This year, for the first time, we ran an evening session open to anyone, as well as the booked school groups. This took place on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm (because our Brownie group meets earlier on a Thursday evening), so was the first time we have run the trail after dark. It was quite an experience for us all! Although there are street-lit roads on two sides of the church building, neither brings very much light into the building once the blank fabric walkways are up, making the building very dark at night.
The Upper Room was mainly lit by a collection of battery LED 'candles' on the low table, to keep the atmosphere consistent with 2000 years ago. We did have to add one battery LED light on the far wall to provide general light - maybe next time we can come up with some LED 'oil lamps' to hang from the ceiling!
To give people enough light to move safely, we brought some more blue moonlight into the back streets of Jerusalem using another LED Par can fixture. The used was a 108W light, and actually much larger than it needed to be at night - it was turned most of the way down to avoid blinding people.
Gethsemane, having a full blackout, was unaffected by the light levels outside, so ran as normal. The most dramatic changes were in Golgotha, where loosing the ambient light spilling in gave the red flood-washing of the white wall hugely more impact. The spot lighting onto Peter was critical here, to avoid him ending up hidden in darkness where the participants could not see him. This worked well (the dark backdrop behind Peter absorbs most of the spill from the spots) and emphasised the situation of Peter hiding from the authorities, too scared to come to the foot of the cross.
Finally, through the darkness to the Resurrection Garden at dawn. Given the big change from the darkened walkway to the light of the Garden, I kept the lights (all on a single channel) dimmed down until people started to approach the Garden, then brought them up slowly to give a visual "dawn" as they encountered Mary in the Garden.
The response from the participants was excellent. We had a group of all ages, from a young baby with it's parents to several older people (including one in a wheel chair!) and one of our local councillors. One of the children who had been to the trail earlier in the week with her school came back, bringing the family, which was very pleasing to see.
There are some more photographs of the trail at night on flikr - including some the participants don't get to see.
On Monday the first school group will visit the Easter Trail for 2016, as we gear up to do it all over again. The feedback from local primary schools on the first trail was very positive, so we are re-running with more groups coming, and more people involved. So on Sunday after morning service, we moved all the furniture around: