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All alone online: Iggy Pop and Jeremy Irons lead mass Ancient Mariner reading

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Streaming daily, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 2020 incarnation also features Marianne Faithfull and Tilda Swinton as readers, set against sound and fine art

“Alone, alone, all, all alone.” The cry of the Ancient Mariner, immortalised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, feels particularly apposite today as the world self-isolates. Now the 18th-century poem is set to be reimagined, in a daily online reading by stars from Marianne Faithfull to Iggy Pop, Jeremy Irons and Tilda Swinton for a world audience in lockdown.

The Ancient Mariner Big Read, which launches on Saturday and was commissioned by The Arts Institute at Plymouth University, will see the 150-verse poem divided into 40 readings, with readers from Faithfull to Irons each recording three or four verses to be broadcast daily for free. (Faithfull recorded it before being hospitalised with the coronavirus.) The project will combine the readings with works from major artists including Marina Abramović, and refocus on the poem’s “urgent ecological message”.

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