For almost six weeks, global superstars, scientists and leading literary lights have been reimagining one of English Literature’s most celebrated poems.
Famous faces from stage, screen and music have each read sections of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, transforming an 18th century classic for a 21st century audience.
Released online each day, the website of the Ancient Mariner Big Read – commissioned by The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth – has been visited more than 1.5 million times by people as far flung as the UK, United States, Australia and New Zealand.
The 40 readings have now been combined into one symphonic piece, giving existing and new fans the chance to enjoy a unique 40-minute rendition of a 200-year-old literary masterpiece.
The project has been curated by author Philip Hoare, artist Angela Cockayne and Dr Sarah Chapman.
They previously collaborated on the Moby-Dick Big Read, which has gathered over 10 million hits since first being broadcast in 2012 and will be taking part in a Curators' Conference talking about the project at 18:00 on Thursday 28 May.
Its conclusion is also being celebrated with the release of another reading – a recital of the poem by 87-year-old Lake District resident, Dr Robert Strachan.
He learned The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 10 years ago when in his mid-seventies, as a way of keeping his memory active, and recorded his own recital having heard about the Big Read project. It is being released today as he and wife Muriel celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.