On Friday 27 September, the Ashmolean will host another LiveFriday event that brings alive the cultural pages of Oxford’s leading paper, The Oxford Times. At a time when the paper celebrates its 150th anniversary, What’s the Story? LiveFriday has been devised to take visitors on a cultural tour like those explored on a weekly basis by the paper’s dynamic journalists. The late night opening will include a survey of Oxford’s performance artists; explorations of the development of historical communication techniques, and a rich array of musical acts throughout the museum.
What’s the Story? will be an evening offering an array of entertainment, which ordinarily adorns the pages of The Oxford Times and collectively provides Oxford with a wealth of cultural diversity, encompassing performance art, music, historical displays, debate and interactive workshops. On the forecourt, visitors will be welcomed by Under Construction Theatre Company’s Bureau of Silly Sports who will enact an array of absurd sports that have never quite taken off. Performances on the evening will include Magician Sam Strange, Creation Theatre Company’s Drama Clubbers, and George’s Jamboree. All the performances will provide the perfect material for those wanting to try their hand at writing a review! Visitors to this LiveFriday will have their own opportunity to have their ‘say’ printed in a review of the night in The Oxford Times.
Mixing genres in performance art is a strong theme of the night. The legendary, 19 year old, Catweazle Club will present their open-mic philosophy for music, poetry, story and song to new and existing audiences, whilst local journalist and comedy writer, Richard O’Smith will perform, what we believe to be a first, live feature reading. Likewise, local actor, Richard Kidd, will direct a performance within the recently renovated Egyptian galleries entitled Entering King Tut’s Tomb enacting the tale of the curse of Tutankhamun’s tomb bringing attention to the Ashmolean’s vast collections of objects that take in writing and communication tools from across the globe, from examples of Chinese calligraphy to, in this case, Egyptian hieroglyphics.
LiveFriday events invite visitors to explore the Ashmolean collection in new ways. Alongside a poetry workshop inspired by objects in the museum, What’s the Story? will include a number of talks and workshops that reflect upon developments in communication through the ages. Exploring the art of arresting front pages, artist Jon Lockhart will lead hands-on headline generating workshops in the Education Studio, whilst local typesetting aficionado, Martin Anderson, will be introducing visitors to traditional letterpress printing techniques and the art of typesetting with a selection of letterpress blocks from his private collection.
For those looking for a trip down memory lane, photographers from The Oxford Times will display interesting archival images that have appeared in the paper over the past 150 years, whilst elsewhere in the museum there will be a display of Rock Portraits by Dean Ryan of Oxford’s important pop-music history. Visitors to What’s the Story? will also encounter ballad readings from a collection of ballads printed on an ancient Bodleian Press that currently resides at The Story Museum. Copies of the beautifully printed ballads will be available to purchase on the night.