All Images by Lachlan Douglas @somefx
 

All grown ups were once children,
but only few of them remember it.
 
-Antoine de Saint Exupery

STORY

A feather falls, drifting lazily toward the scorched earth. Summer beats down on freckled knees, as Emir kicks the dust and wanders on through days drawn long and golden. The chirp of a lonely hatchling becomes a song, and soon a child with a bird becomes a youth with a phoenix - and few are ever that lucky. 

 

The days wear on, and the inseparable pair teach one another the things we all must learn. Yet as summer’s end approaches; goodbyes come too soon. Emir learns that in the silent hour of sadness, help is never far away if you need it. 

 

BONFIRE: THE SUN

The sun burns fiercely in the sky, giving light and warmth…or drought if the balance is lost. Rolling through the sky along the same path each day, pausing briefly in the purple glow of noon, before falling gently into the sea and allowing the darkness to creep across the world. 

 

Our bonfire represents our farewell to the old year and our hopes for the new, together in the shared warmth of a bonfire on the first day of the year. 

GIANT PUPPETS

We are delighted to embark on an ambitious puppet project in an exciting collaboration between some of the world's leading puppet artists. Orla Clogher + Dave Young, renowned for their work designing puppets and parades with Irish spectacle theatre company Macnas, will join Bryan Woltjen - who created the sphere people of last years show and co-created the Auryx in 17/18. 

Hong Kong based costume and puppet designer Jozef Koda, who's background includes working for world-leading entertainment company Dragone, and Universal Studios Singapore - will design the puppet costumes and other character puppets. 

HISTORY

The Woodford Folk Festival, an event of international standing, is held annually over six days and six nights from Dec 27th through to January 1st. More than 2000 performers and 438 events are programmed featuring local, national and international guests. This year will be the 34th Woodford Folk Festival and the 25th held at Woodfordia.

 

Ceremonies have always held a special significance for Woodfordians as a place for annual traditions, rituals and customs. The first Fire Event was held in 1989, with six performers and a band. Directed by Neil Cameron, the Fire Event nurtured a talented and loyal team of artists, theatre makers and volunteers who returned year after year to build large-scale lanterns, props and of course the signature bonfire sculpture. 

 

In 2003, dear friend of the festival, musician and long-term Fire Event artist, Paul Lawler took the reins as Director and ushered the Fire Event through another decade of amazing shows. In 2012 – 2013 we welcomed Director Joey Ruigrok van der Werven into the Woodfordia family, bringing Joey’s experience and influences of spectacles from across Europe.

 

Alex Podger, literally a baby of the Fire Event, is the current Fire Event Director and works with an extraordinary team bringing to life important stories for our time through images, music and theatre. The fabric of the ceremonies draw threads from all corners of the organisation and is truly a collaborative project coming from the heart of Woodfordia.  

The show is built from the ground up onsite using mostly reclaimed building waste and up-cycled materials over six weeks by a dedicated team that grows from 6 to 160 people, consisting of professional artists and dedicated volunteers from across the world in a truly gargantuan feat of artistry, hard work, resourcefulness...and more than a bit of sweat. 

The music is composed specifically for the event by a team of composers, songwriters and sound designers, and performed with guest artists and Woodfordia's own orchestra and choir; 400 festival patrons learn the score each morning of the festival to play it live together - for the first and only time - on New Year's Day.

The Fire Event is created by a dedicated team of over 160 volunteer artists, makers, puppeteers, performers, painters and technicians, with the support of many more festival departments, contractors, volunteers and staff. 

 

We wish to sincerely thank them all. 

CEREMONIES PRODUCER

Aaron Austin-Glen

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Bart Mangan

ABORIGINAL FIRELIGHTING 

Rick Roser

Bob Robinson 

LIGHTING DESIGN

ANIMATION DESIGN

Ry Wilkin

MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Nick Lavers

SOUND DESIGN

Guy Webster​

COMPOSER + ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR

Andrew Veivers

FIRE CHOIR DIRECTOR

Beat Lehmann

FEATURED MUSICAL ARTISTS

Patrick Dwyer

Zaia Kendall

Mark Gray

Rick Halstead

Andrew Clermont

Mal Webb

SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMANCE

Boban Markovic Orkestar

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR

Mal Webb

LANTERN PARADE + MAKING COORD

VOLUNTEERS MANAGER

Sally Cripps

WRITER / DIRECTOR

Alex Podger

PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR

Sam Foster

MOVEMENT DIRECTOR

Kristian Santic

STAGE MANAGER, SHOWCALLER and ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Analeise Long

EMIR PUPPETS DESIGN

Bryan Woltjen
Orla Clogher 
Dave Young

Jozef Koda

PHOENIX PUPPETS DESIGN
Jozef Koda

SET DESIGN

Alex Podger + Patrik Marsh

SCENIC PAINTER

Ellie Mills

COSTUME DESIGN

Ella Lincoln

FIRE DESIGN

Lily Podger

Rob Fairbrother

SET DECORATING

Annie Edney

PROP DESIGN

Rozina Suliman

BONFIRE IMAGE DESIGN

Robin Gibbons

FIREWORKS DESIGN

Steven Hill + Alice Goed

FIREWORKS SUPPLIED BY

Skylighter Fireworx

FULL SHOW: The Rift 18/19

HIGHLIGHTS: For Whom The Bell Tolls 17-18

FULL SHOW:  For Whom The Bell Tolls 17/18