John Hansard Gallery is pleased to be a partner for The Ancient Mariner Big Read, curated by author Philip Hoare (Professorial Fellow in English, University of Southampton), artist Angela Cockayne and Sarah Chapman (Director of The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth).
Launching on Saturday 18 April, stars of UK stage, screen, music and the arts are helping to transform one of English Literature’s most celebrated poems for the digital age.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is an epic tale of adventure, fear and fascination; a work of 18th Century science fiction that has prophetic messages for the natural world, climate breakdown and mental health globally relevant in the 21st Century.
Over the coming forty days, The Ancient Mariner Big Read will broadcast daily online readings from the poem, featuring readings by actor and activist Jeremy Irons, alongside recordings by Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Willem Dafoe, Hilary Mantel, Marianne Faithfull and Lemn Sissay, plus many more familiar voices. On Thursday 28 May, the final poem will be available to listen to as one symphonic piece.
Free to access online, the project is accompanied by stunning artworks from international contemporary artists who have also responded to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The result is an inclusive work of audio and visual art, which reflects the sweeping majesty of Coleridge’s poem.
The Ancient Mariner Big Read follows the hugely successful Moby-Dick Big Read first broadcast in 2012, which has since gathered over 10 million views.
This project also corresponds with a touring exhibition – Mariner: a painted ship upon a painted ocean – opening at John Hansard Gallery later this year, previously shown at The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth and The Edge, Andrew Brownsword Gallery in Bath.
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