From 2012-15, the Staging Beckett team mounted 3 pop-up exhibitions to accompany conferences and public events: two of archival materials relating to productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland, and one exhibition showcasing the work of visual and graphic artists inspired by Beckett’s texts. We became very interested in these exhibitions as a way of drawing attention to the importance of specific productions and the traces they leave as part of our personal and cultural memory, and of disseminating the living legacies of Beckett’s work for contemporary artists. We are continuing to build on the experience of curating such pop-up exhibitions as a vital way of engaging the public and theatre professionals with the performance archive and the living legacies of Beckett’s work.
Information and photographs related to these exhibitions are detailed below.
Staging Krapp’s Last Tape
To accompany Ian Rickson’s interview in Minghella Studios on 3 October 2013, Professor Anna McMullan, with the support of Siobhan Wootton, Matthew McFrederick, David Tucker and Patricia McTighe, presented ‘Staging Krapp’s Last Tape’, a public exhibition of selected archival materials relating to diverse productions of Krapp’s Last Tape in the UK and Ireland. The materials included manuscripts, programmes, photographs and reviews from the University of Reading’s Beckett Collection, as well as set designs from the Jocelyn Herbert Archive, Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London. For more information, see the exhibition guide here.
As part of the ‘Staging Beckett at the Margins’ conference at the University of Chester from 11-12 September 2014, David Tucker and Matthew Johnson curated ‘Seeing Beckett’, an exhibition that sought to visualise the sensation and affect of an encounter with Samuel Beckett’s work, rather than just a literal representation of Beckett’s characters. The images of artistic and / or applied visual research practice presented engaged with Beckett’s drama, prose, letters, critical writing and / or poetry in many different ways. The exhibition was remounted at Liverpool John Moores University as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival 27 October – 2 November 2014.
Waiting for Godot at 60
‘Waiting for Godot at 60’ was an exhibition curated by Matthew McFrederick, Anna McMullan and Mark Nixon for the final project conference, ‘Staging Beckett and Contemporary Theatre and Performance Cultures’, at the University of Reading from 9-11 April 2015 to mark the 60th anniversary of the UK premiere of Waiting for Godot at the Arts Theatre in London. Following its initial presentation, the exhibition transferred to the University’s Main Library in May 2015 and toured to the Clinton Centre in Enniskillen, as part of the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival from 23 July – 3 August 2016. The exhibition used digital devices, audio-visual projections and original manuscripts to explore a range of UK, Irish and international productions – from premieres of Godot in Paris (Theatre de Babylone, 1953), Berlin (Schlosspark, 1953), London (Arts, 1955) and Dublin (Pike, 1955) to more recent performances of the play such as the 2009 Theatre Royal Haymarket production. For more information, see the exhibition guide (PDF – 226 KB).