Special Christmas tale casts a festive spell on the garden

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Christmas is just around the corner and there’s a special event planned for Northumberland as one of its biggest attractions is set to host a unique festive treat.

The Alnwick Garden has been making plans over the last few months to turn the popular attraction into an immersive visual theatre show with projections, lighting, sound and animations.

A Christmas Tale will tell the story of how the garden is to fall under a sorcerer’s spell and visitors will travel around the garden in a promenade style performance around the various stops in the attraction.

Each night from Friday, December 18, visitors will be able to take a wander through the garden which is suitable for all.

The project is being brought to Alnwick by digital arts company Enchanted Places.

Director Robin Morley said the company was invited to Northumberland after successful events at Saltwell Park in Gateshead.

“We were invited by the Duchess of Northumberland to look at creating a new amazing outdoor theatre production for Christmas,” said Robin.

“What visitors will be seeing is a fantastic night of unfolding projections and that is just one element of this visual theatre production we’re presenting.”

Robin is working alongside the famous projection artist Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, who famously created projections on Buckingham Palace and the House of Parliament.

Robin added: “We’ve collaborated on a whole series of projects, Ross has previously projected a piece of the Lindisfarne Gospels onto Durham Cathedral and it was hugely popular.”

Speaking to the Gazette, Ashton said: “The projections aren’t the entire show but this is part of a larger show, we call them enchanted spaces. In this case it’s part of The Alnwick Garden so rather than it being just one event where you stand and look at the projections, people are encouraged to walk through the gardens and look at all different elements of projects.

“You’ve got live theatre and we are using the garden itself as a character in the story and everything you see has been made for the space.

“We’ve put the garden under a spell of an ice sorcerer who wants Christmas to stop coming.

“We specialised in making trails for people to walk through and discover at their own pace. We’re going to transform the water turret [the old water tower] into a castle of rose sleeping beauty and at the top of the garden we’ll be projecting the ice sorcerer’s palace.

“Creating the story was the most difficult part because we wanted to start with the garden and the shape it is and use that as a basis of the story. So we’ll use light to make a frozen glacier.”

The event is suitable for all ages and will run each evening from December 18 until December 23. Tickets for the installation must be booked in advance. You can book a time-slot for when you arrive at the venue but session length is not limited.

You can book online at www.alnwickgarden.com or by phoning 01665 511350. Tickets are £11 for adults, £children ages 5-16 are £6 and under fives are free. A family ticket is £30.

The first 100 bookings in each slot will receive an early bird discount. When booking online, all you have to do is select the time and date from the list on the right then follow through to pay for them.

For the competition, answer the following question:

l Which royal palace did Ross Ashton and Karen Monidfamously create projections on?

We have three sets of four adults packs up for grabs.

Each pack is worth more than £40.

All winners will be put in contact with The Alnwick Garden to choose a date & time for their visit.

Once one has been selected, their tickets will be sent via post.