Ghost Town Haunting #1

Week beginning 16th April 2018

Remembering Coventry: Ghost Town Haunting #1

A week-long pop-up exhibition celebrating Coventry’s local history via the television archive will be held during the week beginning the 16th of April 2018, at Theatre Absolute’s Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW.

The exhibition is part of the bigger Ghost Town project, a joint collaboration from 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. Ghost Town traces how Coventry’s history persists as ghostly traces in the television archive: glimpses of people, places, stories, and snapshots that have been captured and preserved. Through a number of civic screenings (or hauntings) in cinemas and other more unorthodox venues around the city, beginning with the exhibition, Ghost Town unleashes the city’s ghosts and brings past, present, and future Coventry into dialogue in the lead up to the City of Culture year in 2021.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to engage with various screens (including a pair of vintage living room sets) displaying showreels of programmes made in and about Coventry, co-curated with Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry and the Media Archive of Central England. Much of this footage has not been seen since its original broadcast, and will be digitised and preserved for the exhibition.

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.

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.

For more information, please see the project’s website Ghost Town, or contact Dr. Helen Wheatley (helen.wheatley@warwick.ac.uk)
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