The Fire Garden
If you’re looking for an engaging installation that gives people the chance to rediscover a familiar place in a surprising new way then our site-responsive Fire Garden is a great way of creating intimate and magical fiery spectacle, over several hours. We're now taking inquiries for new Fire Garden installations in locations across the UK.
From our first Fire Garden at Salford Quays back in 1999 to the Dulwich Picture Gallery or Caernarfon Castle in 2016, the Fire Garden has animated a wide range of locations around the UK, in all seasons. Its popularity with commissioning partners is due to the way in which it creates new theatrical possibilities in a space which might have become overlooked or forgotten. Hand crafted, intricate fire sculptures suddenly transform a space into a place of wonder, as the audience wander through, or stand and watch, always close enough to feel the heat.
The power of the Fire Garden is the way it can respond to a wide range of different settings - from the grounds of an abbey or cathedral to a local park or a cultural venue. Although each Fire Garden is composed of organic sculptural elements – from blazing begonias that pulse with flame to gently burning bulrushes - no two are the same because each is adapted in response to its local setting, and often to reflect a specific theme or context.
In many cases we work with local performers, musicians or artists to enhance a specific theme or add broader cultural or narrative context:
Burns Aflame, in Ayr (January 2016), celebrated the life and works of Robert Burns as part of the Burns ‘an all that festival. Here a Victorian-themed Fire Garden help set the context to wider Burns celebrations. At Festival Number 6 in Portmerion, the Fire Garden provided a gorgeous chill out space for hundreds of festivalgoers enchanted by its fiery grottoes and blazing music stage.
At Hull Freedom Festival, our Fire Garden celebrated Nelson Mandela’s global contribution to the causes of equality and reconciliation with bespoke etched steel images; while at Dublin Castle we reinterpreted it in collaboration with Waterford Spraoi’s youth theatre to create a dark and mysterious celebration of Bram Stoker’s gothic masterpiece Dracula. The gothic possibilities of the Fire Garden were also re-explored for Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley Halloween Spooktacular in 2015 with the addition of dancing gargoyles inspired by its location around Paisley Abbey.
Proving that this really is a piece of work for all seasons, Barry Island’s Isle of Fire, commissioned by Vale of Glamorgan Council, provided us with a fantastic opportunity to bring a fire procession and a Viking ship along the town’s promenade in the height of summer.
Whatever the setting or celebration, our producers work in close partnership with each of our clients to explore both the creative and audience objectives that you want to achieve. Critical to the success of each Fire Garden is the way in which we work to understand both the physical setting and broader cultural context of your proposed event and how it fits into a wider festival or programme of events.
The Fire Garden has been seen at St Albans Cathedral; Chatsworth House, Derbyshire; Nottingham Castle; Larne; Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland; Lost Eden at Kendal Calling; Blackpool’s Heat the Streets; Brentford Locks and many more.
“This has given it a whole new dimension: people are seeing it as a beautiful space to be used for recreation purposes rather than just a short cut! I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so beautiful, it’s amazing, the sculptures are fabulous” – Audience member at Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent 2014
Barry Island, Isle of Fire was a bronze award winner in the Best Events (small category) in the National Tourism Awards for Wales, 2015.
“It’s been great walking with Walk the Plank - it’s something different for the island, a unique evening event” – Sarah Jones, Vale of Glamorgan Council