Ann Carragher – Diorama : ‘Blackpool’s Hidden Theatre’ Project, May 2014.
The hidden theatre project invites us to explore the fascinating architectural splendor of Blackpool’s past, imbued with a nostalgic romantic angst or perhaps a melancholic aura & echo.
I intend to present a series of works that weave together notions of loss and lament, whilst employing a variety of references relative to theatres. Exploring the ambiguous and allusive qualities that manifest in the intersection between space, place, mobility and memory. The threshold that demarcates the ‘space’ of the theatre and that of the real world, exploring theatre as a ‘construct’, and the boundaries between ‘spectator & audience’ and ‘reality & illusion’.
Historical structures have an innate story to tell. Beneath the functioning urban landscape of Blackpool, opaque places and architectural mutations lie in layers. Facades hide and obscure rich chiasms of ‘imbricated strata’ (de Certeau). This spatiality and the emerging visual dialogue are determined by a hinterland, where a complicated, vague and ambiguous frontier exists - the rich and varied topography of Blackpool itself.
The theatres have presupposed a range of entertainment - tragedy, comedy, music, séances, and magic shows etc, but rather than discuss theatre historiography, or explore a spatial story or narrative, extracted from a ‘dematerialized’ virtual archive, I commence by hovering on thresholds – mediating between materiality and the evanescence.
Theatre as a ‘construct’ enables us to experience a ‘threshold’ that creates a liminal ‘mental space’, as well as a boundary that demarcates. The voluminous red theatre curtain becomes an analogy for potentiality, unfolding and introducing a concept of continuous dialogue. I employ the ‘Claude Glass/Black Mirror’ as an invocation to suspend and renew vision, and to search & resurrect phantoms, alluding to the uncertainties and anxieties of our time, a temporal and ephemeral metamorphic. Please see some visual research images and sketch book musings below: