Among the new features for the 2018 season, which will launch with the Switch-On concert - featuring homegrown stars Alfie Boe and Rae Morris - on Friday, August 31, are tributes to Blackpool’s circus heritage and to the women of the First World War and the suffrage movement, as well as a ‘romantic’ reflection on the original Illuminations displays.
Also new will be ‘colour choreography’ throughout the Illuminations, where the festoon lighting has been ‘re-engineered’ to help it set the scene alongside the traditional displays.
“One of the big things I have driven is the new initiative this year to make the Lights lighter and brighter than ever,” Laurence said.
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“Blackpool in light terms has got noisier; the way businesses promote themselves with things like digital screens etc, I wanted to ensure the Illuminations kept up and weren’t swamped by that ‘noise’.
“It will feel like they are much bigger and brighter.
“Part of the Illuminations has always been celebrating new technology, that’s the very origin of them.
“And we reflect that this year, with a heritage corridor we have created, showing how the Illuminations felt back in 1912, lit with Eddison bulbs, showing how far the technology has come and how different it now is.
“It feels like candlelight, and quite romantic, up on the corner past the hotels where there’s the Victorian ironwork.
“I hope people will enjoy the quiet romanticism alongside the boldly coloured lights.”
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As part of the Circus 250 activities in Blackpool, one of the six Cities Of Circus across the UK, there’s another nod to the resort’s heritage, with vintage-style images using the latest in digital technology to light them up.
And local businesses such as the Houndshill Shopping Centre and Beaverbrooks jewellers are once more sponsoring the dazzling display, as well as newcomer, toy manufacturer Cubbies.
“There has long been a tradition for cause-based Illuminations, going a little bit deeper, in Blackpool.
“This year we have a big projection screen for the NHS’s 70th birthday which the hospital has gotten behind.
“And a project close to my heart, to follow up on the Blackpool Will Never Forget tableau created in commemoration of the Great War, there’a new sibling to that with a tableau recognising the sacrifice the women of Blackpool made during the First World War, and in the colours to link it to the 100th anniversary of female suffrage.
“It’s nice to have depth.”