Live performance artist Christopher Green takes up residency at the British Library

Christopher Green with a cup of tea © Tom Russell

‘You might feel very different about libraries after this!’

- Christopher Green, Artist in Residence, the British Library

Actor, cabaret artist and writer Christopher Green has become the British Library’s first ever Leverhulme Artist in Residence and embarks on an exciting project using the Library’s vast collections. Christopher will trace the history of hypnosis throughout the course of this year, building up to a climactic show in October where he will reveal a brand new character to the public to 'confound, amaze, heal and entertain'. www.bl.uk/artistinresidence

Hypnosis, considered as both entertainment and therapy, is a subject which crosses disciplinary boundaries. Christopher’s research will explore the length and breadth of the Library, from arts and humanities to medical and scientific collection items. Christopher has started his journey with the playbills of the great Victorian conjuror and ventriloquist, Evanion, whose papers were acquired by the Library in 1895. With a wealth of rare books and sheet music at his fingertips, the new Artist in Residence will uncover the stories of mesmerists, showmen, doctors and pseudo-scientists.

Christopher Green says: “I was delighted to be asked to be the Inaugural Artist in Residence and I think it’s great that it’s a live artist. The British Library has such a rich history across all disciplines, but it’s often forgotten how strong its links with the stage and performance of all types are. I will be searching through these collections, plundering and plucking shiny objects that grab my attention. The British Library is a vibrant, exciting place to be – always packed with interesting people doing interesting things, banging away excitedly at their laptops. I’m going to be slowing them down, putting them under and freeing them from everyday constraints. You might feel very different about libraries after this!”

Zoe Wilcox, Curator of Modern Literary Theatrical Manuscripts, comments: “It is very exciting to have a live artist take up residence in the Library, exploring a subject which fascinates us, today, as much as it did the Victorians. We are looking forward to seeing what Christopher uncovers from across our collections and learning more about the tricks and techniques of the early hypnotists. I hope Christopher’s residency will encourage other creative artists to come and be inspired by the British Library’s collections.”

Christopher’s brand new work will be revealed in a performance at the Library on 19 October, preceded by two show-and-tell sessions where he will present his most intriguing discoveries from across the Library’s archives.


Notes to Editors:

The residency is being funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

For more information please visit www.bl.uk/artistinresidence, or visit Christopher’s Artist in Residence diary at http://christophergreen.tumblr.com/.


Christopher Green show-and-tell demonstration
When: 30 May /11 September 2012
Where: Conservation Centre, British Library

Christopher Green performance
When: 19 October 2012
Where: Conference Centre, British Library


Christopher Green is an award-winning theatre maker and entertainer. His solo work includes comic creations such as US Country Music Singer Tina C., and pensioner rap star Ida Barr both of whom have had their own BBC Radio 4 comedy series, and Cultural Critic Jedd O’Sullivan and Motivational Speaker Hugo Furst. Chris’ experiential work includes the interactive phenomenon Office Party, and the fake backstage show VIP which is scheduled to be rolled out in 2012 for the launches of Time Out Paris and Time Out Berlin. He writes regularly for BBC Radio 4. He is trained in both hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. For further information about the schemes that the Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at www.leverhulme.ac.uk / www.twitter.com/LeverhulmeTrust

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

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