East Cleveland: Furniture, Theatre, Opera. Ideas for a Curriculum
Tony Shaw, Senior Lecturer in Production Design for Stage & Screen
East Cleveland: Furniture, Theatre, Opera. Ideas for a Curriculum is a reflection on Boosbeck Industries, a furniture scheme for unemployed Miners in the 1930s in Boosbeck, East Cleveland. Supported by Jim and Ruth Pennyman of Ormesby Hall, Middlesbrough, Boosbeck Industries employed Wilfred Franks, a Bauhaus trained designer to oversee the scheme and impart his knowledge and skills in furniture making to the Miners. In 2022, I collaborated with Angela List Evans, an MA Design History student at The Northern School of Art, and now Collections Manager at Land of Iron Museum in Skinningrove, as part of her Theories & Methods curatorial module. Angela curated The Boosbeck Rooms at Ormesby Hall, working with National Trust Area Collections Manager, Wendy Adamson. As part of her curation, I worked with Angela to create small-scale models of the Boosbeck furniture to act as a ‘handling collection’ for visitors to Ormesby Hall to interact with and learn more about the design and functionality of the furniture through a haptic engagement. Working with Angela in the development of The Boosbeck Rooms at Ormesby Hall, and exploring Ormesby Hall’s archives, inspired further research into the curriculum and exploring the influences of the Bauhaus and Boosbeck through practice and theory. The outcomes of the project included a talk to students from Angela, and teaching aids to learn about construction, and how to translate research and drawings into models for exhibition.