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Harris Flights opening to bring four weeks of unique art to Preston

Posted on - 16th August, 2013 - 10:02pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston City Centre, Things To Do

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One year on from the Preston Guild proclamation and the Harris steps will play host to a different kind of celebration.

The Harris Flights officially open at 11am on Saturday 17 August and promise four-weeks of unique arts and performances.

Temporary steps have been put up from the Flag Market to the entrance of the Harris.

The opening weekend includes a performance from the One Voice Community Choir, along with a visit from the Mayor of Preston councillor Veronica Afrin.

She said: “I am thrilled to be at the opening of the Harris Flights. This is a unique sight in Preston and something on this scale against such an iconic building has never been seen before.

“The Harris Flights is central to the free entertainment on offer for families this summer and people should come to view the city from a new perspective, at the top of the steps.”

The opening weekend will also see a variety of traditional board games set up over 20 tables.

The Romans will also be coming, as the Museum of Lancashire presents the life and times of ancient Rome.

What else is on at the Flights?

On Sunday 1st September, let Andy McKeown, new media light and sound artist, dazzle you with his highly coloured and energetic tour through Preston’s archives, collections and architecture via an illuminated, animated montage on the façade of the Harris Museum. Andy has projected his illuminated installations nationally and internationally, including a digital graffiti festival in Florida, USA and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral during Light Night 2012.

Similar projections were also seen during the Jubilee celebrations in London last year, when various images where projected onto Buckingham Palace.

Look out for artist, Martin Hamblen throughout the month as he performs his piece, 29,028. He will walk two steps forward, one step back for sixty seven hours. Walking ‘two steps forward, one step back’ is a positive message – regardless of life’s struggles, people carry on with their everyday endeavours.

He likens the performance as climbing a metaphorical mountain, with the performance staggered so that his body can acclimatise to the repetitive exercise and build up stamina ready for the final seven hour performance.

Blaze, Ludus Dance and More Music are all organisations who performed during the Guild City Festival last September and they all appear in the Harris Flights programme, entertaining crowds with dance and live music. Preston based Bluestreak Arts will premiere a specially commissioned piece for Harris Flights; a theatrical performance fusing live music, AV media, dance and physical theatre to tell the story of the architect of the Harris Museum, James Hibbert.

Bank holiday Monday (26th August) sees a sport themed day filled with games, stalls and demonstrations including Aikido – a traditional Japanese martial art that uses an attacker’s energy against them.

Phil Kaila, Salsa specialist will showcase music and dance from across Africa, West Indies, the Middle East, Italy and more. Abhinandana performance will be a colourful display of classical and Bollywood Indian dance with popular songs such as ‘Jai ho’ from the film Slumdog Millionaire, and an opportunity to join in a Bollywood dance workshop, led by experts.

Staff and students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) feature heavily throughout the programme bringing a variety of events to the Harris Flights including science, children’s storytelling and dance.

Fine art Lecturer William Titley plans to slow jog a marathon taking in the Harris Museum’s displays and exhibitions as well as the flight steps themselves, whilst interacting with onlookers and visitors.

He said: “My work often involves the merging of art and everyday life events, particularly local cultures. The Harris Flights project is an opportunity for me to merge the culture of Fell Running with the exploration of the physical space of the Museum & Art Gallery.

“It will be a real test of my own physical and mental endurance while at the same time representing the space in another way. My route will trace the many stairways and galleries within the building and also include the new temporary flights outside in the public square.”

Will you be visiting the Flights? What are you looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below

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