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Canterbury Tales carnival thrills thousands in Christchurch city centre
On Sunday 27 October, Cathedral Square and the surrounding streets hummed with eager crowds, bringing excitement and life to the city’s heart. The Christchurch public reclaimed the city centre for the Festival of Transitional Architecture’s (FESTA) headline event, Free Theatre’s Canterbury Tales carnival and procession.
Thousands of people converged to participate in the city-within-a- city created by a night of lights, movements and animation. Puppets as high as buildings, masked performers, installations, soundscapes, light shows and a night market combined to transform Christchurch’s former Red Zone.
The procession of dancing friars, the Wife of Bath and other colourful puppets based on characters from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales made its way from the Bridge of Remembrance into the Square, where a waiata and fanfare greeted them and the public under a gate of light.
Free Theatre’s incredible performance was received with amazement and surprise. Students from across Australasia created a cityscape of lights and installations that included one suspended from a thirty-metre high crane, a storm of blue-lit tarpaulin on Worcester Bridge and intricate light designs.
FESTA organisers wish to thank Free Theatre, all the students, local businesses and performances groups for their months of work leading into this large-scale event and extravaganza. They would also like to thank the public for dressing up, turning out in force to support the festival and engaging with the city of Christchurch at night.