Client: City of Culture 2021 & Coventry Cathedral
Location: Coventry Cathedral Ruins
Status: Completed 2019
Partners: Musicity, Whitelight
Photography: Mindriot Productions Garry Jones Photography


Over the night of 14th - 15th of November 1940, Coventry Cathedral was reduced to ruins in the second world war as part of what was later named “Moonlight Sonata”. The morning after, Provost Howard stood in the chaos and destruction of the cathedral and spoke the words ‘Father Forgive’, which today are inscribed above the remains of the altar. This great act of reconciliation has come to define the city of Coventry’s ability to triumph in the face of adversity.


Launching New Years Eve 2018 and running until the 13th of January 2019, Coventry Cathedral Ruins was transformed by NEON and Musicity into an ethereal dream-like landscape describing a Sunrise. “Sunrise” was used as a metaphor to talk about the heritage of the site and Coventry’s future as City of Culture 2021 but also for the viewer to contemplate their own personal year to come.

The artwork bathed visitors in waves of light describing the pivotal moment of transition from night to day. The light installation was accompanied by an atmospheric, electronic soundscape entitled “Sunrise Sonata” by Andy Spackman and Anna Palmer which was commissioned specifically for the installation.

As a special feature of the launch on New Years Eve the Sunrise was accompanied by a live performance of Sunrise Sonata.  

Technical description

Sunrise measured 14.5m wide, 44m long and 5m high and was constructed using Prolyte truss which created a gantry type structure across the ruins. 10 rows of 4 x P5 LED flood lights were used in combination with smoke machines to create an “atmosphere” where light could be physically experienced. Speakers were fixed to the perimeter of the structure to create a surround sound effect further adding to the experience.