Tickets: From £17
Coventry Cathedral Ruins Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5AB
Sat 29 Jan 2022 @ 19.30
Sold Out

Nitin Sawhney Ghosts in the Ruins

Sat 29 Jan 2022 @ 19.30
Coventry Cathedral Ruins
Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5AB Show on map
Duration: 75 mins approx.
From £17
Sold Out

*You will be transferred to an external ticketing website.

To mark the 60th anniversary of Coventry Cathedral, we have commissioned Nitin Sawhney CBE, recipient of the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement, to create a new site-specific performance in response to Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece War Requiem. Read More about Ghosts in the Ruins

Performance and Q&A session with Nitin Sawhney - 7.30pm Thur 27 Jan 

On Thursday 27 January, we are proud to host Nitin Sawhney CBE for a special Q&A session after the performance (detailed below). Nitin will stay with us after the performance on Thursday 27 January only, so please make sure you book in advance.


Performance only - 7.30pm Fri 28 and Sat 29 Jan

From £17

Guideline Audience Age Range: 10+. Under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Image: Mark Murphy

Good To Know

In line with updated Government guidance, face covering, COVID pass and proof of a negative LFT or PCR test are no longer mandatory.

However, we will now have a socially distanced seating option for those who are vulnerable or simply feel more comfortable with a socially distanced seat whilst inside the Cathedral. A socially distanced seat can be reserved ahead of the event by contacting [email protected] in advance. 

As each performance will hold around 600 audience members, performers and staff, you are encouraged to undertake lateral flow testing prior to travelling to the Cathedral and to wear a mask when moving around the indoor spaces of the venue.

Dress for the weather. The second part of the performance is outdoors and not under cover. There’s a good chance it’ll be cold and possibly raining. 

Please note there is no cloakroom available. We encourage visitors to keep any coats or small bags with them at their seat and to not bring any large bags (bigger than 30cm x 40cm or A3 paper size) where possible. Bag searches will be in operation.

This event will be filmed for broadcast.

Trigger warning: there will be images from the Blitz with the Cathedral in rubble.

Find out more about what to expect in our BSL video.

Read more about access information.


About Ghosts in the Ruins

To mark the 60th anniversary of Coventry Cathedral, we have commissioned Nitin Sawhney CBE, recipient of the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement, to create a new site-specific performance in response to Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece War Requiem

Ghosts in the Ruins reflects Coventry as a city of sanctuary, and its stand against war and violence, with a strong history of helping refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. The work will explore themes of acceptance, hope, resilience, regeneration and reconciliation in relation to contemporary conflicts. 

The performance will be in two linked parts - the first part is seated inside the modern Cathedral, with a focus on intimate and reflective choral moments, Interspersed with sections of ambient music and sound that include visual projections by the artist Mark Murphy and newly commissioned poems.

The audience will then be invited to move into the ruins of the Cathedral to experience a bold, performative ending, where the Cathedral singers will be joined by community singers from in and around Coventry. The singers will be led and directed by Coventry Cathedral’s Director of Music Rachel Mahon, who is also a Creative Associate on the project.

Ghosts in the Ruins is a chance to not only to remember and acknowledge the destruction of past events, but also a time to have hope for our future and for the world to find another way to resolve conflict.

The original piece, co-conducted by the composer and Meredith Davies, premiered at the Cathedral in May 1962 as part of the 1962 Coventry Festival and is internationally regarded as one of the iconic highlights of British twentieth century choral music. Sixty years on, Ghosts in the Ruins will use the human voice at the centre of the work, with intimate and reflective choral moments being performed against a backdrop of specially commissioned images projected onto the interior walls of the Cathedral. 

Ghosts in the Ruins has been commissioned by Coventry Cathedral and Coventry City of Culture Trust as part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. Supported by funding from Arts Council England. 

Listen to a clip of Nitin Sawhney's music for Ghosts in the Ruins.


Nitin Sawhney CBE 

Nitin Sawhney CBE, D.Mus, recipient of the Ivor Novello 2017 Lifetime Achievement award, is one the most distinctive and versatile musical voices around today.

