Tag Archives: Theatre

Exploring Arts in the Archive

A reminder that next week, on Wednesday, 14 December, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will conclude with a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

John Hansard Gallery

John Hansard Gallery

This event will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-arts-in-the-archives-tickets-29214641780

Programme:

1615-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Eloise Rose: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library

Turner Sims Concert Hall

Turner Sims Concert Hall

We will also be launching our ‘Arts in the Archives’ online exhibition which will draw on material from the archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University.

Programme for the Nuffield Theatre

Programme for the Nuffield Theatre

To view further samples of images from the exhibition, visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

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Update on exhibitions and events

This week’s blog post looks at current and upcoming events taking place in Special Collections.

Archive Senses
We’re happy to announce that Archives Senses, the current exhibition in the Hartley Library’s Level 4 Gallery, will continue for an extended run. The exhibition looks at Archives as a part of the wide-ranging conversation around materiality, and emphasises the continuing importance of the archive object — not just as a less accessible alternative to the digital object as sometimes perceived, but as a critical resource that runs alongside and underpins the digital.

Wellington papers - iron gall ink corrosion to paper

Wellington papers – iron gall ink corrosion to paper

The exhibition represents the material nature of archives through themed sets of images of such things as envelopes and containers, folds and creases, marks and annotations, the nature of ink and paper — and the space and the labour of the archive. There are also some rather unexpected archive objects.

Ceiling ducting for air-conditioning

Ceiling ducting for air-conditioning

WSA Professor Jussi Parikka has written an introductory wall text:

archive-senses-introductory-text

If you have not yet had a chance to visit be sure to drop by. For more images from the exhibition please visit the Level 4 Gallery blog at:
https://level4gallery.wordpress.com/current-exhibition/archive-senses/


Exploring Arts in the Archives
Special Collections will be continuing its current run of Explore Your Archives events on Wednesday, 14 December 2016, with an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts. The afternoon will provide an opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators. It will also include a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

arts-archives

Space is limited. To reserve a place please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-arts-in-the-archives-tickets-29214641780

Visitors at the Exploring the Wellington Archive event

Visitors at the Exploring the Wellington Archive event

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended our previous sessions. It’s been great meeting you all and we hope to see you in Archives again soon!


Reopening of the Special Collections Gallery
Due to the on-going building project taking place in the Hartley Library, the Special Collection Gallery has been closed since May 2016. We are glad to announce that the Gallery will be reopening in the New Year!

Special Collections Gallery, Level 4 of the Hartley Library

Special Collections Gallery, Level 4 of the Hartley Library

Details of forthcoming exhibitions and events will be posted in due course. Be sure to keep an eye on the blog and check our Events calendar and Facebook page for further updates and announcements.

Upcoming Explore Your Archive events


Following the success of our recent Exploring the Wellington Archive event, Special Collections will be hosting two more open afternoons as part of our current series of Explore Your Archive drop-in sessions.

cook_pstd_3321

Exploring health and welfare resource in the Special Collections
On Wednesday 16 November 2016, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on health and welfare, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will include a talk by Dr Brenda Phillips discussing her research on the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-health-and-welfare-resources-in-the-special-collections-tickets-29018256386

Programme:
1600-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Dr Brenda Phillips: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library


ms310_61_1_a4023_art-studio

Exploring Arts in the Archives
On Wednesday, 14 December 2016, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will conclude with a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

This event will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-arts-in-the-archives-tickets-29214641780

Programme:
1615-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Eloise Rose: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library

During the same week we will be launching our ‘Arts in the Archives’ online exhibition which will draw on material from the archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University.

To view samples of images from the exhibition, visit our Facebook page at:
https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

Arts in the Archives

Starting next week we will be posting images from our upcoming online exhibition titled ‘Arts in the Archives’ on our Facebook page.

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

The online exhibition, set to go live in December, will draw on material from the Archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University, focusing specifically on music, theatre and the visual arts. It will also highlight a number of pieces of artwork that tie in with the history of the University and the development of its Archive and manuscript collections.

The exhibition will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city over the coming months, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Along with the online exhibition, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon in early December inviting visitors to view a range of arts related material from the manuscript and printed collections. More details are to follow!

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

To tie in with the themes of British Art Show 8, the Level 4 Gallery in the Hartley Library will be hosting an exhibition titled ‘Archive Senses’, opening on 6 October. Further details will be posted on the Level 4 Gallery blog.

To follow us on Facebook and view images from the upcoming online exhibition visit:
https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

To view our other online exhibitions and for details of our upcoming events visit:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/exhibitions/index.page

For more information on British Art Show 8 visit:
http://britishartshow8.com/

For more information on Arts at the University of Southampton visit:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/uni-life/arts.page

The Nation and The Bard: celebrating William Shakespeare 1564-1616

William Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616. As the celebrations for his quarter-centenary reach their peak this month, there can be little doubt of his status as our ‘national poet’ or his central place in English cultural life. While his exact date of birth is unknown, it is usually given as 23rd April – St. George’s day – so we commemorate England’s patron saint and Shakespeare’s birth and death on the same day each year.

