Light Night 2023
The Cathedral joined the City's 'Light Night' trail for the first time this year, offering an immersive 'Gothic Extravaganza'.
The Cathedral joined the 'Nottingham Light Night' trail for the first time this year, offering visitors an immersive light and sound experience which showcased the beauty of this AWN Pugin gem. As part of this popular after dark festival, now in its 15th year, the Cathedral welcomed nearly 2000 visitors over the evenings of the 3-4th February, with many visitors having never visited the Cathedral before.
An annual fixture on the Nottingham scene, Light Night offers many immersive and interactive light-based installations, performances and activities across the city. The event aims to offer high quality art within the city, encourage residents to see the city in a different light and open buildings which may usually be inaccessible at night. Responding to this brief, 'The Friends of the Cathedral' in collaboration with Cathedral parishioners and the Cathedral music department, found itself on the official app, map and trail with the promise of a 'Gothic Extravaganza' for visitors.
A simple yet spectacular light installation and experience was offered to visitors, highlighting the beauty of this Pugin masterpiece. The stunning arches and chapels were illuminated with beautiful colours, highlighting the depths and heights of this Gothic Revival build. There were gasps of joy as newcomers walked through this captivating experience and those familiar with the Cathedral commented on how the lighting had moved the space from being two-dimensional to something much more three dimensional. Throughout the evening visitors were treated to choral and organ performances, with a number of visitors commenting that the music really completed the experience for them. As visitors passed the Sanctuary on their way out, they were offered the opportunity to light a candle- on Saturday evening, more than 500 candles were aglow on the Sanctuary steps. Many were visibly moved by the beauty and splendour of what a number of visitors called a 'hidden gem' in the city and volunteers were encouraged to do more to share and showcase it.
The evening provided an opportunity to share something of the history of the Cathedral and the ambitious plans to 'Restore Pugin' to the east-end chapels and ambulatories, thanks to a generous grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Light Night was an opportunity to begin to open the Cathedral doors to even more people in the City and further afield, letting them know this precious sacred space is open and accessible to all. The Cathedral is an important part of Nottingham's story and it wants to be an important part of people's lives across the City, County and region; offering a place of peace, beauty and sanctuary amidst an often busy and frenetic urban life. The weekend has certainly set the bar high in terms of future events the Friends, Cathedral and Diocese have planned this coming year!