'Ghost Town' Project Launches with Haunting in Coventry City Centre, 16-20 April 2018
A week-long pop-up exhibition celebrating Coventry’s local history via the television archive will be held at Theatre Absolute’s Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW between the 16th and 20th April 2018. Visitors will engage with various screens (including a pair of vintage living room sets) displaying programmes made in and about Coventry, many of which have not been seen since their original broadcast.
Highlights include the documentary Coventry Kids: People of a Restless City (BBC, 1960), Philip Donnellan’s lyrical documentary about a multi-cultural postwar Coventry, About Religion: The New Coventry Plays No. 1: ‘This is the End’ (ITV/ATV, 1962), the first of a series of modern religious plays written especially for the new Coventry Cathedral, and Arena: Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone (BBC2, 1980) an investigation of the pop music genre at the heart of Coventry’s music scene in the 1980s, produced by Alan Yentob for BBC Bristol.
The exhibition is part of the Ghost Town project, which traces how Coventry’s history persists as ghostly traces in the television archive. Ghost Town is a collaboration between the University of Warwick’s Centre for Television History, Heritage, and Memory Research, the Birmingham-based television archive Kaleidoscope, the Media Archive for Central England, and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.
The project will unleash the city’s ghosts through a series of screenings (or hauntings) in venues around the city, beginning with this exhibition in the lead up to the City of Culture year in 2021.
A number of events will be held during the exhibition, beginning with a launch party on April 16th. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum will host a Q&A session with key figures involved in local broadcasting in Coventry in the post-war period. Older visitors will be invited to participate in memory workshops and conversations with school pupils, and reflect upon their own memories of Coventry’s televisual past. Local teachers will also be invited to explore the exhibition and to build the wider project into the curriculum in local schools.
There will be additional screenings from Coventry’s television history at Coventry Cathedral on the 23rd March and 1st of June, and further screenings, talks, and events as the city prepares for 2021.