UPDATE 21/05/2015 – I tend to get a bulge of visits around this time of year to my comments on Luminarium visits at the Wheee! Festival. My thoughts on the structure and festival in 2013 are below, details of this years event, 2015 Wheee! Festival are best found on the Lakeside Arts website. The Luminarium ‘Arboria’ looks to be open from Monday 25th to Sunday 31st May.

We visited in 2014 as well, and I took a photosphere image of inside the ‘Exxopolis‘ Luminarium.

UPDATE 16/05/2014 – Looks like Exxopolis is back for 2014 at Lakeside, we visited it previously in 2012. Check out the details on the Wheee! Festival website.

On Saturday once again we popped over to Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham. Each year around this time the venue runs a children’s performing arts festival named charmingly named the Wheee! festival.

As previously it was a most entertaining day, if you’ve never been to Lakeside you should. It sits on the edge of the University of Nottingham’s campus and forms part of the faculty. The main venue is a performing arts theater but it has various other attached parts including a small exhibition space, outdoor amphitheater and café.

Alongside the building itself sits a great little play park, with sandpits, climbing frames and all the usual play park accessories and it sits right alongside the lake of Highfields park, a well maintained space run by the council with paths and bridges planting and trees and boats on the lake.

The festival itself is great fun, featuring performances within the grounds of plays as well as single performers walking around during the day in costume acting out various humorous roles. Now I must say various things go over my head, I’m not a contemporary drama fan, but you can simply ignore those bits.

We watched a performance on the park itself featuring 4 actors making use of all of the equipment, leaping and jumping on swings and benches, slides and roundabouts. The little one enjoyed it as did I, with some parkour like elements and plenty of acrobatics, plus a Daft Punk esq soundtrack. The sun inevitably helped as it was a gorgeous.day to be sat and watching!

The park was pretty rammed, very busy and bustling and without doubt the busiest attraction was the Luminarium. We visited last year’s Luminarium, as well as the year previous and it really is a great and unusual experience. I said of last year that the installation likes to promote itself with a spade full of pretentiousness, but one has to expect that kind of thing from an arts festival and as long as you can get past it, it’s a great thing to do.

It’s quite unnerving when you first go in, the light filtered through the PVC creating an unusual feeling, but once you get used to that, it’s most fun to explore and sit in the various spaces. The structure was very similar to last years but with the “main” dome boasting a new form.

These things pop up around the world now and then but not very often here in the UK (despite being designed and built in Nottingham), so if you wanted to visit you may have to wait or get a flight, here’s the list of dates.

Here are some images of the Luminarium Pentalum from the weekend…


Looking upward in the main dome.


Green dome roof


Outside of the Main Dome.


Green and Red


A rare horizontal shot without people in (it was busy!)


Blue dome roof