5 minutes with Artistic Director Alessandra Caggiano

Friday 19 January 2018

With less than a month until e-Luminate Cambridge Festival opens we asked Artistic Director, Alessandra Caggiano to take a few momnts out of her day to answer a few of our questions...


Have you always wanted to create light Festivals and how long have you been working in the industry?
No at all! I knew nothing about light festivals before having the lightbulb moment that inspired me to start e-Luminate Cambridge.


The idea of a light festival came to me whilst walking in Trinity Street on a cold winter night; I was enjoying the walk but I could not help thinking why all the beautiful architecture that attract so many visitors from all over the world to our city is plunged in almost complete darkness after dark. Out of nowhere I had a vision with coloured lights on Cambridge iconic buildings to celebrate the architectonic mastery, the innovative technological solutions and artistic quality of our city in a festival accessible to all. The rest is history…

What do you like to do apart from creating amazing light Festivals?
I have many different interests which include travelling, foreign languages (latest challenge Hungarian!), conservation, yoga, and cooking but I do really love working with light artists and thinking about the next big project!


Do you have a favourite installation from this year and why?

As Artistic Director and Curator, I have the privilege of working with extraordinary people. Throughout the year, I build relationships with artists, thinkers, lighting designers, techies and more; together we brainstorm, share good times and make difficult decisions. They all become part of the e-Luminate Cambridge family and I love them all and their ideas equally; so I will let the public be the judge and choose their favourite. 

What e-Luminate Cambridge Festival event would you urge people not to miss?
The launch night is always the most emotional time for me. It is literally months of work, millions of emails, hundreds of hours of meetings, all culminating in the official opening of the festival with people from all over the city, the county and further afield coming to share this spectacle. The countdown by the Mayor of Cambridge in Market Square is such a joyful moment full of expectation and excitement, and a beautiful opportunity for families and friends to come together and share a new experience and perhaps build a new memory together.


Why do you think Cambridge lends itself so perfectly for a light Festival?
Cambridge is a beautifully formed small city that punches well above its weight in terms of international reputation. We are blessed with uniquely characteristic streets and astonishing architecture, and I am not just referring to the University and the Colleges but also new buildings and private houses. The river creates some truly breath-taking sceneries and the variety of people who live and go through our city is just extraordinary. During the day the city is literally buzzing whilst at night it all quietens down; this provides a fantastic opportunity for e-Luminate Cambridge to be creative and encourage people to discover the city after dark.


What can people expect to see when they come to see the Illuminations?
There is something for everyone, from majestic projections to colourful illuminations; some installations show the latest techniques and equipment, some others are based on old processes of illumination. What we hope the audience will embrace is the experience, slightly different at each of the sites, nonetheless fun and inspiring I hope throughout the Festival.


Cambridge e-Luminate Festival 2018 runs between 6-14 February and there are events and illuminatiosn nightly.
To see the full What's on listings for this year's Festival click HERE