Lunchtime Talk
Fri 1 Mar 2019 13:00

'I went to a Marvellous Party' Tom Marshman in conversation with Zahra Ash Harper

For this talk we are joined by studio resident Tom Marshman, in conversation with Zahra Ash Harper to discuss his new project, 'I went to a Marvellous Party.' .

Tom has been working with the University of Bristol, Theatre Collection to bring to life the personal archive of Oliver Messel, one of the twentieth century’s leading theatrical stars.

The Theatre Collection is one of the world’s largest archives of British theatre history and Live Art. Founded in 1951 to serve the first UK university drama department, their collection covers the period from 1572 to the 21st century.

Oliver Messel was an English artist and one of the foremost stage and set designers of the 20th century epitiomising the sophisticated and fashionable in mid-20th century theatre.

Tom will discuss how he responds to archives to create work, using them as a starting point for recent projects such as, A Haunted Existence and 'I went to a Marvellous Party.' He will also discuss how Messel was a campaigner for social justice but also the sometimes problematic language used by the people Messel corrosponded and how he has responded to this in the work.

'I went to a Marvelous' is part-installation, part-performance, the events are free and open for drop-ins throughout the day, and will be staged at three different locations across Bristol, see times, and dates below (no booking required).

As master of ceremonies, Tom will be drawing out untold stories from Oliver’s captivating world, animating the installation with timed performances inspired by a host of characters from Oliver’s personal and professional life; from Bright Young Things, to Hollywood starlets and theatrical dames.

Visitors are encouraged to explore the installation, sharing in Tom’s curiosity as he delved through the Archive, discovering handwritten letters, musings and conversations, brought to life through interweaving audio and reproductions of original material.

Tom’s shows are known for their ‘hand crafted, intimate and naughty’ approach, often both ‘humorous, high-brow, low-brow, sensory, stomach churning, conversational, and sentimental’ all at once. Join us as he turns his hand to the hidden histories of Oliver’s life, celebrated through the stories of this marvellous party. 

Dates, times and locations are listed below, all events FREE - no booking  required, all locations are fully accessible.

2 March, The Vestibules (Deanery Road), City Hall, College Green, Bristol

10am – 4pm (with timed performances at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm)

3 March,The Vestibules (Deanery Road), City Hall, College Green, Bristol 
11am – 4pm (with timed performances at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm)

9 March, Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW 
10am – 4pm (with timed performances at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm)

23 March, Arts Mansion, Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol BS41 9JN 
10am – 4pm (with timed performances at  11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm)

24 March, Arts Mansion, Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol BS41 9JN 
11am – 4pm (with timed performances at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm)

The events are part of a wider Sharing the Messel Magic project which includes the FREE exhibition Oliver Messel: Wake Up and Dream – Theatre, Art and Society at the Theatre Collection until April 2019,

This Lunchtime Talk is part of Open Studio Friday, which takes place at the Studio every week.

Do you want to find out what is going on at the Pervasive Media Studio? Are you interested in meeting our residents, talking about a specific project or curious about pervasive media? Why not pack a sandwich and join us for one of our Lunchtime Talks and Open Studio Friday. Lunchtime Talks are informal presentations by Studio residents and associates. They normally take place at 1pm on Friday, are free and open to everybody who’s interested in what we do. After the Talk, we also invite you to stay with us for the afternoon to continue the conversation or work on your own projects. We provide chairs, tables, wireless and a great space. You bring what you need to work with (laptop/mobile). Our open afternoons close at 5pm. Let us know if you’d like a tour of the space and we'll be happy to show you around just before the talk. Send an email to: to book your place on a tour.

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Past Events

If you are interested in previous events at the Studio, take a look at our events archive.