A couple of days ago, on Tuesday 14 May, we were delighted to host the launch of the new Templeman exhibition, Wild Woman to New Woman: Sex and Suffrage on the Victorian Stage.This has been curated by Alyson Hunt and brings together the Mary Braddon Collection of Canterbury Christ Church University, costumes from the Gulbenkian costume store and parts of our own Victorian and Edwardian Theatre Collections.
The launch was started with a lecture by Professor Kate Newey from the University of Exeter, who spoke about the subtle protest in suffragette parlour dramas and the deliberate inversion of the female stereotype by campaigners for womens emancipation. The event then moved to the gallery space in the Templeman Library, where everyone enjoyed this rare opportunity to see such different collections side by side.
In the course of preparing for this exhibition, Alyson discovered a few treasures in our own archives – such as a copy of Ibsen and the Actress inscribed to George Bernard Shaw by playwright, actress and activist Elizabeth Robins, as well as Robins’ own, annotated copy of Both Sides of the Curtain
This exhibition really is an intriguing and entertaining look at the way in which perceptions of women and society as a whole were being challenged a century ago and is only on until 31st May, so please do come and have a look around when you’re next in the Templeman.
Not content with supporting this new exhibition, Special Collections also has the last in its annual series of lectures next Thursday, 23 May. Keeping the theatrical theme, our focus changes as Dr Helen Brooks discusses Theatre of the Great War (1914-1918), her initial findings in a research project which will span the centenary of World War One. Much of Helen’s work thus far has focussed on our very own Melville Collection, looking at rarely used and sadly undiscovered materials. Do join us to find out more!
The talk will start at 6pm, with refreshments provided from 5.30 in the Templeman Library, TR201. All are welcome – please note that visitors can park in the University car parks for free after 5pm.
We hope to see you there!