Illuminate 2016


Boston’s second Illuminate Parade will look at the themes behind why the Pilgrims decided to leave the country in 1607.

On Thursday 24th November, Transported and Boston Borough Council will present Illuminate 2016, the second inspired and spectacular interpretation of the Mayflower 400 Journey and what brought the Pilgrims to Scotia Creek one dark night in the autumn of 1607.

Illuminate 2016 will see two lit lantern processions make their way through to Boston market place. The parades will culminate in the choirs singing ‘Beyond the Horizon’, the Mayflower song composed by local musician and songwriter Jo, set in front of a stunning light projection onto the parade and St Botolph’s Church. The Illuminate activities will finish with the Christmas light switch on at 6.30pm.

Birds will be used as a motif throughout the 2016 festival, with doves to represent peace and liberty sought by the Pilgrims and swallows to symbolise hope and migration. Media specialists Electric Egg Ltd, made up of Neil Baker and Steve Hatton, have been commissioned to create the projections, using animation and video. Artists Ruth Pigott and Jessica Aylen of the Curioisty Creators have created paper birds to be handed out to the crowd, in addition to huge bird lanterns which will be carried at the Illuminate festival. Different groups including Wrangle School, Boston West Academy, Wyberton School, St Thomas’ School, St Giles Academy, Boston Explorers and Fishtoft Parish Council have worked with the Curiosity Creators to create their own bird lanterns to carry in the Illuminate Parade.

Illuminate 2016 is the second in a series of annual light festivals that will tell the story of the Pilgrims. The festivals will culminate in a huge international celebration in 2020 to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower, and the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in America. For more information about Boston’s connection to the Mayflower story, visit the Mayflower400 website.

Transported has found that festivals are a fun, easy way for people to engage in the arts and aims to develop festival skills in the area during its next phase of funding. See our website for videos and photos from Transported’s previous festivals in Boston Borough and South Holland.

Follow the Illuminate preparations on Twitter and add your own photos with #Illuminate2016 and #Mayflower400.

The activities in Boston Market Place, hosted by LincsFM, will also include face painting from 3pm, fairground attractions and Santa’s Grotto. There will be a market from noon until 8pm and late night shopping, in addition to performances by Sarah Lowe and Boston Jive.

After the festivities in Boston Market Place, make sure to visit Pescod Square’s Christmas light switch on at 7pm, in association with Oldrids. This year, the lights will be switched on by some well loved children’s characters.  The characters will take part in Oldrid’s children’s treasure hunt, before delivering gifts to the Pilgrim Hopsital’s children’s ward.

Don’t miss your chance to dine with the characters in Oldrids restaurant between 3.30pm and 5pm (booking required). Oldrids will also host festive food tastings, carol singers, bell ringers, and balloon popping. Look out for entertainment by Alan School of Dance and a pantomime performance from Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, as well as onstage giveaways. Weather permitting, the popular snow globe competition will return to Pescod Square this year.

Steve Hatton, Director at Electric Egg Ltd said: Electric Egg are delighted to explore the themes of the Pilgrim story at this year’s Illuminate Festival. We will explore themes of liberty and migration using animation, illustration and video which will be projected in a variety of locations around Boston including the tower of St Botolph’s. We hope these works will stimulate debate and a curiosity in Boston’s rich history and the town’s contribution to the Pilgrim story.”

Ruth Pigott, Director at Curiosity Creators said: “We have been working with schools and community groups to make a flock of over 150 lanterns for this years Illuminate parade. The birds have been based on swallows which symbolise hope and freedom. This links to the beginnings of the Mayflower 400 story in which the pilgrims begin to consider leaving England for America. During our residency at St Botolph’s Church, we contemplated how much this story resonates with people today who have chosen to leave their homeland in search of a new life with hope inside their journey.

Anna Kingman, Projects Manager for Transported said: “Transported are working with Boston Borough Council to make 2016’s Illuminate Parade even bigger and better than last year’s event. We are excited to build on the artistic elements of 2015’s festival with light projections, and hope to involve even more people in the lantern making workshops and parades.”

The Illuminate Parade and Boston Christmas Light Switch On will take place on Thursday 24th November at Boston Market Place.

For more information on Illuminate, contact Anna Kingman on or 07436 162005.