On Monday evening, we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate a term’s worth of students’ hard work, intensive research and in depth study on some of our archival materials.
All term, second year students from the Drama department, taking the British Theatre History: Victorian & Edwardian module, have been enjoying enhanced access to some of our unique and rare Theatre Archives. This access has involved two hours of teaching with the collections each week, and the opportunity to explore and research a topic of their choice independently. Their work has culminated in an exhibition curated entirely by the students, in groups, presenting their research and the materials which they have used. It’s been wonderful to see people get so inspired and enthusiastic about the materials which we’re lucky enough to hold.
This year, we’ve had some very innovative ideas presented, including a walk-along timeline, a reconstruction of the sensation scene from ‘After Dark’ (on a miniature scale) and an orange poll about the real orange women in the theatre. The topics covered include sensation on stage, women in the theatre, pantomime costume and characters, damsels in distress, the Lyceum Theatre and pictorialism and Charles Kean. As ever, the students’ work has been illuminating and has shown just how creatively archival materials can be used.
‘Very good, the costume was amazing’
On Monday, we celebrated all this hard work with the launch of the exhibition, which was attended by a wide range of people who left great feedback. The students have, I think, been amazed by what they have achieved and delighted with the responses – and here in Special Collections, we’re very proud of their success!
‘Excellent work by all and very well presented’
This is the fourth year which this module has been run in conjunction with Special Collections. Each year has brought up some new success and, we hope, inspired some new theatre historians into archival work. It’s also become something of an annual tradition, and we’re delighted that this work has now become firmly embedded in the academic year. The pressure is on for our 5th anniversary next year!
‘A wonderful worth-while event and I loved the sequence of exhibits’
The exhibition will run until 8 May, in the Templeman Gallery, during library opening hours. Please do pop in to have a look, and let us know what you think!