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Lights out across UK to mark start of WW1

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Locations such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Blackpool illuminations are among hundreds around the UK which will switch out their lights in a national commemoration to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Properties will go dark for an hour at 10pm on August 4, except for candles or some small form of illumination to allow “a shared moment of reflection”.

The Lights Out event is part of the 14-18 Now cultural programme marking the centenary. It will also include works created by leading artists staged the same day – 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany.

Artists involved include Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller who will release four short films through a free app – with the final one available just for one hour, while the lights have been darkened.

Bob and Roberta Smith will take over the east lawn of the City Hall grounds in Belfast to create an installation featuring an array of candles.

Bedwyr Williams will stage a large-scale video and sound installation, called Traw, at the North Wales Memorial Arch, in Bangor and Nalini Malani’s film In Search Of Vanished Blood will be projected on to the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

The Lights Out event was inspired by a speech given by the then-foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the war, when he declared: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Many other notable spots around the UK will similarly switch off their lights, including the Eden Project in Cornwall, and theatre productions including the National Theatre’s War Horse will ask their audiences to participate after their curtain calls.

A candlelit vigil service will also be staged at Westminster Abbey from 10pm on August 4.

 

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