To mark Black History Month in the U.K, Hammersmith & Fulham Council launched its Black History Trail at Riverside Studios, with speeches given in our atrium by H&F’s Mayor Emma Apthorp and local councillors and live music. The trail encourages audiences to discover stories of Black achievement within the borough and features Riverside as one of its points of interest.
As the result of a series of meetings with H&F’s Heritage Officer, we are planning more collaborative activities. Firstly, having proven popular with local primary school pupils and teachers alike, we have scheduled School’s Black History Tours on a bi-weekly basis during term time from November.
Our archivist Hope curated the new exhibition ‘Our Archive’, featuring highlights from the collection (iconic posters, photographs, flyers, and artifacts). The exhibition was mounted in a prominent position in our lobby, to share with audiences a cross-section of what our archive contains and to help attract new volunteers to the archive project.
To compliment the project, we also presented our third Hancock’s Half Hour triple-bill in our cinema, which again attracted a healthy audience of enthusiasts. Due to the success of these screenings (part of the now-established ‘Made at Riverside’ strand) we have scheduled a fourth triple-bill in February 2023. We are also collaborating with the Doctor Who Appreciation Society (DWAS) on a series of screenings of classic Doctor Who episodes made at Riverside in the 1960s. We intend to run these throughout 2023, ending to culminate with an exhibition celebrating sixty years of this iconic programme.
This month we have also welcomed a number of new volunteers to the archive project. They will be assisting us with the cataloguing of the collection, contributing to the ‘Our Story’ section of our website and learning new skills relating to heritage. Here, local resident Warry, shares his experience of working with the archive:
“One day, my wife Natasha told me she received an invitation for an introduction to Riverside Studios. So, we went and they showed us the theatres, cinemas and Daniel explained about the archive. At the end of the lovely evening, I met Daniel and offered him my help as a volunteer. I also told him that I was a dancer and that I live half a year in the Netherlands. He said they would be very happy with every moment I can help.
A few months later, he introduced Hope – Riverside’s archivist. I was surprised she speaks a little bit of Dutch! Haha! From that time, every Thursday when I'm in London, I have been helping to prepare the archive for digitalization.
I think that it is very important to preserve the history of Riverside Studios and also to show the world which direction and which choices Riverside has made.
I like to work with the team. Hope and Daniel give me the support and freedom I need. I like the atmosphere in the Riverside Studios. It reminds me also of my past as a dancer. And I found myself in the archive!
I also like the combination of the different disciplines. Not only acting, not only dancing, not only art. I think this combination is important for all disciplines to develop.
I think it will be interesting to organise workshops and use the archive to compare and to discuss the history and why and how artists have made their work. It would be nice to invite ‘old’ and ‘young’ artists to find out - and maybe new theatre groups will be born!”.
Thanks to the dedicated work of our archivist Hope and our team of wonderful volunteers, we are very close to completing the cataloguing of our archive material. Since mid-June, they have been recording each item in a spreadsheet which will inform what we prioritise for digitization…