Entering the inner Sanctum

Santum exterior cr Judy DarleyThe day before yesterday we took a stroll in the November sunshine to visit Sanctum, opting to join a queue of people all eager to catch a glimpse of the treasures inside.

The art and performance installation, housed within the shell of a church bombed out in World War II has been high on my list since it launched on October 29th. It features a structure built by Chicago artist Theaster Gates, and while I was expecting a few boards fixed together, it turned out to be an entire building, complete with windows and a gloriously peaked roof.

Santum edifice by Theaster Gates pic cr Judy Darley

Within ten minutes we were inside, joining the other 48 people (only 50 are allowed at any one time) relaxing to the epic tunes and disconcerting visuals of DJ Moody Groover and his Wheels of Steel.

DJ Moody Groover1 cr Judy DarleyMoody’s passion for the music soon seeped under our skin, as he wriggled around the stage space in his rainbow-emblazoned red boiler suit, occasionally stepping up to the mic to offer words of wisdom, (“Multiculturalism has failed. Multiculturalism has succeeded!”), sometimes donning a red helmet with song lyrics running across its forehead. Somehow, extraordinarily, he had captured the sense of a 3am rave on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

DJ Moody Groover cr Judy Darley

We left after our allotted half hour with broad smiles on our faces, wondering what else we’ll have the chance to experience at Sanctum before it draws to a close on November 21st.

Find full details at sanctumbristol.com.

Sanctum in the city

Temple Church, Bristol, photo Max McClure2

Temple Church, Bristol, photo © Max McClure

Just off Bristol’s Victoria Street, there’s a church with the sky for its roof. Bombed in World War II, Temple Church is a shell, with only the 11th century walls still intact. For most of the time, it’s closed to the public, but from 29th October for the following 24 days it will become the site of an extraordinary arts venture.

As part of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital, Sanctum will comprise a continuous programme of events, including spoken word, music and theatrical performance, from 6pm on Thursday 29th October until Saturday 21st November.

Temple Church, Bristol, photo Max McClure1

Temple Church, Bristol, photo © Max McClure

Taking place in the church surrounded by materials reclaimed by artist Theaster Gates from “places of labour and religious devotion across Bristol”, the performances will unfurl day and night, with the schedule a secret so you can never know what you’re about to experience.

Characters you could encounter include sonic artist Alice Humansoundscapers Bards of Avalonplaywright and performer Bea Robertsradio presenter and writer Cheryl Morgan, singer songwriter IsoldeSleepdogs, and almost 200 others.

It looks set to be an entrancing installation that will inspire and intrigue.

Find full details at sanctumbristol.com.