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First Light Festival’s Winter Solstice Celebration

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This year’s shortest day is going to be celebrated in Lowestoft with specially commissioned music, dance and stories on the Winter SolsticeAs the year of all years for most of us draws to a close, The First Light Festival will showcase of series of online events reminding us that brighter, lighter days are just around the corner.

In a first for Lowestoft, the organisers of the First Light Festival – are marking this year’s Winter Solstice, with specially-commissioned online Winter Solstice performances.

As the year draws to a close, a series of online winter solstice events will celebrate the shortest day of the year – and remind us that brighter, lighter days are just around the corner.

A collection of performances including music, dance and storytelling will be available to watch on the festival’s Facebook page from Sunday 20th December – as well as a bespoke designed 18ft metal art installation evoking a wheel of time which will be lighting up the winter sky.

Meanwhile, the solstice sunrise will be streamed live from 0740 on the shortest day – 21st December.

First Light Winter Solstice will feature the following performances:

The Light Returns: composed by Lowestoft folk hero, John Ward, 'The Light Returns' is a celebration of First Light’s themes of day and night, the sea and the elements and the history and future of Lowestoft. John Ward is well known across the UK’s folk, roots and acoustic scene as a songwriter and performer who uses the history of his hometown, Lowestoft, as the main influence for his work. Lowestoft’s Rogue Shanty Buoys will also perform a version of the song and community singers from the Pakefield Singers will be joining in too.

Dusk Dance: set against the falling night time sky over the North sea, choreographer Rosemary Lee’s Dusk Dance is inspired by the folk traditions of men dancing together on the winter solstice. The trio of East Anglian young male dancers ranging in age from 11 to 25 first met when dancing as soloists in Rosemary Lee’s Circadian at First Light Festival 2019.

Wheel: designed by artist John Christie working with Lowestoft-based metal fabricator Richard Paine of My Metal Fabrications and Halesworth-based pyrotechnics company Shell Shock, Wheel is an 18ft installation that evokes a wheel of time. The installation incorporates words from a newly commissioned poem of the same name, by award-winning poet and author George Szirtes. Lit by flame and pyrotechnics, it will light up the winter sky and send out a message of hope: “With the Sea’s own voice, new light, new fire is coming.”

How Night Came from the Sea: storytelling by Wonderful Beast, the theatre company of myths, legends, folk and fairy tales who will present ‘How Night Came from the Sea’, a magical story from Brazil, told by actor Hilary Greatorex with music by Sylvia Hallett.

Genevieve Christie, one of First Light’s directors said: “We are very excited to be able to offer this collection of online performances to mark the end of what has been a difficult year. The winter solstice heralds the restarting cycle of the seasons, reminding us that winter is not forever and life continues. Although it marks the shortest day, the solstice is also a time for renewal.

We very much hope that all our performances will send an optimistic message to the Lowestoft community and beyond as we look towards the turn of year and a brighter future.”

Winter Solstice can be viewed on the festival Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/firstlightlowestoft/ from Sunday 20th December.

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