Siân Sharp – Artist and Illustrator

Sketching at the V&A’s Shakespeare Festival

The V&A’s Department of Theatre and Performance recently held a festival to celebrate the 450th birthday of Shakespeare, with lots of events and performances happening around the museum.  Shakespeare was celebrated in acting, music, dance, puppetry, costume design and cake decoration!  Excitingly, they invited me to come along and document the festival in my sketchbook.

Images commissioned for the V&A Shakespeare Festival and used here by kind permission of the V&A.  My sincere thanks to Sophie Reynolds and Faunsia Tucker.  What a lovely project to be involved with!

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‘Good People Draw Near’: Street Songs of Shakespeare’s London.  Friday 2 May, 6-9pm, Grand Entrance.

In Shakespeare’s time, the city streets were full of singers, competing to be heard.  Through ballads and street cries they spread the latest news, spun fabulous tales and sold their wares.  Join folk/early music specialists Alva (Vivien Ellis, voice, and Giles Lewin, fiddle, bagpipes, voice) on a vivid sonic journey of discovery, as they weave their magic with songs of murder and mischief, sex and sport, food and fatal love!
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Shakespeare Tribes – performance.  Friday 2 May, 12-9pm, around the Museum.

Join costume design students from the London College of Fashion, Central St Martins, Edinburgh College of Art and Bristol Old Vic, who have created Shakespeare Tribes and claimed ‘territories’ in the museum.  The tribes are defined by specific dress, behaviour and performance codes.  This project is part of the SharedSpace project in cooperation with the Prague Quadrennial.

Here is a tribe of fools who were giving an impromptu lecture on drawing and art history (‘Plinths of the V&A’) in a sculpture gallery.

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‘Be Satisfied’: A brave new piece of dance theatre, born in the chaos of the world’s most famous love story.  Friday 2 May, 6-9pm, Sculpture Gallery 21a.

Intense and consuming, ‘Be Satisfied’ tells the fractured tale of a Romeo and his Juliet, following them as they leap and collide in the turbulent experiences of first love.  Contemporary movement sequences intertwine with excerpts of Shakespeare’s classic text.  Devised and performed by Robert Hesp and Anais Lalange.

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Shakespeare Tribes – performance.  Friday 2 May, 12-9pm, around the Museum.

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A tribe dressed as Titania and her revellers, making mischief in the John Madejski Garden.  And another tribe were doing a military dance inspired by Othello, but here they are having a little break.

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Bookshop Band.  Friday 2 May, 7.30-8.15pm & 8.45-9.30pm, National Art Library.

Join the Bookshop Band, acclaimed folk trio, for an intimate concert of songs inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, performed in the atmospheric surroundings of the V&A’s National Art Library.

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I loved the Bookshop Band: beautiful singing, thoughtful lyrics, pretty music.  I didn’t have a very good view of the band, but the performance began and I just had to draw where I was standing — I think it still gives an impression of what it was like to be at this intimate gig, though.

The costumes used on the Othello tribe were later displayed on mannequins on the upper level of the Grand Entrance.

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Pop-Up Bardolatry.  Sunday 4 May, 10am-5.30pm, around the Museum.

Look out for actors from Sovereign Arts who will be embedded in the galleries, performing short scenes from Shakespeare at regular intervals throughout the day.

Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene.

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Sounds and Sweet Airs.  Sunday 4 May, 3-4.15pm, Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre.

Join singers and instrumentalists from the Royal College of Music, and Shakespearean actor Ian Hughes, for a delightful afternoon of music and readings inspired by Shakespeare.  (Drawn in the dark!  Wonderful music again.)

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Pop-Up Bardolatry.  Ophelia in the pond in the garden.

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Pop-Up Bardolatry.  In the doorway to the restaurant, Prospero is abjuring his rough magic and promising to break his staff and drown his book, after just one more airy charm.

(Click the image, or any of the images for that matter, for a much bigger view.)

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“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”

– William Shakespeare – The Tempest, Act 4 Scene 1

This entry was published on May 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm. It’s filed under Adventures, Commissioned Work, Sketchbook and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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