Modern media is harnessed to help revive reputation of theatre pioneer who gave his name to Stevenage venue

Theatre pioneer Edward Gordon Craig, who was born in Stevenage and who gave his name to the town's t

Theatre pioneer Edward Gordon Craig, who was born in Stevenage and who gave his name to the town's theatre - Credit: Archant

When theatrical pioneer Gordon Craig passed away 50 years ago, nobody could have predicted just how fast the world would change.

Noted actress Ellen Terry was the mother of Edward Gordon Craig, the theatrical pioneer who gave his

Noted actress Ellen Terry was the mother of Edward Gordon Craig, the theatrical pioneer who gave his name to Stevenage's theatre. - Credit: Archant

Stevenage, his birthplace in Victorian times, was already taking shape as a new town, but the media was still pretty much in the dark ages.

You could count the number of TV channels on the fingers of one hand, newspapers relied on outdated hot metal technology, and phones were firmly tethered to the wall if you were lucky enough to have one at all.

But the team putting together an exhibition and other events to mark the cultural contribution of the man who gave his name to Stevenage’s main theatre is switched on to social media.

There’s already a Twitter account for followers to keep in touch with all the latest news – you can follow @GordonCraig1872 for updates – and a website address set up to lead people in the right direction.

Gordon Craig Theatre

Gordon Craig Theatre - Credit: Archant


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That address – whoisgordoncraig.co.uk, which for now takes online visitors to the Stevenage Museum website – tackles the central aim of the programme. Everyone in Stevenage knows where the Gordon Craig is, but not many can say with any confidence who Gordon Craig was.

Project manager Andy Purves said: “Despite Craig being an important figure in the history of theatre, 93 per cent of a sample of audience members at the theatre told us they knew nothing or only very little about him.”

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That’s one of the reasons the team has been able to secure a slice of lottery cash to fund the £65,000 project which aims to create and rekindle interest in Edward Gordon Craig’s life and work in his birthplace and beyond, 50 years after his death.

And it’s fitting that one of the first events to be confirmed – on Sunday, July 31 – will be held at the venue which has helped to keep his name alive.

It’s billed as a day of fascinating talks, demonstrations and discussions on the man, his extraordinary parents and his inspiring visions for the “art of the theatre.”

The son of Ellen Terry, one of the most revered actresses of the English stage, and architect Edward William Godwin, Edward Gordon Craig was born in 1872.

The Stevenage Arts Guild project is setting out to celebrate the life and work of the town’s forgotten son and his status as a radical and visionary theatrical pioneer.

It includes a new exhibition at Stevenage Museum, volunteer opportunities and events which will continue into the new year.

For more information the event and about volunteer opportunities with Stevenage Museum for those aged 14 to 114, email takepart@whoisgordoncraig.co.uk.

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