Light Shows take Visitors on Unexpected Journeys through our Cathedrals

Light shows at cathedrals
05th November 2019

Over 20,000 people took a journey to the moon and stars at St Albans while 22,000 visitors experienced the awe and beauty of York Minster’s medieval glass in its Northern Lights shows.

Both cathedrals recorded record visitor numbers for their sound and light art installations over the last week.

At St Albans, visitors were taken to the moon and beyond in a special installation called Space Voyage inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing and created by the Artistic Collaboration Luxmuralis.

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, said:

“Cathedrals were built to give people a sense of awe and transcendence. So the Cathedral is a perfect place for an installation like ‘Space Voyage’, which created such a vivid awareness of the mysterious vastness and overwhelming beauty of the universe.
“Even people who think they are not ‘religious’ have found that the experience has a powerful spiritual impact on them. We were delighted to welcome so many visitors throughout the week and hugely grateful to everyone involved.”

As well as the sound and light show, the cathedral hosted a range of space themed events exploring the themes of science and religion attracting over 3,000 people throughout the week.

These included Daleks in the cathedral, a special Mass on the Moon, a cosmic organ recital with music from famous sci-fi movies, a children’s space themed trail, and a talk on Doctor Who.

Daleks in Cathedrals

Luxmuralis Artistic Director Peter Walker said:

“It has been wonderful to see so many people of all ages come to see art in the Cathedral and embrace the journey to the edge of the universe and back. Space Voyage is not just a light show, it’s an installation of son et lumiere outside, and multiple films, artworks, light and sound installations inside that together create an abstract journey around the interior of St Albans Cathedral, reanimating vast areas of its magnificent architecture.”

Cathedral Light SHows

York Minster welcomed back Northern Lights by award winning artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid from double Guinness World Record winning company The Projection Studio.

The installation originally debuted at York Minster in June 2018 over three nights as a fundraising event to protect the Minster’s medieval stained glass. This current run was extended to 16 shows over eight nights due to public demand and outstripped all expectations – reaching over 2million users on Twitter over the eight night period.

Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, said:

“The scale and ambition of the artistic endeavour by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid has been truly inspiring. They produced a stunning and breath-taking spectacle that reflected the Minster’s religious and artistic heritage while entirely respecting the Minster’s purpose as a place of worship, giving visitors some sense of the awe that medieval visitors would have experienced when they first saw the Minster’s stained glass windows”.

He said that ticket sales had far exceeded expectation and as a result the 11-year project to provide protective glazing to all of the Minster’s stained glass had got off to a flying start.