31st May, 2020

Coventry Ghost Town television archive project to form week-long exhibition

A POP-UP exhibition is set to journey back in time to celebrate Coventry’s history and the ghostly traces in the city’s television archives.

Theatre Absolute’s Shop Front Theatre will play host to the week-long exhibition Remembering Coventry: Ghost Town Haunting #1 from April 16.

Members of the public will be invited to watch extracts of programmes made in and about Coventry on the big screen in two vintage living room sets at the Shop Front Theatre, based at City Arcade.

Showreels shown across the week will include extracts from Phillip Donnellan’s Coventry Kids: People of a Restless City, a lyrical documentary exploring multi-cultural Coventry in the 1960s, and the Arena documentary ‘Rudies Come Back’ about Coventry’s Ska scene.

The exhibition uses extracts from documentaries, children’s programming, arts and culture coverage, local news broadcasts and beyond.

It will also see a number of events being held during the week including memory workshops and talks about local history.

The event is part of a bigger Ghost Town project which will use television to reconnect people with their local history and inspire further conversations about the city’s past, present and future on the lead up to Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021.

The exhibition is a collaboration between University of Warwick’s Centre for Television History Heritage, Memory Research, television archive Kaleidoscope, the Media Archive for Central England and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Dr Helen Wheatley, reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick, is leading the project.

She said: “The television archives, and the programming they contain, capture the past life of the city in minute detail.

“Ghost Town is a project that speaks to the fact that cities are haunted places.

“They are haunted by the ghosts of people, buildings, businesses, ideas, of things which once stood but no longer remain.

“The television archive is uniquely positioned to capture and preserve the daily life of a city – its greatest moments, its disasters, its changing opinions and fashions, snapshots of its people and places at a lost moment in time.

“The exhibition will provide an exciting glimpse into Coventry’s history, and its setting of a vintage living room will truly take visitors back in time.”

Julia Negus, of Theatre Absolute, said: “We are pleased to be a part of an event that showcases the city’s journey throughout history.

“It will be great fun to explore, not just the big events and major landmarks – but the fashion trends, ideas and ways of life.”

The exhibition is free and will be open to all. For more information on how to get involved, email Dr Helen Wheatley at Helen.Wheatley@warwick.ac.uk.

A full breakdown of events is available at the Ghost Town Coventry Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/covghosttown

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