CHRISTMAS in Blackburn will look more different than ever due to the town being in a tier two lockdown, however this year’s festivities are set to get a digital makeover.

Blackburn Town Hall will be transformed into a light extravaganza - thanks to funding from Arts Council England (ACE).

The money will support the delivery of an architectural projection lighting installation for Blackburn Town Hall from November until early January.

With displays celebrating Remembrance Day, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, the people of Blackburn will be treated to animated light shows which support and engage people with the town centre in a safe way.

Blackburn town centre BID, which supports town centre businesses, is working in partnership with Blackburn Festival of Light, Blackburn with Darwen Council, Blackburn Central Library, Blackburn Museum and The Mall to bring the attraction to the town.

Catherine Price, Blackburn Town Centre BID Manager, said: “With the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic meaning that large scale events such as the usual Christmas programme cannot go ahead, we have been working hard with partners on ‘reimagining Christmas’.

“This year we’ve had to take a very different approach to ensure that we still support the businesses within the town centre, but also ensure the safety of visitors.

“We have commissioned animated creative ‘shows’ to be projected on to Blackburn Town Hall and we’re sure that this digital approach will bring Blackburn to life in a safe and engaging way.”

With the expertise of Double Take Projections, and funding from Blackburn BID and ACE, Blackburn Town Hall will be lit and animated.

Each ‘show’ will be just a few minutes long, run continuously from dusk with social distancing markers placed on Town Hall Square to help people stay safe.

From 4-11 November, a Remembrance themed projection including images of Blackburn soldiers, wartime newspaper archives, local war poetry, and a poppies animation will light up the town hall.

Between 12-26 November, a virtual version of the Blackburn Festival of Light event will bring the town centre alive, with a collage of sound and images featuring previous festivals and new footage of artists and participants.

Visitors will be asked to believe in the Magic of Blackburn town centre between 27 November and 28 December – with animated illustrations from the specially commissioned book with narration by the author Christina Gabbitas.

And finally, from 29 December until 6 January 2021 – Blackburn will ring in the New Year with projections featuring images from local people capturing their 2020 experience.

Shoppers will be able to purchase the ‘Believe in the Magic of Blackburn Town Centre book from 22 November, and visitors will be encouraged to take part in the book-themed trail.

A Christmas Present giveaway will also take place in the run up to the festivities.