Virtual Reality and theatre will come together in a new artwork for Knutsford, commissioned by Heritage Open Days to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and changes to gay rights with the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.
The exciting production is a collaboration with SHIFT (Cheshire East Council) and The Courthouse Hotel, supported by the Knutsford Promenades Association to present an exciting programme of free events which will celebrate the life and work of Alan Turing, mathematician, code breaker and pioneer in computer science.
The centrepiece at The Courthouse Hotel is the landmark art event, ‘The Turing Trial: Regina v Turing & Murray.’ This is one of four ‘Unsung Stories’ which will take place as part of Heritage Open Days in the UK between 7-10 September, coordinated centrally by the National Trust with funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
This innovative piece of work uniquely fuses drama, heritage and virtual reality to enable participants to explore different viewpoints of the trial and of Turing’s work. The piece is being created by artist, Hwa Young Jung and will take place in the Sessions Court which is now The Courthouse Hotel. This is the first time that an artist has attempted to cover the trial in a life performance and the first time that the subject has been explored in the place where it all happened.
This new theatrical and immersive work from creative company Re-Dock (working with the local community and LGBTQ artists across Greater Manchester) will combine a traditional theatrical setting with virtual reality opportunities, enabling visitors to explore different viewpoints of the trial and of Turing’s work.
Annie Reilly, Heritage Open Days Manager said, ‘The belief that history belongs to all of us has always been at the heart of Heritage Open Days, England’s biggest festival of history. This year, thanks to additional funding by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the festival is focusing on LGBTQ heritage, with a series of newly-commissioned, community-focused arts events, collectively known as Unsung Stories.
Sarah Flannery is chair of the Knutsford Promenades Association, which has produced a diverse local festival programme across the town for Knutsford Heritage Open Days. Free events range from talks by renowned academics and experts on the life and work of Turing, including by Sir Dermot Turing, Alan Turing’s nephew and a reading from the Quarter Sessions records by lawyer and television personality, Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder; to coding workshops, Enigma demonstrations, and the display of the Quarter Sessions records. Sarah explains, ‘Knutsford has many famous links to the past, but perhaps lesser known is that the former Sessions House on Toft Road was the actual location for Turing’s trial. In 1952 he was found guilty of gross indecency and accepted a sentence of chemical castration in order to avoid prison.’
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “We’re thrilled that in this, our third year of our players supporting Heritage Open Days, the additional funding has been used to create four extraordinary new arts events, focusing on LGBTQ+ history. Engaging every section of the community in discovering and exploring their local heritage is one of the core values of Heritage Open Days, and we look forward to seeing towns, cities and villages across the country bring their unique histories to life.”
The four ‘Unsung Stories’ for Heritage Open Days take place in Oswestry (Shropshire), Knutsford (Cheshire), Holloway (north London) and Wivenhoe (Essex). Visitors will be able to watch, listen, learn and even take part in live theatrical events, which tell four very different stories of bravery, creativity, defiance and love.
7-10 September 2017 www.heritageopendays.org.uk #allourstories
About Heritage Open Days
Heritage Open Days is co-ordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with funding by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and run locally by a large range of organisations (including civic societies, heritage organisations, and local councils, community champions and thousands of enthusiastic volunteers).
Heritage Open Days is England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, taking place across 50 countries. Other events in the UK are Doors Open Days in Scotland (www.doorsopendays.org.uk); Open Doors Days in Wales (www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/opendoors/?lang=en); European Heritage Open Days in Northern Ireland (www.ehsni.gov.uk); Open House London (www.open-city.org.uk)
About People’s Postcode Lottery
People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes, while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally. A minimum of 30% goes directly to charities and players have raised £197.5 Million for good causes across the country.www.postcodelottery.co.uk/prizes
About Cheshire East Council’s SHIFT Programme
With significant investment from Arts Council England and Cheshire East Council, SHIFT has been launched to celebrate and build on this fantastic digital achievement to date in the area. It is Cheshire East’s largest borough wide celebration of its ongoing digital output and a major celebration of innovation, interaction, inspiration and immersion in the digital potential of the region. Its key aim is to make participation in the digital world accessible for all – through its hands on events staged in a variety of surprising and unusual spaces across the region from stations, markets and disused shops and buildings.
Cheshire East is at the heart of the North’s creative cluster, with around 2,000 businesses employing just under 5000 people. Nationally, the Creative and Digital sector has grown 30% fast than the rest of the economy in recent years. While the majority of the sector’s businesses are small to medium enterprises, Cheshire Est is also the home to many multinational corporations including McCann, Barclays Global Technology Centre and Chillingo (Electronic Arts) mobile game publisher of hit iphone titles, Angry Birds and Cut the Rope.
Harriet Roberts, Northern Media Manager
07850 959 898