The all-new official reimagined trail map for Christmas at Bute Park 2023 has arrived!
This year, Wales flagship festive light trail will feature jaw-dropping illuminations. unforgettable photo moments. Artisan street food + delicious festive drinks and uplifting & original music compositions.
As an extra treat for the senses, there are also added live music ensembles and choirs to selected days.
Molara Adesigbin and Grace Priest are two emerging Welsh visual artists chosen by Christmas at Bute Park to design and create one of its all-new installations, as part of a completely revised and newly extended trail coming to Cardiff city centre this Christmas.
Based in Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire, Molara will be joined by Cardiff-based designer Grace Priest in contributing to this year’s event as part of Christmas at Bute Park’s Ignite Cymru scheme, which is run with support from Welsh Government to help develop skills among local creatives.
Under the mentorship of lighting designer Elanor Higgins, the pair will be working to produce one installation each for this year’s trail.
As part of her installation, Molara will be recording voices spoken in different languages of people describing what it means to take flight in different ways – for example, asylum seekers, and the reasons why people may leave their homes. Alongside the lights will be a beautiful set of eight-metre-wide angel wings which have been painted under the direction of Molara by Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) set design students. The wings incorporate fabric patterns from many nations where people suffer war and persecution.
Explaining the vision for her piece, Molara said: “Whatever kind of project I’m involved in, I always look to bring multiple voices with me, and to shine a spotlight on some of the things in this world that I’m not comfortable with, or happy with. I think we need to highlight the positives of all the different kinds of people living in Wales and how that enriches us in terms of our world perspective.”
Meanwhile Grace, who is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), will be using the opportunity to kick start her career in visual production. Grace currently works in lighting and video productions both locally in Cardiff and across the UK. The installation is being designed to reflect the natural surroundings of Bute Park and her exhibition is to sculpt the already provided surroundings, highlighting the tree that sits at the centre.
Grace said: “I work in theatre mostly, which is all backstage and dark, so it’s really nice to be outside and immersed in nature. Working outdoors is a welcomed challenge to continue to grow and develop in a different setting. Having seen the joy brought to those passing through the light trail in its previous years I am hopeful that my exhibition will do the same.”
Having welcomed almost 300,000 visitors since its debut event in 2021, 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 is set to remain in place in the city centre until at least 2025.
As such, the event has also deepened its commitment to providing employment and skills development opportunities to people in Wales through its Ignite Cymru initiative and is now set to deliver over £160,000 worth of training across the next three years.
As well as working with locally based lighting designers like Molara and Grace, the team behind the trail is set to engage with three times the number of creatives than it did in 2022 in producing the 2023 event, through working with visual artists, young people and around 60 undergraduates.
As a result, visitors will also wander this year’s trail to surround-sound audio created by local young composers and benefit for the first time from live music performances from RWMCD students.
Roxy Robinson, Creative Director at From The Fields, which produces the trail, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be benefiting from the invaluable insight and creative input both Molara and Grace are able to bring to the Christmas at Bute Park trail as professional creatives based here in Wales.
“As a team, we were completely blown away by the ideas and the vision that both of them put forward through the Ignite Cymru application process, and we’re all really excited to see their ideas become reality as part of the 2023 Christmas at Bute Park experience.”
“Most importantly, we’re grateful to them in supporting From The Fields in creating an experience which is not only full of festive joy, but is also reflective of and relevant to the lives people of all backgrounds are living here in Wales too,” Roxy added.
“We’re also hugely grateful to the Welsh Government for their support in ensuring the Ignite Cymru scheme continues to help us build further on the relationships we’ve established for the benefit of young people, students, volunteers and creative practitioners in 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.
Christmas at Bute Park runs from November 24th 2023 – January 1st 2024. For more information or to book tickets, visit www.christmasatbutepark.com