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Project Manager "Stories From The Gordon Craig?" run by Stevenage Arts Guild in partnership with Stevenage Museum and The Gordon Craig Theatre, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

Stories From The Gordon Craig

Welcome to the Stories from The Gordon Craig project!

 

Our friends over at The Gordon Craig Theatre have been busy keeping an archive of posters, programmes, photographs and all sorts of interesting things since the building opened in 1975. Locked away in a cupboard, it’s been almost entirely unexplored… until now!

Throughout 2019, with support from the Heritage Lottery fund, we’ll be working with a team of volunteers to catalogue all these bits of theatrical history and to build a full record of performances that have ever taken place at the Gordon Craig. We’re going to digitise as much of the material as we can and we’ll make an online searchable database to allow the public to delve into the archive and explore the Theatre’s past.

We think a theatre is an very important building to have in a town: a place for enjoyment, edification and inspiration for all of the community. That’s why we want to hear more from the people who have walked through the doors of The Gordon Craig over the last 44 years. Later in 2019 we want to make full use of the archive to help uncover the real stories of our theatre and to celebrate the role it has played in the lives of so many local people.

Watch this space for how to tell us your stories and for news about an exciting new exhibition at the museum, opening in Autumn 2019!

Opportunities for volunteering…

Stevenage Museum are keen to hear from those of all ages interested in volunteering on the Stories From The Gordon Craig project from working with the archive, cataloguing, digitising, carrying out interviews and research and helping curate exhibitions. No experience is necessary and training will be provided.

For more information, click here.

Email takepart@storiesfromthegordoncraig.org.uk or phone 01438 218881.

facebook.com/storiesfromthegordoncraigtheatre

Stories from The Gordon Craig is led by Stevenage Arts Guild, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund, delivered in partnership with The Gordon Craig Theatre and Stevenage Museum.

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Collection Work Begins

And we’re off! Volunteers on the Stories from The Gordon Craig project gave Stevenage Museum staff invaluable support as work with The Gordon Craig Theatre’s archive began in earnest. Prior to moving the collection to Stevenage Museum for full cataloguing work, the team carried out a review of the materials at the Theatre this week.

Our colleagues at Community Sites are putting the finishing touches to a bespoke online-based performance listing and database system that will allow the team to efficiently catalogue the archive and upload digital images. The team of volunteers and staff will be trained on the system later in March and we expect the archive website to go live in June 2019.

 

Stories from The Gordon Craig is led by Stevenage Arts Guild, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund, delivered in partnership with The Gordon Craig Theatre and Stevenage Museum.

To find out more about the project, click here. Get in touch with us by email here or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Call for Volunteers with Stories from The Gordon Craig

Join Stevenage Museum working with archive material from The Gordon Craig Theatre’s 43 year history.

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Our friends over at The Gordon Craig Theatre have been busy keeping an archive of posters, programmes, photographs and all sorts of interesting things since the building opened in 1975. Locked away in a room in the maze of backstage corridors, it’s been almost entirely unexplored… until now!

In 2019, with support from the Heritage Lottery FundStevenage Museum will be working with a newly recruited team of volunteers to catalogue all these bits of theatrical history and to build a full record of performances that have ever taken place at the Gordon Craig. We’re going to digitise as much of the material as we can and we’ll make an online searchable database to allow the public to delve into the archive and explore the theatre’s past.

43 years… over 100 events in an average year… that’s a lot of material to work through!  

Stevenage Museum are pleased to announce an exciting volunteering opportunity from March 2019. Get involved in cataloguing and digitising The Gordon Craig’s fascinating archive, receive database training, carry out research and interviews and go on fact-finding trips to places such as the V&A Theatre and Performance Collection and The National Theatre archives.

For anyone aged 16+

Volunteering days and times:

Wednesdays: 10am – 1pm and 1pm – 4pm

Thursdays: 4pm – 5:30pm (after school session)

Fridays: 10am – 1pm and 1pm – 4pm

Saturdays: 1pm – 4.30pm

other times are negotiable

Tasks:

  • Photographing and scanning archive material, including posters, programmes, flyers and photographs.
  • Uploading information to the newly created The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive database and online portal system
  • Packing and storing archive material – object handling
  • Taking part in research trips
  • Carrying out interviews and research
  • Helping to curate “Fragments from The Gordon Craig Theatre Archives” mini-exhibition as part of Stevenage Festival at The Gordon Craig Theatre in June 2019
  • Helping to curate the “Stories from The Gordon Craig” exhibition, opening at Stevenage Museum in Autumn 2019

No experience is necessary and training will be provided.

