Bard’s Bristol bright sparks

December 01 2014

ILLUMINATING the garden of Shakespeare's birthplace is an impressive light installation - made up of the poet's famous words - created by Bishopston designer Emily Knight.

ILLUMINATING the garden of Shakespeare's birthplace is an impressive light installation - made up of the poet's famous words - created by Bishopston designer Emily Knight.

The masterpiece has been commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as part of the celebrations, marking 450 years since his birth.

The words have been laser cut from transparent Perspex, mounted onto metal grid structures, and then erected along the pathways of the Stratford-upon-Avon garden.

Aptly entitled '450 Words', the project is Emily's first commissioned piece for public display.

She has been working alongside Bristol-based electrician Aidge Spragg, from Switched On, to create the installation.

Emily, 39, who is formally trained in spatial design, said: "It is hugely exciting, if a little daunting, to be working on such a large scale project that is going to be seen by thousands of people over the next few weeks.

"It is one that brings together my passions for lighting, spatial and exterior design so it is really very special."

She added: "It’s a brilliant opportunity for Bristol creativity to be showcased at a venue of international stature.

"I am a little nervous about public reaction to the piece, but am confident that we have created a really authentic way to project Shakespeare’s voice onto the garden he knew and loved."

This is the second year that a light show has taken place at the site.

Due to the success of the 'Birthplace Lightshow' in 2013, the trust, along with local businesses, managed to secure funding from Arts Council England to develop a new light show this winter.

The display - which launches on November 27 - coincides with Stratford-upon-Avon's Christmas lights switch-on.

Philippa Rawlinson, head of operations at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to have been awarded a grant from Arts Council England which enables us to work with some very talented artists to create a wonderful new lightshow in celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

"And for the very first time, visitors will be able to wander round the gardens at night and see a truly inspirational illumination. [They] will be treated to a real showstopper this Christmas!”