Opening up the Archive: Looking Back at 50 Years of Theatre at York St John University

Published: 31/08/2017

This September, the theatre courses at York St John University celebrate 50 years of contributing to the global theatre industry. To mark the milestone of half a century, the University is organising a series of events, performances and an exhibition: opening up the archive.

Picture of theatre production 1989

Ring Round the Moon 1989

Opening up the Archive: Looking Back at 50 Years of Theatre at York St John University will be displaying films and images from performances over the last 50 years. The exhibition is open to everyone and will run from 18 September with a special launch event, marking the year-long celebrations, on 19 September.

The exhibition has been curated by Alexander Kaniewski who is the first Theatre Artist-in-Residence at York St John University. Alex graduated from the University in 2017 with a first class honours degree in Theatre and was awarded the 2017 York Theatre Royal Graduate Prize. He will be organising and curating various events and performances over the year.

Alex is a director, designer and theatre maker primarily interested in ‘The Theatre of Images’ and his work explores diverse genres from contemporary opera to performance art.

The theatre archive exhibition will include photographs, interviews and posters across all 5 decades. “I have found this entire process fascinating and incredibly informative” said Alex who has been looking back over the course’s long and prosperous history and carefully pieced together a timeline charting 50 years of theatre at York St John University.

“Through much detective work, I have been able to track down past students to talk with them about their time at York St John – which has been a real privilege, as it seems that everybody I have contacted has warm memories of their time as a theatre student.”

Jules Dorey Richmond, Senior Lecturer in Drama at York St John University said; “The 50th anniversary is an opportunity for the University to look back and remember our history, celebrate the diversity of theatre work that we produce now on our suite of degrees: Drama & Theatre; Drama: Education & Community; and Drama and Dance, which are the latest in a long history of innovation at what alumna, Gemma Alldred, describes as a ‘quietly brilliant university’ and we look forward to what the next 50 years may bring”

The celebrations throughout the year will also include: Performance Re-call, which encourages theatre alumni to re-perform works first made when they were students; Snapshot, which invites theatre alumni to share photographs and memories via the theatre blog and a 50th birthday edition of Theatre Pages, which invites past and present academics and artists to contribute articles about their time at York St John.

Opening up the Archive: Looking Back at 50 Years of Theatre at York St John University takes place from 18 September until 1 October 2017, with a special launch event on 19 September in the Arts Foyer at 5pm. This free event is open to everyone, for more information or to book visit the website here.

You can keep up to date with all events in conjunction with the 50th year celebrations via this weblink.

Image: Ring Round the Moon 1989

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