Exhibition to celebrate ancient tradition kicks off

The annual shrovetide football game in the pastures below Alnwick Castle.
The annual shrovetide football game in the pastures below Alnwick Castle.

IT’S been a town tradition for hundreds of years.

Now, a special exhibition commemorating Alnwick’s Shrovetide football match is kicking-off at the Bailiffgate Museum.

As part of the new display, which opens tomorrow, a film celebrating the ancient game – traditionally played between the parishes of St Michael and St Paul – has been made by a team from the town’s Gallery Youth Project and local filmmaker Harry Henderson.

The 15-minute production – The Lads and Lasses of Alnwick: Shrovetide Football 2012 – features footage of the matchday rituals, as well as the game itself, a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the committee tent, and a string of interviews, including comments by American students from St Cloud State University and opinions about the annual fixture’s tradition and legacy.

It has been made as part of the People’s Record, a nationwide initiative supported by Arts Council England.

The exhibition will also feature documentary photos by Belford-based Andrew Tunnard, a series of oral histories – recorded with the support of audio editor James Boyd from South Broomhill – and work by Henderson and children from Alnwick South First School.

The exhibition will be held until May 29, although some of the display, including the video, is due to run until after the Festival of Alnwick, which takes place in June.

On top of this, the film, documentary photos and oral histories will be uploaded onto the national website for the People’s Record as part of the Cultural Olympiad project, meaning this unique record of Alnwick’s Shrovetide football match will become part of a national archive.

The People’s Record has been collecting stories of sporting events and projects across the UK in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Alnwick-based museum is inviting anyone who has a photo from a Shrovetide match to put it on the exhibition’s community display board, donating it to the attraction’s archives.

l Photographer Andrew Tunnard will talk about The Representation of Culture and Heritage within Contemporary Photography at the museum on Thursday, May 24, at 7pm.