Favourite places seen in a new light

Some of the most famous landmarks in the North-East were drenched in an entirely new light last night as the international Glow festival was launched.

The Millennium Bridge

Some of the most famous landmarks in the North-East were drenched in an entirely new light last night as the international Glow festival was launched.

The Sage Gateshead, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Theatre Royal in Newcastle were among the icons to receive the magenta pink touch on the first of six magical nights over two weeks.

The festival is the centrepiece of this year's NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and the culmination of nine months of work involving artists from around the globe.

The lights went on at 5pm as the event was opened at Saltwell Towers in Saltwell Park, Gateshead, an imposing Victorian building, which was then used as a giant screen for a short film.

Inspired by a story called Light is like Water, the film told the tale of two boys in Madrid who fill their flat with water whenever their parents go out for the evening.

Gateshead Council leader Mick Henry said: "During the festival Newcastle and Gateshead will be lit up like a magical wonderland. There will be something for everyone." Saltwell Park was alive with giant lanterns, flickering candles, pink glowsticks and dancing lights yesterday evening as the film received its premiere.

And across Tyneside the Vampire Rabbit sculpture, which is behind St Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle, has been turned into a pink marker around the Glow trail.

The Railway Arches

More than 60 landmarks will be illuminated for the remaining five days of the festival - tonight, [Fri] tomorrow, and from Thursday to Saturday next week.

They include Newcastle's Castle Keep, the railway bridges at Pilgrim Street, Martha's Courtyard in Side, and the Tyne Bridge towers.

Stella Hall creative director at the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the festival's organisers, said: "Pink was chosen because it is such a lovely warm colour for the winter, such a welcoming colour.

"The festival is all about bringing the wider community together and making everyone feel part of something. There is a big movement of light festivals spreading across Europe at the moment, but this is the biggest festival of its kind in the UK to date."

For full details of the festival and for a map of the Glow trail, visit www.NewcastleGateshead.com

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer