Composer/performer Gwyneth Herbert and artist Mel Brimfield are presenting their latest collaboration, Springtime for Henry (and Barbara) – described as a fictitious ‘lost’ musical, reconstructed in fragments, centred around the lives of British sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
The production will run for three performances across two nights (26–27 January) at Wilton’s Music Hall, the world’s oldest surviving music hall, comprising elements of musical theatre, performance art and film.
The show is rooted in art establishment biography, played out through musical theatre storytelling; passages of the lost musical are performed by a cast of West End actors (Frances Ruffelle as Barbara Hepworth, Andrew C. Wadsworth as Henry Moore, Hugh Ross as The Critic and David Bedella as The Director), Herbert, her band and a 30-piece tap dancing choir, amidst a collage of spoof arts documentary, recontextualised archive footage and a staged TV chat show.
This is the second chapter of an ongoing performative exploration of the legacy of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, which saw its first development stage at Sheffield’s Site Gallery last year. The project will culminate in a huge multi-screen installation in 2016/17.
Springtime for Henry (and Barbara) follows the success of Herbert and Brimfield’s 2014/15 collaboration The Palace that Joan Built: a multi-disciplinary work celebrating theatre director Joan Littlewood’s centenary. This involved a large-scale performance of original songs to 50,000-plus commuters in Stratford Station, an art installation on the concourse (still on display) and a feature length film.