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Enchanted Town Concept Launched in U.K.

PLSN Staff • Projection Connection News • July 2, 2013

HORNCASTLE, LINCOLNSHIRE, UK – Enchanted Town is an innovative collaboration between leading outdoor arts producer and festival director Robin Morley from Magnetic Events, internationally renowned large format projection and digital artist Ross Ashton and sound artist/audio designer Karen Monid. The first pilot event was staged recently at Horncastle, Lincolnshire, pulling 4,000 visitors into the town center for the evening, boosting local businesses and creating a brilliant vibe.

More details from The Projection Studio (

The idea behind ‘Enchanted Town’ or Enchanted City’ is that it can be transposed to any location. With the aid of visual magic, interactive street theatre and other activities – including contributions from local artists including a video film group – it will pull both visitors and business into an urban setting, enriching the location by allowing all to enjoy the surroundings and be entertained in imaginative, new and different ways.

The centerpiece of the Horncastle Enchanted Town event was two large format video projections works created specially by Ashton, complete with bespoke soundtracks from Monid, which took their starting points from some well-known local personalities – primarily the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson and botanist Sir Joseph Banks.

The first, ‘Spiritus – Ring Out Wild Bells’ was projected onto the bell tower of St Mary’s Church.

The images – 14 meters high by 8 meters wide – were beamed from a doubled up pair of Barco CLM HD8 projectors rigged in portrait format and installed in a specially constructed tower.

When creating the images, Ashton took the wooden angels holding up the church roof as his visual starting point, and created an animated story around them, which played out on an 8-minute loop.

Tennyson’s ‘The Wild Bells’ was first published in 1850, the year he was appointed Poet Laureate. Monid’s compelling and beautiful soundtrack used quotations and passages from the poem together with other elements.

The second projected work “The Magical Spying Glass” used the Banks Building as its canvas. The building is named after naturalist/botanist Sir Joseph Banks, born in Lincolnshire, who accompanied Captain James Cook’s first great voyage to the Southern Seas.

Ashton’s content unfolded a fantasy tale inspired by that voyage, with Banks starting off as the Great South Sea Caterpillar. It also incorporated legendary sea monster, the Kraken (the subject of an irregular sonnet by Tennyson). Artwork was based on some of Banks’ botanical drawings taken from the Cook voyage together with various cartoons and caricatures of Banks by 18th century satirist, James Gillray – among other materials.

In the 3.5 minute projected movie, Banks was transformed from the caterpillar into a South Sea butterfly and flitted around a garden composed from his own drawings, ending up in New Zealand, where he went underwater and came face-to-face with the Kraken. This gave Ashton plenty of leeway to create a colorful and amusing allegory.

The single Panasonic EX12 projector was located in the Travis Perkins showroom about 25 meters way, which was the optimum position to make up the 13 meter wide image.

Monid again composed an intricate and fun soundtrack which added to the drama and sense of spectacle, enthralling onlookers.

Locally-based Enigma Effects supplied the projection and sound equipment for both installations.

Ross Ashton said, “We really enjoyed working in Horncastle – the setting is fabulous and it proves that you can hold events like this in the UK – at any time of the year – and people will come out and enjoy.”

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