Sign Up

Keep in touch with us. There are always new and exciting things to see and do at Chester Cathedral, sign up here and we’ll keep you updated.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Donate Giving

Sign Up Sign Up

Book Book

Monday to Saturday / 9am to 6pm

Sunday / 1pm to 4pm

Once a Desert at Chester Cathedral

Wednesday 9th, Thursday 10 and Saturday 12 March 2022

Chester Cathedral is the venue for ‘Once a Desert’, a stunning large-scale video, sound and light installation created especially for this magnificent space by artists Heinrich & Palmer.

Filling the majestic interior of the Cathedral with a 17.5m-high voile hanging from its vaulted ceiling, Once a Desert uses high speed film and animated point cloud imagery created from 3D laser scans of the Cathedral to produce an awe-inspiring work of art accompanied by a mesmerising soundscape.

Reminiscent of a Renaissance painting, the spectacular 3D scans of the Cathedral reveal architectural connections between the Cathedral’s spaces that are normally hidden from view. The ethereal effect of light and sound will make visitors feel at one with the space and its ancient history.

The installation harks back to a time when the rock used to construct the Cathedral was laid down in the Triassic period, 200 million years ago, when this country was a desert lying to the south of the Sahara. In the Middle Ages, this rock was brought from quarries nearby to build this ancient and beautiful monument.

This ancient geology, the pinkish red mellow sandstone of this grand cathedral, are lit to spectacular effect evoking the nature of the cathedral space deep in time, from the creation of its stone to the present day. We see the sands of time falling in front of us and in the blink of an eye, we’re standing here in 2022.

Once a Desert is an ethereal journey that celebrates the history of this ancient space, revealing the Cathedral as it’s never been seen before. It’s a unique work of art for Chester.

Once a Desert is presented on Wednesday 9 March from 6.30pm – 10pm, Thursday 10 March from 7.30pm – 10pm, and Saturday 12 March from 6.30pm – 10pm.
Entry is free.  Donations to the Cathedral are welcome.