We wrote the fictional Legend of the Winged Boy: an angel visited the northern Celtic tribes in the days when they were still separated from the Roman Empire by Hadrian’s Wall. As a result of this visit a boy with wings was born, who delighted in flying across the wall. The ‘Winged Boy’ became a symbol of hope for all those separated by walls. The figure was inspired by Anthony Gormley’s huge steel sculpture Angel of the North which was installed in Gateshead in the 1990s; Gateshead and Newcastle are separated by the river Tyne.


Stefan Behr wrote The Legend of The Winged Boy in the form of a poem. Steve Ellery, artistic director of the Berliner Shakespeare Ensemble, whose family has roots in Newcastle, performed the poem from the balcony of the tower, accompanied by live music. After around twenty minutes the Winged Boy appeared on the roof of the tower, accompanied by other angels: a poetic image for a way of overcoming Hadrian’s and other walls. We also incorporated local amateur actors from the ‘Britannia’ ancient Roman association into the performance. As well as playing in short scenes in front of the fort and on the roofs below the viewing tower, at the end they carried the flame which started the illuminations.