HEAVEN 17 and Human League founder Martyn Ware is to compose a soundtrack celebrating Liverpool’s links with New York as the city prepares for the visit by Cunard’s three flagship Queens this summer.
The commission, revealed today, is one of the highlights of a seven week summer programme of events going under the umbrella of One Magnificent City.
The title will badge and "enhance" a host of existing annual happenings - such as Light Night, The Mersey River Festival, Music On The Waterfront and Writing On The Wall.
There will, however, be a number of new commissions and Liverpool City Council says it expects OMC to bring in hundreds of thousands of people to the city.
The programme launches on Friday 15 May with LightNight, the full programme of which will be announced on Monday 30 March. It comes to a close on July 15.“The Crossing” is created by Martyn Ware’s company Illustrious and will run throughout the duration of OMC. It takes place in Liverpool ONE’s South John Street.
Ware explained: “Illustrious are thrilled to be asked to create a world-first immersive 3D soundscape to help celebrate Cunard’s connection between Liverpool and New York, embodying the voices, sounds and spirit of transatlantic travel, then and now. The sheer scale of the sound experience will amaze and engage visitors to South John Street in a unique and exciting way during this city-wide festival.”
Actor Paul McGann’s name crops up as part of a June project called The Golden Age of Film which delves into the world of films on long sea voyages. Retired sea projectionists will recall their memories of working at sea and the important role film played - whether it be entertainment or a source of news from home. Coordinated by Cohiba Productions, a short film will be created which will be showcased at various city centre venues.
Meanwhile Walter Mosely, author of the bestselling Easy Rawlins mysteries and one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today, heads to the city from New York for a rare UK appearance. Hosted by Writing on the Wall, this event will explore a shared literary heritage and transatlantic experiences of race, class and equality.
The majority of the new commissions have been funded through the Mayor’s Fund.
“When it comes to events, Liverpool is an ambitious city. We are fully aware of the importance and impact of cultural activities – not just the economic value they have, but the intangible benefits that comes from residents being proud of where they live.”
Port of Call Lecture Series, May to June: The University of Liverpool’s Centre for New and International writing will host a series of public talks and performances in celebration of the sea, ships and literary voyages. Starting on May 15, Mermaids in their Element sees a series of nautically inspired readings and images dedicated to the sea sirens. On May 23 Dr Sandeep Parmar will focus on the black sheep of the Cunard family – Nancy Cunard, who is regarded as one of the literary greats of her generation. Down to the Sea in Ships on May 24 will see the critically acclaimed story-teller Horatio Clare bring to life tales of seafarers, cargo ships and voyages around the world. On Saturday 6 June, Professor Paul Baines will explore the life and work of sailor and radical Edward Rushton and on Sunday 5 July artist Charlotte Hodes (from the University of Sheffield) and poet and Professor Deryn Rees-Jones will look at the poetic process, using American poet Elizabeth Bishop as inspiration.
Writing on the Wall Festival, running from before OMC begins (1 May) until 22 May: Focusing on the theme American Dreams, the 2015 festival will take audiences on a transatlantic journey with spoken word, theatre, discussion and debate, exploring the ‘wild, strange frenzy’ of port city life, and the cultural ties that bind New York and Liverpool.
The Subterranean Theatre: The Maurie, June: Written by Writing on the Wall’s Mike Morris, The Maurie is based on a 1920’s short story by rediscovered Liverpool seafarer and writer George Garrett. It celebrates the mighty ‘scouse boat’ The Mauretania, and the lives of those who worked below decks. Set in the ‘Subterranean Theatre’ of the ships’ engine room, this unique dramatic production is set to be an OMC highlight.
Women and the City: LOOK/15 is running a photographic competition celebrating the arrival of the Three Queens. In an open call to budding and experienced photographers, the LOOK/15 team want individuals to interpret the title Women and the City in any creative way, and let imaginations run wild – whether it be a portrait of an admired female, a picture of female statues such as Bessie Braddock or Eleanor Rigby or one of the Three Queens on the Mersey. Work submitted before Friday 10 April will be considered for exhibition at Liverpool ONE. Entries sent in from 11 April-26 May will be showcased www.onemagnificentcity.co.uk.
Three Queens & Amazing Graces, 23-26 May: The majestic arrival of the three Cunard Queens (Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria) on the River Mersey on Monday 25 May marks the 175th anniversary of Cunard. A world first, they will perform synchronised manoeuvres on the Mersey in a salute to their spiritual home. As part of this bank holiday weekend The Colour Project will create Amazing Graces which will bring the Three Graces to life with state-of-the-art projections exploring the spirit of the city its heritage and culture.
The International Mersey River Festival & Music on the Waterfront, 5-7 June: Three day celebration of all things maritime and music. Tall Ships, cadet displays, street performances and amazing live music will make up some of the programme, along with the inaugural Northern Boat Show which will host around 150 exhibitors, and 60 boats, attracting an estimated 25,000 visitors.
Rock n Roll Marathon, 14 June: Details TBA.
Gianni RussoTransatlantic 175 (T175), 4-5 July: Positioning Liverpool as the UK’s biggest 4 July celebration of American Independence, the weekend is packed full of ships, fashion, art, music, film and food. On the 4, Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 sets sail for America from the Cruise Liner Terminal, recreating the original voyage of Britannia back in 1840. As part of T175, a festival has been commissioned which is being curated by acclaimed designer Wayne Hemingway which will mark the cultural exchange between Britain and the USA, highlighting the influences which have travelled back and forth over the Atlantic. Full details will be unveiled later this month.
Gianni Russo: One Night Only, Sunday 5 July: Having made his name by starring in The Godfather, Gianni Russo will entertain an audience with stories of the days he travelled and performed on Cunard liners with Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly. This ticketed event will also see him sing many famous songs as part of his repertoire.
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