These story performances were commissioned and designed to complement special exhibits at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The stories add background, context, interest, and accessibility to the art on display by showing it within the context of the real lives of real people.
It's The Little Things: Five small objects that connect our world to the Dutch Golden Age
You could hold them all in the palm of your hand: five little things that not only made the Netherlands the dominant financial powerhouse of 17th-century Europe, but also helped create the world we live in today. Stories about the discoveries, inventions, coincidences, political upheavals, and cultural changes of the 1600s, along with photographs, maps, paintings, and historical records, take the audience on a journey from the Arctic Sea to Singapore for the remarkable story of five small objects that changed history in unexpected ways.
Fools for Love: A Closer Look into Lovers' Eyes
Through true, tender, and sometimes shocking stories, this program brings to life the world of the late 1700s / early 1800s – the Regency Period in England – a time of strange fads, sketchy medicine, and hair-raising shenanigans among the Fashionable Set.
George, Prince of Wales and the future King George IV of England, was the center of fashionable and cultural life during that time, and his scandalous secret marriage to a Catholic commoner was the catalyst for at least one fashion trend that has fascinated the art collector’s world ever since: the fashion of “Lover’s Eyes,” delicate jeweled watercolor paintings of a single eye, exchanged as tokens of undying affection.
But there were other not-quite-so-famous folks who were fools for love then, too. In this performance, storyteller Dolores Hydock shares stories that are part royal scandal, part True Romance, part fun facts from history, part R-rated (though in a Fine Art kind of way), and part art appreciation for amateurs ... with a shout-out to Queen Elizabeth, Jane Austen, and Columbo!
Letters, diary excerpts, photographs, and paintings are used to explore the tokens of love and remembrance that were part of this stylish and passionate time in English and American history.
This program was originally designed as a complement to an exhibit of the Skier collection of Lovers' Eyes.
Every Picture Tells a Story: The Storytelling of Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell didn't just paint pictures; every picture told a story.
As he wrote: “My life work – and my pleasure – is to tell stories to other people through pictures.” This program shares a behind-the-scenes look at how Rockwell created his one-image stories in some of his best-loved covers for the Saturday Evening Post. In his autobiography, My Adventure as an Illustrator, and his guide to painting, How I Make a Picture, Rockwell described his storytelling process. Using slide images of his sketches, models, paintings-in-process, and finished work, this program follows the step-by-step process Rockwell used in becoming “America’s painter” – and storyteller on canvas.
This program was originally designed as a complement to an exhibit of Norman Rockwell paintings and magazine covers.
Starch in Their Petticoats: True Stories of Strong Women Who Settled the West They were tough, resourceful, and ready for anything! Pioneers, homesteaders, professional gamblers, mail order brides ... these were some of the women who added their own particular shine to the golden horizon of the American West in the 1800s. Diary excerpts, letters, newspaper clippings, and photos help tell their remarkable stories.
This program was originally designed as a complement to an exhibit of 19th century American art.