Sawhney has recorded multiple albums, film soundtracks and compilations, encompassing over 60 film and TV scores and is established as a world-class producer, songwriter, touring artist, BBC Radio 2 and club DJ, multi-instrumentalist, theatrical, dance, videogame and orchestral composer and cultural/ political commentator. He holds 7 honorary doctorates from various UK universities along with 2 fellowships and works as Ambassador for/sits on the boards of multiple charities. He has received over 20 major national and international awards for his work and is a member of the academy of motion picture sciences (Oscars), BAFTA and the US recording academy (Grammys).

Sawhney is also the Chair of the PRS Foundation, the UK’s funding body for new music and talent development, and his latest album, called ‘Immigrants’ for Sony Masterworks, was released in March 2021. Nitin is currently an ambassador for the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate their 150th anniversary. He also sits on various other boards for creative arts and education.

Nitin is currently working on several film & TV scores as well as various commissions to be announced.

On Thursday 27 January, we are proud to host Nitin Sawhney CBE for a special Q&A session after the performance. Please make sure you book in advance.


Photo by Suki Dhanda

Photo by Suki Dhanda

Mark Murphy, Visual Artist

Artist Mark Murphy is designing images that will be projected onto the walls of Coventry Cathedral during Ghosts in the Ruins. He will draw on archival images from both the Cathedral and Coventry City archives, in combination with contemporary collaged elements.

Mark Murphy ( is an artist and designer from Birmingham UK. He remixes archival and found images to create analogue and digital collages. Working with projection, in recent years he has created site-specific artworks for Multistory's Blast! Festival and Light Night Worcester. His hand cut paper collage works have been exhibited internationally, and are held in both private and public collections, including a recent acquisition by New Art Gallery Walsall as part of their 2020 Collection. Alongside his art practice Mark has run his independent design studio since 2004 and taught at universities in Birmingham and Hong Kong. 

Rachel Mahon, Creative Associate

Rachel Mahon is Director of Music at Coventry Cathedral, where she trains and conducts the Cathedral Choir and runs the music programme. She was Assistant Director of Music from 2018-2020 and prior to this, she was Assistant Organist at Chester Cathedral where she worked regularly with the Cathedral Choir.

Rachel was Organ Scholar at St Paul's Cathedral in London, England from 2014-2016, and made history as the first female organist on staff in its 1400-year history. As one of the full-time organists, she gave recitals and regularly played and conducted for services, working with the world-famous Cathedral Choir in the daily cycle of worship as well as services of National significance.

Eos Counsell, Violinist

Eos was born in Cardiff and started playing the violin aged 5. She went on to study at the Royal College of Music, gaining an honours degree in violin performance. Immediately upon graduating, Eos became a founding member of the cross-over string quartet, Bond which gained 15 Gold and 56 platinum discs worldwide and are the bestselling string quartet of all time, selling in excess of 4 million albums. Bond also performed at London’s 2012 Olympics and their music has been used in countless campaigns, adverts and films over the years.

Eos is also a composer and orchestrator. She records violin on film and TV soundtracks - including Harry Potter, Sherlock, Good Omens and Black Widow. Eos was the violin coach for Benedict Cumberbatch for his role in Sherlock and Tom Hiddlestone for his role in Only Lover’s Left Alive. She has also recorded for Paul McCartney, Badly Drawn Boy, Paloma Faith, Tinie Tempah and Sam Smith.

YVA, Vocal Soloist

Amy Holford is the independent singer and writer behind the moniker YVA, based in the north of England. She released her debut EP, HYPE MACHINE in 2021, was played on BBC6 and has accrued half a million streams on the EP alone. Her previous covers EP, Don't Miss It, has amassed over 1.5 million streams since its release in 2019, and she also features heavily on producer and composer Nitin Sawhney's recorded works, as well as touring live as a fixture in his band, having played in some of the biggest venues in the UK and globally together. Their most recent collaboration, You Are (released by Sony) was featured on Billie Eilish's podcast Me and Dad radio show in 2020.

For the finale section in the Cathedral Ruins, the singers and choristers from Coventry Cathedral will be joined by two local community choirs - Choir With No Name and Spires Music.

