Final preparations for city’s Blitz anniversary event

LIVERPOOL is making the final preparations for its special free Blitz event which opens to the public on Friday (6 May).

Out of the Darkness is set to transform St Luke’s Church this weekend as a sound and light display takes over the bombed out church, marking the 75th anniversary of the May Blitz.

Taking place each evening from 9-10pm, Friday 6 to Sunday 8 May, projections will be beamed on three large screens placed in the windows facing Hardman Street and a rolling ten minute film will run throughout the hour which will feature dramatic archive footage and images and be accompanied by a haunting soundtrack of drones, and first-hand accounts of those terrifying nights.

Schools and community groups across Merseyside have taken part in making more than 2,000 stained glass lanterns which will illuminate the inside and outside of the building, representing some of the lives that were lost during one of the country’s worst bombing periods of the Second World War.

Along with the lanterns a house, which is the third of the size of a terraced property, will be installed in the gardens which will symbolise the fragility of houses during the Blitz. There will also be six professional performers who are part of the Unity Theatre will enact emotive scenes such as parents saying goodbye to their children as they are evacuated, women waving farewell to their loved ones and recreating moments when the bombs started to fall.

Liverpool’s Director of Culture, Claire McColgan, said: “It was important we do something to mark this pivotal date in the city’s history, and Out of the Darkness is particularly poignant as May 6 marks 75 years since St Luke’s was hit by an incendiary device.

“The lanterns which have been created are stunning and will add a hauntingly beautiful element to the evening. Because of the way the audio and visual elements will work, visitors will be able to take the different aspects in at their own pace and not only reflect on what was such a turbulent time for the city, but also think about the resilience the people of Liverpool showed during this time.

“I encourage as many people as possible to come along to Hardman Street and make the most of this very special, thought-provoking event which will show one of the city’s striking landmarks in a whole new light.

“The church is part of the fabric of the city and with the half a million pound investment by the city council in partnership with Historic England, we are committed to continuing to use the space so people can be reminded of the horrors of war and the bravery of the people of Liverpool.”

The event has been commissioned by the city council and is being created by innovative artists METRO-BOULOT-DODO (MBD) who specialise in designing art experiences which transform buildings into emotive and engaging spaces for the audience.

Artistic Director of MBD, Esther Simpson, said: “Without doubt this will be a sound and light spectacular which commemorates a special anniversary for the city.

“Not only will it be stunning and immersive, but it will be an emotional experience and people will be genuinely moved as they come together to remember this time in Liverpool’s history.

“Illuminating the bombed out church is a beacon of hope and symbolises everything Liverpool went through during the blitz.”

The schools which have made the lanterns are:

Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Garston CE Primary, St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School, Springwood Heath Primary School, Notre Dame Catholic College, Northway Primary School, Monksdown Primary School, St George’s Primary School (Wallasey), Kings Leadership Academy Liverpool, Liscard Primary School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (Wallasey), St Johns CE Primary (Waterloo), Great Crosby Catholic Primary School, Emmaus Primary School, Norwood Primary School (Southport), Christ Church CE Primary School (Bootle), Hudson Primary School (Maghull), Greenacre Community Nursery School (Bootle), St William of York Catholic Primary School, Hatton Hill Primary School, Ursuline catholic Primary School, St Luke’s CE Primary (Formby), St. George’s Catholic Primary School & Nursery (Maghull), Our Lady of Pity Primary, Woodlands Primary, St Charles’ Catholic Primary School, Abbot’s Lea Special School and Holy Family Catholic Primary School (Southport).

Head Teacher of Garston Church of England School, Gill Rogerson, said: “Our pupils were so pleased to be able to play a part in such an important event for the city.

“World War Two is part of our curriculum, so this has really made the children think about the impact of the blitz and the effect it had on families living in Liverpool at the time

“The lanterns they have decorated are really stunning, and they are all incredibly proud of the work they have produced and can’t wait to head in to the city centre at the weekend to show off their hard work to their families.”

The event is being supported by manufacturers RS Clare & Co Ltd, audit, tax and advisory service KPMG, chemical distribution companies Meade-King and Robinson & Co. Ltd, food and agricultural commodities firm Edward Billington and Son and commercial property consultancy Mason Owen.

Ian Meadows, Executive Chairman of RS Clare & Co Ltd, said: “As a representative of one of the many companies which was bombed during the Second World War, I am pleased to support this event. I feel we owe it to those who gave their lives and to those, like the police and firemen who put their lives on the front line to help other fellow human beings – it’s important we remember them.”

For the latest information, visit www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/liverpoolblitz or follow @CultureLpool on Twitter or like Culture Liverpool on Facebook.