South Square Centre recreated scenes from a party which took place in 1984, themed around celebrating the famous ship ‘Titanic’
Alice Withers, programme manager explains “In 1984, just after the centre opened, there were a series of parties, where community members helped to make large over-the-top props, like a lighthouse, ship’s hull and iceberg. Attendees dressed in fancy dress, and students from Bradford College created food-themed outfits based on good that might have been eaten aboard the famous ship”
After a nearly £1m capital refurbishment, South Square relaunched to the public in June 2021 with a new exhibition ‘In Shipshape’ which paid homage to the 1984’s ‘Titanic’ party, as well as two other events ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Paris, Thornton’ In addition, large scale outdoor props were created with funding from Summer Unlocked, part of Bradford Council and Bradford 2025’s summer grants programme.
The centre was originally formed when a group of graduates from Bradford College and a group of unemployed people, on a Manpower services scheme, came together to refurb the building from its derelict state into the arts centre it is today.
“We wanted to continue the tradition of working with Bradford College, so when this idea arose, we thought it only right that the students at the college were part of it.” Alice Withers explains. ‘’We asked the students to recreate the outfits which are seen in the archive images from the 1984 ‘Titanic’ party which happened at South Square. In the original costumes there was a carrot, sweetcorn, jacket potato, shrimp, lobster, fish and a chef. We love looking at the archive images, as they show such a happy time where community members, artists and unemployed trainees came together to create something that was fun and enjoyable.”
The students, led by tutor Becky Truman, who was a participant at the 1984 party, chose to recreate the lobster, sweetcorn, fish and a T-bone steak in their own interpretation. Alumni Rachel Hyde along with students Millie, Laura and Beth, Leon, Gigi and Suzanna were involved in the project.
To end the summer programme, the outfits were presented at a closing party, encouraging attendees to dress up in nautical themed attire and dance along aboard the ‘Great Ship South Square’. Students from the Make-up with Special Effects course, from Bradford College came along to finish off the looks with fantastic glow-ups. Images were taken by Karol Wyszynski.