There Was a Ship

Located inside the hulking monolith that is St Bartholemew’s church, the veritable belly of the beast, is a wacky art installation by sculptor and spoken word artist Brian Mander.

Even though some of the poem’s meaning was lost on the audience, the sculpture was visually interesting and there was a good sense of atmosphere.

Like a ship sunk in the bottom of the ocean (the church is cavernous inside), the abstract model is made of stone cherubs, fat snakes of rope, buckets, scaffolding, and, interestingly, what appear to be the wings of a sea plane or helicopter propellers. Perched on top of the central mast is what looks like a shop mannequin, with an eerily boyish face, wings for arms, and a cross spray painted onto his chest. His chin is tilted up towards the looming 30ft cross mosaicked into the wall above the altar. The gold mosaic of Jesus and the saints overlooks all.

The scene was set, and Mander paced up and down his plank, playing the Mariner as he read from the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In true character, he attempted to swig from a bottle throughout his reading, although this proved difficult between trying to keep the audience engaged and occasionally forgetting his words. Although a monotonous reading at times, the acoustics in the cavernous church created a spooky, gothic atmosphere – the words of the famous poems echoed, and at times the green evening light seeping through the rose window above the door added to the impression of being sunk down at the bottom of the ocean. Even though some of the poem’s meaning was lost on the audience, the sculpture was visually interesting and there was a good sense of atmosphere. The staging would have lent itself well to a production in the round, as it looked good from all angles. Mander did some impressive work making the sculpture but could have used the space he created more, although placing a paper boat in the bird bath at the prow of the ship was a lovely touch.

Worth a visit to the church to see the sculpture, especially if you’ve never visited England’s tallest church without a steeple.

Reviews by Natasia Patel

Sweet Werks 1

My Father Held A Gun

The Cascade Coffee Shop

Invisible Voices of Brighton & Hove

Gallery Lock In

One Can Not Be Too Careful

St Augustines Centre


St Bartholomew's Church

There Was a Ship

The Warren: Theatre Box



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A performance within a sculptural installation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by the artist Brian Mander. The sculpture can be viewed independently during regular opening times (Monday - Saturday, 10am-1pm and 2pm-4:30pm). This project is supported by a Brighton Lions bursary.

Most Popular See More

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets