Presenting ‘IN SHIP SHAPE’ Exhibition and Summer Events Programme
Following an eight-month capital renovation and international pandemic South Square Centre has been preened and polished and is in shipshape and ready to set sail. One of the largest investments South Square has seen from National Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council amongst others, will ensure that this valuable community asset stays sea-worthy for the next 99 years.
Our inaugural exhibition and summer activity programme takes inspiration from South Square’s roots as a DIY, community-led arts space born in 1982. Originally renovated by unemployed graduates on a Manpower services scheme, South Square Centre’s early years were defined by three eventful parties with distinct themes; Paris Thornton, Chinatown and Titanic – being the event which sticks in most revellers’ memories. Large-scale props such as a giant iceberg, lighthouse and ships funnel hoped that the maiden voyage of South Square would not end in a similar fate to the infamous ship.
Nearly 40 years later, we revisit these personal stories recollecting early memories of South Square as an arts centre presented as audio mixes set against a backdrop of recreated party props. We also present audio recordings from former cottage residents, exploring South Square’s long heritage as a home for working families in Thornton. Heritage Activities Officer Alice Withers uncovered these intriguing accounts of life at South Square, whilst working with volunteers trained in oral history collection throughout 2020. You’ll hear about the family connections and strong community bonds, laughter and friendship, which have become the lifeblood of South Square today. Listen in to conversations from yesteryear of Thornton, a meeting of friends, the starting of something new.
Full length audio works featured in the exhibition are available to listen to on the mixcloud below.