In the first ten days of The Moon ‘landing’ at Lancaster’s oldest church, more than 11,650 people had flocked there to see the awe-inspiring artwork, which is hanging from the historic rafters until November 20.
Measuring seven metres in diameter, The Moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.
The Moon is one of several currently touring the world and The Priory has the largest version by UK artist, Luke Jerram who is known worldwide for his large scale public artworks.
Vicar of Lancaster, Rev Canon Chris Newlands, said: “This is the Priory’s biggest event and it is a wonderful spectacle. It is particularly special that The Moon is in Lancaster during the 50th anniversary year of the moon landings.
The operation to install The Moon – on Halloween – was a feat in itself. Riggers were brought in to create a stage between the pews and erect scaffolding so a 400-year-old brass candelabra could be dismantled.
It was a nerve-wracking time for the Priory staff as the candelabra, a gift from Lancaster’s MP in 1710, had not been moved for decades but all went to plan and after a few hours, a 21st Century artwork had replaced the 18th Century antique.
The Moon opened for public viewings as part of Light Up Lancaster and people, old and young, were amazed at the sight.
The installation is complemented by a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello awardwinning composer, Dan Jones.
The Moon is also the inspiration for a varied programme of lunar-themed events at The Priory.
On Saturday, November 16 from noon-4pm, the retired vicar of Over Kellet, Rev Ken Clapham, otherwise known as the Bishop of the Moon, will show artefacts from the Apollo Missions which have been given to him by his astronaut friends.
There will be concerts by Morecambe Brass Band on November 14; the Blue Moon Band (15th) and Lancaster Singers (16th) and a moon-inspired poetry reading with Nigel Stewart on November 17.
For visitors wishing to discover more about the moon and space, there’s a series of Lunar Lectures including Fly Me to the Moon: The Science of Putting Humans on Another World on November 17.
And for those who just want to relax under The Moon, yoga and tai chi sessions take place on Mondays.
Children’s events include science talks and demonstrations, iPad art and opportunities to dress up as aliens, astronauts and superheroes for photographs under The Moon.
Throughout The Moon’s visit, Lancaster Priory is still open for prayer and worship with many services making reference to the moon and stars.
On November 20 – The Moon’s last night – Liz Oakley-Brown, a senior lecturer at Lancaster University, will give a talk inspired by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and Luke Jerram’s installation, and teenage girls from Lancaster Priory Choir will sing Compline in darkness apart from the light of The Moon.
The Moon can be visited during the day and there are late night openings too from 4-9pm on Thursday-Saturday. Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for children.
For updates on the events programme and to book tickets to see The Moon, visit lancasterpriory.org