Boston’s UK 2016 Illuminate Parade


Illuminate Festival Explores Pilgrims’ Story

Boston’s second Illuminate Parade will look at the themes behind why the Pilgrims decided to leave the country in 1607.

On Thursday 24th November, Transported and Boston Borough Council will present Illuminate 2016, the second inspired and spectacular interpretation of the Mayflower 400 Journey and what brought the Pilgrims to Scotia Creek one dark night in the autumn of 1607.

Illuminate 2016 will see two lit lantern processions make their way through to Boston market place. The parades will end with choirs singing ‘Beyond the Horizon’, the Mayflower song composed by local musician and songwriter Jo, set in front of a stunning light projection onto the parade and St Botolph’s Church.

Birds will be used as a motif throughout the 2016 festival, with doves to represent peace and liberty sought by the Pilgrims and swallows to symbolise hope and migration. Media specialists Electric Egg Ltd, made up of Neil Baker and Steve Hatton, have been commissioned to create the projections, using animation and video. Artists Ruth Pigott and Jessica Thompson of the Curiosty Creators have created paper birds to be handed out to the crowd, in addition to huge bird lanterns which will be carried at the Illuminate festival. Different groups including Wrangle School, Boston West Academy, Wyberton School, St Thomas’ School, St Giles Academy, Boston Explorers and Fishtoft Parish Council have worked with the Curiosity Creators to create their own bird lanterns to carry in the Illuminate Parade.

The FREE event will also include face painting from 3pm, fairground attractions and Santa’s Grotto. There will be a market from noon until 8pm and late night shopping, in addition to performances by Sarah Lowe and Boston Jive.

Illuminate 2016 is the second in a series of annual light festivals that will tell the story of the Pilgrims. The festivals will culminate in a huge international celebration in 2020 to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower, and the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in America. For more information about Boston’s connection to the Mayflower story, visit

Transported has found that festivals are a fun, easy way for people to engage in the arts and aims to develop festival skills in the area during its next phase of funding. See for videos and photos from Transported’s previous festivals in Boston Borough and South Holland.

Follow the Illuminate preparations on Twitter and add your own photos with #Illuminate2016 and #Mayflower400.

Steve Hatton, Director at Electric Egg Ltd said: “Electric Egg are delighted to explore the themes of the Pilgrim story at this year’s Illuminate Festival. We will explore themes of liberty and migration using animation, illustration and video which will be projected in a variety of locations around Boston including the tower of St Botolph’s. We hope these works will stimulate debate and a curiosity in Boston’s rich history and the town’s contribution to the Pilgrim story.”

Ruth Pigott, Director at Curiosity Creators said: “We have been working with schools and community groups to make a flock of over 150 lanterns for this years Illuminate parade. The birds have been based on swallows which symbolise hope and freedom. This links to the beginnings of the Mayflower 400 story in which the pilgrims begin to consider leaving England for America. During our residency at St Botolph’s Church, we contemplated how much this story resonates with people today who have chosen to leave their homeland in search of a new life with hope inside their journey.

Anna Kingman, Projects Manager for Transported said: “Transported are working with Boston Borough Council to make 2016’s Illuminate Parade even bigger and better than last year’s event. We are excited to build on the artistic elements of 2015’s festival with light projections, and hope to involve even more people in the lantern making workshops and parades.”

The Illuminate Parade and Boston Christmas Light Switch On will take place on Thursday 24th November at Boston Market Place.

For more information on Boston Illuminate, contact Anna Kingman on

To find out more about the Transported project and to sign up for updates, visit our website at, or call the office on 01406 701006. We are also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@TransportedArt).

For more information, interviews and quotes, please contact:

Grace Osbourne, Transported Arts and Marketing Coordinator



Plymouth UK Illuminate and Thanksgiving 2016

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.35.21

Illuminate/Thanksgiving 2016 is a fun but truly symbolic partnership community arts and heritage Mayflower 400 event with a Native American theme!

History and Significance

Through Mayflower 400 we are commemorating 400 years in 2020 since the intrepid voyage of the pilgrims in 1620 from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts, U.S on the Mayflower ship. This journey became significant in the founding of the United States of America and its core values of freedom and democracy which to this day are a beacon of hope to many people around the world. The light symbolism at the heart of Illuminate is epitomised in this quote by one of the pilgrims, William Bradford, who become Governor of Plymouth Plantation:

‘Just as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many’.

Native American Theme

This year Illuminate/Thanksgiving is focussing on a Wampanoag Native American story. The Wampanoag were the tribe who supported the pilgrims on their arrival in the New World and whose lands included Plymouth, New England when the Mayflower landed. Without their support, it is doubtful whether the pilgrims would have survived to reap their first harvest, which is celebrated as Thanksgiving.

The Event

On 24th November, we will transport you to a magical world; part parade and part performance where community groups, schools and colleges transform themselves into imaginary tribes.  

Following a ceremony starting at 4.45pm with speeches, poetry, music and song at the Mayflower Steps, these tribes will process at 5.40pm from Commerical Wharf on the Barbican to the Guildhall telling the tale of Moshup the Giant as they go through illuminated costumes, lanterns and theatre. This extraordinary character is central to the culture of the Wampanoag. Moshup is believed to have been a benevolent being of gigantic frame and supernatural power, so enormous that he caught whales with his bare hands. Come and meet him! The parade will pass nearby Plymouth Arts Centre where there will be projections against its wall before arriving at the Guildhall where you will be treated to a further fantastical digital projection display against the building at 6.30pm!

What Impact will Illuminate/Thanksgiving have?

  • It will provide inspirational, inclusive and creative opportunities and examplars for children, young people and communities who often don’t have access to these forms of self-expression, arts and community participation. These can lead to improved well-being, confidence and community cohesion.
  • It will raise awareness about the Mayflower 400 story and the importance and role of Plymouth UK in this, leading to increased civic pride and a sense of ownership in our city’s amazing history leading up to 2020.
  • It will build international and national understanding by connecting us to our partners across the Atlantic in Massachusetts as well as in the other Mayflower compact partner locations in the UK and Holland which are all integral to the Mayflower story. Many of these partners will also be holding Illuminate events.

Who are we?

We are a broad partnership of Plymouth Culture, Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, Plymouth University, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth College of Art, RIO, Plymouth History Centre, Arts Council England, Plymouth Arts Centre and Plymouth Waterfront Partnership. More are welcome! For more information, please see, http://www.mayflower400uk.com,, @PlymouthUK2020, @Mayflower400UK, #Illuminate2016, #Mayflower400.

We are raising money!

This year (Illuminate’s 3rd year in Plymouth) we are making it bigger and better than ever in order to reach more people and this is why we need your help! We are raising money for the ceremony (band, production), parade (school and community workshop costs including materials, artist facilitators and transport) and projection display (school and student workshops, technical expertise and equipment). We have a co-production ethos behind our project which means that most of it (e.g. the video, photos, costumes, lanterns, projections, ceremony) has been produced in partnership with communities, schools and students from Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University.

If you’d like to help support our project please visit our crowdfunder campaign at

Every little bit counts and there are some great rewards on offer!

For more information on Illuminate/Thanksgiving this year see twitter @PlymouthUK2020 and @Mayflower400UK, website, and Made in Plymouth and Plymouth Culture Facebook.