Freedom Festival - The Hull Vigil. VIew from Hull College. Image credit Tom Arran.

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What is the Hull Vigil?

A year-long vigil will begin in Hull on 3 May 2021 with the UK premiere of a monumental performance. Each day for a year, at sunrise and sunset, a watcher will look out over Hull from a bespoke glass structure located on top of the towering Hull College Campus in Queens Gardens. Over the course of the year 730 people will contribute to the collective vigil - a 365 day silent and peaceful resistance - to watch over the city.

Who’s involved?

Freedom Festival, an organisation known for creating the unexpected, is producing Vigil - the first UK city to host this timely, thought-provoking, large-scale monumental work by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from Paris-based WLDN.  

How long does the Vigil last?

The Hull Vigil performance runs for one year. Each Vigil lasts exactly one hour. The performance involves two participants every day which gives a total of 730 Vigils.

You're asked to arrive 30 minutes before your Vigil begins - so we suggest giving yourself two hours from start to finish.  

How many times can I take part?

Each Vigil participates only once. Once you have taken part in the Vigil, you are invited to become a Companion. 

How old do you have to be to take part?

The performance is open to everyone age 18 plus.

If you're 17 you can make a booking as long as you will be 18 on day you take part in the Vigil.

Do I have to live in Hull or a HU postcode to take part?

No, it isn't necessary to be a local resident.

How do I book a space?

Anyone over 18-years-old are invited to participate in the Vigil. Participants can choose their own date and time and have their own reasons for participating. You can only take part once but once you have been a Vigil you are invited to become a Companion.

All of the spaces for The Hull Vigil have now been reserved and our waitlist is now closed, it may reopen later in the year.  

What is a Companion?

Companions are a group of volunteers who have already been a vigil. 

The Companion is the person who watches over the Vigil. They meet them before the performance and wait with them until it’s time to be taken to the Shelter. Once, the hour is up, they return to collect the vigil.

Can I book a slot for someone else?

Yes, you can reserve a Vigil for someone if they are unable to do so themselves. Please check that they are definitely interested in participating first. 

Will I receive training?

Yes, in order to take part in the performance, each Vigil must take part in a short training session called The Vigil Workshop, at this workshop you will gain an understanding of the artistic work. 

Will I be by myself?

Each vigil will be accompanied by a volunteer companion. Each companion will have already been a vigil. They are there to make sure everything goes smoothly, they will meet the vigil, take their photograph and be on hand to ensure everything is ok.

If you require an essential companion, that can be accommodated. 

What If I’m late?

It is extremely important you arrive on time, if something unexpectedly delays you please contact your Companion and let them know what time you will arrive.


What if I can’t attend, can I change my date?

Dates are allocated on first come first served basis so if you can no longer make your date we cannot guarantee you will be able to do a different date however we will do our best to reassign a date or add you to the waiting list.

Can I take my phone in with me?

No, The Vigil is alone and without access to their mobile phone, watch or camera. These can be looked after by the Companion.

What can I wear?

The Vigil wears their usual clothing without artifice or t-shirts without slogans.

How long is each Vigil?

The Vigil holds a presence for an hour. In the morning, the Vigil starts exactly at sunrise, and lasts one hour. In the evening, the Vigil starts exactly one hour before sunset, and lasts one hour, finishing exactly at sunset.

Can I sit down?

If you have specific needs, we will be able to meet these however where possible The Vigil is standing.

What happens at the end of the Vigil?

At the end of each Vigil, after being photographed by the Companion, the Vigil returns from the shelter to write up their experience in The Vigil Journal.

These words, along with the photos of the performance are posted on this website telling the story of the performance in Hull.

Where is the shelter?

The Shelter is located on the top of the Hull College Campus Building in Hull City Centre.  It can be seen from many vantage points in the city and it will be illuminated at sunrise and sunset every day for the year. 

Is the performance fully accessible?

Yes, it is an event for everyone over 18 years of age. At registration you will be asked if you have any additional access requirements.

There is level access to the shelter, if you have any particular access requirements please just let us know. 

What happens if lockdown restrictions are tightened?

Even if lockdown restrictions are tightened again, because of its unique nature, the performance can still continue. 

The Vigil can run during Covid restrictions and all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure compliance with Covid guidelines.

Do I need to make my own way there?

Yes if you are a Vigil or Companion you will need to make your own way there.

Is it free to take part?

Yes the performance is a free event, there is no cost for taking part. You will need to make your own way to and from the Shelter.

Is it safe to take part?

The Vigil can run during Covid restrictions and all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure compliance with Covid guidelines.

A companion will be with you throughout your Vigil. 

Can I still book a place?

All of the spaces for The Hull Vigil have now been reserved and our waitlist is now closed, it may reopen later in the year.  

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