To showcase and celebrate the beauty of where we live, North Of The Tyne, Under The Stars finishes in Newcastle.
Shimmering light attractions stand in front of a busy crowd all coming to watch them. The shows were beautiful to watch featuring amazing projected art, taking you through all there is to love about North of the Tyne. The 6 light attractions, each as unique as the next, captivated me for hours. I even watched some of the small shows twice. Here is everything this attraction had to offer.
Meadow Wall was the first of the 6 attractions I went to. There were beautiful works of art projected onto a wall of the City Baths. Poetry and relaxing music was played on the speakers. People appeared and disappeared off the sides of the wall.
This was the only attraction where the audience could get involved. The people disappearing and appearing on each side were those who had gone into a booth in front of a camera. They were then projected onto the walls. Many people took selfies with their projected selves or striking poses for pictures by family members. I also had to have a go at this and grab a selfie while I had the chance.
This was certainly an attraction for the kids to enjoy. I could see young smiling boys doing stupid things in front of the camera and trying to see if it was projecting them doing so. But when they turned around, all they could see was themselves looking backwards. It was certainly an enjoyable one to have a go at.
Take Me To The River
I went to Take Me To The River next as it happened to just be starting when we arrived. This was by far my favourite of the shows. It was full of cute catchy tunes sang by a primary school and had a very animated and enjoyable way of presenting the different locations. This particular projection was very clever as the three characters looking for the river would use the ledges of the building to stand and walk across. They even climbed through the windows.
The whole premise of this show was to showcase the bunch of characters looking for the river because there wasn’t a swimming pool. On their journey, they took you on a tour across the North East, presenting all the different places there were to visit. However, what struck me most was if you stayed after the end.
Obviously, a last minute addition to the show, was the presentation of the Ukrainian flag. When the boy walked across with the flag, everyone watching clapped in solidarity for Ukraine. Whilst this wasn’t giving money or supplies to help the Ukraine. This was a way of showing the North’s defiance of the war. Because you weren’t expecting this whilst watching the rest of the projection, the walk with the flag at the end was actually rather moving.
The Zoetrope was my next stop as it was just next to Take Me To The River. Like its name, The Zoetrope mimicked a zoetrope being a full 360 degree attraction. How they managed to get it to project seamlessly the whole way round, I don’t know. But it was such a beautiful one to watch. It consisted of the zoetrope and an extra screen on the Civic Centre, mirroring what was going on, creating an interesting effect.
This one took you through key moments in the North such as the invention of the light bulb, all the way to the swing bridge. Even when showing all these different scenes, the top and the bottom of the zoetrope kept constantly looking like it was moving and spinning, making it all seem so real.
My favourite section had to be the carousel, something about it really captivated me. The music they played alongside it really matched as well. Throughout the whole thing, it kept me wondering, how they managed to make it look so amazing.
The Hyem was our next visit and one that took the longest to see. Because of its immense popularity, the queue was massive. However, it still moved rather quickly. When I got to the front, the lady letting everyone through said that she kept having to limit how many people went through at once so everyone could take their time and enjoy it to their fullest.
This was a long, ever-changing, projected path showcasing, through modern art, what Newcastle is. There were drawings of people from all walks of life, pictures of show tickets such as Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and just pretty patterns and colours.
You could walk along this path at your own pace and none of the staff pushed you to go any faster. Those who wanted to go faster just walked around you as the path was wide. I enjoyed having the chance to at my own leisure and experience all the different changes of the floor as they came. The path then nicely led you straight onto the next attraction.
The Story-Weaver was a magnificent piece told in a magic mirror like screen. The story teller told the story of the North East, of Hadrian’s Wall and those who settled here. She claimed she was an otherworldly being summoned by us, who I thought she might be a star.
She performed a very magical and poetic piece which was extremely powerful and drew you into her story, no matter your age. It wasn’t just her presentation of the story that made it so breath-taking. It was her unique costume, the effects around her that made her sparkle and all the editing of her disappearing into thin air.
Her grand speech came to end as she turned back into stars. The night sky background made way for the turn of the crowds as the next wave came to watch. I left in awe at how powerful her piece was. How amazing she was to present it to make you almost believe she wasn’t an actor. From there, I moved to the last destination.
Anthro Zoo was ran by the Hancock Museum and by using 3D laser scanning they transformed creatures into light. Personally, I found this the weakest attraction. The display of each animal was very slow and ended up leaving me somewhat bored at times.
However, I found that I enjoyed the way they projected the streets of Newcastle folding as if they were pages of a book. Others I spoke to said they enjoyed trying to work out which streets they were showing between each artefact.
Overall, it was a phenomenal experience with a beautiful message of appreciation of where we live. Despite thinking it wouldn’t take much time to see it all, I was there for well over two hours and never got bored. What a fantastic night.
Keira is an A-Level student and aspiring journalist for Radio Gateshead, circus performer and musician.
Interests: Writing, expressing things creatively, and writing podcasts.