Widow wear inspires Night Shift

Seasonal garb inspired a social event with a hint of education: Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times.

Felicity, the Lovelorn Fortune Teller (Megan Anderson) will lure guests into Victorian games at the RBCM's Night Shift.

A sign in Old Town at the Royal B.C. Museum formed a ghost of an idea in Kim Gough’s mind.

“Mourning orders given prompt attention,” it reads.

Black dresses, veils, handkerchiefs and widow’s-wear laid out for the Halloween season inspired a social event with a hint of education: Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times.

“This is the first time I’ve tried to slip some learning in there,” said Gough. “I wanted to find an event where people may have had no conscious intent for learning.”

She knows adults want an excuse to be part of the education program, having seen parents and caregivers look wistfully on during children and family programs. She calls Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times a “Wonder Sunday for grownups.”

Wonder Sunday is an interactive, learning-based event geared toward kids and families that happens on the last Sunday of each month.

In the adults-only version, D.J. Primitive and Bucan Bucan provide the live soundtrack as costumed players offer insight into characters and customs from the past.

The Halloween-themed event introduces experts extolling true tales of life and death from a Victorian point of view.

Actors will fill the space on the third floor of the provincial museum with characters. A pair of Pioneer Players will portray mourning widows while others offer gothic readings of Victorian poems and stories.

A lovelorn fortune teller – popular in Victorian times – will try to lure guests into traditional games and activities.

“This thought that spirits are closer to the earth this time of year gave people the opportunity to reach out to them,” Gough said. “(Mediums) really became this craze. A lot of it however, was parlour tricks and theatrics. It became an opportunity to perform.”

A short-sighted medium will bring her brand of treachery offering a Victorian-era séance.

“You can’t talk about spirits and not talk about how it affected the living,” Gough said.

Magestic Theatre will become the lecture theatre, featuring seriously spooky but true tales from a collections manager, an archivist and an archaeologist.

Collections manager Delphine Castles will show the meaning hidden in the mourning clothing of early Victorians.

“She’s going to talk about the clothing and … how it passed along messages about how to behave and how to treat (widows).”

Archivist Ann ten Cate will share some of the tragic stories found in the B.C. Coroners’ reports, preserved at the B.C. Archives, and University of Victoria archaeologist Erin McGuire will show how she uncovers death as revealed in the archaeological record.

The Royal B.C. Museum hosts Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times on Oct. 25, and the evening includes a cash bar and light snacks.

Guests are invited to arrive between 7 and 8 p.m. to view other exhibits, then enjoy the party in Old Town at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 and are available only in advance.

Participants must be 19 years of age or older and photo ID will be required for entry. Visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read