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Setting out to shock at the Theatre Collection

Image of a still of Happy Days by Samuel Beckett at the New Vic, Bristol, 1979 Derek Balmer Copyright, University of Bristol Theatre Collection

Happy Days by Samuel Beckett at the New Vic, Bristol, 1979Photograph by Derek Blamer © University of Bristol Theatre Collection

Press release issued: 23 April 2015

Setting Out to Shock, a new exhibition curated by History of Art masters students opens at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection this month.

Keogh Connelly, Alice Hoad, Blanche Parris, Peiqi Yan and Gemma Western, currently students on Bristol’s MA History of Art: Histories and Interpretations course, have drawn from the Theatre Collection’s extensive archive of British Theatre History to create the exhibition.

Setting Out to Shock explores the visuality, history and thematics of shock in the Theatre, extending from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus to the contemporary live art practices of Franko B, whose archive is held at the Theatre Collection.

Highlights of the exhibition range from haute couture garments created from materials from Franko B’s I Miss You performance (Tate Modern, 2003) to a Victorian image of Trilby’s naked foot, little known photographs of Alan Rickman’s performance in Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Rex at the Bristol Old Vic and photographs of Peter O’Toole in a 1957 production of Look Back in Anger which include original set designs.

The exhibition explores the dialogue between visual, verbal and visceral shock in order to investigate historical and contemporary examples of the theatre setting out to challenge, intentionally or otherwise, viewers’ preconceptions and social conventions.

The exhibition is open Mondays 12pm-4pm; Tuesdays-Fridays 10am-4pm throughout the summer at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, 21 Park Row, Bristol BS1 5LTAdmission free.

The exhibition contains some material that may be inappropriate for younger members of the public.  Viewer discretion is advised.

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