Mermaids will mesmerise visitors to Hull this autumn

Yorkshire’s maritime city is set for a series of spectacular light and sound shows in October, featuring sea creatures, mermaids and bioluminescent lifeforms, all inspired by its links with the sea.

Brand new for autumn 2021, Hull will come alive with moving animations, light installations and atmospheric music, including holographic projections of mermaids swimming in the water below the city’s Princes Quay shopping centre.

FloodLights, a newly commissioned project from Hull’s arts company, Absolutely Cultured, will create water-themed dazzling displays every evening between 22-24 October.

The city of Hull, and the lives of its inhabitants, has been shaped by its proximity and relationship to water, and the three new shows will not only take inspiration from those connections, but also highlight future challenges, such as global warming and flooding.

Working in partnership with the ‘Living With Water’ flood-resilience partnership, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull, Absolutely Cultured has commissioned three leading creative companies, who have all drawn inspiration from the subject of “living with water”.

One of the shows, Sirens, by Hull-based multi-award-winning mixed reality artists Davy and Kristin McGuire – whose work has been commissioned by the RSC, Barneys New York and ELLE China, among others – features sea creatures and mermaids encounters with plastic pollution and climate change.

Their new installation creating projections at the city’s shopping centre – built on stilts over Prince’s Dock after which it is named – follows on from their fairy tale-inspired shows as part of the 2018 Urban Legends: Northern Lights project in the city centre.

Elsewhere in the city, Overflow, from digital artist Barret Hodgson (Vent Media) transforms Hull’s Trinity House Academy into an outdoor digital projection, along with a music soundscape created by electronic musician and sound artist Leigh Toro.

Inspired by Trinity House‘s design and nautical history, the show uses the building to create a huge three-dimensional canvas and takes audiences on a journey of the deep, via bioluminescent lifeforms, lost treasure, and the ringing of the school’s famous ship’s bell.

And the third installation, Sinuous City, from Limbic Cinema, an award-winning multimedia creative studio, creates an immersive experience and video art gallery inside an empty shop on Whitefriargate, one of the city’s oldest streets in the heart of Hull’s historic Old Town.

Creating an abstract and at times visceral depiction of a flood, it utilises kinetic lighting, multi-layered projections, and spatial sound design, as well as digitally showcases items that people identified as the ones they would hate to lose in a flood. The six-minute experience is followed by a series of visual poems reflecting on the theme of living with water, featuring contributions by Hull poet Vicky Foster and composer Joe Acheson.

All three shows are free to view, with no need to book for the outdoor projections, but Limbic Cinema’s indoor installation will be ticketed to manage capacity.

For more details about Floodlights, visit

For all other tourism information about Hull, see

Photo: Absolutely Cultured, Tom Stevens