Two nights of colourful laser light shows will be returning to Chichester Canal Basin next month during the school half term break, following the success of the first event that was held in 2023.
This free event is being organised by Chichester District Council, thanks to funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
The shows will be taking place on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 February, with two performances scheduled to take place each night at 6pm and 7.30pm. The laser performances will be projected directly over the Canal Basin. Each show will last for around 15 minutes and will be choreographed to music.
This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Turner Prize, an art award named after the artist J. M. W. Turner. His famous painting of Chichester canal, with Chichester Cathedral in the background, is part of the Tate Collection and located at Petworth House. To mark this anniversary, the laser show will feature a visual spectrum of colours in reference to Turner and this renowned painting which is considered to be one of his finest works. Turner was inspired by the area’s natural beauty that we still enjoy today.
Musically, the performance will start with the 1812 overture, written by Tchaikovsky to commemorate the successful Russian defence of the French invasion by Napoleon, which again has a connection with Petworth House as some of the scenes from the new Ridley Scott film; Napoleon were filmed at the house.
“The laser shows that we held last year were really well received – we had lots of very positive feedback afterwards,” says Councillor Jess Brown-Fuller, Chichester District Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Events. “I’m sure many people would agree that this time of year can be very quiet and a little flat, and so these events will help give us all something to look forward to and brighten up the evenings.
“Last year’s performances were extremely impressive and so we’re excited about the prospect of seeing more amazing light and music magic. The performances are an innovative way of engaging all age groups in a celebration of our district and its unique historical heritage. We’re expecting hundreds of people to attend, and it will also be a great way for families to finish off the school half term holiday.”
The council is collaborating with the Chichester Canal Trust and is also very grateful to members of the Rotary Club of Chichester who will be helping to marshal the event on both evenings. The evenings will also be supported by the emergency services.
The Canal Trust will be keeping their gift shop and café open so that visitors can buy drinks and refreshments. In addition, the council will also be closing off the adjacent part of Canal Wharf to traffic on both nights to allow a larger space for spectators, along with a small number of local refreshment stalls.
“The Canal Basin is a wonderful place to visit throughout the year but can often be overlooked by people and so the shows will also really help to highlight this area of the city,” adds Cllr Brown-Fuller. “The Canal Trust do such an amazing job of looking after the space, and we hope that following the shows, people will come back and enjoy the area during the day too. As part of our events strategy, we are also keen to utilise and look at a whole range of different local venues and spaces to see what experiences and events we can bring.”
People can find out more details about the laser shows closer to the date by checking the council’s social media channels – Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram, as well as our council’s What’s On pages