Image of William Shakespeare [MB2/H3]

Image of William Shakespeare [MB2/H3]

This centenary continues a long tradition of celebrating Shakespeare’s life and work down the ages. The image shown here is taken from one of Wilfred Ashley’s photo albums in the Broadlands archives and dates to around 1863. A precursor of the tourist postcards we buy today, this was a collectible item at the time and shows a popular image of the Bard and a copy of his signature underneath. Its presence in the album may be explained by the fact that 1864 was the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth – perhaps Wilfred attended one of the rival events which took place in Stratford and London that year. By this date, cheaper editions and penny issues were making Shakespeare more accessible, even to the working classes, although most people came to know Shakespeare by seeing his plays performed on the stage.

The following items form part of MS 98, the W.Gillam theatre collection, which includes theatre and opera programmes and related papers for the period 1887-1949. The archive demonstrates Shakespeare’s enduring popularity in this period.

Front cover of a programme for The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, 19 May 1887 [MS98 A14/2] together with a photograph of Henry Irving [MS 98 A14/67]

Front cover of a programme for The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, 19 May 1887 [MS98 A14/2] together with a photograph of Henry Irving [MS 98 A14/67]

Henry Irving was the famous actor manager at The Lyceum Theatre, London, from 1878-1901. He presented twelve of Shakespeare’s plays and is credited with restoring the fifth act of The Merchant of Venice. In the programme for this performance on 19 May 1887 Irving took the role of Shylock and the famous Ellen Terry that of Portia. According to her biographer Terry achieved her greatest distinction in Shakespeare, especially in Shakespearian comedy, and she played memorably in seven of Shakespeare’s greatest women’s roles. *

Front cover of a programme for Anthony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare Birthday Festival, 17 April 1931 [MS98 A14/38]

Front cover of a programme for Anthony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare Birthday Festival, 17 April 1931 [MS98 A14/38]

This programme was printed for a performance of Anthony and Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Birthday Festival at Stratford upon Avon in April 1931. A handwritten note on the cover states: “The performances in the 1931 festival were given in a cinema while the new theatre was being built after the fire which destroyed the old one.” The festival that year promoted the international movement to rebuild and endow the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.

As we mark 400 years since Shakespeare’s death it is clear that his plays still resonate with the present. This year’s Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture has a Shakespearian theme: “Imagining the Jewish Past: writing The Wolf in the Water, a play about Jessica, Shylock’s daughter?”, given by Naomi Alderman, takes place on 10 May 2016.

*DNB for Sir Henry Irving and Dame Ellen Alice Terry

Happy Birthday Nuffield Theatre!!

Southampton University’s Nuffield Theatre was officially opened on March 2nd 1964 by Dame Sybil Thorndike. The first lady of the English stage, who had spent her childhood in Southampton, quipped that she was “the oldest old girl on the stage of the newest theatre in Britain” and she proudly declared that it was the first theatre in the country to be built as part of a university.

The building of the theatre was made possible following a grant of £130,000 by the Nuffield Foundation. It was designed by Sir Basil Spence OM RA who worked closely with Sir Richard Southern as consultant for the interior design and layout of the theatre – Southern remained to be the first Director of Drama at the University. According to the History of the University of Southampton, by A. Temple Patterson (1962) there was an “eager expectation that the theatre… will become a unifying force between the sciences and the arts by engaging the activities of members of all faculties, and will play an important part in drawing closer the University, the town and the region.”

Picture of the Nuffield exterior from the south; photo by Henk Snoek, University of Southampton Handbook, 1965-66 University Collection LF 786.3

Picture of the Nuffield exterior from the south; photo by Henk Snoek, University of Southampton Handbook, 1965-66 University Collection LF 786.3

The national and local press heralded the opening of Southampton’s “first genuine theatre”– the city had no regular playhouse at that time – so the Nuffield would serve both ‘Town and Gown’. A flexible, multi-purpose venue, it was designed to function as a lecture hall, cinema, concert hall and theatre for both open-stage and proscenium productions. The newspaper reports played up the technical brilliance of the new facilities: the forestage could be raised and lowered in two sections to provide an orchestra pit; and there was an electrically adjustable paint-frame and a cloth cyclorama which, according to The Times, unfurled around the back wall “like a sail being hoisted”; and as for the striking modern exterior: “It rears above them like a two-humped monster – a pair of vertically-seamed copper-clad towers, already known locally as ‘the gas-holder’ and ‘the armadillo’ ”; fortunately, however, “The austerity of the interior is relieved by purple carpeting, bright purple seats, and a magenta curtain” (The Times, 6 January 1964).

The early theatre programmes were equally bold to chime with this startling ‘60s colour scheme:

Nuffield Theatre Autumn Season 1964 programme cover MS 291 A3096/2

Nuffield Theatre Autumn Season 1964 programme cover MS 291 A3096/2

Nuffield Theatre The Caretaker, programme 12-13 June 1964

Nuffield Theatre The Caretaker, programme 12-13 June 1964

The first play to be performed at the theatre was certainly traditional: the nation was celebrating Shakespeare’s quarter-centenary and so it was fitting that a professional company from Salisbury Playhouse opened both the new theatre, and the Southampton Arts Festival, with performances of Twelfth Night. Reviews were mixed but the future was clearly bright for the Nuffield.