How the V&A will bring the “Records and Rebels” of the 1960s to 2016

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 has been designed by Nissen Richards Studio, which is designing a theatrical interpretation showing how youth culture of the time kickstarted a period of great change. 

The Acid Test, by Wes Wilson, courtesy of Steward Brand.
The Acid Test, by Wes Wilson, courtesy of Steward Brand.

The V&A has announced an immersive exhibition, which looks at the “era-defining” impact of the late 1960s on life today.

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70, has been designed by Nissen Richards Studio and places emerging movements and ideas of the time in their cultural context.

The likes of civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism, computing, communality and neo-liberalist politics are some of the topics explored.

Freedom, upheaval and youth culture

Visitors will be confronted by the upheaval of the period, the new sense of freedom and the questioning of the establishment, as seen through youth culture movements of the time.

Nissen Richards Studio director Pippa Nissen has subcontracted and brought in a group of theatre design experts to join her own team on the project.

This includes video designer Finn Ross, sound designer Caroline Dowling and lighting designer Zerlina Hughes.

Recreating Carnaby Street, Woodstock…

“It’s a very theatrical experience; you will feel like you’re in the 1960s, which will help you reflect on it,” says Richards.

This means “standing in London’s Carnaby Street, going into a club, the Paris protests, consumerism, the moonlandings, Woodstock, early computing,” she adds.

Visitors will also be taken through World Fairs including Montreal and Osaka and the alternative communities on the West Coast of America, with the influence of every theme in the exhibition on 2016 explained.

There will be more than 350 objects on display, including photographs, posters, literature and other artifacts from the worlds of music, design, film, fashion, and performance.

“Bringing objects to life in a playful way”

Look out for underground magazines Oz and the International Times, a moon rock on loan from NASA, and an Ossie Clark-designed costume for Mick Jagger.

“We’ll be bringing objects to life with rich video moments in a playful way and using the tricks of the theatre” says Nissen.

Audio headsets will be provided, which will allow visitors to experience soundscapes integrated with video as well as the voice of the late John Peel, who will guide visitors through sounds of the period.

The exhibition has been curated by director of the V&A’s department of Theatre and Performance Geoffrey March, and from the same department curator Victoria Broackes.


You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will run from 10 September – 26 February 2017 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL.

The Souper Dress 1966. Photograph, Kerry Taylor Auctions
The Souper Dress 1966. Photograph, Kerry Taylor Auctions
October 26 1967: Antiwar demonstrators, Pentagon Building. Getty Images
October 26 1967: Antiwar demonstrators, Pentagon Building. Getty Images
15 Aug 1969, John Sebastian performs at Woodstock © Henry Diltz/Corbis
15 Aug 1969, John Sebastian performs at Woodstock © Henry Diltz/Corbis
The Beatles Illustrated lyrics, Revolution 1968 by Alan Aldridge
The Beatles Illustrated lyrics, Revolution 1968 by Alan Aldridge
Family Planning Association 1969, Cramer Saatchi Advertising Agency Photograph VA London
Family Planning Association 1969, Cramer Saatchi Advertising Agency. Photograph VA London.
Poster for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, 1967, by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat.
Poster for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, 1967, by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat.
Christine Keeler photographs by Lewis Morely, 1963. Science Society Picture Library
Christine Keeler photographs by Lewis Morely, 1963. Science Society Picture Library
Postcard from Montreal World Expo, 1967. Photograph V&A
Postcard from Montreal World Expo, 1967. Photograph V&A

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