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Arts festival will have community at its heart

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WARRINGTON Contemporary Arts Festival is returning to town once again and this year is putting community at its heart with an all new, family-focused diary of events.
Star of this year’s festival is undoubtedly Museum of the Moon – a seven-metre wide, internally-lit installation from internationally-renowned artist Luke Jerram.
Set to an atmospheric soundtrack by BAFTA and Ivor Novello-award winning composer Dan Jones, this awe-inspiring display perfectly captures the mystery and majesty of the moon 50 years after the Apollo 11 landing.
Leah Biddle, cultural manager at Culture Warrington – the charity that manages Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery and Pyramid and Parr Hall – is thrilled to join in the celebrations.
She said: “It’s such an honour to welcome Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon to Warrington on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
“We’ve had a fantastic summer of space-themed exhibitions and activities at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery and we’re looking forward to extending this for this year’s Contemporary Arts Festival.
“We have themed the entire festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, which we felt was a really accessible theme and suitable for all ages.”
This year’s festival is set to begin with a kaleidoscope of light and colour with a fully-accessible Light Night event on Friday October 4, giving visitors their very first chance to experience the spectacular Museum of the Moon in Parr Hall.
In addition, Queen’s Gardens will be brought to life with a range of interactive sound and light installations, breathtaking live performances and a top-quality food and drink offer.
Light Night highlights include Illumaphonium – a huge, hands-on, light-up musical instrument, Squidsoup – an accessible, immersive, interactive light display and 2Faced Dance Company – a mesmerising aerial dance act telling the story of a young man’s encounter with the moon.
The fun is set to continue on Saturday October 5 as 2Faced Dance Company head across to the Old Market Square for two more performances, while Parr Hall teams up with Silent Disco King to present two unmissable silent disco events under Museum of the Moon – one family-friendly disco and one over-18s dance fest.
Over the next 10 days, Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival will present an exciting programme of events taking place underneath Museum of the Moon, from SEND storytelling, to club nights, to yoga.
Other highlights include a visit from Art Battle Manchester – a dynamic and engaging event, which will see 10 artists battle it out in an impressive 30-minute challenge, while visitors circle around and choose who to vote as the winner.
Families will also get the chance to enjoy two blockbuster classics under the light of the moon as Parr Hall presents E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial and Apollo 13 on its very own big screen.
Leah said: “Our aim for this year’s Contemporary Arts Festival was to create a more diverse programme of events that will attract a wider audience and appeal more to the local community.
“The programme under the moon has something for everyone from film nights, to yoga, to gigs!”
In addition to a whole host of moon-themed events, this year’s festival will also stick to tradition with its annual open competition.
Offering a £1,000 prize and a solo exhibition in 2020, Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival will once again present entries from artists across the North West in a fantastic exhibition, which opens at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 4 October in line with Light Night.
This late-night opening will also offer visitors the chance to discover Let’s Get Stuck in Traffic! – the solo exhibition from the winner of last year’s open competition Marie Jones.
This year is also the first to offer a People’s Choice award for the open, which will ask members of the public to vote for their favourite entry while visiting the exhibition.
Leah said: “We have really pushed the boundaries of this year’s festival and are bringing some ambitious installations and performances to Warrington, as well as taking over public spaces.
“I’m particularly looking forward to our Light Night event where Queens Gardens will be transformed into a hub of activity for the entire family – it’s not to be missed!”

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