Promenade Promotions has been successful in winning an Arts Council of England Grants for the Arts to produce a street peepshow presented by The Raree Man.

The peepshow was one of the most popular forms of street entertainment in the 18th and 19th centuries – not only depicting scenes for amusement, but often as a medium to educate, showcase exotic locations, and inform a captive audience about key events past and present. We believe this is the perfect medium to engage with the contemporary passing public– a show that is at once interruptive and intimate, familiar and unexpected.

Phase 1

The Raree Show will be a live performance with a mobile, self contained peepshow. The peepshow will display a modern day morality tale – “The Banker’s Progress” (working title).

The show will be performed out of doors – the audience invited to interact with the peepshow by the Raree Man (showman Tony Lidington) who will narrate and dramatise the peepshow’s scenes.

The peepshow imagery will use pre-cinematic devices of the Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century re-imagined with 21st Century technology such as mini data projectors, mutascope, etc. The project explores digital projection & mutascopes, shadow puppetry and innovative forms of storytelling.

The show will employ pre-cinematic techniques as part of the scenography of the piece and in addition, there will be live music to accompany the action.                                                       

Although the final design of the scenes depends on where our research and creative discussions take us, there will be an overarching theme of morality. The live performance will be presented by Tony Lidington as the Raree Man and is a collaboration with The Northcott Theatre, The Cinema Museum and Exeter University.

In-kind project support from the University of Exeter’s Heritage Collections will come in several forms: space will be provided for developing the performance and its components, as well as materials for research purposes and an exhibition to accompany the show. Formative research and expertise in the tradition of the peepshow and the history of popular pre-cinema will come from Dr John Plunkett and his associates, as well as from the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

It will be showcased in September as part of Exeter Unexpected Festival’ and in Yorkshire as part of Saltaire Festival. The peepshow will transfer easily to other cities and venues as part of a planned tour in 2015.

We are hoping to find additional income streams in the future for schools’ workshops & performances on projection, optical illusions, storytelling and the history of cinema, in partnership with Heritage Collections.

Watch this space!

A typical Raree show of The Battle of Waterloo
A typical Raree show of The Battle of Waterloo

 

Note the squirrel as an attraction!
Note the squirrel as an attraction!

 

Such shows can still be seen in China
Such shows can still be seen in China

 

Sergeant Bell took his show all around Devon
Sergeant Bell took his show all around Devon

 

A showman and his peepshow
A showman and his peepshow

 

 

 

 

“The Raree Man & Peepshow”

2 thoughts on ““The Raree Man & Peepshow”

  • April 3, 2014 at 8:23 am
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    Fantastic news! Looking forward to seeing how it de CV elops!!!

    • April 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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      You must come and see the Devon showcase in September…are you back by then? Tony

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