All the fun of the fair at the Mumford Theatre!

Published: 11 May 2011 at 12:05

Anglia Ruskin to showcase ‘Professor Vanessa’s Performing Wonders’

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Anglia Ruskin University’s Mumford Theatre will host an unforgettable evening of cine-variety and spectacular entertainments on Friday 13 May (7pm), inspired by vintage posters from the British Library’s Evanion Collection of Victorian art and advertising.

Curated and hosted by Professor Vanessa Toulmin (the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield), Professor Vanessa’s Performing Wonders – which has been developed in collaboration with Anglia Ruskin University, the British Library and the University of Sheffield – begins with a performance of early films with live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

Professor Vanessa’s live show features performances by internationally renowned artists including Olivier-award winning Marisa Carnesky, sword swallower and comedienne Miss Behave, hula hoop legend Marawa the Amazing, and fire eater and Cambridge local Tim Cockerill, appearing as The Great Inferno.

The Evanion Collection of over 5,000 items was formed by conjurer and ventriloquist Henry Evans, and was purchased by the British Museum in 1895. It includes posters, advertisements, trade cards and catalogues, many relating to popular entertainment in the late 19th century and includes such famous names as Maskelyne & Cooke and David Devant.

Friday’s performance will be followed by an exhibition in the Ruskin Gallery of specially commissioned art by Anglia Ruskin students and films produced within the Department of English, Communication, Film and Media inspired by the visually-rich images held in the Evanion Collection.

Dr Tina Kendall, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin, said:

“Friday’s event will be a truly multi-media experience.

“Prior to the stage show, we will be showing some examples of early cinema, provided by the National Fairground Archive and the Library of Congress in the United States, including dancing pigs, boxing kangaroos and magic performances from the Edwardian period.

“A number of our students were given access to the Evanion Collection at the British Library and an exhibition of work inspired by that will be on display afterwards in the Ruskin Gallery, while the gallery’s new digital screens will be displaying images from the Evanion Collection.”

Tickets cost £9 (£7 concessions and £3 Anglia Ruskin students) and can be booked online at