Outdoor, Light Installation

Light Ballet
River Shannon, June 2021
Mick Murray Light Artist
Matthew Cregan Lighting Designer
David Kitt Composer
Produced by Culture Works 

Light Ballet was created by Light Sculptors, Irish Light Artist Mick Murray and Lighting Designer Matthew Cregan, accompanied by a newly composed soundscape by David Kitt with words from Poet Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe. Presented as part of Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh, a nationwide, ten-day season of arts experiences brought to you by the Arts Council, in June 2021.

Light Ballet transformed eight counties’ skies and surrounding landscape with a light installation floating down the River Shannon over eight days.

Light Ballet was designed to be visible in communities across eight counties along the River Shannon. It was remote but because of its scale and sound, it was an uplifting experience for everyone who encountered it whether they lived alongside the Shannon or accidentally encounter it.

Light Ballet danced through the skies of Clare, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary and Westmeath.

Through its powerful physical presence, Light Ballet surprised everyone who encountered the spectacle of light and sound as it voyaged through Ireland’s hidden heartlands. The combined light and soundscape manifested as a sculptural presence through the manipulation of light, colour and shadows. Each evening from dusk, the skies and surrounding landscape were transformed and illuminated with a hope-filled, ballet of light. Through the River’s embrace of summer, Light Ballet offered an opportunity to reflect and to remember, representing a moment of hope, joy and togetherness. Even though consumed by distance, Light Ballet connected us through shared experience and collective joy. 

Visibility & Soundscape

Light Ballet was visible from up to seven kilometres and covering almost two hundred kilometres. The journey began each night from dusk (approx 11 pm) starting off in Co Roscommon on June 13 and traveled through Leitrim, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Tipperary, Clare, ending its journey in Co Galway.

The installation was accompanied by a newly composed soundscape by David Kitt. Drawing inspiration from William Butler Yeats’s own Song of Wandering Aengus, the soundscape for Light Ballet was created by David Kitt, with words from Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe’s poem Wandersong in collaboration with Mick Murray and Matthew Cregan. 

Using a familiar Irish musical time signature, intermixed with words from Poet Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe and his own vocal, David Kitt brought us on a journey through, river, ‘spirit land’ and the surrounds. Once entwined, these lands, the people, the river and their connection in music, words and song delivered us to a new place, a spiritual journey along the river through its edgelands, to a familiar place. 

The light installation and soundscape were synchronised in real-time allowing audiences to experience the soundscape at home, along the edgelands or those in-between places through their phones, tablets or computers. The artwork was on a seven-minute cycle for four hours each night from dusk and the full show was visible from any point along the route.

A major waterway in Ireland, the Shannon is home to a continuous thread of bustling harbours and peaceful bays, lively towns and villages and fascinating heritage and historical sites. Even though we can't be together right now, it will offer us the opportunity for collective connection, creating a shared experience. We want people from where they are to stop and look around.

Mick Murray is a Light Artist from Offaly and has over 20 years of experience working as a lighting designer and light artist. Mick has created a series of works and installations in the public realm. From large-scale public light installations to sculptures his work has been showcased throughout Ireland. From HyBrasil premiering at Drop Everything, Inis Oírr, 2014 and Westport Arts Festival 2018, Spire-Inspire for UNESCO International Year of Light and Beckett Bridge for Winter Lights / Eventco. Mick has worked with Landmark Productions, Fíbín Theatre Company, Gaiety Theatre, National Concert Orchestra, St Patrick’s Festival, Galway International Arts Festival. Mick also works internationally with Circa (Australia)

Matthew Cregan is a Lighting Designer from Belfast and has worked extensively in Theatre and Live Events over the last 20 years. Matt has worked on a number of outdoor lighting projects and large-scale public events including NYF Dublin, Star Wars Spire Installation, Lyric Theatre, RTE, Gaiety Theatre, and Olympia Theatre. Outside of his work as a lighting designer Matt has held positions including Director of Technical Operations, Technical Director, Head of Lighting, Production Manager and Sound Engineer.

David Kitt is an Irish singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Kitt has released eight albums and continues to surprise audiences and fans with the diversity of his sound. 

Kitt remains a unique, sincere artist and songwriter, able to meld influences, eras and sound with a timelessness earned after more than twenty years immersed in music.

Schools Project

Light Ballet and Culture Works invited primary schools along the Shannon to engage in the creative process through provision of a bespoke education pack. Primary schools received a pack with a worksheet and a set of instructions on how to create light movements. The artist incorporated these into the final design. As the light installation passed through each of the locations on the River Shannon, the children’s lighting design appeared as part of the overall light installation.