A Victorian Performance

Last night saw the opening of A Victorian Tapestri here in Swansea. This was more than just an exhibition with performances and talks taking place as well. A lot of arts events often involve conceptual performance but we introduced poetry, story telling, and music into the mix in order to both educate and stimulate visitors to the show. Adding these performers helped to illustrate the research behind the concept of the main exhibition.

Usually such concepts appear on information sheets and the communication of this information is limited. Visitors either choose to read, or they don’t. Through performance we made an extra option of engagement possible and as a result the art which forms the main exhibition has been enhanced and substantiated.

We have asked artists, makers, and performers to respond to the ideas of hidden and buried histories in the 19th Century across Swansea. These include industrial development, mass migrations, multiculturalism, power, and society. We use the title ‘Victorian’ fast and loose to mean the most turbulent years of growth and development across Swansea. Our story starts with the suicide of Mary Shelley’s sisterFanny Imlay on High Street in 1814 at the Mackworth Hotel, and finishes in 1913 with the building of the new police station on the site now occupied by Tapestri. The performances were for one night only but A Victorian Tapestri exhibition runs until October 9th at Tapestri.

A Victorian Tapestri is curated by myself and Tim Kelly.

Jonathan Green and David Pitt

Jonathan Green and David Pitt. Photograph by Ben Honebone

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