Story behind the Boards

The Manor Cottage in Southwick Street, Southwick, dates from about the mid 15th century and was built as an open hall with an oak frame. Wattle and daub walls are complemented by an uneven floor. The ceiling is low, with beams and posts which did nothing to ease how we would go about mounting the exhibition. And there were only two exhibition rooms.

With funding organised, the team stepped away from the idea of simply extracting archived material from the vaults and putting paper and photographs on the walls, deciding instead to print to a surface which would then enable the exhibition to be hung as a series of information boards.

Flush with Lottery funds a local company was asked for a quotation to build a framework on which our boards would be hung. The team weren’t keen on the costs and the Heritage Centre unhappy with the thought of the ceiling being put under tension as floor to ceiling support struts were being proposed.

Not all bad news though, the closer appraisal of the space and an understanding of the limitations placed by the low ceiling led the team to conclude that the best presentation would be A1 boards hung landscape. With careful organisation fourteen boards – a pair for each decade – could be presented to the walls.

Each board would be populated with archive material, free-hand text would be kept to a minimum, and a list of the productions presented during the decade would book-end the two boards, being placed in the outer margins. Work had already been undertaken to draw up a list of productions and their performance dates.

We had our underlying design and Richard received his commission February 8th 2018.

The boards’ contents were gathered together and Peter passed files via Dropbox to Richard. Sometimes the quantity of material challenged the available space and compromises had to be made with judicious paring of text. In other times Richard deemed the quality of the photographs offered as ‘unacceptable’ and via Skype Richard would access his father’s computer to look through production photographs to select those that met his perfection criteria. This is particularly evident in the 2010’s collection on the “Cherry Orchard” board.

By the end of the design period in late April, the fourteen boards’ names were settled upon.

[i.] left – [ii] right

i. Birth of Wick
ii. Birth of the Barn

i. Youth Drama Festivals
ii. 1996 Electra

i. Full Length Drama Festival
ii. First Shakespeare

i. Youth and Experience
ii. Joan Bearman’s productions in this era

i. The Barn Redevelopment
ii. Joint Production

i. Wick raid television’s cupboard of sitcom
ii. World premier

i. The Cherry Orchard
ii. 250th production

When all were drafted, early day prints were made and the team’s views sought. The 2000’s “World Premier” was uniformly disliked and consequently taken apart and rebuilt!

May 3rd and the files were finished for final review and sign off before being left with Southwick Print the following day.

The boards were printed on 3mm correx. Substantial but light in weight.