The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a founding fable of our modern age. We are the wedding guests, and the albatross around the Mariner's neck is an emblem of human despair and our abuse of the natural world. Yet in its beautiful terror there lies a wondrous solution – that we might wake up and find ourselves saved. Art knows no boundaries. The Ancient Mariner Big Read is an inclusive, immersive work of audio and visual art from the 21st century that reflects the sweeping majesty and abiding influence of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 18th century epic poem.

First published in 1798 - we use Coleridge's revised version of 1817 - but still vitally relevant today, it is no coincidence, perhaps, that this poem is the first great work of English literature to speak to isolation and loneliness - and the possibility of redemption if we mend our ways. Three years in the making, drawing on the talents of actors, artists, performers, poets, and writers, The Ancient Mariner Big Read is a brand-new digital work of art in its own right - a wild and tempestuous voyage into the unknown.



Angela Cockayne
Philip Hoare
Sarah Chapman


Soundscape + sound production:
Jay Auborn
dBs Pro

Graphic design + art direction:
Nathan Gale
William Hibberd
Trystan Thompson

Online editor + digital platform:
Christopher Hunt
Controlled Frenzy

Dawn Melville

Associate producer:
Christina Moore

Scientific advisor:
Professor John Spicer
University of Plymouth

Marketing and Communications:
Jane Cullen
Abigail Aslett
University of Plymouth

Alan Williams
University of Plymouth

Truda Spruyt
Four communications

Special thanks those who recorded the Ancient Mariner Big Read

Jay Auborn
Ed Shakspeare
Joe Valek
Rafal Bijan
Callum Godfroy
Jared White
Jacopo Chiari
dBs Music Bristol + Plymouth

Adam Low
Martin Rosenbaum
Lone Star Productions

Joe Harfield
Unity Studios Auldearn

Pete Gleadall
Studio PSB

Elliott Webb
Folkestone Book Festival

Chris Youle-Grayling
Wall to Wall Productions

Chris Doggett
Penzance Literary Festival

Jamie Hare
Michael McDonald
University of Stirling

Peter Wilson

South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, recordings of black-browed albatross, Weddell seal, leopard seal, Antarctic fur seal and Adelie penguins:
Jim Wilson

Mexico, Eastern Pacific and Azores, mid-Atlantic recordings of humpback whale song and sperm whale clicks:
Philip Hoare + Andrew Sutton


St Mary's Church
Ottery St Mary, Devon
Please support the Coleridge Memorial Trust fund to raise a statue to the young Samuel Taylor Coleridge at his baptismal home, St Mary's Church:

Coleridge Cottage
National Trust
Nether Stowey, Somerset

The Charterhouse
Charterhouse Square, London

Emmanuel College Chapel

Bath Priory
Bath, Somerset

Special mention

Sailing Tectona,
for taking us out on Olga,
a pilot cutter

Sailing Tectona

Friends and enablers of the project

Liam Browne, Adam Low, Martin Rosenbaum, James Norton, Gareth Evans, Woodrow Kernohan, Sarah Wood, Liame Browne, Allan Jenkins, Emily Rousell; Naomi Box, Bath Spa University; the Revd Stephen Weston, Sue Jeacock, Greville Gilbert, and the parish of Ottery St Mary; Lord Coleridge and the Hon. Samuel John Taylor Coleridge; the Revd Jeremy Caddick, Dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Nicholas Pearson, Fourth Estate; Simon Prosser, Hamish Hamilton; Simon Thorogood, Canongate; Tom Avery, William Heinemann; François Ravard, Alex Papachristou-Cox, Henry McGroggan, Spencer Weisberg; Frank Frattaroli, Circle of Confusion; Charlotte, bethgibbons.net; Katherine de Paul, Artist Vision; Andrew Comben, Brighton Festival; Chris Pratt, Chris McBride, Effected Films; Acute Art; Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown;
Martin Thomas, Peter Dickinson, Alistair Salisbury, Raphaella Fearns, Robert Fearns, Murray Chalmers, Ian Kelly, Marc Rees, Nigel Larcombe Williams; Louise Coysh, University of Southampton; Jamie Eastman, The Edge, University of Bath; Literature Works, Professor Dafydd Moore, University of Plymouth; Professor Richard Thompson OBE, University of Plymouth; National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth; Ocean Conservation Trust, Devonport Guildhall and especially the Column Bakehouse

The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth.
The Ancient Mariner Big Read is not for profit and cannot be sold, either as a whole or in part, without permission from The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth, UK.

