The Wilson has a long history of delivering a full programme of activity for families – with drop-in arts and crafts planned for every school holiday, and with the monthly Arty Sunday.
But, content and timings for events and workshops for adults have always been more challenging to programme. With this in mind, throughout 2015, we have been offering a regular programme of adult events linked to the exhibitions or permanent collections – and so far these have included talks and lectures, practical workshops and special late night events.
The arrival of the high profile Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon exhibition has presented an exciting opportunity to create some inspiring new events aimed at adults. The exhibition explores a range of themes, including photography, film, fashion, and portraiture and the events that have been programmed touch upon as many of these themes as possible.
Talks and tours
Afternoon lectures will go into detail about how Audrey Hepburn came to be viewed as a modern icon, and how specific photographers influenced this rise. Helen Trompeteler, co-curator of the exhibition, is speaking on 11th November about Hepburn’s rise to fame. On 25th November, Adrian Woodhouse, who has written a biography on Angus McBean, one of the most iconic photographers of the era, will deliver a talk about the special working relationship between Audrey Hepburn and Angus McBean.
The curator-led exhibition tour, with co-curator Terence Pepper, sold out in two days! To meet with this popular demand, Terence has kindly agreed to lead a second tour on 21st January 2016 – we advise advance booking as places are limited and Terence’s insights are fascinating.
The range of themes presented in Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon has also allowed us to continue to build links with artists and craftspeople to deliver practical workshops. To allow people the best experience, we have approached experts in their field to lead the workshops. Denise Innes, Director of the British School of Millinery, is leading a Milliniery Workshop on Saturday 14th November where participants can make a headpiece or tiara. Denise’s work is truly stunning and her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue and Hello! We’re delighted to be able to offer the opportunity for people to come along and try their hand at making something truly unique – the type of headpiece that would be just right for a day at the races, or perhaps for a bride-to-be.
Inspired by ‘little black dresses’, particularly from the 1960s, we are very pleased to have Laura Rushton leading a two-day dressmaking course on 21st and 22nd November. Laura is a -stablished costume designer and has worked in the West End, at Shakespeare’s Globe, and on last year’s Britain’s Got Talent. Remember Cheltenham-born Lorraine Bowen who got David’s golden buzzer? Well, Laura made her live show costume – as well as many others. Laura will be teaching participants how to make a classic, and perfectly tailored, little black shift dress. Just in time for the festive party season!
We have also linked with experienced photographer and teacher, Martin Fry, to lead a full day photography workshop on Saturday January 23rd 2016. This will look in detail at the functions of a camera and teach you how to take better photographs, using the beautiful surroundings in Cheltenham as inspiration. This workshop will be great whether you are a bit rusty about all your camera settings, or even as an unusual Christmas gift for someone special.
All three of our practical workshops include admission to Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, so you can start the day seeking inspiration with the portraiture and fashions displayed in the exhibition.
The Wilson is also hosting a special late night event on 26th November. We hope that Late Night Wilson events will become a regular feature in our events programme, and that they will offer people more opportunity to come and visit the gallery and museum after normal opening hours. On 26th November, we are open until 9pm – and will be offering lots of free activities for visitors: a drop-in portrait drawing workshop in the Friends Gallery, live demonstrations by members of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen in the Foyle Learning Centre, and a free screening of Roman Holiday, one of Audrey Hepburn’s most popular films, in the Space. Free tickets are available for Roman Holiday on a first-come, first-served basis, and spaces are limited. The Wilson Shop and The Wilson cafe will remain open, so the evening will be a wonderful opportunity to do a bit of shopping, a bit of socialising, some exhibition-viewing, some film-watching, and some drawing practice!
Tickets for all our events, and for Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, are available in person at The Wilson, online at www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk, or by calling 01242 237 431. We look forward to seeing you at all our events!