Cumbria Crack

Lakes Alive announces programme of vibrant happenings

Chorus by Ray Lee, Lakes Alive 2018

[L]akes Alive have announced their plans to once again transform spaces in Kendal and invite residents and visitors to either ‘dip a toe in’ or ‘dive head first’ into a vibrant programme of contemporary work and happenings – all presented and performed by artists from home and abroad.

This year Lakes Alive offers a programme inspired by the living landscape and the elements.

Phillippa Haynes, Festival Director said: “We hope that our diverse program of art, dance, music , performance and merriment – will be a festival for you to see, listen, watch, make, take part in and be amazed by.

“We want Lakes Alive to  stimulate the senses and create time and space to pause for thought. Come along, dip your toe in or dive in head first. Bring the family, bring a friend and bring a sense of fun.”

The scene for a vibrant weekend is set by Jacob’s Join, the now annual community dining experience along the River Kent which has become a festival highlight. This year music and dancing is provided by the exuberant Cut a Shine, a troupe of musicians, dynamic Ceilidh dancers and crazy callers determined to spread the word that the Hoe Down is a’happening.

After dark, a specially commissioned community performance brings together over 80 drummers in a colossal meeting of the elements Thunder, leading  everyone up to Kendal Castle for this year’s extraordinary installation created by award-winning artist and British Composer of the Year, Ray Lee. Chorus is a monumental installation of giant kinetic sculptures and celestial choir of spinning sound machines. And the first evening doesn’t end there. As the cosmos calls, you can join Shirley Pegna’s  Star Walks by Star Light on a journey through the nightscape of Scouts Scar to listen to the sounds from the stars – amplified and explained.

The tsunami of entertainment continues throughout the weekend with a ‘promenade trail’ of spectacular moments through Kendal – at times fast paced, joyous and lively and at other times gentle, quiet and reflective.

Some will get you moving. With Harvest, a high energy, fast paced introduction to Bhangra, one of the world’s fastest growing dance forms, it will be difficult not to.  Equally difficult to avoid is Laundry XL, a collision of dance, theatre and visual art: the Laundry Ladies are transforming Abbot Hall Park into a world of white linen and mayhem and  you could find yourself emerged in their enthusiasm – washing powder and just a little water! Or sing along with a massed Virtual Reality Choir on the summit of Great Gable, without walking a step.

Some are more thought provoking. You’ll find a lone boatman All at Sea as he rows gently through the tides of the world around us accompanied by his own personal storm; take an empathetic and physical journey with the award winning  A Mile in My Shoes, part giant shoe-shop, part audio-portrait,  this fascinating installation invites you to walk in the shoes of a stranger – from a Syrian refugee to a neurosurgeon – whilst listening to their story; Join in with this years new dance commission Walking Watling Street, as it celebrates women’s suffrage and the little known achievement of 50,000  Cumbrian women who marched from Carlisle to London in 1913.

It’s a journey through Kendal designed to excite, enthrall and delight, and a ‘trail’ that may take you further afield into the Lakes if you wish.

Venture in to the heart of Grasmere, where the landscape is suffused with literary and walking history. Dutch composers Strijbos & Van Rijswijk along with award winning poet Jacob Polley have created a contemporary walking sound installation, a powerful fusing music, sound and voices. To Travel and To Matter a digital app for phones, moves you at your own pace through a glorious landscape to create a unique and dramatic experience as it guide you along the route.

Wolves by Ruth Essex & Simon Evans, Lakes Alive 2018

Discover Wolves, a piece that allows everyone to track and document the life of a ‘pack of wolves’. They can be tracked digitally as they travel through their habitat or they can be spotted in the landscape.  By uploading images to the website, people can add their pictures to the game map. Check out the game website at  where you can find out more about the project, sign up for a guided encounter with the ‘pack’ and ‘track the wolves’ online once the system goes live on 7th September.

Kerry Powell, LDNP Director of Communications and Resources said: “I am very excited by this year’s Lakes Alive – I’ve been curious as I have watched the programme develop over the months and now I can’t wait to see it. From the first night at the Jacob’s Join through to the last at the final performance of Chorus and everything in between – I plan to see it all.”

To stay in touch as the programme develops sign up to the newsletter:

There are lots of opportunities for volunteers to help, meet new people and be part of this years’ team. Whether you can spare a couple of hours, or a couple of weeks – we’ll find something to suit your unique talents!
Call Holly on 01539792610 or email [email protected].

Lakes Alive is a free event and wouldn’t be possible without the support of our funders: Arts Council England, Lake District National Park, South Lakeland District Council, Kendal Town Council and Kendal BID, Cumbria County Council, Friends of the Lake District, The Hadfield Foundation, The Big Lottery Fund.

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