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Belgian Theatre Arts Company

May 30th 2009 Whitehaven Harbour

An unusual but entertaining night out was had at Whitehaven Harbour as part of the Reach for The Sky events taking place across Cumbria.

boomdang drummers under the hub at Whitehaven harbour

It started with Boom Dang - an internationally renowned drum group from Dalton-in-Furness who kept the crowd around the hub entertained with a variety of pieces loudly beaten out on their special drums.

Boom Dang drummers at Whitehaven

They get their name - Boom Dang - from the sound made by the drums which are held sideways to allow the drummer to beat both ends. The two ends are tuned differently, one with a double skin (boom) and the other single (dang), giving its characteristic sound. The basic drum sound is augmented by other percussion instruments such a cymbals and cowbells on top of the drum.

pink fairy on stilts

There was also a continental market on the harbourside selling all sorts of fresh food and this pink fairy on stilts, last seen at the Maritime Festival of 2007, who sprinkled people with magic dust.

Theater tol - balloon release

Next, through the crowd, came the wedding parade of Theater Tol's performance, Corazon de Angeles, which translates from Spanish as Angel Heart. As the opera singer performed the helium balloons, lit by spotlights, floated upwards into the night sky.

Theater Tol on stage

Most of the performance took place on an elevated stage on the Sugar Tongue and the story centred around the joyful occasion of a wedding where the audience became invited guests. The performance was under-pinned by very atmospheric music and elaborate costumes. This Belgian company, Theater Tol, consisting of sculptors, artists, musicians and actors have performed all over Europe and always adapt their performance to their surroundings; making each performance unique. Whitehaven was lucky to have them perform here although it is unlikely that they could have found a more atmospheric amphitheatre than Whitehaven's  historic harbour on a beautiful clear and balmy summer night.

angels rising into the air

The spectacular conclusion to the piece involved 8 angels flown into the night sky by a giant crane as the music played.

Hearts dropped by Angels

As the angels appeared from their cocoons they scattered hearts of red and silver foil which fluttered down over the audience. This was followed by other forms of confetti and streamers as the crane circled them round over the harbour and swooped them across the crowds below.

Angels with sparklers

After spraying a snowy mist into the air they produced sparklers that lit up their white crinolines against the night.

Fireworks and angels

Finally, the carousel from which they were suspended produced streams of pyrotechnics as the angels rose high into the sky.

Firework finale in Whitehaven harbour

With the theatrical performance over, all that was left was the almost obligatory fireworks display over Whitehaven Harbour.

Fireworks bursting into the air

The show started with many thunderous bursts fired from the Old Quay and these increased in size and height to provide a wonderful conclusion to the night.

Fireworks on the old quay

large starburst firework

Fireworks across Whitehaven harbour


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