Black Hole – End of Time: “An electronic, orchestral soundtrack of distorted screams synchronised to 20 lasers”

Date: 26/11/2021

Something extraordinary is happening at Old Christ Church in Waterloo this Saturday. The church, no longer used as a place of worship is nowadays a community hub, staging events as varied as art exhibitions, beer festivals and model railway shows.

But the latest is Black Hole – End of Time: an immersive light show with a “real black hole”. That’s concerning.

But the event looks phenomenal, with multimedia light, laser and special effects combining to create a a 30-minute son et lumiere combining music and SFX amid the stunning architecture.

We caught up with creator and organiser Paul Alty to tell us more about his work, Black Hole – End of Time and Old Christ Church.

The inspiration

“Einstein said that a black hole is where God divided by zero and I used that quote to inspire a musical project where I wrote music themed around black holes and our individual paths through time”

Alty’s sheer fascination with black holes which he says are the ‘weirdest’ objects known to man inspired him to create this show on the topic which he says he became ‘obsessed’ with. 

Synergy between art forms

Alty is not only a specialist in sound but also in light, which allows him to combine the two creating a fully immersive experience that tells a story. 

“Black Hole – End of Time is a synergy of my two loves, lighting design and music and so it seemed inevitable that one day they would merge into an artistic offering.

Music and visuals can create the perfect synergy and so designing these experiences means I can visually represent the music and at times have the music interpret the light”.

“It is a feast for the senses and will provide some of the most amazing selfie backdrops!”

A musical background

At the start of 2020 Alty began playing his music live, focussing on more upbeat and commercial content. 

But the lockdown gave him time to rethink and to focus on the projects he had in mind which has led to this show.

He is now planning to create several similar experiences that he will perform at festivals and late-night events across the UK and hopefully the wider world. 

You can expect to hear from him with new projects in 2022. 

The venue

A fan of church architecture, Alty feels Old Christ Church is the perfect venue for the show. The lighting and effects give the building a ‘whole new dimension’ in a way that was never envisaged. 

The Old Christ Church has stood since 1899 and has survived it all – including disuse, dereliction and bombing in World War II. 

“Einstein said that a black hole is where God divided by zero…”

Where donations go

The event is being run in support of two charities of which the profits will be divided into two. 

The first being, We Make Events. The charity was set up due to underfunding by the government for the live events industry during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

A large amount of people in the industry did not qualify for the furlough so the charity was founded to support them.

“The live events industry was one of the first to be shut down and one of the last to re-open, so people have been hit hard,” says Paul.

The second is Friends of Old Christ Church which is the Church’s conservation trust. After trialling the show originally in 2020, the date was set for the following year and Alty began raising money.

What to expect

Each performance lasts 30 minutes and is split into four parts. The performance starts ‘slow and moody’ and gradually building up to the crescendo, dubbed the ‘End of Time’. 

“It is a feast for the senses and will provide some of the most amazing selfie backdrops!” says Paul.

The show is based on the story of Jim, a retired widower and a keen researcher all thing space related. It follows him on his journey and the experiments he carries out. 

“The albums explore this theme from a science and science fiction perspective, looking at time, space, life and mortality and immortality.”

• Tickets to the event can be reserved here. Saturday 28 November, 4pm until 10pm. The show is free but donations are welcome and go towards charities. 

Written by Ed Alvey; photo credit (with permission: Paul Alty)