To find out more and to apply:

Email: takepart@storiesfromthegordoncraig.org.uk

Visit: http://stevenagemuseum.volunteermakers.org/

Pop in: Stevenage Museum, St George’s Way, Stevenage, Herts SG1 1XX

Telephone: 01438 218 881

For more information on the project:

www.storiesfromthegordoncraig.org.uk

facebook.com/storiesfromthegordoncraigtheatre

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Launching Stories From The Gordon Craig With Some Very Special Friends

We launched the Stories From The Gordon Craig project by inviting some people with very special connections to The Gordon Craig Theatre into the archive room on Friday 25th January 2019.

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Stevenage Arts Guild’s Hilary Spiers BEM was joined by Christine Vincent, Colin Lee and Dick Hall who appeared in the Gordon Craig Theatre’s inaugural production in November 1975; Paul Laidlaw who has been treading the boards in the Gordon Craig’s pantos since 1986; Bob Bustance who managed the venue for 24 years; patron of the theatre, actress Vicki Michelle MBE and staff from Stevenage Museum and The Gordon Craig Theatre.
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Gordon Craig Theatre pantomime stalwart, Paul Laidlaw, examined press cuttings reviewing his first Stevenage appearance in the 1986/7 production of Aladdin with Bob Bustance and Christine Vincent.

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Colin Lee, Christine Vincent and Dick Hall found a poster in the archive for The Lytton Players’ productions at The Gordon Craig Theatre in 1976, in which they all appeared. 1976 was the theatre’s first full year of operation. Look for the prices of the tickets!

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Paul Laidlaw found a poster for the pantomime Dick Whittington in 1987/8, in which he starred as Sarah The Cook alongside Dad’s Army’s Ian Lavender. It was his second pantomime at The Gordon Craig. Dick Hall found a programme for the very first event at the Theatre in November 1975 (prior to the Theatre’s official opening in 1976) in which he performed with The Lytton Players.

Lytton Players The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan 1975

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(left to right) Christine Vincent, Lytton Players; Bob Bustance, Gordon Craig Theatre Arts Manager 1984 – 2009; Vicki Michelle MBE, actress and patron of Gordon Craig Theatre; Colin Lee, Lytton Players; Paul Laidlaw, actor and director appearing in Stevenage pantomimes since 1986; Paul Ruff, General Manager, Gordon Craig Theatre; Catherine Lomax, Artistic Director, Gordon Craig Theatre; Hilary Spiers BEM, Chair of Stevenage Arts Guild; Samantha Daisley, Stevenage Museum; Dick Hall, Lytton Players; Jo Ward, Curator, Stevenage Museum.

Introducing Sock and Buskin

We’ve been working with our friends at Hitchin based Aitch:creative to develop design elements for the Stories from The Gordon Craig project.

 

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Meet our talkative inverted commas, Sock and Buskin!

The ever playful team at Aitch:creative have given us a cheeky take on the ancient Greek theatre masks of comedy and tragedy that have become a recognisable symbol of drama performance.5347025606_87a53b31e2_b.jpg

Our friends over at The Gordon Craig Theatre use these masks in their logo too.
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Greek tragedy was a popular and influential form of drama performed in outdoor theatres across ancient Greece from the late 6th century BCE. Plays by Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides are still often performed today, centuries after their creation. Greek tragedy led to the development of Greek comedy and, together, these genres formed the foundation upon which all modern theatre is based.

Derived from Greek mythology, the theatrical masks became symbols of the ancient Greek muses, or protectors, Thalia and Melpomene. Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, is often depicted holding the tragic mask and wearing buskins (Latin cothurnus), a boot that actors playing tragic roles wore which elevated them above the other actors. Thalia, the muse of comedy, is similarly associated with the mask of comedy and the thin soled shoes or socks (Latin soccus) worn by actors in comedy roles.

Say hello to Sock and Buskin!

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For more information about the Stories from The Gordon Craig project and how to get involved click here.

Gordon Craig Theatre Archiving Project Wins National Lottery Support

Stevenage Arts Guild has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £60,000 for its latest project, “Stories from The Gordon Craig”, which will explore the heritage of Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre.

 

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the Arts Guild are working in partnership with Stevenage Museum and The Gordon Craig to reveal fascinating and inspiring stories from the theatre’s 43-year history.

 

A team of local volunteers will be trained to work alongside staff at the museum in cataloguing and digitising the theatre’s extensive but unexplored archive of posters, brochures, programmes, press-cuttings and photographs gathered since the arts centre’s opening in November 1975. The project aims to produce a full timeline of events at the theatre which will be freely searchable online later in 2019. HLF funds will be used to properly store the collection within the Gordon Craig complex for future reference by the public.

