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Fairground Reminiscence brings history of the fair to life

image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionOriginal accounts from showmen offer a "great insight" into the "hard to reach community"
The history of the fairground has been brought to life in an exhibition in an industrial estate in Gateshead.
Fairground Reminiscence is inspired by the life of Adam Russell's father, who grew up in a showman's family and spent his life travelling with the fair.
Mr Russell said he worked closely with the community to collect stories and childhood memories to "capture the essence of the fairground".
Visitors can play games and learn about the history of showmen.
image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionAdam's father Keith, a former showman, grew up travelling with in the fairground in the 1960s
The collection includes original fairground objects, some of which are more than 100 years old, photographs, interactive games and original accounts from showmen which Mr Russell said offered a "great insight into a very close knit, sometimes hard to reach community".
Mr Russell, who has worked on the project for the last three years, said it had been adapted to open safely with social distancing measures in place, including ticketed entry, regular cleaning and a one-way system.
image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionSome of the items on display are over 100 years old
The 29-year-old from Newcastle said: "My first inspiration was my dad's wonderful childhood, he grew up in the fairground as a young boy travelling.
"His thoughts and his stories inspired me to create this wonderful play space for families.
"And I wanted to do it in a way that would really merge museum experience with performance and make it really playful, interactive and really encapsulate the spirit of the fairground."
image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionPosters and photographs bring to life the history of the fairground
image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionAdam said it was "great" to get the exhibition open "especially in this time when many people need experiences that are uplifting and joyful"
image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionPart of the exhibit allows visitors to interact with games such as the coconut shy and the ping pong game
image copyrightLuke Waddington
image captionAdam said he hopes an outdoor performance inspired by his father's life as a showman can take place outdoors at the end of August
Fairground Reminiscence is on display at the Thought Foundation until 30 August.
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Related Topics

  • Art
  • Birtley

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