One of the very great strengths about Colyer-Fergusson is its mulitplicity of purposing – the flexibility of the concert-hall, the practice-rooms functioning as green rooms during events, the social area that also works as a performance space – and we are very excited to be drawing further on the building’s potential next month by launching the Colyer-Fergusson Gallery, which will run the length of the upper balcony.
The building welcomes plenty of visitors on a daily basis – people using the practice rooms, ensembles using the rehearsal spaces, music teachers working with the Scholarship students, as well as members of the University community and the general public using the social areas or passing through on their way through to the Gulbenkian. At weekends, the building throngs with external events; choral concerts, orchestral performances, visiting performers. The first-floor balcony is a large space that offers scope for visual art to be presented to those moving through the building, and next month sees the first of three planned exhibitions which will adorn its walls.
The first two exhibitions form part of the Tokaido Road project (a touring chamber opera with a libretto by Nancy Gaffield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, to music by Nicola LeFanu, which comes to the Gulbenkian Theatre in May): Walk Swale Medway by Faversham-based artist Hope Fitzgerald, and Saxon Shore Way: a response to Tokaido Road by the local collective, Earthbound Women. Both exhibitions will explore similar themes of journeying and of travel, as part of the project, drawing inspiration from the landscape and the history of Kent. In September, to coincide with the Alumni Weekend, the gallery will host a photographic exhibition by the University’s very own Matt Wilson, whose excellent photographs of music events often feature on these pages.
There’ll be more about each exhibition nearer the time. Walk Swale Medway will be the first to grace the exhibition space, and will run from Friday 14 April to Friday 1 May. Leaflets about the new gallery can now be found in the foyer.