Sweet Celebrations

28 March 2011

'The idea is to convert the walls of the Swan Room into a massive frieze of sugarcraft pieces, all individually decorated'

Sweet Celebrations: An exhibition that's a piece of cake

Swan Room, Swan Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon
9 April – 24 July 2011

To mark the Royal Shakespeare Company's 50th Birthday, the RSC has invited artist Shane Waltener to transform the Swan Room in the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon into a large birthday cake.

As part of Sweet Celebrations, which runs between 9 April and 24 July, Shane will work with members of the public to make a frieze around the walls of the room using combined sugarcraft and graffiti techniques. Participants will use sugar paste, royal icing and sweets to decorate the walls and contribute to the creation of a large-scale installation.

During a number of hands-on sessions led by Shane, participants will be guided through a range of processes for making decorated sugar tiles or tags. They will be encouraged to think about developing designs inspired by the architectural details and motifs from within the building. Outside of these sessions the public can visit the exhibition to view the work in progress.

Using the recently re-opened Royal Shakespeare Theatre as his starting point, Shane himself will also construct a large sugar sculpture in the centre of the room.

Shane said: 'What better way of celebrating the RSC's 50th Birthday than with a cake - but this is a cake with a difference! The idea is to convert the walls of the Swan Room into a massive frieze of sugarcraft pieces, all individually decorated. I'm looking forward to seeing how the public uses traditional cake decorating methods to create their own responses to the building.'

Members of the public can take part in the following drop-in sessions, all of which will be led by Shane. There is no need to come for the whole 2 hour session. Children are welcome, and no previous experience of cake decorating is necessary:

Friday 15 and Saturday 16 April, 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm
Friday 22 and Saturday 23 April, 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm
Saturday 30 April (Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations): 12-4pm

Shane will also be in Stratford for the RSC's Open Day on Sunday 12 June. Details of dates and times of other sessions will be posted at www.rsc.org.uk/exhibitions

Shane Waltener is known for his craft-inspired mixed media projects which often involve participation from the public. The artist's contribution to the exhibition Radical Lace, Subversive Knitting (2007 and touring) consisted of installing large cobwebs in circulation areas of museums, knitted in shirring elastic using traditional Shetland Lace techniques. The piece will be recreated for a forthcoming exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, as part of the Design Festival this coming summer. For the Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution exhibition, currently touring in the UK, Waltener has invited people to spend time creating their own installation by weaving and stitching in space using yarn. His project The Hanging Gardens of Tibby Place, part of The Secret Garden Project last summer, involved members of the local community and visitors to a central London Park in the creation of a hanging garden using weaving and hedgerow basketry techniques. Shane is currently writing a book on basketry with Stella Harding for A&C Black, due out next year.

Sweet Celebrations is part of the RSC's extensive events and exhibitions programme. Forthcoming exhibitions include Folio, an exhibition of prints from the Royal College of Art inspired by Shakespeare, and A History of the RSC in 50 Objects, which will showcase costumes, posters and other theatrical memorabilia from the past 50 years of the RSC. More information at www.rsc.org.uk/exhibitions

For further press information please contact:
Dean Asker
RSC Press Office
01789 412660

More information on Shane Waltener at www.shanewaltener.com

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