The start of the new year marks the official countdown to the biggest event in England in 2018 - Great Exhibition of the North (www.GetNorth2018.com).
Taking place in NewcastleGateshead from 22 June – 09 September 2018, details of the opening day celebrations have been revealed.
Visitors will have the chance to experience for the first time content exploring great northern art, design and innovation in the Great Exhibition Hubs and Trails. These venues and locations will remain open until dusk as audiences are drawn to the Quayside for a special evening event revealing major Great Exhibition of the North pieces.
The spectacular start to the 80-day Exhibition on 22 June will feature an 80m long water fountain in the River Tyne that will reach the height of the Tyne Bridge. The dramatic display has been specially commissioned for the Great Exhibition of the North and showcases the collaboration between industry and art that runs through the entire programme. Inspired by The Angel of the North, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018, three newly commissioned music compositions will provide a soundtrack to the water fountain and each one will be premiered on the evening of 22 June.
An arrival film – a key piece of programming for anyone visiting the exhibition – will have its world premiere as part of the ‘Get North’ opening event where it will be projected at large scale at the Quayside.
Renowned writer, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay will also unveil a specially commissioned anthem for the North.
Sir Gary Verity, Chair of the Great Exhibition of the North, said: “Our ‘Get North’ opening event will set the tone for what is going to be an outstanding summer of amazing exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting edge culture and magical experiences.
“We’ve brought together innovative Northern technologies and world-class artists and performers to showcase the best art and culture, design and innovation from right across the North of England.
“Perfect for all the family, Great Exhibition of the North will be the event to experience in 2018.”
Carol Bell, Executive Director of Great Exhibition of the North, said: “The Great Exhibition of the North will open in the afternoon of Friday 22 June and we’re celebrating this landmark moment with a special evening event that will see the premiere of some exciting parts of the Great Exhibition programme.
“Following the opening event, the water sculpture, arrival film and anthem for the North will be available to enjoy every day during the Exhibition.”
Set against the backdrop of NewcastleGateshead’s iconic quayside with its seven bridges spanning the River Tyne, the water fountain display will be seen for the first time as part of the opening event.
Morecambe-based Water Sculptures Ltd have created the 80m long water fountain display. The internationally renowned company has developed large-scale water effects for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2011 Lumiere in Durham, London 2012 Olympic opening and Paralympics closing ceremonies, 2015 First European Games in Baku and 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.
William Elliot, Technical Director at Water Sculptures said: “The River Tyne and quayside is such a focal point in NewcastleGateshead, the fountain will really bring it to life during the Great Exhibition.”
Lemn Sissay said: “The Exhibition will shine a light on the difference the North is making to the world today and tomorrow. I am proud to be invited to create a new anthem for the North which will sit at the heart of the opening of the Exhibition. I am proud of the North. We name the unnamed, we count the invisible, we make change. We make a difference.”
The Great Exhibition of the North arrival film will be screened at the quayside as part of the celebrations. Telling the inspiring story of the North, the film will also be shown throughout the Exhibition at Hub venues Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead.
After the opening event, the water sculpture will run several times a day throughout Great Exhibition of the North with visitors able to download the new compositions from www.GetNorth2018.com and select their preferred musical accompaniment.
During its evening performances the fountain will also include a special LED lighting display, choreographed and synchronised to the commissioned music.
Carol Bell continued: “The word is out, NewcastleGateshead is the place to be in 2018. Fresh from being named the top place to visit in the world in 2018 by Rough Guide, we’re delighted to announce details of what will be a spectacular start to Great Exhibition of the North.”
David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said: “Thousands of people are expected to make the journey to NewcastleGateshead to enjoy the opening event of Great Exhibition of the North.
“As Premier Travel Partner of the Great Exhibition, we look forward to bringing people to the city and being part of this once in a lifetime event.”
The full 80-day Great Exhibition of the North programme will be unveiled in early 2018.
Great Exhibition of the North takes place from Friday 22 June to Sunday 9 September 2018. Three walking trails focussing on arts and culture, design and innovation will showcase exciting ideas from across Northern England.
The free, family-friendly exhibition will feature a display of iconic Northern objects including John Lennon’s Record Plant piano and the spacesuit worn by the first Briton in space, Sheffield-born Helen Sharman.
Stephenson’s iconic Rocket will return to its birthplace in Newcastle upon Tyne and 2017 Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid will present an exhibition of new work at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.
The Exhibition will also highlight the North’s strengths in key sectors, including digital, health innovation and energy, as well as profiling great Northern innovations such as Graphene, which was discovered by scientists working at the University of Manchester in 2004.
The Great Exhibition of the North is expected to engage an audience of three million people and bring a £184 million boost to the North East, showing how cultural investment can benefit and inspire entire communities.
For more information visit www.getnorth2018.com
Notes to editors
About the Great Exhibition of the North 2018
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