Brand new creative team and theme announced for Enchanted Parks 2017

NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Gateshead Council’s popular after-dark arts adventure, Enchanted Parks, is back this winter with a brand new creative team and an exciting new theme.

The annual event, which sees specially commissioned artists breathe myth and magic into Gateshead’s beautiful Saltwell Park, will take place for 6 nights this year – from Tuesday 5 until Sunday 10 December.

Entitled The Inventors’ Ball, this season’s Enchanted Parks tells the captivating, fictional, story of Ursula Wailes, the eldest daughter of William Wailes and heiress to the Saltwell Towers Estate, who makes a gift of Saltwell Park to the people of Gateshead:

After filling the park with incredible inventions, plants from all over the world and wonderful creatures, Ursula captures the imagination of children and adults alike; many reporting that the park itself feels ‘alive’. Unfortunately, her magical and generous donation is thrown back in her face in a most unfair manner.

Legend has it that the young heiress locked up the park in response to this betrayal and it has remained closed forever since. Now in 2017, residents report strange noises in the park and those houses nearby, with young people in the family, receive a mysterious invitation. ‘To the generation of optimists: You are cordially invited to The Inventors’ Ball in Saltwell Park’. It is simply signed, UW.

Watch the magical trailer for The Investors’ Ball here

Tasked with transforming Saltwell Park into a magical and mythical wonderland this December are a newly appointed creative team – Lorna Fulton as creative producer and Susan Mulholland as creative writer.

With over 20 years’ experience in curating, developing and leading high profile cultural programmes and festivals, Lorna’s previous work includes delivering the Cultural Olympiad in the North East where she worked with Turner Prize winner Douglas Gordon and Stirling Prize-shortlisted architect Malcolm Fraser. Lorna is currently Festival Director for the outdoor arts SO Festival as well as Artistic Director of Lathe Revival and will be working with artists and designers to curate the art installations, performances, lighting and sculpture in and around Saltwell Park.

Susan Mulholland has been writing for theatre for over ten years and, thanks to her plays for Northen Stage, has garnered a strong reputation in the region for writing outstanding plays for children. Her work for Northern Stage, the largest producing theatre company in the North East, includes nine Christmas shows. These shows have been a mixture of reworked classics and original stories. Susan is currently developing the Machine – a play about ambition for 7-11 year olds. Her work is always diverse in subject and style but maintains a sense of humour and wonder about the world in which we live.

Lorna and Susan will be joining a veteran team of Enchanted Park organisers – Vikki Leaney, Senior Festival and Events Manager at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, and Karolynne Hart, Cultural and Arts Programme Officer at Gateshead Council.

Vikki Leaney, who has been an Events Manager for Enchanted Parks for 9 years, said:

“We are thrilled to have both Lorna and Susan joining us this year as part of the creative team. Well known in their fields for creating exciting and imaginative events, they each bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience and I can’t wait to see their creative vision come alive this winter with a very special and magical event.”

Councillor Angela Douglas, Gateshead Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said:

“Enchanted Parks continues to be a hugely popular event and one that we are extremely proud of in Gateshead. Through fantastic artistic ideas and creations, each year it brings together people from across the region, for six nights to enjoy an amazing festive spectacle.

“With the mysterious and exciting theme developed around this year’s event, Enchanted Parks 2017 promises to be another magical experience for visitors of all ages.”

Enchanted Parks is funded by Arts Council England and Gateshead Council. It is developed and commissioned by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in partnership with Gateshead Council as part of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s festivals and events programme.

Enchanted Parks is part of Light up The North; a consortium of seven light festivals taking place across the North of England.

Dalton Park have been confirmed as sponsors for Enchanted Parks 2017.

Tickets are priced at £8 for adults (plus 50p booking fee) and £3 for children under 16 (no booking fee). Children aged 3 and under go FREE. Tickets are available from

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