Poster exhibition explores Stevenage theatre's history

PUBLISHED: 21:03 08 June 2019 | UPDATED: 21:03 08 June 2019

Stevenage Museum'’s Sam Daisley and Jo Ward frame posters for the exhibition at The Gordon Craig Theatre. Picture: Louise Hall

Stevenage Museum''s Sam Daisley and Jo Ward frame posters for the exhibition at The Gordon Craig Theatre. Picture: Louise Hall

Louise Hall

An exhibition of memorabilia from a theatre's archive has opened in Stevenage.

Brochures and programmes from The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive. Picture: Louise HallBrochures and programmes from The Gordon Craig Theatre Archive. Picture: Louise Hall

The team tasked with investigating the Gordon Craig Theatre's unexplored archive will be showing off some of their most intriguing finds in a new free exhibition.

For example, did you know that pantomime tickets at the GCT were once priced just 70p?

The foyer exhibition at the Gordon Craig showcases posters, programmes and brochures from productions in the early decades of the theatre's 44-year history.

It will be a real trip down memory lane for some Stevenage theatregoers.

The Stories From The Gordon Craig exhibition features a poster from Jim Bowen's Bullseye Show in Stevenage. Picture: Alan DaviesThe Stories From The Gordon Craig exhibition features a poster from Jim Bowen's Bullseye Show in Stevenage. Picture: Alan Davies

The exhibition has been created by the National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project Stories From The Gordon Craig.

It sets out to uncover the real stories of the theatre and to celebrate the role it has played in the lives of so many local people.

"We hope the exhibition will bring back some very happy memories of the early days of the Gordon Craig," said Hilary Spiers, chair of Stevenage Arts Guild, instrumental in making the project happen.

"It highlights some of the big changes some of us have lived through.

Stories From The Gordon CraigStories From The Gordon Craig

"My favourite thing is the ticket price for the very first panto at the theatre in December 1975... 70p!"

Volunteers have been trained to work alongside staff at Stevenage Museum in cataloguing and digitising the theatre's extensive archive gathered since the arts centre's opening in November 1975.

They have counted over 3,000 posters in the collection so far.

A new website, also funded by the lottery cash, has gone live and will allow the public to explore the archive.

Preparing for the exhibition, volunteers Sue Hancock, Andrew Harvey, Caroline Redhead and Stuart Rose with material from the Gordon Craig Theatre Archive at Stevenage Museum. Picture: Louise HallPreparing for the exhibition, volunteers Sue Hancock, Andrew Harvey, Caroline Redhead and Stuart Rose with material from the Gordon Craig Theatre Archive at Stevenage Museum. Picture: Louise Hall

Visitors to the site - www.TheGordonCraigTheatreArchive.org.uk - can also post their memories of going to see or being involved with productions.

Project volunteer David Irvine said: "The variety and breadth of the entertainment seen at the Gordon Craig over the years has been truly impressive.

"I've been busy scanning historic print material for the website and it's been an almost impossible task choosing posters for the exhibition, but the highlight so far was pushing huge amounts of heavy posters in a shopping trolley from the theatre to the museum through Stevenage town centre."

The poster exhibition at the GCT is part of the Stevenage Festival's 25th anniversary programme of community arts events.

The Stories From The Gordon Craig exhibition in Stevenage. Picture: Alan DaviesThe Stories From The Gordon Craig exhibition in Stevenage. Picture: Alan Davies

The Stories From The Gordon Craig poster exhibition is in the Gordon Craig Theatre foyer until June 29.

It is free to visit and open from 9am to 6pm, and for evening performances.

Do you have a great story from the Gordon Craig? Email Memories@StoriesFromTheGordonCraig.org.uk

Stories From The Gordon CraigStories From The Gordon Craig

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