A festival celebrating all things mermaid will include kids' art workshops, an urban fairy tale and a storytelling masterclass with an award-winning writer.
Taking place at Buxton's Green Man Gallery and Buxton Museum and Art Gallery from May 30 to June 1 the half.fish festival is inspired by The Buxton Mermaid, a curio which lives in the latter venue. This world-famous exhibit made from fish skin and human hair has a fascinating history. Conservator Anita Hollinshead will be revealing her research, after studying the artefact for her MA in the Conservation of Historic Objects.
Rob Young was so inspired by The Buxton Mermaid, he has created a cluster of artworks, from images of Blakemere Pool (where rumour has it, a mermaid still lives) to photographs of the Peak District’s only synchronised swimming club.
The festival opens on May 30 with a workshop from Buxton’s own environmental artist and storyteller, Gordon MacLellan (Creeping Toad). It ends on June 1 with a world-premiere of Rob Young’s short story Deep, that brings the Buxton Mermaid to life in a contemporary tale, shared in an intimate gallery setting with café-style seating.
The half.fish programme is as follows:
Thursday, May 30, from 2pm to 4pm - Buxton Museum & Gallery: Art workshops with Gordon MacLellan: make a mermaid, a sea serpent, a fluttering sea horse or some wild and wonderful creatures no one has ever met before.
Friday, May 31 - Green Man Gallery: 10.30am to 11.30am - recreate your own idea of the mythical creature known as The Buxton Mermaid in a drop-in workshop with artist and educator Anna Spratt; 12 noon to 1pm - interview with 'professional' mermaid Anita Jasson with a breath-hold of five minutes who can free-dive to 40m; 1.30pm to 2.30pm - Anita Hollinshead reveals her research on The Buxton Mermaid; 3pm-4pm - Mermaid The Movie, Former BAFTA screenplay judge Rob Young gives a crash course on how to write a movie; 6pm-7pm - World premiere of a short story by Rob Young.
Saturday, June 1 - Buxton Museum and Art Gallery: A Mermaid Museum: alternative mermaids, fierce mermaids, shark spirits and exhibitions: help people remember the origins of the Museum mermaid by making a mermaid museum.