Choir With No Name 

The Choir with No Name have been successfully running choirs and building joyful communities with homeless and marginalised people since 2008. They run choirs in Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Brighton, Cardiff and most recently, Coventry. They were founded on the premise that singing makes you feel good; it distracts you from all the nonsense in life and helps you to build confidence, skills and genuine, long lasting friendships.

The Choir with No Name perform regularly from local homeless hostels to the Royal Festival Hall and everywhere in between. The choirs are a supportive, safe space for people going through a tough time to be among friends, where they can experience the joy of singing together, have fun, build confidence and skills, and feel more able to tackle life's other challenges, such as securing housing or finding work.

The Choir with No Name also deliver community projects for people at risk of homelessness in each of the cities where they work, motivated by a desire to share the joy of singing with as many isolated and marginalised people as possible in the hopes of recruiting a more choir members along the way.


Spires Music 

Spires is a community of ambitious music makers. They love to uncover pieces of music for chorus and orchestra that have lain untouched, waiting to breathe new life into them. Spires are acoustic adventurers, seeking out unheard gems, and programming them alongside classics we know and love, crafting concerts that are not only outstanding to listen to but that they love to perform too.

Spires was founded in 2005 by Colin Touchin, Artistic Director and formerly Director of Music at Warwick University, as a means of fulfilling a desire to create the opportunity for professional and advanced non-professional musicians to work together to provide high quality choral and orchestral performances. In their 10th anniversary year, Jack Lovell-Huckle joined us as Chorus Director.

​Although at home in Coventry, Spires Orchestra & Chorus has developed relationships with organisations from across the globe sharing concerts both in Coventry and abroad, most recently with choirs in Frankfurt and Dresden.


Ghosts in the Ruins will feature two newly commissioned poems, exploring Coventry the city - it’s character, community, humanity and its future. We are working with Emilie Lauren Jones, Coventry’s first ever Poet Laureate and Hawwa Hussain, Coventry’s first youth Poet Laureate, who will be working alongside 3 local poets - Landry Affton, Tiur Passmore and Tanisha Chopra - from Change the Word collective, a nationwide poetry project for people who have sought or are seeking sanctuary in the UK as well as people who have lived here all their lives.

Emilie Lauren Jones

Emilie has performed at a variety of events and venues across the UK and Ireland. In 2021, the year Coventry celebrated UK City of Culture, she became Coventry's first ever Poet Laureate.

Emilie has previously performed alongside poets such as Simon Armitage, Liz Berry and Roy McFarlane. Her poetry has been featured on local and national radio including BBC Radio 4, BBC 5Live and BBC 6 Music.

She runs regular writing workshops for adults and young people, she also enjoys visiting schools and community groups to share her love of words. A strong believer that art and creativity are for everyone, she is passionate about making poetry accessible to a wide audience, this is reflected in the projects and commissions she takes part in.

Hawwa Hussain

Hawwa Hussain, a student at Eden Girls’ School Coventry, is the first ever Young Poet Laureate for Coventry. She has been featured on local and national radio, including BBC CWR and BBC 5Live.

She performed in the Coventry Embraces performance, when Little Amal came to Coventry, writing the poetry for the event and playing the role of Chandni, the girl from Coventry who welcomes Amal.

She has performed alongside Simon Armitage, Theresa Lola, and Roy MacFarlane, and is passionate about writing poetry. She is a firm believer that poetry should have emotion and be meaningful, but also loves that poetry has many different styles that can suit everyone.


Tanisha's interest in poetry began after she discovered and became a part of CHANGE THE WORD which culminated in a performance in the Good Chance Theatre Dome as part of the ‘Dome in a Day’ Festival at Coventry Welcomes in June 2019.

She continued penning throughout her diploma in Level 2 Performing Arts in 2020-2021 where she performed multiple times during class and was praised for her talent. In 2021, she was commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust and Good Chance to write a poem responding to the Refugee Week theme “We Cannot Walk Alone” for Coventry Welcomes 2021, which went live online and on screens through the city.


In 2019 Landry-Affton left Italy and arrived in Coventry, where she met Emily Webb, a young poet running a local poetry festival. Landry-Affton thought that participating in that festival would be a perfect way to improve her understanding and spoken English.

