THE bound files of the Bexhill Observer dating back to its launch in 1896 were the inspiration for a running series of live performances at Bexhill Museum on Friday, December 7th.
Matinee and evening audiences saw drama and music students aged 16-18 from DV8 Training act out century-old stories from the files, now in the safe-keeping of the museum.
Museum education team volunteers were in period costume to act as guides as project manager Rachael Heminway-Hurst introduced the performances. The project is part of World Stories South East Stage 2 and is made possible by Arts Council South East Strategic Funds.
A century ago, Bexhill’s Kursaal entertainment hall was the headquarters for a film production company specialising in the world of Conan Doyle. Holmes had his pipe clenched between his teeth and the faithful Watson at his side as the action started in the Education Room with a screening of the locally-shot silent film The Copper Beeches. Holmes and Watson led their shivering audience out into the park to view a “beach scene” through the window of the museum café.
Harry Gridle Matthews, Bexhill inventor of an Edwardian “wireless telephone,” a remotely-controlled torpedo and a supposed “death ray” held centre-stage in the Sargent Gallery before music students entertained on the staircase and dance students portrayed theft scenes in the Costume Gallery.
The Bexhill-built 1957 Elva Mark III sports-racer in the Motor Heritage Gallery was witness to a lightning strike involving young mechanics.
Holmes staged his denouement scene in the café, revealing the killer and concluding a novel performance.