Christmas at Bute Park Deepens Commitment to Working with Home-grown Creatives

Wales’ flagship festive lights trail to provide employment and skills opportunities to more people over the next three years in Wales through Ignite Cymru scheme.

Wales’ flagship festive lights trail has deepened its commitment to working with home-grown creatives under a scheme set to run for at least the next three years. Christmas at Bute Park has committed to providing employment and skills development opportunities to people in Wales until at least 2025 through its Ignite Cymru initiative. 

Christmas at Bute Park takes visitors on a breath-taking tour of festive delight around one of the capital city’s most beloved landmarks, and has welcomed almost 300,000 visitors since its debut event in 2021. It returns to Cardiff from November 24th 2023, bringing five weeks of festive magic and an all-new layout with it this year. 

Ignite Cymru is a project run by Christmas at Bute Park with support from Welsh Government to help develop skills among local creatives, and is now set to deliver over £160,000 worth of training across the next three years.

Now the team behind the trail is looking to engage with three times the amount of creatives than it did in 2022 in producing the 2023 event, through its work with schools, visual artists, young people and around 100 undergraduates based at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD).

As a result, visitors will wander this year’s trail to surround-sound audio created by local young composers and marvel at installations created by locally-based visual designers and community groups. Those attending Christmas at Bute Park will also benefit for the first time from live music performances from RWMCD students, and also be the first to witness artwork created by local school pupils this year too.

More than 50 students from RWMCD will also once again have the chance to be involved in helping to produce specially composed music for the trail alongside TV and film composer, Jonathan Vincent. Jonathan Daglish was among the students chosen to create bespoke audio and produce music that was subsequently played to visitors during their visit to Christmas at Bute Park as part of the debut Ignite Cymru project last year.

Christmas at Bute Park is the biggest light trail in Wales. Photo: Entertainment South Wales.

Jonathan said: “As a composer, writing for a range of genres and mediums always proves to be an invaluable experience, and having the opportunity to write for the installations at Christmas at Bute Park proved no exception. We were incredibly glad to share our work which could be heard within a few steps of the Royal Welsh College and share music from our department with the wider Cardiff community.”

As part of this year’s Ignite Cymru, around 35 Set Design and Lighting students at RWCMD will also be given the opportunity to produce a creative brief for installation at the 2023 event, and more than 50 young people will be involved in the creation of an installation through Pontypridd charity Citrus Arts.

Two emerging Welsh visual artists will also be working with lighting designer Elanor Higgins to create artwork for installation through an open call process as part of this year’s scheme, and two schools will also help to create a new installation for inclusion in the trail in partnership with Cardiff Council.

Christmas at Bute Park is the biggest light trail in Wales: Photo: Entertainment South Wales.

Deputy Minister Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m delighted that we can work again with Ignite Cymru to deliver some fantastic training and skills opportunities in the creative sector which will prove to be an invaluable platform for people looking to start or further their careers. I’m looking forward to seeing what the team have in store for Christmas 2023.“

Cardiff Council confirmed last year that Christmas at Bute Park will stay in Cardiff until at least 2025, with organisers working to deepen their support for local communities since. As a result, Christmas at Bute Park will also this year be providing complimentary tickets to up to 40 charitable and community groups as it once again looks to make the experience as magical as it can, for as many people as it can.

Roxy Robinson, Creative Director at From The Fields, which produces the trail, said: “We’ve been completely blown away by how welcome the team behind Christmas at Bute Park has been made to feel since we first came to launch the trail in Cardiff in 2021, and are more committed than ever to making sure the event remains at the heart of the community in return.”

Christmas at Bute Park is the biggest light trail in Wales. Photo: Entertainment South Wales.

“We’re hugely grateful to the Welsh Government for their continued support in ensuring the Ignite Cymru scheme we first introduced to expand our network of locally sourced creatives and producers in 2022 will now be able to continue until at least 2025.”

“Through additional funding and greater access to local skills, we’ll be expanding even further on the relationships we’ve established so far for the benefit of more young people, students, volunteers and creative practitioners in Wales than we’ve been able to previously,” Roxy added.

“With a completely different layout and brand new installations on the way for 2023, we’re looking forward to sourcing the best in home-grown creativity and delivering a unique festive light trail offering the best composition, installation art and lighting design expertise that Wales has to offer as a result.” 

Christmas at Bute Park is the biggest light trail in Wales: Photo: Entertainment South Wales.

From November 24th, Christmas at Bute Park is back and bigger than ever, with an all-new layout and more than 2km of illuminations on offer. The award-winning event is extending its route and completely revising its layout and range of light installations on offer, creating a never-before seen experience for all those visiting this year.

Ahead of its third annual outing, Christmas at Bute Park is also introducing a new Christmas Village to its 2023 event, which can be accessed from the very start of the trail, and providing On and Off-Peak tickets for the first time this year too. 

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