Commissioned by:
The Arts Institute,
University of Plymouth

Supported by:
The Marine Institute, University of Plymouth; The Box, Plymouth; dBs Pro, The Edge, Andrew Brownsword Gallery, University of Bath; John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton; Arts Council England

University of Plymouth Marine Institute
The Box
DBS Music
University of Southhampton
University of Bath


Jeremy Irons
Recorded at Bath Priory, Somerset

Jeanette Winterson
Recorded at The Charterhouse, London

Samuel West
Actor + director
Recorded in Islington, London

Peter Wilson
Polar guide
Filmed + recorded by Eric Wehrmeister,
Point Wild, Antarctica
Lat: 61°05 S
Lon: 54°52 W

Willem Dafoe

Hilary Mantel
Recorded at St Mary's Church,
Ottery St Mary, Devon,
Coleridge's 'sweet birthplace'

Simon Armitage
Recorded in the West Yorkshire Pennines

Tilda Swinton
Recorded in the
Scottish Highlands

Iggy Pop
Singer + songwriter
Recorded in Miami

Beth Gibbons
Singer + songwriter

Robert Macfarlane
Recorded at Emmanuel College Chapel,

Ali Smith
Recorded at Emmanuel College Chapel,

Lemn Sissay
Poet + Author
Recorded at Folkestone Book Festival

Cyrus Larcombe-Moore
Recorded at St Mary's Church,
Ottery St Mary, Devon

Marianne Faithfull
Singer, songwriter, actor
Recorded in West London

Alan Cumming
Recorded in New York City

Olivia Laing
Recorded at Emmanuel College Chapel,

Chris Packham
Recorded in the New Forest, Hampshire

Deborah Warner
Opera director
Recorded in Islington, London

Cerys Matthews
Singer + Author
Recorded at the Stags Head,
Fitzrovia, London

Neil Tennant
Singer + songwriter
Recorded at Studio PSB, London

Philip Hoare
Recorded on Southampton Water

David Gray
Singer + songwriter
Recorded in Hampstead, London

Maggi Hambling
Recorded in South London

Chris Watson
Naturalist + sound artist
Recorded on Blyth beach,

Zeb Soanes + Cleo Silvestre
Radio announcer + Actress
Recorded in Canonbury, London

Rupert Everett
Actor + author
Recorded in Wiltshire

David Walliams
Author + actor
Recorded in London W1

Stephen Dillane
Recorded in Sussex

Jodie Whittaker
Recorded in Netley, Hampshire

Frances Barber
Recorded at Studio PSB, London

Helen Macdonald
Recorded in Fitzrovia, London

Horatio Clare
Author + adventurer
Recorded at Penzance Literary Festival

Max Porter
Author + poet
Recorded at the Bath Priory, Somerset

John Spicer
Marine zoologist
Recorded at Coleridge Cottage,
Nether Stowey, Somerset,
where 'The Rime' was written.

Timothy Morton
Recorded at Rice University, Texas

Kathleen Jamie
Poet + author
Recorded at the University of Stirling

Samuel John Taylor Coleridge
Sixth-generation nephew of
the poet, recorded at St Mary's Church,
Ottery St Mary, Coleridge's birthplace.
Bell-ringer: Gordon Bird

Judy Collins
Singer + songwriter
Recorded in New York City

Alan Bennett
Author + playwright
Recorded in North London


Glenn Brown
The Shallow End,
Oil on panel (oval)
128 x 96 cm (50 3/8 x 37 3/4 in)
Courtesy the artist

Lisa Wright
Lucent Blue,
40 x 30 cm
Oil on canvas
Courtesy the artist

Ackroyd + Harvey
Storm Drawings (1 of 6)
Luminescent paint on card
Created onboard the Noorderlicht schooner off the East coast of Greenland by the rolling of a ball during a storm. Cape Farewell Expedition.

