Liverpool’s Chinatown is set to be a festival of colour and sound this January, as it welcomes the Year of the Rabbit.
Taking place on Sunday 22 January, the FREE celebrations of Europe’s oldest Chinese community will include the traditional dragon, lion and unicorn parades, firecracker displays, family workshops, Tai Chi demonstrations, live music performances, a fairground as well as food and craft stalls.
Culture Liverpool has also commissioned a number of new cultural pieces which are all free and either take place in the run up to the Sunday, and on the day itself to complement the traditional celebrations, or just after. These include:
- A stunning fire-finale, courtesy of Liverpool-based Bring The Fire, will see shaolin warriors perform fiery martial arts, beautiful dance pieces and kinetic fire sculpture that will create a mesmerising theatre of moving flames.
- A projection show will light up the Bombed-Out Church (St Luke’s) from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 January, 5-9pm each evening. Created by Focal Studios, in partnership with artists Eleonora Asparuhova and Laura Sullivan, a six-minute show called The Lunar Rabbit will reflect the qualities of the rabbit’s personality, projected on the tower inside the grounds.
- Pagoda Arts, in collaboration with LIMF Academy artists and musician Jah Wobble, will deliver a programme of music masterclasses, which will result in a co-commission called Pearl River to the Mersey River. The instrumental fusion of Chinese and western music will be performed at both the Chinese New Year event on Sunday 22 January and at the Royal Philharmonic Music Room on Friday 27 January.
- Focusing on the resilience and strength of the Chinese community post-Covid, Silk will see interactive dance pop-ups take place along Berry Street, Bold Street and Great George Street on Sunday 22 January as well as a stage performance at St George Square. It has been co-funded by Movema and Jockey Club England.
- Three specially designed Chinese New Year rabbit lanterns, standing 1.5 metres high, will take pride of place near the Chinese Arch, created by local artist Becky Bryson.
- In Conversation events and workshops, including lantern making sessions, will take place in FACT on Thursday 26 January. They will be led by artist-in-residence April Lin.
Activity will take place from 11am to 5pm on 22 January in and around the Great George Square area, and all the information about what to expect can be found on the official Chinese New Year website.
From next week (week commencing 9 January), thousands of Chinese lanterns will adorn the city centre streets around Chinatown and Liverpool ONE, and from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 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 Sefton Park Palm House, Cunard Building, Royal Liver Building, Liverpool Town Hall and St George’s Hall.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:
“Our Chinese New Year event is always hugely popular and I love seeing thousands of people come together in celebration of our much-loved Chinese community.
“The day is always a real spectacle, with a whole host of family-friendly activities which are free, or are low-cost – so it’s a great, inclusive way to get people involved.
“These celebrations always feel like the kick-start of our annual events programme which, this year, will see the city hosting one of the biggest song contests in the world – Eurovision! When this first event of the year is under our belt, we will then be in full Eurovision delivery mode as we use all our cultural credential to make the UK and the Ukraine proud.”
Secretary of Liverpool Chinese Business Association, Ming Wang, said:
“As we say goodbye to the Year of Tiger, we are coming to the Year of the Rabbit. Our local Chinese community, Culture Liverpool, and other organisations have worked tirelessly together to arrange a series of arts and cultural events for everyone to enjoy. It is guaranteed fun-filled with plenty of activities for children and adults to enjoy. Please come and join the celebrations.”
Dennis Outten, Co-founder and Managing Director of Focal Studios, said:
“We’re thrilled to be commissioned by Culture Liverpool to create a son et lumière production ‘The Lunar Rabbit’ for Chinese New Year 2023. Mesmerising projections will take over the Bombed Our Church tower and visitors can also enjoy a beautiful light art installation in the grounds featuring rabbits made using Chinese paper folding techniques.
“Working with Pagoda Arts, local schools and the local community of Liverpool, we’re drawing together the city’s messages of hope for the year.”
Animation programme details for Sunday 22 January
11am – 5pm Great George Square
12pm – 12.15pm DJ Yeti
12.15pm – 1pm Pagoda Arts – Flower Drums, Fan Tai Chi, Dance and Happy Dance!
1pm – 1.40pm Firecracker Display – Lucky Man, Dragon and Unicorn Parades
1.40pm – 1.50pm Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu Friendship Association – Martial Arts Demonstration
1.50pm – 1.55pm DJ Yeti
1.55pm – 2.15pm Wah Sing Chinese Community Centre Dancers – Traditional Chinese Dance and Song
Bless You – Chinese Dance Performance
Draw You – Chinese Dance Performance
Beautiful Taihu – Chinese Dance Performance
Happy Every Year song – Singing Performance
2.15pm – 2.20pm Friendship Dancers Moonlight Waltz
2.20pm – 2.45pm Tian and LIMF Academy (in association with Pagoda Arts)
2.50pm – 2.55pm Wirral Chinese Cultural Association: Classical Dance – Dream in Flowers
2.55pm – 3pm North East Wales Chinese Women’s Association – Traditional Chinese Dance
3pm – 3.10pm Movema Dance – Silk
3.15pm – 3.20pm UK Phoenix Qipao Chinese Cultural and Art Association – The Big Fan Dance ‘WanJiang’ and
The Silk Scarf QiPao show ‘The Picture Scroll of Love’
3.25pm – 3.30pm Friendship Dancers – Beautiful River (Chinese Line Dance)
3.45pm – 4.10pm Tian & LIMF Academy (in association with Pagoda Arts)
4.15pm – 4.25pm Movema Dance – Silk
4.30pm – 4.55pm Bring the Fire Project
5.05pm Event ends
All times subject to change. Please check website and social media for any changes.
Full list of buildings lighting up for Chinese New Year:
Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Cunard Building, St Nicholas Parish Church, Sefton Park Palm House,
World Museum Liverpool, Martin Luther King Building, Royal Liver Building, Steve Prescott Bridge (St Helens),
Liverpool One, Atkinson Arts Centre (Southport), Southport Town Hall, Greystone Bridge/M62, Mersey Gateway,
Wallasey Town Hall, Hamilton Square Gardens, Liverpool Central Library, Toxteth Library and Merseyside Police Headquarters.