Orton's life and legacy celebrated in three East Midlands exhibitions

Posted by pt91 at Jul 14, 2017 11:30 AM |
University of Leicester Joe Orton Expert Contributes to Public Events to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Playwright’s Death

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 14 July 2017

Download photographs of Dr Emma Parker and artworks from ‘What the Artist Saw’ at (please note photo credit): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oxtcd6lguthfy3k/AACdRdThgRfIsneiZc2BVtcqa?dl=0

A renowned University of Leicester expert on playwright Joe Orton is involved in three public exhibitions about his life and work.

These mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the Leicester-born playwright whose archive is housed at the University of Leicester David Wilson Library.

The Library also features a ‘ghost image’ of the writer created by the street artist STEWY.

Associate Professor in English, Dr Emma Parker, of the University’s School of Arts, has played a leading role in celebrating Orton’s legacy.

She said: “It’s hugely exciting to see Leicester-born Joe Orton, one of the leading playwrights of the twentieth century, celebrated in the East Midlands. These three wonderful exhibitions will offer new insights into Orton and bring new audiences to his work.”

All three exhibitions use material from the Joe Orton Collection at the University of Leicester. They are:

Crimes of Passion: The Story of Joe Orton

National Justice Museum, Nottingham

22 July - 1 October 2017

This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of three significant events:  the debut of Orton’s double bill Crimes of Passion (The Ruffian on the Stair and The Erpingham Camp) at the Royal Court Theatre, London; the decriminalisation of homosexuality; the death of Joe Orton, who was killed by his partner Kenneth Halliwell on 9 August 1967. It examines crimes committed by and against Orton as well as the representation of crime in his plays.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Emma Parker (University of Leicester) and Bev Baker (National Justice Museum), with original commissioned artwork by artist David Lock (Joe Orton’s nephew).


What the Artist Saw: Art Inspired by the Life and Work of Joe Orton

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester

29 July - 22 October 2017

This exhibition focuses on Orton’s relationship to art and the creative inspiration his life and work have offered contemporary artists. Artists: painter David Lock, sculptor Louise Plant, street artist Stewy, Leicester-based collagist Danielle Vaughan and performance typist Tim Youd. This exhibition, which is curated by Dr Emma Parker (University of Leicester) and Dr Michael Petry (Museum of Contemporary Art, London), transfers from MOCA, where it ran 5 February - 4 March 2017.

Dr Parker said: “This exciting exhibition recognises for the cross-fertilisation of literature and art in Orton’s creative practice; celebrates his artistic impact and legacy; and presents new responses to Orton’s life and work through visual art.”


View the brochure for the exhibition: http://www.mocalondon.co.uk/uploads/1/0/1/4/101463086/what_the_artist_saw_ebook_2017_mocalondon.pdf

Breaking Boundaries: Joe Orton and Me

Soft Touch: Young People’s Arts and Heritage Centre and Pork Pie Library, Leicester

9 August - 8 September 2017

Tuesday - Saturday, 12-5pm

Dr Parker has also been collaborating with Soft Touch Arts, a charity that uses art, media and music to engage with and change the lives of disadvantaged young people. Soft Touch Arts supported by University of Leicester English students has worked with young people from the Saffron Lane estate, where Orton grew up, and other parts of Leicester to produce an exhibition inspired by the life, work and legacy of the Leicester-born playwright. The exhibition explores the boundaries that Orton had to overcome as a working class gay man in order to succeed in the 1960s and uses this to create artworks exploring their own boundaries and ways they have overcome these. It is curated by Malika Kraamer and  supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Leicester City Council.

Photo opps:

National Justice Museum, exhibition opening event 21 July, 5.30-8.30pm

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, exhibition private view 27 July, 6-8pm

This event marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Soft Touch, exhibition opening event, 8 August, 4.30-7pm


For further information/interviews, contact:

Dr Emma Parker: ep27@le.ac.uk

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