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

Discovering Kurt Schwitters – Artist and Refugee 

2019-2021

Funded by: National Lottery Heritage Fund

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.

For this project, members of Studio Theatre West and year 4 pupils from Distington Community School researched the life and times of this controversial artist. Project research included visits to the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, the Imperial War Museum in 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 has so far resulted in a theatre piece, “Fragments Lost and Found” and an art exhibition at the Merz Barn. Both of which can be viewed below.

This project is thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

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