Liverpool’s Chinese New Year roars into life

Liverpool’s Chinese New Year celebrations are back with a ‘roar’ as the city marks the Year of the Tiger.

Returning this year after 2021’s virtual event, the in-person spectacular will celebrate Europe’s oldest Chinese community by bringing together traditional celebrations such as the dragon and unicorn parades and combining them with brand new, free commissions such as 3D projections, fire performances, new artwork, dance and live music.

Culture Liverpool has commissioned all of the new pieces of work to complement the free traditional Chinese New Year celebrations which includes dragon, unicorn and Lucky Man parades, firecracker displays, family workshops, Tai Chi demonstrations, a small fairground and food stalls. Activity will take place from 11am-5.30pm on Sunday 6 February.  

The ambition is for the contemporary element to excite, inspire and delight the thousands expected to head in to the city centre.

New for this year are:

  • From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 February, a 3D animated Water Tiger will prowl around the tower inside St Luke’s Church (the Bombed Out Church). Taking place from 6-9pm each night, the projections will transform the tower into a Chinese pagoda, complete with lanterns designed by local schools and community groups. The show, which lasts for ten minutes and will run on a loop each evening, is free but there is an ask for donations for the venue.  The work has been created by Focal Studios, Scenegraph Studios in collaboration with the Bombed Out Church.
  • Work is under way on a new mural will take pride of place in Great George Square playground courtesy of Zap Graffiti which is bringing together an award-winning Beijing artist, Tang Shou, and local youngsters who will create a piece of art which symbolises what the Year of the Tiger means to them.

New commissions taking place on Sunday 6 February

  • Pagoda Arts will shine a spotlight on Tian – an up-and-coming young band made up of east/southeast Asian artists who perform a blend of original east-meets-west tracks. They will take to the stage in Great George Square at 2.20pm and 3.50pm, and will play a ticketed event at the Liverpool Philharmonic’s Music Room that evening.
  • From 5.15pm, Bring The Fire Project will showcase their incredible skills at the Chinese Arch with a specially created Chinese New Year performance which will incorporate traditional martial arts. They will be joined by Hung Gar Kung Fu’s illuminated dragon and lion. 
  • Dance company Movema explore the cultural history of Chinese New Year and have produced contemporary work which embraces our diverse communities and celebrates what makes Liverpool so unique and special.  A series of pop-up performances will take place in the afternoon, in and around Chinatown with on-stage activity at 3.10pm and 4.25pm.
  • Visually stunning Feng Huang (Chinese Phoenix) street animation will appear at the Bombed Out Church at 1.45pm.
  • The Black-e Youth Circus present, Triumph of the Tiger, a short story told through circus skills, illuminations and costume involving young people aged 6 to 18 years. Involving ground-based and aerial performance, it will create a beautiful illuminated spectacle to tell a simple tale of how we can overcome adversity. The costumes and LED illuminations will be coloured to represent the five tigers from Ancient Chinese myths. The performance involves a collaboration with Bring The Fire. Throughout the day The Black-e will also be offering circus skills taster workshops on Nelson Street for members of the public to participate in and a beanbag making workshop.

From this week thousands of Chinese lanterns will adorn the city centre streets, and from Sunday 30 January a number of buildings will be illuminated in red in honour of the new year – signifying good fortune and joy to everyone. These buildings include the Cunard Building, Port of Liverpool, Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Central Library Picton Colonnades, Toxteth Library, Everyman & Playhouse Theatres, the Martin Luther King building, Mersey Gateway Bridge and University of Liverpool’s Yoko Ono Centre. The Royal Liver Building and the Radio City tower will light up on Tuesday 1 February which is Chinese New Year.

For those who can’t make it in person, there will be plenty to enjoy online with suggested activities and archive footage. Head to www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/cny  or keep up with the latest news by following Culture Liverpool on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow the conversation on socials with #CNYLiverpool.

The event has been organised by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team in partnership with the Liverpool Chinese Business Association.

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