POOLE is set to be illuminated like never before when a new free festival takes place next week.

Light Up Poole will see the High Street transformed after dark from Falklands Square to the Quay from Thursday, February 15 to Saturday, February 17.

Sponsored by Poole BID and funded by Arts Council England, Light Up Poole will present new art forms and artworks – many of them interactive – created by local, national and international artists who have been challenged to produce responses to Poole using the theme identity.

The diverse programme is designed to challenge the perception of art and encourage visitors to participate and become part of the festival.

Highlights are set to include, The Squirrel, a three-metre sculpture located outside Quay Amusements that aims to put the spotlight on the plight of Brownsea Island’s famous colony of red squirrels.

The Squirrel will remain sedentary by day but will come to life at night through the use of projection mapping technology to create a mesmerising visual display.

Juxtaproject has been created specially for Light Up Poole and will be set up outside Barque in Weston’s Lane. A series of images of facial features will be screened from projectors that viewers are invited to pick up and move around, assembling body parts in any way they see fit.

Submergence is an immersive digital and interactive media experience composed of thousands of individually controlled lights that interact with the audience as they explore it set to a soundtrack of sounds found in Poole.

Sound artist Jon Adams has worked with the SoundStorm music education agency and local schools to make a soundscape album of found sounds that will play in the Fish Shambles on the Quay.

While movers and shakers will be able to enjoy a silent disco outside Café Guest House 34 where party people can pick up a set of headphones and flip between three streams of music featuring 80s and 90s hits, world music and club classics from local DJs.

Meanwhile, projected on the side of Lighthouse, Bournemouth-based games designers Amuzo are premiering their new game FLO with prizes at stake for high scores.

Libby Battaglia, of festival directors Audacious, said: “Light Up Poole is an invitation to the people of Poole and further afield to come outdoors, get together and play – it’s free, it’s for everyone and it’s something to be proud of.

“This puts Poole on the map as a leading light of contemporary culture.”

The festival takes place between 4pm and 9pm.