From January – June 2019 she took part in the festival Change the Word, culminating in a performance in the Good Chance Theatre Dome as part of the Dome in a Day Festival at Coventry Welcomes.

In 2020, she performed with Change the Word as part of the Migration Matters International Festival. In 2021, she was commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust and Good Chance to write a poem responding to the Refugee Week theme “ We Cannot Walk Alone” for Coventry Welcomes Festival.

She has been published in poetry anthologies - Change the Word (2019) and An Orchestra of Unexpected Sounds (2020).

Tiur Sitompul

Tiur Sitompul has experience performing in different communities. When not perusing bookshelves in the library, she may be found shopping for offal in Coventry market, or just walking around, talking to trees and graves.

She is currently writing about her childhood memories of living in a small town in Borneo.  Her work appeared in a poetry anthology from Good Chance Theatre - Change the Word.   

MEET The Choir with No Name

Meet the community choir: Spires Music

Meet the Poets: Emilie Lauren Jones and Hawwa Hussain

Listen to Coventry Poet Laureate Emilie Lauren Jones and Young Poet Laureate Hawwa Hussain explain how they are reflecting on Coventry's past, present and future as part of Ghosts in the Ruins.


Violinist: Eos Counsell

Soloist:  YVA (Amy Holford)

Composer: Nitin Sawhney

Interviewer: Nikki Beddi

Poet: Emilie Lauren Jones, Tiur Sitompul, Landry Beliga, Tanisha, Hawwa Hussain

BSL: Sarah Butt

Audio describer: Emily Magdij

Creative Associate: Rachel Mahon

Sound Designer: David McEwan

Lighting Designer: Nigel Edwards

Producer: Helen Galliano

Production Manager: Simon MacColl

Company and Community Stage Manager: Tracy Croft


Cathedral Choir Senior:  Ted Day, Harry Brooke-Owens, Tony Cleary, Jon Lines, Laurence Panter, Nick Drew, Martin Carpenter, Matthew Horspool, Bob Johnson, Luke Fitzgerald, Addison Shore, Robyn Bartlett, Ella Rainbird-Earley

Cathedral Choir Junior: Demi Oladiji, Lademi Oladiji, Nathan Adebote, Sasha Nyamakanga, Levi Agbaje, Zachary Carless, Jeremy Ediagbonya, Mide Oladiji, Joel Saffa, Sam Holt, Jedidiah Medaiyese, Liam Cooney, Antonia Poleszak, Caitlin Hickingbotham, Rita Musa,Francesca Poleszak, Emma Corrigan, Corinne Robinson, Janelle Ediagbonya, Jeddydah Kiruthi, Tobi Okusanya, Amber Buxcey , Elyonnah Kiruthi, Davina Orelu, Taigen Blades-Darwin, Libby Blunt, Reet Choudhary, Ella Luisi, Sophie Williams

Spires Music Choir: Jenny Marshall, Janis Raishbrook, Janet Snoad, Judith Guymer, Kathryn Hardy, Marisa Gunn, Mary Jaffer, Corinne Steele, Penny Turnbull, Morag Clark, Rebecca Snoad, Andrew Guymer, Brian Liggins, Meurig Beynon, Adrian West, Seb Lovell-Huckle, Susan Clayden, Denise Pandya, Lynne Adams, Carolyn Howarth, Judith Robins, Mike Torbe, Ruth Wills, Jack Lovell-Huckle

Choir With No Name: Alison, Bengy, Cecelia, Debbie, Dom, Joe, Laura, Malcolm, Mathew, Michael, Susan, Tracy, Sally Debiage, Pete

Access information

  • BSL interpreted
  • Captioned
  • Audio described

All performances are captioned via The Difference Engine.

There will be BSL interpreted performances on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 January. Please book tickets online and email [email protected] to reserve seats.

The performance on Saturday 29 January will be audio described.

Find out more about what to expect in our BSL video.

Trigger warning: there will be images from the Blitz with the Cathedral in rubble.


Map and directions for Coventry Cathedral Ruins