Magnificent shows of tidal power moving on its own axis.
The sea is silent yet roaring.
The beach scrapes back its tight hair of weed and marram grass.
Dunes slick into waves. You are born here yet borne elsewhere,
swept under the moon.
From Tidal Drag, by George Szirtes
As a coastal town sitting on the edge of an ocean, the waters of the North Sea have long been a source of employment, inspiration, and threat for Lowestoft. But our waters don’t exist in a vacuum: the tides are dragged onto land by the moon as the planets dance our earth around the solar system. This year’s festival takes a fresh look at the sea with a programme of music, poetry, installations and community projects that look out beyond our horizons, and up to a vast sky of stars.
Drawing inspiration from George Szirtes’ specially commissioned series of poems Tidal Drag, Noon to Moon project is a community-wide art installation that invites school students, artists and community groups to reimagine Kensington Gardens and East Point Pavilion as planetariums of strange new worlds.
Under the tutelage of acclaimed violinist Nic Pendlebury, the world-famous Trinity Laban musicians perform Beyond Our World, a programme of music split over three unique performances, which include Holst’s The Planets and a dawn rendition of Terry Riley’s Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector.
Celebrated climate photographer Gideon Mendel brings his startling Submerged Portraits (above), featuring those whose homes have been devastated by floods, to the beach for an outdoor exhibition and talk in the Ideas on the Green tent.
Sculptor Laurence Edward’s Large Bronze Head will sit precariously on the South Beach waterline, a marker of the shifting tide across the festival weekend.
You’ll find the theme threaded throughout our programme, so be sure to check out the full What’s On page to explore the full story.
This theme was created in part as a way of marking the anniversaries of significant Lowestoft floods in 2013 and 1953. First Light is just one of many organisations in the town commemorating the incidents through creative and outreach projects, including Marina Theatre’s newly commissioned work Flooding Back to a Resilient Future and a series of projects from Lowestoft Town Council, including their new plaque commemorating the loss of the Lowestoft Trawler “Guava”.