Take a sneaky peak behind the scenes of The Lanterns
This Christmas, as twilight falls across Chester Zoo a magical Christmas sorting office comes to life. The zoo will be transformed into an enchanting world full of illumination and spellbinding theatrical adventure.
The Lanterns at Chester Zoo
will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. With incredible lanterns, performances and a sprinkle of Chester Zoo magic, it’s a perfect, heart-warming and memorable festive event for all generations.
You can post your own letters to Father Christmas and imagine what our precious animals might wish for too. Along the route you’ll see magnificent animal-inspired fairy tale scenes that will whisk you away to another world.
This year’s event has been lovingly created by our friends at Wild Rumpus, specialists in creating extraordinary worlds, telling incredible stories and bringing to life moments of wonder for all ages.
Rowan Hoban, director of Wild Rumpus, lets us in on a sneaky preview of what you can expect from our festive event…
This year, we’re inviting visitors into an astonishing Christmas fairy tale, with the animals from the zoo at its heart. Spellbinding sets and performers will ask you to imagine what the animals might wish for, and visitors will follow an enchanting illuminated route to the Christmas sorting office. Music, characters, acrobats and lanterns will combine to transport you into an extraordinary world.
“At Wild Rumpus, telling stories is central to everything we do. We believe that immersing an audience in an imaginary world, and allowing them to step out of their day to day lives for a little while, can create incredible family memories. We produce large scale, high quality arts events, almost always outdoors in incredible environments, and what a phenomenal environment the zoo offers! Our creative process always begins with the story, with the imaginary world and narrative that we’re trying to create. With Lanterns, our starting point was the huge diversity of animals at the zoo, and what stories they might tell at Christmas. Ideas about magical sorting offices, Narnia wonderlands and roller-skating flamingos began to swirl around, and this year’s Lanterns began to take shape."
Building and designing
“We work with an incredible team of artists, makers and creators all year round, from our woodland base in Cheshire, the Whirligig. We love being outdoors, and think that the most creative adventures often begin in wild natural places. So we do lots of our creating and imagining around the campfire, or in our treehouse meeting room. We held auditions for performers in our wildflower meadow, which felt pretty unusual with harpists playing Christmas carols in the July sunshine. Our set designers and builders are busy in our workshop (we’re trying not to call them elves!) creating the sets and signage to bring an incredible Christmas world to life. Acrobats are getting into their animal roles, new lanterns are being created, parcels being wrapped, and the insect orchestra is stringing its bows."
About Wild Rumpus
“’We immerse families in incredible stories. If we don’t give you goosebumps we’re not doing it right!’ Wild Rumpus CIC is a social enterprise producing large scale outdoor family arts events including the multi award-winning Just So Festival, most often in wild natural landscapes. We believe that when families engage together in the highest quality arts in the great outdoors, something quite amazing can happen.
“We produce extraordinary worlds, taking families out of their day to day lives into magical and enchanting places which can inspire, create moments of wonder and have a lasting impact. Alongside producing large-scale events, we’re working with performers, producers and programmers to shape a cultural environment where excellent outdoor work for families thrives.
“As a not-for-profit community interest company, all of Wild Rumpus’s profit goes back into its arts programmes, developed to support emerging artists, create pioneering schemes for volunteers, and host creative adventures for marvellous families of all shapes and sizes.”