This weekend 7,000 people descended on Birkenhead Park for The Witching Hour by Periplum commissioned by Absolutely Cultured and Wirral Borough of Culture 2019 and produced by Absolutely Cultured. This brand-new and free outdoor spectacle evoked the shared history, folklore and memories connecting Birkenhead Park and East Park in Hull.
Performed in the park over three nights, Friday 17 – Sunday 19 May, The Witching Hour featured breath-taking pyrotechnic effects and immersed the audience of all ages in imaginative storytelling and a unique theatrical experience.
“Outstanding”, “amazing” and “beautiful” were amongst the superlatives used to describe the production by those who attended. Francesca said “it was magical and so exciting to see the performers move around the audience, I loved watching the history of the park and seeing my ancestors brought to life.”
Lucy Barrow, Assistant Director for Culture & Visitor Economy at Wirral Council commented:
“The Witching Hour was unlike anything that’s been seen in Wirral before. Periplum are renowned for creating extraordinary experiences and this fantastic event will leave lifelong memories for everyone who was there.
"We are enormously grateful to our commissioning partner Absolutely Cultured and our funders Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund who made it possible for us to bring a show of this calibre to Wirral as part of our Borough of Culture celebrations and thrilled that residents and visitors turned out in their thousands to witness the spectacle in Birkenhead Park. We are also indebted to the support from the Liverpool City Region and the Metro Mayor.”
The Borough of Culture initiative was introduced by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and is designed to encourage cultural activities across the region.
Katy Fuller, Chief Executive and Creative Director of Absolutely Cultured, said: “We were thrilled to welcome so many to the curious and magical world of The Witching Hour and for the production to have resonated so strongly with local people. It was a real delight to work with the Wirral community to uncover the stories which made the show so special.”
Cllr Christine Spriggs, Wirral’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, added “The Witching Hour was a truly incredible event which brought people together. It was especially wonderful to see volunteers from both Wirral and Hull supporting the event in Birkenhead Park and forging new friendships which will link these two great places using culture to connect communities.”
Wirral’s Borough of Culture programme is supported through funding from Arts Council England. The Witching Hour received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £100,000 to help deliver a legacy from the production. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the heritage project will continue to capture the stories and legends passed on through generations in two areas of the country.