 

Work with the archive forms the backbone of this year-long project designed to celebrate the role the theatre has played in the cultural life of the town and beyond. Later in the year, there’ll be an open call to audiences and amateur and professional performers alike to contribute memories of their time at the Gordon Craig, culminating in a new free exhibition focussing on the theatre’s social history at Stevenage Museum opening in the Autumn.

 

Lottery funds will also support a programme of reminiscence activities for those in the area living with dementia, encouraging the sharing of happy memories of performance.

 

 

Commenting on the award, Hilary Spiers, chair of Stevenage Arts Guild said: “we’re delighted to have received this support to enable us to celebrate 44 glorious years of The Gordon Craig Theatre and really tell its story so far!  It will be great to work with the Stevenage Museum on another project and we look forward to a very productive and inspirational year.”

Councillor Richard Henry, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Leisure at Stevenage Borough Council remarked: “This project forms an important part of our 10-year Cultural Strategy as we embark on enhancing arts and heritage in Stevenage and, in particular, The Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage Festival and Stevenage Museum. It also provides opportunities for the community to explore and express personal memories about the Theatre’s pivotal role in our New Town heritage while also developing personal skills.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF, East of England said: “We are delighted to support Stevenage Arts Guild in exploring the archives of The Gordon Craig Theatre and encouraging people to share their own memories. Thanks to National Lottery players this exciting project will play a role in preserving an important part of Stevenage’s heritage.”

 

Stevenage Museum are keen to hear from those of all ages interested in volunteering on the project – working with the archive, cataloguing, digitising, carrying out interviews and research and helping curate exhibitions. No experience is necessary, and training will be provided.

Contact takepart@storiesfromthegordoncraig.org.uk or phone the museum on 01438 218881.

 

For more information:

www.storiesfromthegordoncraig.org.uk

www.facebook.com/storiesfromthegordoncraigstevenage

Who is Gordon Craig? Exhibition Opening

February 10th saw the official opening of our newly curated exhibition on Edward Gordon Craig in Stevenage, the town of his birth.

Granddaughters of Edward Gordon Craig, Marie Joy Taylor and Ellen Terry May Craig joined the town’s Mayor, Councillor John Lloyd, in cutting the ribbon.

Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, the exhibition runs at Stevenage Museum until June 3rd 2017.

Who is Gordon Craig? An Exhibition

STEVENAGE’S THEATRE IS NAMED AFTER HIM, BUT…whoisripajp

REBEL AND PROPHET: THE FORGOTTEN MODERNISER OF THE 20th CENTURY STAGE

International theatre director, designer, writer, thinker, artist and lover.
Discover the light and dark of this pioneer and rule-breaker, both on and off the stage.

AN EXHIBITION AT STEVENAGE MUSEUM
11 FEB – 3 JUNE 2017

When it came to naming Stevenage’s new town theatre, his name jumped off the pages of theatre history. One of the most radical and influential forces on the world’s stages was born less than a mile away.

Son of actress Ellen Terry, the “uncrowned queen of England”, Edward Gordon Craig grew up on the London stage alongside Henry Irving at the heart of the 19th century’s theatrical elite.

But Craig was harbouring a revolutionary reaction to conventional theatre-making; the visionary was already hard at work…
A new theatre for a new century was to be born.

STEVENAGE MUSEUM | ST. GEORGES WAY | STEVENAGE SG1 1XX
OPEN WEDNESDAY – FRIDAY 10AM-4.30PM & SATURDAY 10AM-5PM | ADMISSION FREE

Filming at Eton College Library

As part of the Who is Gordon Craig? project, we’re making a short film on the Edward Gordon Craig collection held at Eton College Library. We took a film crew, three of our volunteers and a lot of their questions to Eton on the 5th Jan 2017.

Kitty Butterworth (14, studying at Nobel School), Amy Shields and Maisie-Jane Betts (17 and 16, at Hitchin Girls’) interviewed Eton’s keeper of rare books and expert on Craig, Michael Meredith, whose connection with the collection and Eton College library spans 50 years.

Our team quizzed Michael on the theatre before and after Craig’s impact on it, how he expressed his ideas, his relationship with Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and other key people in his life and what he wanted to achieve with his school, founded in Italy before the First World War. Michael’s energy and enthusiasm for Craig’s work was clearly on show!

The film will be on show as part of the upcoming exhibition at Stevenage Museum, Feb 11th to June 3rd 2017, and also available as part of our resources for teachers of theatre and drama at key stage 5.

You can read more about Eton College Library here.

Our thanks to Michael Meredith and Sally Jennings at Eton College Library and Tony at Hitchin TV.