Peter Wilson
Polar guide
Filmed + recorded by Eric Wehrmeister,
Point Wild, Antarctica
Lat: 61°05 S
Lon: 54°52 W

Gordon Cheung
Albatross Glitch
Courtesy: Cristea Roberts Gallery and Edel Assanti

Post-Mortem: Yura
26 x 20 cm

Sarah Chapman
Photograph, oil + ceramic on aluminium
62 x 47 cm

Duane Slick
Acrylic on linen
50 x 43cm

Cornelia Parker
One Day This Glass Will Break

Nadav Kander
Water 111, England

Stanley Donwood
Residential Nemesis
Acrylic on canvas
168 x 168 cm

Marina Abramović
Still from the behind the scenes of Rising
Courtesy of Acute Art

Naomi Frears
The Wretch
Collage with antique Japanese paper
16 x 12 cm

Lucy + Jorge Orta
Raft of the Medusa
Immersive audio-visual installation

Yinka Shonibare CBE
Medusa West
Digital chromogenic print and bespoke wooden frame
114 x 114 cm
Edition: Edition of 5 + 2APs
Courtesy the artist and James Cohan Gallery
Photographer: Adam Reich

Abigail Lane
Forever Always Somewhere
Projected video
6 mins 28 secs

Desmond Morris
The Voyager
Oil on canvas

Charles Avery
Untitled (Onomatopoeia Harbour Gate, West Tower, with Oarsman in foreground), 2018
Pencil, ink, acrylic and watercolour on paper
217 x 135 cm (paper)
232.5 x 151 x 7 cm (framed)
Image courtesy the Artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh

Ellen Gallagher + Edgar Cleijne
Highway Gothic, detail, (16 mm film still) Film installation

Sax Impey
Night Sea NWF9
Mixed media on panel
122 x 366 cm

Andrew Kötting with Iain Sinclair
Pinhole image - Anonymous Bosch
Animation - Isabel Skinner
Music - Dirch Blewn & Andrew Kötting
Voice - MacGillivray Edit - Andrew Kötting

Nicola Bealing
Swimming Lesson
Oil on canvas
152 x 182 cm

Gavin Turk
Painted bronze

Robert Fearns
Ink on paper
30 x 35 cm

Chris Jordan

Serena Korda
Zuben Elgenubi - The Price to be Paid
Extract from film
19 mins 29 secs

Fiona Banner
aka The Vanity Press
Ariel (sinking), American Garamond, 2019
Found painting, oil on canvas
51.2 x 76.4 x 2 cm

George Shaw
Study for The Painter on the Road III, 2015
Humbrol enamel on board
147.5 x 198 x 5 cm
Courtesy: the artist and Anthony Wilkinson Gallery, London

Derek Jarman
Courtesy of Martin Thomas

Enrique Martínez Celaya
The Prophet
Courtesy of the Artist and BlainSouthern
Photo Peter Mallet

Mary Evans
The Souls Did From Their Bodies Fly
Kraft paper, glue, vinyl printed paper

Mark Dion
Mark Dion
The Albatross

Justin Brice Guariglia
Reduce Speed Now!
Somerset House

Mariele Neudecker
I Don’t Know How I Resisted The Urge To Run
Mixed media; glass, water, salt, plastic
75 x 90 x 183 cm
© Mariele Neudecker
Courtesy Johannes and Bernarda Becker collection Cologne, Germany

Grace Schwindt
Hot And Copper Fire
Velvet Black
Bloody Sun
Ceramic, glazing and silver bronze

William Kentridge

Martin Smick
Dead Air No 35
Acrylic on canvas

John Akomfrah
Vertigo Sea, 2015
Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound
48 mins 30 secs
© Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

Joe Lyward
Human Inside Albatross/Albatross Inside Human
Ink on tracing paper, animated GIF

Angela Cockayne
Man, and Bird and Beast
Camera: Raphaella Fearns
Albatross: Alistair Salisbury