Arts Scene December 2018

Read the highlights of this month’s art exhibitions taking place across the East of England. 


An active reality adventure story opens in King’s Lynn

Last month saw the launch of ‘Reveal’ in King’s Lynn; an active reality adventure story that will see thousands take part across the town and at various locations in West Norfolk.

This is an ambitious, daring new project from Cambridge-based experimental arts organisation, Collusion, delivering the first ever ‘active reality’ arts-tech project.

Active Reality is a way of describing a project that brings multiple elements together in an episodic manner – in this case live performance, augmented reality and large-scale projection. These are then laid over a specific location to create a reality-bending adventure.

Described by organisers as multi-layered, episodic and unfolding across space and time, this major new arts and tech project has been created by a cross-disciplinary team of over 30 people. These include international, national and local award-winning artists, writers, playwrights, musicians, technologists andillustrators, all collaborating to create something on a huge scale and never-before-seen.


There will be five live theatre sequences each Sunday from 25 November at 4pm, taking place across heritage protection sites in King’s Lynn until 23 December. During this time, the public are invited to follow the story and use their mobile phones to discover clues and other content each day, including geo-locative and augmented reality experiences. To crack ‘REVEAL’ players must find all 24 codes and unscramble them to make a sentence. Code breaker leaflets will be available online and at the pop up shop at 10 Norfolk Street in King’s Lynn. The project runs until 4January.

Thompson’s Gallery Christmas Exhibition

Thompson’s Gallery in Aldeburgh will be holding its annual Christmas Exhibition from 1 December to 6 January.

Jonathan Robertson: Old Salt

The exhibition will showcase art from its most established artists and introduce new ones. Works will include South African artist Hennie Niemann Jnr whose cubist observations of the male and female form are striking and romantic. To represent the Scottish aspect of the exhibition, which has long been the backbone of Thompson’s Gallery, is a landscape by John MacLauchlan Milne to satisfy the 20thcentury enthusiast and then there are also paintings Joe Hargan, Robert Kelsey, Ronald Smith and Judith Bridgland.

There will also be collections of  paintings and sculptures by contemporary and Modern British artists.

Behind the Lines: Alfred Munnings, War Artist, 1918, 23 March – 3 November 2019

Celebrated as one of England’s finest equestrian painters, Sir Alfred Munnings forged much of his early reputation as a brilliant war artist. Now, for the first time in 100 years, 41 wartime paintings by Munnings are returning to the UK on tour from the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa for the exhibition ‘Behind the Lines: Alfred Munnings, War Artist, 1918’ at his former home, Castle House in Dedham from 23 March – 3 November 2019.

In this once-in-a-lifetime display the paintings will be shown side by side with the surviving sketchbooks that inspired them. This is the first time these sketchbooks have ever been on public display together with the finished pictures, and will provide a unique view of life ‘behind the lines’—in every sense of that phrase.

Serving in eastern France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1918, Munnings sketched and painted landscapes, battle scenes and, naturally, horses to document life on the fighting front and the vital logistical work taking place behind the lines.

More than 150 other works by Munnings—from his boyhood sketches, through his early commercial work, to his iconic horse paintings—will also be on display throughout Castle House at the same time, offering a complete survey of his life and development as an artist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Watford remembers the Great War

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, Watford Borough Council’s Museum is hosting an exhibition in Museum’s foyer and Space2 Gallery until 22 December.

The exhibition describes the impact on Watford during the Great War as it was told at the time through words and pictures from the local newspapers.  

Watford Museum is open from Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission to Watford Museum is free.

Suffolk Open Studios Call for Artists

Suffolk Open Studios have launched their 2019 Call for Artists, inviting artists and galleries living and working across Suffolk to join next year’s programme.

Members are guaranteed a place in the annual Suffolk Open Studios Annual Showcase Exhibition at the Apex Centre in Bury St Edmunds, running 25 February – 1 April 2019. This year’s show proved extremely popular and drew favourable comments from across the art community.

Run by volunteers, Suffolk Open Studios is open to all Suffolk artists and galleries regardless of the media in which they practise. Members open their studios free of charge to the public 11am-5pm over the first five weekends of June, choosing to open on as many or few weekends as they wish. Many join together to form their own local artists’ “trails”; anyone unable to include their own studio can still take part by renting space with other artists and forming their own artists’ “hub”. More details are on the Suffolk Open Studios website at

Artists and galleries wishing to take part in next year’s programme can do so until 7 January by completing the online membership form Early applications are encouraged, to guarantee a place in the printed directory.

Local artist designs charity Christmas cards to support cancer research in dogs

 Norfolk-based award-winning wildlife and animal artist, Yvonne Lamden Cooper, is supporting the Animal Health Trust (AHT) this Christmas by using her talents and passion for animals to create two Christmas card designs to support the charity’s canine cancer research. 

Yvonne primarily works with pastel and charcoal and spent weeks working on two designs for the AHT’s Christmas cards. ‘Who Me?’, is of a cheeky Golden Retriever unwrapping a stolen present, and ‘Winter Fun’, is of a gorgeous chestnut horse galloping through the snow. The Christmas cards are sold in packs of 10 for £3.99 and can be ordered by calling the AHT on 01638 555648. 100% of the profit generated from the card sales will support the AHT’s vital cancer research work.

In addition, both original pieces of artwork will be sold through the AHT to raise even more funds for the cancer research team, which is led by Dr Mike Starkey, Yvonne will also make a donation to the AHT from every piece of newly-commissioned artwork she does. For further details about pet portraits contact [email protected] and mention the AHT.


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