Drama, selfies, best bits and long-lost portraits on display in Plymouth city center

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Stories of courage, fabulous selfie walls and lost works of art help bring the history of Plymouth and the city center to life this month. A series of plays, stunning murals as well as a chance to celebrate one of the city’s forgotten artists will be performing soon.

The exciting proposals for Plymouth are due to the High Street Sparks grant from the High Street Heritage Action Zone initiative, funded by Plymouth City Council and Historic England. Storyteller Katy Cawkwell has created three short but powerful shows.

Town Center Manager Steve Hughes said: “These events are great for our stores and shoppers and bring real excitement to the town centre. It’s fantastic to see the High Street Heritage Action Zone funding celebrating Plymouth’s past in a way that’s incredibly easy for people of all ages.

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· Endurance tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition which left Plymouth on the eve of World War I in 1914. This year marks the centenary of his death, the wreck of the Endurance was recently discovered and the show pays homage to this inspiring story of surviving against all odds.

· Resilience evokes Plymouth in the Blitz with a performance inspired by a poem by a woman who lost her husband in 1940.

· Emergence tells the legend of the phoenix and invites people to remember the rebuilding of the city center after the war and the fact that Armada Way was originally to be called Phoenix Way as Plymouth rose from the ashes.

Five performances take place each day from Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 June. The shows at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. will be intended for adults, while those at 3:40 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. will be slightly adapted to an after-school family audience.

Performances will take place at Frankfort Gate, Old George Street (near the ‘Messenger’ sculpture ) and north of the Sundial on Armada Way. A timetable and map are available at www.artemis-storytelling.co.uk/Plymouth. All performances are free without reservation.



Stories of courage, fabulous selfie walls and lost works of art help bring the history of Plymouth and the city center to life this month. A series of plays, stunning murals as well as an opportunity to celebrate one of the city’s forgotten artists will soon unfold.

On Saturday June 18, the Barbican Theater will present Walk This Way in the Piazza. A feast for the eyes and ears, they promise a slice of nostalgia with a live show full of the 80s, 90s and 00s. Expect punk rock parades, parkour, voguers, roller disco, breaking, skateboarding stunts and stories of our city, from a millennial perspective!

Walk This Way brings together professional artists with schools, community groups and local organizations for an entertaining and energetic afternoon of performances, including pop-up mini-shows around the city center. It’s free, suitable for all ages and performances take place at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

On the fifth floor of the Fraser House, you will have the opportunity to contemplate the magnificent photo of Lady Jane Gray at the place of her execution, taken by Plymouth artist Solomon Alexander Hart – the first Jewish member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1840. The reproduction is nearly two meters long (over six and a half feet), but this is still only a third of the size of the original canvas.

Hart gave the picture to the town and it was hung in the council chamber of the old Plymouth civic building, which stood on what is now the Royal Parade. The painting was transferred to the new Plymouth and Guildhall Civic Museum and may have hung in the gallery until some time during the First World War, when it was dismantled and stored in the archives in the museum’s basement , now The Box.



Stories of courage, fabulous selfie walls and lost works of art help bring the history of Plymouth and the city center to life this month. A series of plays, stunning murals as well as an opportunity to celebrate one of the city’s forgotten artists will soon unfold.

Last but not least, more portraits – but this time it’s up to people who love selfies to take a shot in front of a series of amazing selfie walls. Five local winners have been chosen from over 250 entrants to Plymouth’s Selfie Wall competition and their work continues in the city centre.

The project aimed to showcase female designers from PL1 to PL9 and was the brainchild of Plymouth-based creative entrepreneur Amber Leach, who wanted the project to inspire Plymouth women from all walks of life with a passion for art.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges at an anonymous judging event at The Box and the winners are Plymouth women of graphic design, professionals as well as emerging artists. The winning artwork will be displayed on walls around Plymouth town center including the Theater Royal Plymouth, Sports Direct Plymouth and Really Good Records.

Cllr Mark Shayer, Cabinet Member for Finance and Economic Development, said: “Plymouth town center has an incredible past and an incredible future. As with all city centers there has been a move away from traditional shopping and we need to make the city center a place where people work, play, eat and sleep as well as shop.

“These events all help to keep visitors coming to our downtown. They will help create an atmosphere and it is fantastic to see our past celebrated in such a lively and fun way.

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director of Historic England, said: “Thanks to High Street Sparks, Plymouth town center will be full of colour, drama and excitement this summer. We are delighted to support a brilliant program of events celebrating the stories of Plymouth.

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