Many small steps as more than 41,000 enjoy Dorset Moon landings


Friday 28 – Sunday 30 June, St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth
Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July, Sherborne Abbey
Friday 12 – Sunday 14 July, Nothe Fort, Weymouth


On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the first Moon landing, the Dorset Moon summer arts event has been hailed a resounding success.

Over the last three weekends more than 41,000 people enjoyed Luke Jerram’s monumental Museum of the Moon installation in three stunning locations – St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth; Sherborne Abbey and the Nothe Fort at Weymouth.

In a unique collaboration between three Dorset arts festivals – Inside Out Dorset (produced by Activate), b-side and Bournemouth Arts by the Sea – each incarnation of Dorset Moon also featured a full supporting programme of cultural activities and performances many commissioned especially for it. All events were free to enter.

News about Dorset Moon and audience reaction to the three landings reached around the world with media reports in the USA, China and Germany.

“Dorset Moon far exceeded the expectations of the Dorset Festivals Consortium,” says Kate Wood, Executive and Artistic Director of Activate. “All three festivals are profoundly energised by the response from the public and the quality of the artistic work. The international reach online has highlighted our county as a place where truly extraordinary events take place.  It has been a delight to present the work and partner with such a great set of iconic venues and a wonderful team.”

Alan Rogers, Executive Director of b-side highlighted the diversity of the Dorset Moon audience and the programme that was attached Museum of the Moon, adding: “It’s amazing that one artwork, with a programme of supporting commissions and events, can be open to such a wide range of interpretation, from the happy vibe of a silent disco where the moon was used as a scenic backdrop, to a thought-provoking call to action to reduce our carbon footprint for the people taking part in Carrie Mason’s performative drawing ‘Pledge’, to families enjoying taking selfies supporting the moon, kids with that ‘oh wow!’ reaction and individuals using Museum of the Moon as a jumping off point for deeper contemplation, especially when the brighter, real moon was in the sky at the same time.”

In Sherborne the moon proved to be a catalyst for the wider community to stage a variety of additional events – some 400 people participated in interactive workshops run in partnership with The Paddock Project – and local businesses reported record sales over the weekend.

Dorset Moon attracted visitors from across the county and further afield with almost 10,000 people viewing the Bournemouth Moon, just under 18,000 at Sherborne Abbey and some 13,000 at the Nothe Fort.

The reaction has been incredibly positive. In a typical comment one person said: “So glad we made the effort to come. Rare to get a chance like this.”

And a couple visiting from Yorkshire said: “Will recommend the Museum of the Moon, it’s good for education and children.”

Director of Bournemouth Arts by the Sea, Andrea Francis adds: “Working in consortium with our partners from Inside Out Dorset and b-side has been a real pleasure, and Arts by the Sea was very happy to start the tour in Bournemouth. We are very grateful to St Peter’s Church for hosting us, and delighted that we could introduce thousands of visitors to this beautiful venue.

“It was wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying a quiet moment of reflection on their own, learning some moon-related facts in one of our fascinating talks, or enjoying a silent disco together under the moon.”

Dorset Moon was commissioned by the Arts Development Company with funding from European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England.

This weekend (19-21 July) Museum of the Moon will make its final appearance in Dorset in Dorchester, presented from Friday until Sunday by Dorchester Arts and Dorchester Town Council as part of its ‘Moonbury Rings’ celebrations. Surrounding events include the premiere performance of ‘Apollo – One Giant Leap’, a new cantata written by local composer Geof Edge, taking place in Maumbury Rings on Friday night.




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Dorset Moon is produced by the Dorset Festivals Consortium: Inside Out Dorset (produced by Activate), b-side and Bournemouth Arts by the Sea. Commissioned by the Arts Development Company with funding from European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England.


Museum of the Moon is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi 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. Museum of the Moon allows us to observe and contemplate cultural similarities and differences around the world and consider the latest moon science. Depending on where the artwork is presented, its meaning and interpretation will shift. Through local research at each location of the artwork, new stories and meanings will be collected and compared from one presentation to the next.




Friday 28 – Sunday 30 June Central Gardens, Bournemouth
The Upper, Central and Lower Gardens have all been Green Flag winners since 1999 and run

from Bournemouth Pier to the boundary with Poole. The gardens are 3km long. They are all part of the Bourne Valley Greenway and are Listed Grade II in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens. DORSET MOON will be in Central Gardens, near the War Memorial.


Friday 5 July – Sunday 7 July Sherborne Abbey, Sherborne
Founded by St Aldhelm in AD705, the Abbey has developed from Saxon cathedral to the worshipping heart of a monastic community, and finally, to one of the most beautiful of England’s parish churches. For many it is still the ‘Cathedral of Dorset’ and its Benedictine heritage lives on in the daily offering of prayer and praise.


Friday 12 July – Sunday 14 July Nothe Fort, Weymouth
Nothe Fort is now one of Weymouth’s major attractions and a venue for a wide range of public events. You don’t have to be a military enthusiast to enjoy your visit. It’s a great day out for all the family with lots to see and explore. This weekend also sees the Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival return to this picturesque harbour town.




The Arts Development Company
ADC believe the arts can transform and change people’s lives for the better. They deliver creative projects with cross-sector partners, lobbying and influencing policy and strategy in the arts and supporting and developing the cultural infrastructure. Based in Dorset, they work nationally and across Dorset and the South West of England. They also work with UK networks and partnerships.


Activate and Inside Out Dorset
Inside Out Dorset is recognised across Europe for producing high quality international outdoor arts and specialising in siting work in the landscape as well as in its more urban locations in the programme. Produced by Dorset-based Activate Performing Arts, the festival seeks out and commissions extraordinary events in extraordinary places, transforming some of the county’s most remarkable landscapes with exceptional experiences – most of which are free to attend.


Bournemouth Arts by the Sea
The Arts by the Sea festival is Bournemouth’s annual celebration of culture, bringing an intriguing, exciting and carnivalesque mix of the arts to Bournemouth’s unique and beautiful locations. The festival aims to increase opportunities for people to participate in the arts and enhance a sense of community, while supporting talented artists creating work that makes a real impact on the audience and the town. Diverse music, art and dance, site-

specific installations and large-scale spectaculars are all key to this festival. Most events are family friendly and free to attend.


b-side is an internationally recognised and locally loved arts organisation, producing unique, innovative and pioneering projects that connect artists with people and place. b-side supports artists to make site-responsive artwork in collaboration with communities encouraging artists and audiences to be playful, curious and open-minded. There is a b-side festival every two years on Portland bringing new, unique art to audiences from Dorset and beyond and sharing incredible stories about the Isle of Portland with the rest of the world. As well as the festival b-side co-ordinates a year-round programme of projects for artists, young people and Dorset residents to help empower communities and individuals to experience and value creativity and its vital role within well-being, education, place-making and the local economy. b-side is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Nick Churchill

Press & Media

01202 781302