The Frost Fairies
Two talented brothers have adapted a children’s fairy story and turned it into a magical projection show on the front of The Blackpool Tower.
Matt and Rob Vale’s company, Illuminos, was specially commissioned to create a festive show as part of the resort’s Christmas By The Sea experience on the Tower Festival Headland.
The result is a beautiful adaptation of The Frost Fairies, based on an original tale by Margaret T Canby. In it, King Frost tasks his fairies with taking his hoard of precious jewels and treasure to Father Christmas to be used as gifts for children. Along the way, they hide the jars of jewels in trees when they pause to play.
As the story unfolds, the building becomes an ice palace with frost creeping across the windows and the frost fairies gliding and swooping through a forested winter garden.
The show, which includes a newly-created soundtrack, is projected several times a night on to the front of The Blackpool Tower building.
Illuminos, based in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, have worked around the world on a range of high-profile events including the closing ceremony for the 2017 Capital of Culture celebrations in Cyprus. They also created a vast chocolate factory for City Of The Unexpected, a city-wide centenary celebrations of Roald Dahl in Cardiff.
The Illuminos commission formed part of a £48k Arts Council National Lottery grant made to the Blackpool Illuminations team to deliver a new artists’ research and development programme.
It led to two artist-in-residence opportunities at Lightworks, the manufacturing base of the Illuminations, and resulted in new works being created for the Grundy Art Gallery and Lightpool Festival.
The Frost Fairies projection show, which is free to view each night, forms part of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village on the Tower Festival Headland. It also includes free-to-use skating rink, magic forest, log cabins, artificial snowfalls, and light installations.
At the VisitBlackpool cabin, there is a range of Christmas By The Sea merchandise, including a limited edition jar of Frost Fairy sweets produced by local rock company, Stanton.
Rob Vale said: “We have been interested in creating a projection artwork for the iconic Blackpool Tower for a number of years, and were delighted to be given this opportunity.
We wanted to bring a sense of wonder and storytelling to the project, and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to develop our ideas with the highly knowledgeable Lightpool team.
“There were some great conversations and sharing sessions with other commissioned artists, and the end result we hope really makes best use of this world-famous building to bring the Frost Fairies to life.”
Alongside Blackpool’s Christmas village is the Star Flyer, Europe’s largest aerial ride and a short distance away is the Winter Gardens Wonderland with indoor and outdoor festive market stalls, virtual reality experiences, and funfair rides.
The Christmas programme is complemented by the extended Blackpool Illuminations season which sees the famous lights shining every night until January 3.
On New Year’s Eve a free family fireworks display will be staged in front of The Blackpool Tower at 5pm.
Note: Parts of the Christmas season and fireworks display are weather-dependent. Check out the visitblackpool.com website for updates.
New Year’s Eve Family Fireworks and some elements of Christmas By The Sea are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.