Hope springs eternal with a new light trail in Newcastle Cathedral

31st March 2023

Visitors are invited to see Newcastle Cathedral in a new light with the announcement of an audio-visual art trail during the school Easter holidays.

Hope Springs eternal with a new light trail at Newcastle Cathedral – Light at the End of the Tunnel

‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ will feature the work of six artists who create with light and sound. They each responded to Newcastle Cathedral’s invitation for proposals that would ‘bring forward feelings of hope, light and joy’. The pieces subtly shine a light on some of the Cathedral’s most beautiful, unexpected and meaningful spaces.

The Very Reverend Dr Jane Hedges, Interim Dean of Newcastle, said:

“Looking for the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is particularly relevant now, as we emerge into spring from the dark and cold of a long winter, which has been challenging for many. We hope the art trail will leave our diverse community of visitors and the regular congregation of our beautiful Cathedral with feelings of hope and joy; that was certainly our intention when we invited artists to respond with their ideas to a brief we set at the end of 2022.”

Rachael Rickwood, the Cathedral’s Learning and Activities Officer, said:

“We wanted to include a good mix of styles and content in the art trail – so there is something for everyone to enjoy and get them thinking about the changing of the seasons and how – even on the darkest days – the light and hope of spring is just around the corner.”

Timed slots for the art trail are available now via the Cathedral’s event page. Tickets are £6 for adults and £3 for children; all ticket holders are welcome to stay until the end of the event at 9:30pm and can get involved in creative activities.

Hot and cold refreshments will be available in the Cathedral refectory, Cafe 16, which will stay open till late. Northumberland charity The Oswin Project runs the cafe, which is staffed by a team of prison leavers, enabling them to learn new skills and find a fresh direction on release.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Timed slots from 6.30pm – 9.30pm on Tues 11 April, Wed 12 and Thursday 13 April.

Hope springs eternal with a new light trail in Newcastle Cathedral


Egypt Clarke: Barrier of Illusion, St Margaret’s Chapel

Egypt is an artist from Teesside whose work includes drawing, printmaking, sculpture and installation. For Newcastle Cathedral, Egypt will install three vibration-sensitive light sculptures that respond to visitors as they move around the space – creating patterns and sequences in response to people as they walk, stamp or even dance by the ‘Barrier of Illusion’.

Multiminded Design: Look into the light, Cathedral Crypt

By lighting one end of the Crypt in an immersive series of images that depict the seasons, Multiminded Design’s ambitious response to the Cathedral’s brief will be a must-see for visitors. Multiminded Design explained that the piece will ‘celebrate the human ability to look past the darkness of mid-winter and celebrate the joy that spring brings to the natural world’. A bespoke electronic soundtrack accompanies and is synchronised with the visuals, adding to the overall uplifting experience.

Hope springs eternal with a new light trail in Newcastle Cathedral

Graham Dolphin: Open the morning window, the sunshine comes in, the hope of today is a small bird signing, Cathedral Quire

For his contribution, Graeme was inspired by the beautiful and ancient sounds of Evensong, which echo around Newcastle Cathedral six days a week. Graeme took four lines from the lyrics of a song by Japanese group Magical Power Mako, which he then recorded in twenty different languages. Visitors can listen to the assembled choir of untrained young and old voices via discrete speakers, placed around the Cathedral’s Quire. This is an area of exceptional significance in the Cathedral and hearing the choir jubilantly welcome spring, and embrace hope, light and nature will be a memorable experience.

Lizzie Lovejoy: Untitled, Cathedral Nave

Inspired by the stories of local people, Lizzie will create a poetry-based soundscape, featuring neon words in the shadows of the nave’s imposing medieval pillars. Their piece will recall the memories held within the Cathedral’s walls of the significant moments that pepper the lives of its community over many years. Lizzie will also spend time as an artist-in-residence, interacting with visitors during the exhibition, drawing and noting stories that they will document in a live sketchbook.

Julia Snowdin: Dot Dome, Cathedral Nave

The playful and immersive ‘Dot Dome’ invites visitors on a journey to a new location. Julia’s colourful and mirrored dome will be especially popular with children and families, who can play in the dome, turning the colourful circles to create their own universe. The artist worked with a school to ensure the dome’s design is fully inclusive: the dome is wheelchair accessible and can be enjoyed at varying heights.

Frederick Worrell: The Brass Eagle Takes Flight, Cathedral Quire 

There is a long tradition of eagle lecterns crafted in wood and brass, with talons grasping a globe and wings, depicting the word of God being carried to every part of the world. However, many of those seen in churches today are from the Victorian era, which revived a tradition which fell out of favour in the Reformation, with many eagles destroyed in the Cromwellian period. Newcastle Cathedral’s brass eagle is a fine one of 45 examples of pre-Reformation eagles that remain, making it a fine and treasured old bird. In Frederick’s work the brass eagle has taken flight in a piece that evokes the symbolism and beauty of stained glass windows to surprise visitors and bring light to the Cathedral’s dark, high walls and ceiling.