by Tony Davey, Learning Development Officer

‘Plymouth After Dark’ is an exciting four year outreach project exploring the range of activities that take place across the city at night. We launched it last year with a 1960’s themed event that some of you may remember!

Our aim is to capture peoples’ memories, collect objects to add to our collections and commission new work. The project will culminate in an exhibition at The Box once it’s open. One of the key strands of the project is a series of public events where people can share their stories and bring along their memorabilia – helping us to record and reveal a part of the city’s cultural heritage that many of us often take for granted.

During 2018 we’re hoping to increase engagement with the project by extending its scope and range. We’d like to get younger people involved, particularly those that may not traditionally engage with museums or heritage organisations.

The Warehouse, Plymouth, 1993We’re currently exploring the importance of the rave/dance scene to Plymouth. From its beginnings in a small club called Zena’s in the late 1980s, to the 2,500 people a night heyday of the mid-1990s in clubs such as The Warehouse and Dance Academy, to the current scene and the apparent resurgence with Factory and Casa hosted nights.

We’re aware that for thousands of Plymothians and visitors (indeed there are reports of people travelling from as far a field as North Wales and the North West of the country to visit club nights here) the city’s rave/dance scene was a very important part of their lives. Did they collect flyers, posters or tickets? Were they at the infamous ‘illegal rave’ on the Hoe? Were they inspired to start DJ’ing themselves?

Big Fish Little Fish eventWe’re holding a ‘Family Rave’ on 17 February and think it’s going to be an ideal way to engage with many of those who enjoyed the rave/dance music scene. In fact, all 500 tickets have already sold out! Many of these people now have children, some may even have grandchildren. Many family-friendly events are geared solely at children but we wanted to do something that both children and adults would enjoy – an event where memories of nights would come flooding back for parents as they listen to some great club tracks, where the kids will have lots of fun and where we’ll be available to talk to anyone who wants to chat and share their stories.

DJ Slipmatt aka Matthew Nelson on the decksWe’re delivering our ‘Family Rave’ with national organisers ‘Big Fish Little Fish’ – a company who are massively experienced at running these kind of events. They haven’t held one in Plymouth before so it will be a first for the city. Through them we’ve secured DJ Slipmatt behind the decks – a firm favourite with the Plymouth crowd and one half of chart topping duo SL2, who had a huge hit in the early 1990s with ‘On A Ragga Tip’.

This is just one of a number of events we’ll be running as part of the ‘Plymouth After Dark’ project. We’ll also be planning some film nights and pub quizzes in the not too distant future. Keep an eye on our what’s on section for details as they are confirmed.