Orb hailed a success as York Minster reports succesful final quarter to 2012
York Minster’s ‘Dome of Discovery’ has proved highly attractive to visitors to York in the last three months of 2012, with figures revealed today by York Minster showing a 21% increase in leisure visitors compared to 2011.
The Orb, which features five restored panels from the Great East Window, opened at the end of October in York Minster’s East End, to provide visitors with the opportunity to see these world-class works of medieval art up close, before they are returned to the window in 2015. The striking metallic dome is credited for prompting the increase in visitors to York Minster, despite reports of reduced footfall throughout the city.
“The whole York Minster Revealed project is creating a huge buzz with our visitors, so we were quietly confident that it would be well received by visitors, but these figures really do exceed our expectations,” comments York Minster’s director of marketing, Nicola Bexon. “2012 was a tough year for tourism businesses across the city – and indeed, the country – but the opening of The Orb at a traditionally quieter time of year has given us a huge boost, with leisure visitor figures in November up a staggering 44% on the previous year.”
The contemporary nature of The Orb – sat in such a historic setting – combined with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the stained glass designs created in the 15thcentury by artist John Thornton has drawn the attention of the national and international media, with many visitors travelling from further afield to see the glass.
The positive response to The Orb leaves the York Minster team very excited about the new visitor attraction being constructed in the Undercroft, set to open early this summer. “Even historic buildings which are world-renowned for their architecture cannot afford to stand still in the current economic climate, so we are delighted that we’ve been able to continually develop and improve our visitor offering without ever compromising our core mission: to be a living, breathing church at the heart of York,” adds Nicola.
Alongside the new visitor experiences, York Minster will be launching a number of new musical initiatives and seasons for 2013. These include the Festival of Passions, which runs from 9 to 24 March, and features some of the region’s top choirs performing a series of concerts telling the dramatic story of the Passion of Christ. The Festival will culminate in a performance of Bach’s powerful sacred oratorio, St John’s Passion by York Minster Choir on 23 March, and is followed by the Palm Sunday Procession through York on Sunday 24 March. The Procession heralds the start of Holy Week at York Minster.
It’s a very busy year ahead for York Minster Choir, now acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading choirs: they will also perform with Aled Jones in April (tickets nearly sold out), and as part of York’s Early Music Festival in July. Then in December, the Minster Choir will again headline the two popular Christmas Concerts (5 & 6 December), followed by Handel’s magnificent Messiah on 14 December. York Minster will also be showcasing some of its other talented instrumentalists during summer, including some of the UK’s leading young performers: from 17 May to 7 June, York Minster will host a series of unusual Lunchtime Organ Promenade Concerts, informal and entertaining performances of classic and modern music.
Alongside the music, during the holidays families can enjoy a new series of hands-on activities, encouraging exploration and inspired by the artistic treasures, craftsmanship and fascinating stories of York Minster.
For more information, or to book tickets, for any of the events at York Minster, please visit www.yorkminster.org
For further media information, please contact:
Jay Commins – PRO York Minster
Tel: 01904 500698
Mob: 07810 546567