Lighting up Lancaster
A few weeks ago, the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster made contact with the Morecambe Bay MVS about providing support for a unique community arts project “Light up the Waterways.”
The event was one of three forming the Light up Lancaster festival.
It was commissioned by the Canal & River Trust and was a celebration of the city’s Lune Aqueduct, built in 1797, and recently restored by the trust.
With a DJ, magician, acoustic artists and community dance performance on the river banks, the audience was treated to a light show illuminating the aqueduct and the centrepiece act by a performer, suspended eight metres above the river under one of the aqueduct’s vast arches.
MVS help was requested with safety cover for the rigging and rehearsals in the afternoon before the first performance, and on the opening night itself to support the land-based stewards by monitoring the riverside crowds and people making their way to and from the event along the river.
The event was licensed by the council for 500 spectators and all the free tickets were distributed about a week previously.
Audience viewing areas were well-stewarded but there were several other viewpoints on riverside paths and at least one disused jetty that people were gathering on to watch the event.
The units main responsibility became ‘flying stewarding’ – moving between the non-designated areas to ensure audience safety.
In the spirit of celebrating our waterways and gaining a great view of the show the unit were joined by several spectators in kayaks and canoes!
It did add to the units duties a little, to gently remind them to keep ‘river right’ and out of the performance and boat operations area from time to time.