The Wonder Show: Providence Athenaeum Off-Site Salon
During the 19th century, Arctic exploration captivated the public imagination. Images of unfamiliar icescapes pictured in panoramas and magic lantern shows dominated visual culture. The Arctic –and specifically finding a northwest passage through it– was a main subject of national interest in England at the time. One of the most successful voyages of this kind was head by Captain William Parry in 1819. This would be the first British naval expedition of the 19th century to winter in arctic conditions, and its activities and precautions became a model for future expeditions. Parry instituted musical and theatrical entertainments, school classes, meteorological and magnetic observations, and even a weekly newspaper, The North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle.
Plays were performed every fortnight with written reviews following each act. The Wonder Show’s performance, The Arctic Theatre Royal, takes its name from Parry’s shipboard theater. In this newly written production, The Wonder Show will share original poetry and text from Parry’s voyage, utilizing a form of entertainment used to share early glimpses of the Arctic, a magic lantern show. The content comes directly from the shipboard documents of 1819, including Parry’s journal and the North Georgia Gazette, which are both housed within the Athenaeum’s Travel and Exploration Collection.
Learn more here. Roger Williams National Memorial is at 282 N. Main St. in Providence, at the corner of N. Main and Smith Streets. ATTENDEES SHOULD BRING FOLDING CHAIRS OR BLANKETS.
Performance attendees may park in the Memorial parking lot as space allows. Free on-street, meter parking is also available adjacent to the Memorial.
The Visitor Center will be open before the performance and at intermission for people to peruse the exhibits, pick up materials about Roger Williams National Memorial, and use the rest rooms.
About The Wonder Show: The Wonder Show presents contemporary reinterpretations of the Victorian popular art form of the magic lantern show. In turning to these performances that once entertained and educated audiences before the beginning of cinema, we hope to explore new ways of viewing, storytelling and community-building