The British Library is to celebrate the bicentenary of Danish children’s author Hans Christian Andersen, with an exhibition created by designer Andrew Lock, graphic design consultancy Glow Associates and Theatre-rites, a theatre production company.
Led by Theatre-rites, the collaborative team was commissioned by the British Library following a four-way competitive pitch in November 2004. ‘We have a unique combination of people that can provide skills in theatre for children as well as exhibition design,’ says Lock.
Lock is working with Theatre-rites associate visual artist Sophia Clist on the exhibition, with graphic concepts by Glow Associates head of graphic design Rick Nicholls. The library’s in-house team will implement the graphics.
The exhibition is part of a series of worldwide events, organised by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth.
Theatre-rites’ experience in family theatre productions will help create a strong appeal for children, explains Lock. ‘For a Hans Christian Andersen exhibition, the British Library was obliged to appeal to children – its exhibitions are normally very academic,’ he says.
A ‘paper’ swan (pictured left) with a 20m wingspan will be suspended above the 400m2 space. Puppet-makers have been commissioned to produce wooden characters from Andersen’s popular fairytales.
‘We have tried to steer away from the usual interactive, computer-based presentations in favour of a more fairytale and theatrical [design],’ says Lock.
Hans Christian Andersen will run from 20 May to 2 October 2005.