Walk the Plank leads one of the ten teams selected to develop UK-wide festival of creativity in 2022

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Walk the Plank has won a significant commission to create a major national participatory event as part of Festival UK*2022, partnering with Siemens, National Parks UK, Extraordinary Bodies, University of Salford and Landscapes for Life: AONBs. 

Salford-based Walk the Plank is one of the UK’s leading outdoor arts organisations, behind memorable events such as the Liverpool ’08 City of Culture opening, Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture opening, and the closing ceremony to the 2009 Commonwealth Games.

In September 2020, Walk the Plank was chosen by Festival UK* 2022 to undertake an R&D process, working with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) partners on ideas for a UK-wide moment of inclusive mass participation.

Following the R&D and a rigorous assessment process, the team’s creative idea is being commissioned to be taken into full production for next year’s Festival UK* 2022.

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The project will be an experiment in lighting technology, environmental science, geo-tracking, mass participation, exploring the beauty of the UK outdoors and asking questions about access, taking part, landscape and the future of public spectacle.

Full details of all the teams’ festival commissions are being kept under wraps until the festival programme is announced, along with a new name, later this year.

The creative team includes John Wassell, Walk the Plank Creative Producer; freelance Lighting and Special Effects Designer: Richard Babington; freelance Theatremaker and multidisciplinary Artist: Danielle Carbon Wilson; Siemens: Robin Phillips, Annabel Ohene, Engineer, Nathaniel Fernandes, Engineer; National Parks UK: Alastair Barber, Head of the Communications Unit; freelance Dance and Movement Specialist: Ruth Jones; freelance Creative Leader, Musician, and Facilitator: Pete Moser; Extraordinary Bodies: Jamie Beddard, Lead Artist.

The 10 major public engagement projects selected by Festival UK* 2022 are designed to reach millions and bring people together – both as participants and audiences. The festival is directed by Martin Green, who has an exemplary record leading major cultural events, including the London 2021 Olympic ceremony and Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

John Wassell, Creative Producer and Co-founder of Walk the Plank, said: “We’ve been working in public space worldwide for thirty years, from our base in Salford, making work that connects artists and communities. This project offers an amazing opportunity to bring together the skills of artists and engineers, technicians, and thousands of participants across the UK. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Walk the Plank and our partners to create something amazing.

Our project will engage people of all ages and cultures in a celebration of our landscapes and the lives within them. It considers them as places worth enjoying and protecting, for everyone, forever.”

Alastair Barber, Head of the Communications Unit at National Parks UK, said: “We want to make our landscapes – nature relevant to as many people, and as many different types of people as possible. That’s exactly what this project does. We hope this project will reveal new truths about our relationship to land and what it means to us in 2022.”

Robin Phillips, Siemens said “We are delighted to have the chance to spotlight engineering and innovation as part of a nationwide event that will highlight the talents of a team that mixes young engineers with the experience and skills of a world leading company that is unafraid to research, develop and test bold new ideas. We first worked with Walk the Plank when employees from our Manchester HQ took part in the Manchester Day Parade in 2010, and we are excited about the scale of this new project which will reach across the UK in 2022. “

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