On the evenings of 2-3 February, Nottingham’s Catholic Cathedral was delighted to have participated in the city’s annual Light Night Trail.
For the second year running, visitors were offered an immersive light and sound experience which showcased the architectural and spiritual beauty of this AWN Pugin gem. Over the two nights over 4,000 visitors were welcomed to the Cathedral to explore its architecture, to experience the illuminations, to enjoy a programme of live sacred music, to light candle or to take part in lantern-making workshops.
An annual fixture on the Nottingham arts and culture scene, Light Night offers many immersive and interactive light-based installations, performances and activities across the city. The event showcases high quality art to encourage residents to see the City in a different light. Buildings that may usually be inaccessible after hours are opened to provide some luminous joy in the midst of the dark winter months.
A simple yet spectacular light installation and experience was offered to visitors, highlighting the beauty of this Grade II* listed Pugin masterpiece. The stunning arches and chapels of the Cathedral 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 space.
Throughout the evening visitors were treated to live choral and organ performances, with a number of visitors commenting that the music really completed the experience for them. As guests passed by the Sanctuary as they completed the light trail, they were offered the opportunity to light a candle on the Sanctuary steps. More than 2,500 candles were aglow on the Sanctuary steps over the course of these two evenings. Many were visibly moved by the beauty and splendour of this ‘hidden gem’ in the city and volunteers were encouraged to do more to share and showcase it.
In addition to this experience inside the Cathedral, thanks to a small grant from the Arts Council and a new collaboration with the neighbouring Nottingham Playhouse, the Cathedral’s Restoring Pugin project team and volunteers hosted lantern making workshops across both evenings.
This is the second year the Cathedral has joined the trail and the Friends were pleased to see more than twice as many visitors through the Cathedral than present at last year’s event. The weekend further encouraged the Cathedral in its ambitions to continue to raise its profile in the city and region, finding new ways to reach out to different audiences and offering people an encounter with Our Lord and His Church through beauty, heritage, music, arts and culture.
It was amazing to welcome so many people to the Cathedral for Light Night 2024 and to see numbers double on last year’s event. As a parish priest, it is so encouraging to see such growth, and this is down to the creativity and generosity of our diverse Cathedral community who made this event possible. It’s exactly what a Cathedral parish should be about; confidently and proudly opening its doors to the wider community and welcoming people in to experience the beauty of our Catholic faith, through our patrimony.Canon Malachy Brett, Cathedral Dean
The event was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Friends of Nottingham Cathedral, the Music Department of the Cathedral, the National Schools’ Singing Programme, Cathedral volunteers and staff, the NLHF Restoring Pugin project team, Nottingham Playhouse and the Arts Council.
The exterior/interior of the Cathedral: Luke Potter for the Friends of Nottingham Cathedral.
The lantern making pictures: Helen Martinez, Restoring Pugin project.