A lockdown lantern feature will mark a year of the Covid-19 pandemic and shine a light on the future.

The giant metal tree festooned with willow and tissue lanterns will be installed in the courtyard of the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield next month.

The installation, which will include words of hope to inspire those who see it, has been commissioned by Huddersfield Literature Festival (HLF).

Created by Huddersfield-based AniMATronics, the tree will be on display from March 23 until Easter Monday, April 5.

Festival director Michelle Hodgson said of the installation: “We hope it will serve as a commemoration, a memorial and an inspiration to remind us of the challenges we have faced in the past year and to look forward to more positive days ahead.”

The tree and the courtyard will be lit up every evening, between 6pm and midnight, with lanterns created by Colne Valley artist Angie Boycott-Garnett and children from Holmfirth-based Children’s Art School.

Frances from the Children’s Art School makes a lantern

The event is being sponsored by Ravenhall Risk Solutions, an independent chartered insurance brokers based in Belfast and Leeds. 

Director Neil Grimshaw said: “We are proud to be continuing our sponsorship of the Huddersfield Literature Festival for the 8th year.

“The lantern installation will be a symbol of positivity whilst recognising a challenging year for most. We hope the installation is an inspiring message of hope and a brilliant contemporary addition to the literature festival for 2021.”

The installation will be complimented by an online Lockdown Poems event the same day with award-winning poet Kei Miller, Chérie Taylor Battiste and Michelle Scally Clarke.

The Festival has now announced its March programme, with many free events taking place online for the second year in a row, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

This year’s online programme has the theme of ‘Escape’ and events will include a range of talks and workshops.

Lawrence Batley Theatre

Community groups across Huddersfield are also being invited to take part in the HLF/Woven Book Trail project by using repurposed fabrics and other recycled materials to recreate a favourite character or scene from a book, with prizes for each area winner and an overall winner.

All booking details and information can be found on the festival website https://www.huddlitfest.org.uk/

The festival began in 2006, and takes place annually in March, offering a diverse programme of events at venues across the town.