Throughout 2006, Brunel 200 promoted dozens of events across the city – exhibitions, plays, education work, music, dance, poetry, radio performances, lectures, publications, fireworks, even ‘Fizzambard’ spring water and Brunel beer!
15 September was the anniversary of Brunel’s death in 1859. We marked the date by re-visiting some of our favourite projects, giving people chance to catch them for the first time if they missed out earlier in the year, or to see them again if they loved them first time around.
The finale programme included Brunel Framed, an exhibition at the CREATE Centre by local photographers, including Mark Simmons, Paul Box and David White, of the Brunel 200 arts projects in Bristol and the memorable fireworks launch event.
The NOVA group completed their sculpture trail around the Cumberland Basin by making permanent the paper artwork on the notice-board on the promontory by the lock gates entrance to the Floating Harbour, now beautiful enamelled panels inspired by Victorian graphic notices.
Watershed's Brunel Stories of the digitally illustrated stories inspired by Brunel’s impact on the city, by artists, engineers and architects were on show at the CREATE Centre.
Clifton Suspension Bridge ran free guided walks and talks all weekend.
The Bristol Legible City team from the City Council unveiled the first interpretation panels of the Brunel Mile, running from Temple Meads station to the ss Great Britain.
Travelling Light Theatre Company, the Family Deaf Centre and Elmfield School presented the first ever piece of deaf theatre to be seen on the stage of the Bristol Old Vic, with their electric mix of poetry, short stories, film and physical theatre, in a riotous afternoon’s family show.
The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum hosted a recreation of the Royal Banquet of 1843 that launched the ss Great Britain, with good wine and prodigious entertainment, including music from Bristol Brass and Emerald Ensemble and animated readings from Brunel’s diaries.
Artists from Art
+ Power and lead artist Steve Joyce unveiled their 12 metre long mural at platform 1 at Temple Meads station, accompanied by the orchestra of The Brunel Sinfonia. The Sinfonia played the first movement of Industrial Dreams by composer Geoffrey Burgon, commemorating Brunel's achievements in building the Great Western Railway.
The Underfall Boat Yard opened its doors to visitors keen to see the building of two Cornish Pilot Gigs which will be raced in the docks and through the South West of England from summer 2007. To mark Brunel 200 the first was called Isambard and was launched by Bristol’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Peter Abrahams, on 27 January 2007.
An unusual engineering lecture on Brunel’s Swivel Bridge took place in the Cumberland Basin, an area of the city often overlooked when Brunel’s achievements are promoted. David Neale, former Docks Engineer for the City Docks and David Greenfield, former Bridge Engineer for Somerset County Council, entertained a gathering of approximately 40 historians, young and old, titled ‘A Tale of Two Bridges’.
was the venue for a feast of activity on Sunday 17, with performances on the ship itself as well as in the Maritime Heritage Centre alongside the Nine Lives of Brunel exhibition.
Show of Strength brought back the hugely popular ‘An Audience with Sarah Guppy’ for performances at the ss Great Britain and the CREATE Centre.
With writer and director, Toby Hulse, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students resurrected their sell-out production of Brunel – the Tour for a performance in the Hayward Saloon at the ship.
Musicians, poets and performers from Triangulation entertained audiences with a recreation of their site-specific work from the launch weekend event in the Cumberland Basin.