Sideshows! is the fourth event in a long-term project entitled Buried Memory, started in 2014 by North Lane Studios, showing a series of exhibitions in the cellar beneath a pub in Folkestone Harbour. Economically, the harbour area suffered decline following the closure of the ferry services, but in recent years an ambitious programme of cultural regeneration has introduced significant changes which have met with mixed reactions from the local residents. Taking contemporary art into a venue at the heart of the harbour community opened a dialogue around these changes. Many feel unconnected to the burgeoning contemporary art scene and mourn the disappearance of the traditional seaside environment. In response to this, Sideshows! will work alongside some local residents to examine this sense of unease, taking a sideways and irreverent look at the lost world of seaside entertainment.
Exploiting the unsettling environment of the multi-roomed cellar, a mixture of colour, lights, sound, video and interactive sideshows will subvert the issues surrounding local politics and recent memories, linking them to the theme of Folkestone Triennial 2017 - ‘Double-Edge’. From the familiar seaside features of the distorting Hall of Mirrors to the anarchy of Punch & Judy, traditional entertainments will appear in altered and unexpected guises. We hope you will be able to come and join in: bringing a new story to Punch & Judy, getting a seaside-selfie in a kiss-me-quick hardhat, testing your strength or following the treasure-hunt clues to the Harbour Arm, and much more. Meet the artists, and bring us your memories to add to our collection seaside stories.
Over the past four years, this project has been supported by funding from Arts Council England, Kent Arts Investment Fund and Shepway ward councilors, not to mention the practical support from the staff and owner of the pub itself, The True Briton. This year, we have again secured grant support from Arts Council England, however we still need to rise additional funding to be able to extend the reach of the project - the cellar can only be accessed down a flight of steps, and in order to provide an accessible Sideshows! experience we want to install a second attraction on the Harbour Arm. This is what your donation will enable us to do: provide a pop-up beach-hut with fun activities for adults and children to join in. It will also provide making materials to enable our group of residents to produce artwork.
Sideshows! will run from 31 August to 5 November 2017 in the cellar of The True Briton pub, Folkestone Harbour and on The Harbour Arm. Note: there is a staircase to the cellar in the True Briton, but The Harbour Arm is fully accessible.
After 2017, plans will be to continue fostering the Buried Memory project and involve residents in ongoing arts activities.