Behind the mask as we prepare for Tuesday’s Pleasure Garden BallFebruary 12, 2012 About my museum job, Adult events at our Museums, Blogs, Special events
Over the last few weeks in between pouring over the carefully timed, actioned packed programme for our Pleasure Garden Ball, our Adult Events team have been enjoying themselves preparing for what has become our annual Valentine’s Day Late event.
They have mulled over serious quandaries such has how many people will want to decorate and wear their own masquerade mask? How can we help spark some new romances on the night? And just how many bars do we need?
Last year’s Valentine Late – part of the Adult Events informal learning programme – saw the Museum full with visitors, who learnt seductive Latin dance steps and sampled a new age aphrodisiac.
This year we’ve decided to mark the special day Georgian style, by hosting a Pleasure Garden Ball with a modern twist.
So what makes this year’s Late worth a visit? Well…where to start? There’ll be 18th century music and dance lessons, masterfully overseen by Lady Georgianna and the Covent Garden Minuet Company; pop-up theatrical performances courtesy of The Mask of Joy; love/lust poetry with the good people of Write Queer London; intriguing talks about Georgian fashion, playbills and pleasure; historic Valentine cards on show and the chance to meet that special someone in speed dating sessions hosted by cabaret darling Steve Nice, in the shadows of the majestically gilded Georgian Lord Mayor’s Coach. Oh, and there will be two bars…
One vital part of any 18th century ball in the public imagination is masquerade masks. We anticipate that some of you will come along with your own elaborate facial attire probably similar to those in this image from our collections online resource linked to here.
But just in case you don’t have a spare one of those…we’ll be encouraging visitors to design and don their own mask at the Museum. Therefore over the last month the desks in the Adult Events team office have been cluttered with glitter, sequins, feathers and different shaped mask templates. A couple of weeks ago the team had a bit of a craft afternoon and made up some pretty lurid and shocking sample masks…
It was quickly established that craft may not be the team’s forte and so the help of the Museum’s wonderful Design team was sought. They came up with some much more fitting and elegant – masks that visitors can decorate and spend the evening with their face beautifully concealed, and chose to be whoever they want to be this Valentine’s!
To book tickets to attend Tuesday’s Pleasure Garden Ball visit the Museum’s website here.