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'Sharing the Messel Magic' (Oliver Messel Archive)  

Curated multi-site exhibition, developed 
engagement
workshops, education packs and website content and undertook project evaluation for HLF funded project, 2018-19.

'Sharing the Messel Magic' was a HLF-funded project delivered by the University of Bristol Theatre Collection to catalogue, conserve and share the archive of one of the 20th century's best-loved theatre designers, Oliver Messel.

The exhibition Wake up and Dream: Theatre, Art and Society, drew out various themes in the archive, including Messel's portraiture and intersection with different areas of design and architecture, as well as aspects of his fascinating personal life. It also included two installations 
developed with contemporary artists Tom Marshman and Diana Beltran Herrera, drawing on the collaborative nature of Messel's work for stage and screen and emphasising the materiality of the archive. Alongside the exhibition ran a programme of workshops for researchers, artists, creative 
practitioners, youth and community groups, which were developed in addition to a series of education packs designed for KS3,4 & 5 of the Art and Design curriculum, new website content (such as an interactive exhibition tour), and a programme of public talks.

 

The project led to the development of a further, successful ACE bid working with artist Tom Marshman to develop his audio installation into a larger installation and performance, 'I went to a marvellous party', staged at multiple venues within the city. 

Images: (Main page) Masks, photograph from the archive and (left) 'I went to a marvellous party' © Theatre Collection.