the city. It celebrates the variety of jazz styles from dixieland to choral and big band to gypsy. “Jazz is a magpie music,” says Gavin Spence, a co-founder of the Festival. “It’s adopted and adapted constantly so this year we’re featuring hip hop and electronica styles of jazz too.” The Festival closes with a day of New Gen Jazz at The Corn Exchange, featuring eleven up and coming young bands, to showcase a new generation of talent.
The programme, much of which is free or low cost, includes events for children (many of the mainstream events are also child-friendly), a poetry night, films, workshops and much more. You can book tickets online at http://www.cambridgejazzfestival.info
Now I love to cook. Pottering around my kitchen makes me really happy. But catering for more than about ten people makes me feel a little bit panicky, so I take my hat off to Cambridge Sustainable Food who are teaming up with Cambridge Foodcycle to feed a thousand, yes A THOUSAND, people from surplus food that might otherwise have been thrown away. This amazing event is happening on Friday 20 October outside Sainsbury’s in Brooks Road and is part of the Sainsbury’s backed “Waste Less, Save More” campaign which aims to raise awareness of food waste issues. All are welcome to join in, meet the incredible team of cooks and enjoy the free food.
Feed the 1000 launches the third Cambridge Pumpkin Festival, a city wide celebration of food and autumn. Events include a Vegan Pumpkin Feast at Arjuna on Mill Road, a children’s cake decorating workshop at lifestyle cafe Co. in Cherry Hinton, a pumpkin picnic, cookery workshops and Dinner in the Dark, a charity feast with extra puddings for the best fancy dress! Restaurants and cafes across the city will be offering seasonal pumpkin based dishes.
Children will love the Kids’ Disco Soup event, to be held at St Andrew’s Church Hall on 23 October. Here’s a chance for them to chop vegetables which would otherwise have been wasted, cook them into a delicious soup and eat the fruits of their labours together while a DJ takes care of the music so that everyone can throw some shapes on the dance floor! Sam Dyer, Food Partnership Co-ordinator at Cambridge Sustainable Food, tells me that Disco Soup is now an international phenomenon, part of a worldwide movement to inspire action against food waste.
Many of the Pumpkin Festival events are free. If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer, there’s more information on the website.
The Pumpkin Festival will draw to a close on 28 October with a Farmers’ Market (held in conjunction with Thirsty) at the Museum of Technology. Here you will meet local producers and suppliers, sample their wares and enjoy plenty of free activities including apple pressing and bike powered smoothie making. It’ll be a fitting end to a week which will leave us a bit more thoughtful about the ways we can minimise our food waste, enjoy a healthy and sustainable diet and support our wonderful city’s sustainable food economy. And we’ll also have had a lot of fun celebrating all things pumpkiny!!
The University of Cambridge is getting ready to open its doors once again for the 10th annual Festival of Ideas. Themed this year, very pertinently, around “Truth”, the Festival (sister to the Science Festival held each Spring) celebrates the arts, humanities and social sciences.
In a packed programme of over 200 events, you will find talks, exhibitions, films, performances, debates and workshops, all held in museums, galleries and lecture theatres across the city. Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Junction are among other organisations which will also be running programmes within the Festival.
This is an event that I look forward to every year and I’m not the only one. Ariel Retik, Manager of the Festival, tells me that more than 20,000 people attended the Festival in 2016 and they expect this year to be even bigger. In an eclectic line-up, there really is something for everyone, whether your interest lies in politics, history, the arts, literature or music or whether you just want to open your mind to new ideas. Most events are free. Some need to be booked in advance and, from personal experience, I recommend early booking.
With such a large number of events taking place all over the city, volunteers are needed for stewarding duties. If you are over 16 years old and would like to volunteer, you can email the Public Engagement Team on firstname.lastname@example.org to make yourself known.
The Festival of Ideas runs from 16 – 29 October. The full programme is available online and booking, online or by phone, opens on 25 September.