Tyne & Wear

London 2012 heralded by Whitley Bay laser light show

A light show designed to herald the 2012 Olympics is under way along the Tyneside coast.

American artist Yvette Mattern's Global Rainbow is lighting up miles of the North East, for the next five nights.

It consists of seven parallel beams of coloured laser light designed to be projected across large open sites, particularly densely populated areas.

Hundreds gathered to watch the first show being beamed from St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay at 18:00 GMT.

The display has previously only been seen in Germany, France and the United States and was initially created to celebrate Martin Luther King Day on 15 January 2009.

Global Rainbow is the first in a series of high profile Cultural Olympiad projects taking place across the North East during 2012.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, regional director of Arts Council England, said: "Global Rainbow is the perfect way to mark the start of this year's cultural celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the North East.

"Not only is the project delivering art on a very large scale to many thousands of people, but it's welcoming an international artist to the region, and is the culmination of a great deal of careful planning and creative programming.

"This is just a taste of what's to come over the course of what is set to be a groundbreaking year for culture in the North East."

The display can be seen between 18:00 and midnight until 4 March.

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