Leipzig Festival of Lights - Programme

Programme Leipzig Festival of Lights 2017

On 9 October 1989 around 70,000 people took to the streets in the East German city of Leipzig, despite the threat of a command to shoot. With candles in their hands, they peacefully demanded more freedom and democracy in the GDR – a decisive catalyst for the start of the Peaceful Revolution that finally led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the call "Wir sind das Volk" [We are the People] and "No Violence", people gathered to march across the Leipzig inner-city ring road.

The dramatic events of Autumn of 1989 encourage people even today. The remembrance of those days is kept alive by the citizens of Leipzig in many ways, in particular, the commemoration of the 9th of October. On this day, the focus will be on the Prayer for Peace and the Speech on Democracy at St. Nicholas Church, as well as on the Leipzig Festival of Lights at Augustusplatz.

At the original settings, Leipzig people and guests of the city remember together the historic events 28 years ago. With exhibitions, panel discussions, film screenings, readings and many other formats, a wide range of events will reach every year thousands of visitors of all generations.

Leipzig Festival of Lights – An Emotional Highlight on the October 9th

After the Speech on Democracy in the St. Nicholas Church, the Leipzig Festival of Lights is an emotional conclusion of October 9th. Augustusplatz, which in 1989 became a famous historic place of assembly, will be the scene of a nearly hour-long program interwoven with text, music, dance, photography and video into a multi-layered performance under the artistic direction of Jürgen Meier.

Events on October 9th, 2017

17:00 Prayer for Peace, St. Nicholas Church

Since 1982, peace, environmental and human rights groups had been regularly invited to Prayers for Peace into St. Nicholas Church. From here emanated the Monday demonstrations in September 1989. After the Prayers for Peace on 9 October, more than 70,000 people gathered in the city centre of Leipzig for a non-violent demonstration – the breakthrough for the Peaceful Revolution.

18:30 Speech on Democracy, St. Nicholas Church

Since 2001, the Speech on Democracy has continuously represented one of the high points of the Autumn of '89 series. Every 9th of October, representatives from one of the three constitutional organs of the Federal Republic of Germany or international guests have spoken in the church.

20:00 Leipzig Festival of Lights, Augustusplatz

Since 2009, the famous Leipzig Festival of Lights has commemorated this historic date with an annual sea of candles and performances by international artists. After dealing, in the past few years, with in the pursuit of liberty and democracy in the GDR and other Eastern European countries, now civil society is the over riding topic. Throughout the evening, the visitors of the Festival of Lights are, as in previous years, invited to form an illuminated "89" with thousands of candles.


Programme Leipzig Festival of Lights 2016

On 9 October 1989 around 70,000 people took to the streets in the East German city of Leipzig, despite the threat of a command to shoot. With candles in their hands, they peacefully demanded more freedom and democracy in the GDR – a decisive catalyst for the start of the Peaceful Revolution that finally led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the call "Wir sind das Volk" [We are the People] and "No Violence", people gathered to march across the Leipzig inner-city ring road. 
 
The dramatic events of Autumn of 1989 encourage people even today. The remembrance of those days is kept alive by the citizens of Leipzig in many ways, in particular, the commemoration of the 9th of October. On this day, the focus will be on the Prayer for Peace and the Speech on Democracy at St. Nicholas Church, as well as on the Leipzig Festival of Lights at Augustusplatz. 
 
At the original settings, Leipzig people and guests of the city remember together the historic events 27 years ago. With exhibitions, panel discussions, film screenings, readings and many other formats, a wide range of events will reach every year thousands of visitors of all generations.

Leipzig Festival of Lights – An Emotional Highlight on the October 9th

After the Speech on Democracy in the St. Nicholas Church, the Leipzig Festival of Lights is an emotional conclusion of October 9th. Augustusplatz, which in 1989 became a famous historic place of assembly, will be the scene of a nearly hour-long program interwoven with text, music, dance, photography and video into a multi-layered performance under the artistic direction of Jürgen Meier. Performed by actor Sylvester Groth, musician Mike Dietrich, the Leipzig ballet with choreography by Mario Schröder, the performance focuses on Groth, who portrays the visionary citizen, the cosmopolitan.

Bold and confident on one hand, while critical and thoughtful on the other, Groth addresses the overarching topics of the evening using modern texts and historical quotes from Kant to Kennedy. In a symbolic role, Sylvester Groth becomes a coach, pit against the opposition: those gathered together at Augustusplatz.

The dancers of the Leipzig ballet follow along in a constantly changing act. In consent at times, dismissive at others, they move between breakup and consolidation, future and past. For the dramaturge, ballet director Mario Schröder drew from choreographic features of Mendelssohn"s "Hymn of Praise", a hymn dedicated to enlightenment. The music events of the evening are overseen by Mike Dietrich, who has developed a sound collage with classical and contemporary elements for the Festival of Lights.

Large screens in the background which display historic photographs and video clips, interspersed with media depicting current events accompany the production. Jürgen Meier"s assembly of dramatic scenes and images support and intensify on-stage action and create additional layers of meaning.

Designed and implemented by the Leipzig Festival of Lights, Tourismus und Marketing GmbH. 


Programm Lichtfest Leipzig 2015

"Liberty - Equality - Fraternity?"

After the major anniversary celebration last year, where the festival stretched over the entire inner ring road, the Leipzig Festival of Lights 2015 explores new themes: While, in recent years, the focus was on neighbouring countries to the east and their movements for democracy, the emphasis is now on issues surrounding civil society. "Liberty - Equality - Fraternity?" is the motto of this year - critically backlighting this statement and, thus, punctuated by a question mark. The identity of the individual in a Germany, once divided and now reunited for 25 years, is the intellectual starting point of the evening. A tension-filled panorama is created through the interaction and interplay of text, image and music.

Throughout the evening, the visitors of the Festival of Lights are, as in previous years, invited to form an illuminated "89" with thousands of candles.

Organiser: Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH
Artistic director: Jürgen Meier