Our Work / Theatre / Discovering Kurt Schwitters – Artist and Refugee

Discovering Kurt Schwitters – Artist and Refugee 

2019-2021

Funded by: National Lottery Heritage Fund

Project Partner: The Littoral Trust

Artform: Visual Art, Theatre

People involved: Prism Arts Studio Theatre West

Kurt Schwitters was at the cutting edge of German Art during the 1920-30s, creating his unique “Merz” work in reaction to Germany’s economic and political instability after World War I.
In 1933 Germany’s Nazi Party swept into power and Schwitters’ unconventional work was deemed as “degenerate” and “un-German” by the Nazis.

To escape persecution Schwitters took refuge in Norway, then Scotland, suffering imprisonment and internment before finally moving to Ambleside, Cumbria where he lived until his death in 1948.

Members of Studio Theatre West and year 4 pupils from Distington Community School will research the life and times of this controversial artist. With the support of Awaz, Cumbria project participants will work alongside volunteers from the county’s present refugee community.

Project research will include visits to the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, the Imperial War Museum, Manchester, The Merz Barn and Armit Museum Ambleside. Trevor Avery of the Lake District Holocaust Project will present talks on Cumbria’s refugees and the rise of the Nazi Party during World War II.

The Project will conclude in a public exhibition at The Merz Barn and a new theatre production to be toured at The Beacon Museum, Rosehill Theatre and schools along the West Coast of Cumbria.

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