Our story so far…

Illuminate light festival is a powerful immersive experience, offering audiences beautiful projection mapping; playful light art installations; joyous performances and myriad opportunities to engage, participate and make. With light art created by artists, technologists, designers, architects, performers and children alike.

In 2019, Plymouth’s Illuminate event saw the Royal William Yard and locations on the Barbican and Mount Edgcumbe transformed by interactive artworks, projections and light-art installations. Works were created by local, national and international artists, alongside students from Plymouth College of Art, the University of Plymouth and local school children. The festival welcomed 50,000 visitors across the 4 days of the event.​

2020 sadly saw the festival cancelled due to the ongoing challenges of Covid-19. Real Ideas Organisation made the difficult decision to postpone the event both for Novembers original date as well as the rescheduled February date in 2021.

The team explored all sorts of ways to make the festival as safe as possible, but in the potential risk to visitors, artists and crew is too high to responsibly go ahead. In times of such unprecedented uncertainty, postponement was the only viable option.

However, fast forward to Autumn 2021, a reimagined Illuminate will be returning.

Real Ideas is gearing up to deliver another spectacular festival in November 2021, this time based at Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard including events at Market Hall in Devonport. Plymouth is a city of incredibly talented makers and a vibrant and growing cultural scene, of which the festival will aim to support.

Light Festivals around the world create wonderfully vibrant and engaging social events for cities and their citizens to enjoy. They are a fantastic display of a city’s creativity and a great, fun, family event that gives people something to look forward to during the dark winter months. We are excited to be able to show off some of Plymouth’s excellent creative talent, something to be really proud of!

Explore the programme

Explore the programme

There’s so much to discover during Illuminate Light Festival, start planning your visit.

Explore the programme

Travel Information

We are trying to do our bit for the planet by reducing the festivals carbon footprint. If you’re attending Illuminate this year, why not think of alternative ways you could travel? We are asking those that are able to make use of public transport, why not walk, cycle or ride a bus to Illuminate 2021?

Learn more


Explore the light art intallations

Once the sun sets, Ocean Studios and Market Hall are lit up by some incredible light art installations and here is some more information on what pieces are on display. Seek out your favourite and book a ticket to see in the flesh!

Read more



Illuminate aims to be as accessible as possible. We know that the more information we give you about the festival the easier it is for you to plan your visit.

Find out more



Our team are working hard to bring you an event that is safe and accessible to all. With this in mind we are asking visitors to Illuminate to pre-book their free tickets. Additionally we ask that those that are able to please wear a face covering when entering the building and moving around the space.

Please also make use of the hand sanitiser stations and social distance yourself from others.

Thank you for your understanding



We’ve gathered a selection of frequently asked questions to help you plan your visit to Illuminate.

Read more


Want to receive updates on upcoming Illuminate announcements and other immersive events?

Sign up to our mailing list!

Sign up for updates on Illuminate and other immersive events

This activity is part of the iMayflower project and has been supported by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England