Cardboard castles and a Viking church will be built and toppled across the Liverpool City Region this week.
A full schedule of the towers’ spectacular rises and falls, along with a host of accompanying family entertainment, has been revealed ahead of the ‘Lost Castles’ festivities.
With the cultural project led by renowned French artist Olivier Grossetȇte involving all six boroughs, it’ll get underway on Thursday 9 August as the building of the structures begins in Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton. Then on Friday 10 August, construction will start in Knowsley, St Helens and Halton.
Hundreds of volunteers will work with Olivier to make the creations, based on medieval forts or historic structures which once stood in the region, out of cardboard boxes.
Once the buildings, which are expected to tower over 20 metres high, have reached completion a programme of activities including street theatre, storytelling, live music, falconry displays and even dragons will take place at the locations on 11 August.
Communities are then invited to come together and watch the toppling of the ‘Lost Castles’ at different times throughout the city region on Sunday 12 August, before all cardboard is responsibly recycled after the event.
Olivier, who is the creative director on the project which forms part of this year’s Liverpool 2018 celebrations, says: “It is always so rewarding to work on a project which brings together a community in producing a unique piece of art which reflects where they live. Pride is felt by everyone involved when the structures are complete and each will stand-out proudly from their surroundings.
“And then of course there is the fun of the demolition at the end! Within hours it is like the castles never existed and it was just a wonderful dream.”
The full schedule for this week’s ‘Lost Castles’ event:
What is being built? A structure inspired by Liverpool Castle, which once stood at the top of modern day Lord Street and is thought to have been built during the early 13th Century, will be constructed in Williamson Square.
What’s happening on Saturday? From midday to 6pm, visitors can expect a fairytale themed programme featuring knights in shining armour, juggling and stilt walking jesters, princes, princesses, kings, queens and a dragon.
There will be also be storytelling throughout the day and live music supplying a medieval soundtrack.
What time is Sunday’s toppling? 5pm.
What is being built? A Viking stave church will celebrate Wirral’s Viking history and Norse connections when it’s built in West Kirby’s Ashton Park.
The area is thought to have been almost a Viking state in its own right with its own borders, customs, trading point and language.
What’s happening on Saturday? From 11am until 3.30pm the cardboard stave church will provide a backdrop for free Viking-themed demonstrations led by real-life Vikings, Wirhalh Skip Felagr.
Cheshire Falconry will also bring birds of prey flying displays and there’ll be a selection of food and drink on offer.
What time is Sunday’s toppling? The stave church will be demolished at midday, but early attendees can also enjoy a free 90-minute yoga class in front of the structure from 9.30-11am courtesy of Yogasmiths. Bring your own mat if you have one!
What is being built? Celebrating Knowsley’s Elizabethan and Jacobean heritage, a structure at the entrance of Knowsley Safari Park will take inspiration from Elsinore Castle which features in William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’.
What’s happening on Saturday? ‘Hamlet’s Castle of Cosmic Creatures’ will come to life around the walls of the castle, with entertainment from the castle’s jester as well as a black raven flying around the castle grounds.
Greet the giant Elizabethan puppets and watch in awe as two giant smoke-breathing dragons swoop and soar.
Cardboard-inspired craft workshops are sure to entertain children on the day, and performances from local choirs and musicians will celebrate Elizabethan Knowsley.
What time is Sunday’s toppling? 4pm.
What is being built?
Norton Priory will be hosting a construction inspired by Halton Castle, a medieval ruin a mile and a half away in Halton village, will inspire the cardboard creation that is set to be built at Norton Priory.
This re-imagining of the castle, located near to Norton Priory’s own medieval ruins, will reflect the imposing 15th century gatehouse when the fortress was at its zenith.
What’s happening on Saturday?
There’ll be tales of St George, a terrifying giant dragon, a juggler and villagers who’ll share insight of life in medieval times as activities take place between 11am and 4pm.
Young visitors can also build mini sandcastles and enjoy crafts in the museum, and the event includes free admission to Norton Priory Museum & Gardens.
What time is Sunday’s toppling? The castle will be toppled at 3pm, however elements will be retained for the following weekend’s (18-19 August) spectacular medieval re-enactment.
What is being built? In Victoria Square (near the Town Hall), St Helens Council and local arts organisation the Heart of Glass will see Stuttgart Old Castle partially recreated and built to commemorate the 70th twinning anniversary between St Helens and the German city of Stuttgart.
What’s happening on Saturday?
A range of medieval street performers from Fool’s Paradise will entertain the crowds between 11am and 3pm, and at 1pm, there’ll be a performance by the Valley Brass Band.
On Church Square, the In The Street event is also taking place as part of the St Helens 150 celebrations and promises a day of interactive pop-up performances, mini festivals, installations and workshops for all the family.
All events are free.
What time is Sunday’s toppling? 2pm.
What is being built? Bootle Castle, also known as Miller’s Castle, will be recreated in North Park, along with two nearby Bootle landmarks – the obelisks which in the 1800s acted as a navigation point for ships entering the Mersey.
What’s happening on Saturday? A seaside theme will be reflected in the programme developed by The Atkinson, including live music, outdoor theatre, arts and crafts, a fairground and food and drink concessions.
What time is Sunday’s toppling? 1pm.