Sun, Moon, and Stars at the Wellcome Collection

Is the Sun male or female, Ra – Egyptian Sun God, or Saule – Baltic Sun Goddess? Is the Moon female or male, Artemis – Greek Goddess of the Moon, or Tsuki – Japanese Moon God? Every culture across the world has their own collection of myths about the sun, moon and stars, so many stories, as vast as the sky itself.

The Sun is a golden plate
The moon a crystal ball
The stars silver reindeer

These ancient myths reveal remarkable powers of observation, of the movement of planets and the behaviour of stars, studied only with the naked eye. They are also filled with spectacular, surprising, poetic imagery, describing the universe, and creation.

How did the Milky Way come to be? Ashes were thrown up in the air by a girl alone at night (Bushmen of South Africa). Juno’s breast milk sprayed across the sky (Ancient Rome). The Queen of Heaven, in a rage, split the sky in two with her hair-pin (China).

Ben Haggarty and I have been digging into this rich, endless, delicious material. We are creating three performances for the Wellcome Collection’s weekend of events ‘On Light’. The Wellcome Collection building will be filled with performances, talks, installations, and music investigating different aspects of light. We will be performing three unique and different performances each day that will explore: Sun; Moon; Stars. These are adult tales – fragments of myths, folklore, legends, startling stories of light, describing the celestial bodies and their worlds. The stories are dark, funny, passionate, surreal, and even violent. Tales told by our ancestors as they pondered and wondered at the heavens above them. Tales told from the Bering Straits to Babylon, and beyond. Myths revealing how every star in the sky tells a story – of what we are, where we are from, and what we might be.

Persian illustration of the sun as a deity, late 17th century.

Persian illustration of the sun as a deity, late 17th century.

Sun, Moon and Stars
Performance storytelling by Ben Haggarty and Sally Pomme Clayton

The Wellcome Collection, 83 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE,

Friday 1 May 2015
20:00 – 20:30
21:00 – 21:30
22:00 – 22:30

Saturday 2 May 2015
13:00 – 13:30
14:00 – 14:30
15:00 – 15:30

Sunday 3 May 2015
13:00 – 13:30
14:00 – 14:30
15:00 – 15:30


  • Sara Burnett wrote:

    Any chance you will record these performances? You are two of my favorite tellers and I listen to The Three Snake Leaves all the time…wish I had more of your telling,Traditional telling is much needed in the US storytelling world. Sara Burnett

  • Sally-Pomme Clayton wrote:

    Dear Sara, thank you for your lovely comments. We have no plans to record it at the moment, but if we do I will let you know. I am so glad that you love The Three Snake Leaves, we toured it again a couple of years ago and it felt so alive. Very best wishes to you

  • A very nice site !

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