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Philip Astley: His Life and Legacy

THOMASON, Carmel (2018) Philip Astley: His Life and Legacy. [Show/Exhibition]

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Abstract or description

Dr Carmel Thomason from Staffordshire University worked with Brampton Museum and a group of volunteers to research the life of Philip Astley and his family in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the role of Astley’s theatrical performances in shaping recreational life of the period. The research was compiled and curated into an exhibition at the Bramptom Museum: "Philip Astley: His Life and Legacy". The exhibition ran from 5/6/18 to 15/7/18 and was visited by 16,600 people.
The exhibition was part of the 250th Anniversary of the first circus, and was held in association with the Victoria and Albert museum. Archive material, costume, sights and sounds were used to examine the man and the myths that surround Astley's rise from the son of a Newcastle cabinet maker to Father of the Modern Circus. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a scale model of Astley’s amphitheatre taken from a contemporary print showing the building’s impressive interior. Using loan material from the V & A Museum, Chethams Library, and other museums which included drawings, engravings and prints of Astley’s riding school and amphitheatres the exhibition displayed the progression from wooden outdoor structure through to the magnificent amphitheatre of the early 19th century and included a recreated section of Astley Amphitheatre based on an image of Astley’s Amphitheatre painted in 1806.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Additional Information: Dr Carmel THOMASON from Staffordshire University, was the lead of the Heritage Lottery funded Philip Astley project (Celebrating the father of modern day circus, HG-15-05207), which ran 18 months in 2017 – 2018 with the aim to celebrate Astley’s life and legacy, raising awareness of the significance of Astley in the local region, engaging communities in developing activities around this heritage, as well as developing creative and educational activities in Newcastle-under-Lyme during the 250th anniversary of modern circus. The project made use of Culture 3.0 methods as described in BOEHM 2016 (also Staffordshire University), including the intentional use of co-creation, the embedding of creative activities in everyday life as part of the anniversary year, and a non-linear research process, all geared towards maximising impact of co-created research insights. In research terms, two key sets of insights were utilised; a) a participatory process was applied to the Philip Astley project in order to embed co-ownership and co-production into the practice of developing the celebratory activities; and b) the co-creation process resulted in unique insights about specifically Astley’s family history, as well as his Circus legacy, resulting in a 17 page resource pack ( ). It incorporated unique insights in an accessible manner and was distributed at the exhibition event, attracting 16,600 people, as well to educational organisation in the area. An additional educational pack for younger children was also developed. Dissemination activities included curating a series of talks, an ASTLEYFEST (family fun day with 8000 visitors), 6 Film screenings (326 visitors), co-creation of new theatre content in collaboration with the NewVic, a children’s poetry competition, a town trail, and other activities documented on the Astley website. .
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Film, Media and Journalism
Event Title: Philip Astley: His Life and Legacy
Event Location: Brampton Musuem
Event Dates: 5/6/18 to 15/7/18
Depositing User: Carmel THOMASON
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 14:22
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:52
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