STOKE’S MIDDLEPORT POTTERY TO HOST ICONIC POPPIES AS PART OF 14-18 NOW TOUR

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Middleport Pottery are pleased to announce that they will present Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper from 2 August – 16 September 2018. The poppies come to Stoke-on-Trent as part of the final year of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the iconic poppies.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The tour has been made possible by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Backstage Trust, the Clore Duffield Foundation and the National Lottery.

Stoke-on-Trent is officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics, and Middleport Pottery has been operating since 1889. During the First World War demand for the ceramics goods made in the area greatly increased. These included tableware for hospitals, homes and the military; propaganda-ware, including small ceramic tanks and battleships; plates with patriotic designs or messages on them; and ceramics to mark both the early stages of the war and the Armistice at the end.

The war also saw women taking on bigger roles in the pottery industry; with the men volunteering or being called-up, they came to the fore as decorators and designers, taking key roles from men and being recognised after the war as leading lights.

Middleport Pottery Director John Lowther said:

“We are delighted that Middleport Pottery of UKHBPT will be one of the last tour venues before Poppies: Weeping Window moves to its final presentation at the Imperial War Museum. It’s an honour to have been chosen to host this poignant sculpture that has many connections to Stoke-on-Trent’s social and industrial history.  Middleport Pottery’s Grade II* listed Bottle Oven, one of only 47 left in the Potteries, will provide a wonderful setting for visitors to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Wave and Weeping Window are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War.

Stoke-on-Trent was integral to the original installation, as a base for the creation of just under half of the ceramic poppies. Stoke-on-Trent provided the clay that the poppies were created from.

Councillor Anthony Munday, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “We’re thrilled that this iconic sculpture – which has poignantly captured the imagination of millions of people across the globe – is coming to the city where much of the clay needed for the poppies was produced. It is recognition of Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics excellence and is the chance for many thousands more people to visit and be moved by this stunning sculpture in the centenary year of the Armistice of one of the world’s greatest conflicts.”

Councillor Abi Brown, Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader and chair of the city’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, said: “The Weeping Window poppy sculpture represents one of the most significant cultural events in the UK in recent years and we’re delighted that Stoke-on-Trent is being named as one of the final destinations in its UK tour, at a time when we are bidding to be the UK City of Culture in 2021.

Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics expertise is world-renowned and the industry is experiencing a resurgence, with global ceramics brands, household names and new companies investing here. We are a city that makes things, produces beauty from our earth. The poppies are a moving example of exquisite craftsmanship, and the sculpture will have a very fitting home in our city.”

Together, the sculptures Wave and Weeping Window are made of over 11,000 poppies. At the end of the tour they will become part of the permanent collections at the Imperial War Museums.

DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW are delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation.

For further press enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Andrew Brunt, Media Manager, Stoke-on-Trent City Council – Andrew.brunt@stoke.gov.uk

Tel. 01782 232671.

UKHBPT Marketing Manager Sarah Nadin – sarah.nadin@ukhbpt.org

National Press Enquiries:

Erica Bolton or Sylvia Ross, Bolton & Quinn

6 Addison Avenue

London W11 4QR

Tel: 020 7221 5000

Email: erica@boltonquin.com / Sylvia@boltonquinn.com

Notes to Editors

Venue

UKHBPT

Formerly The Princes Regeneration Trust, United Kingdom Buildings Preservation Trust, (UKHBPT) became an independent organisation in December 2016.  HRH The Prince of Wales is UKHBPT’s founding patron. UKHBPT is a registered charity – Charity number – 1059662.

Paul Cummins

Paul Cummins MBE is a ceramic artist, internationally renowned for the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at HRP Tower of London 2014, as well as many other installations including his work on the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Locations for previous works include the Houses of Parliament, Chatsworth House, Althorp Estate and Blenheim Palace. Paul was inspired to produce a ceramic poppy to honour every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War.

Tom Piper

Tom Piper MBE was Associate Designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2004 to 2014, and was closely involved in the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. His theatre credits include over 30 productions for the RSC, including the award-winning History series. Other recent designs include Hamlet, King Lear (Citizens Theatre), Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre and St Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn), Tamburlaine (TFANA New York), Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park Theatre), The King’s Speech (Birmingham Rep and Tour) and Zorro the Musical (West End and world tour). Piper’s opera credits include Macbeth and Falstaff (Scottish Opera), Orfeo (ROH and Roundhouse). Tom collaborated with the British Museum and Alan Farlie Architects on the exhibition Shakespeare: Staging the World in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Tom is a Creative Associate at the Tricycle Theatre.

His many awards include an Olivier Award (costume design) for the Histories series.

14 -18 NOW

14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It commissions new work by leading contemporary artists from all art forms.  The commemorative period is marked by three key seasons – Anniversary of the Declaration of War in 2014, the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme in 2016, and the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018. 14-18 NOW is responsible for the UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, and ‘We’re here because we’re here’ by Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris.

14 -18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and by additional fundraising.  14-18 NOW has commissioned over 140 artworks to date that have been seen by more than 30 million people.