Firstsite

Firstsite
Lewis Gardens
High Street
Colchester
Essex
CO1 1JH
England

Website

www.firstsite.uk.net

E-mail

info@firstsite.uk.net

Telephone

01206 577067

Fax

+44 (0)1206 577 067

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
Photo: Richard Bryant / arcaidimages.com
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Firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex. Our mission is to make contemporary art relevant to everyone.

Our integrated programme of work includes projects, exhibitions and publications by established and emerging artists, as well as extensive learning opportunities and artists’ support initiatives.

Over the last fifteen years firstsite has gained a strong reputation by presenting ambitious work to new audiences in the East of England and beyond.

Firstsite’s new building was designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. His design was selected by a worldwide architectural competition that attracted more than 100 entries.

The crescent shape was created to wrap around the existing D-shaped garden of East Hill House, leaving intact the established arc of mature trees.

Its low-lying, single-storey design nestles in the landscape, with minimum disruption to Colchester’s historic roofscape.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

Exhibition Spaces, shop and MUSA Café Restaurant

Tuesday - Sunday 10am – 5pm

Christmas Eve – open until 2pm

Christmas Day – closed

Boxing Day – closed

Saturday 27 December – open 10am – 5pm

Sunday 28 December – open 10am – 5pm

Monday 29 December – open 10am – 5pm (school holiday opening)

Tuesday 30 December – open 10am – 5pm

New Year’s Eve – open until 2pm

New Year’s Day – closed

Friday 2 January – open 10am – 5pm

Admission charges

Entry is free. Most events are free unless otherwise stated.

firstsite has no permanent collection.

Collection details

Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Bruce McLean, A Jug, A Piece of Floor, A Certain Smile, A New Front Door, 1977 Private collection, London. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Dave Morgan.

Bruce McLean: Sculpture, Painting, Photography, Film

  • 14 June — 30 November 2014 *on now

Saturday 14 June – Sunday 30 November 2014

firstsite announces the first major survey of the work of Bruce McLean (b. Glasgow, 1944). Tracing the career of an artist who was at the forefront of the development of Conceptual art in Britain in the 1960s, the exhibition will feature over 100 works across 5 decades including working drawings and photographs never previously exhibited. Sculpture, painting, photography, drawings, ceramics and film will be presented across seven galleries occupying 855 square metres.

Characterised by wit and an often ironic sensibility, Bruce McLean’s work has employed a range of media since the late 1960s. Often considering ‘the condition of sculpture’, McLean has explored the parameters of what a sculpture could be and tested conventional definitions, modes of production and display. These investigations have acted as a critique of social and academic hierarchies at work within the production and exhibition of contemporary art.

A student of Anthony Caro and Phillip King at St. Martin's School of Art, London, McLean was a leading Conceptual artist who challenged the formalist tendencies that were upheld by his tutors. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he adopted an unconventional approach that often involved working outside the studio or gallery to produce works in the natural or urban landscape. This exhibition will include key examples of his Street Works, Floataways, Shoreskapes and Rockskapes photographic series, which placed process and production at the heart of his endeavour.

Other early works, including Mirror Work, Barnes Common (1969); Installation for Various Parts of the Body (1969) and Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work (1971), introduced the notion of ‘pose’ and an approach to using the body as sculptural material which he explored further through live action and performance in the 1970s, most notably as part of Nice Style, ‘the World’s first Pose Band’. The exhibition will also present a number of recent paintings alongside significant works from the 1980s and 90s, including Ambre Solaire and Going for God II (both 1982), two of the largest and earliest works on canvas, and Jaffa Jaffa Jaffa (1991), a four-metre long painting on steel panel.

The exhibition will feature one of McLean’s major public commissions, a 5.5-metre high steel sculpture entitled Ludgate Head (1992), originally sited on Fleet Place in the City of London. A selection of films will be shown in timed screenings in the auditorium in addition to gallery presentations of Urban Turban (1994) and In the Shadow of Your Smile Bob (1971), a film that McLean made in response to a photograph of the artist Robert Morris that was published in the catalogue for the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form (1969).

The exhibition draws upon public and private collections in the UK and Europe, including the Arnolfini, Bristol; the Arts Council Collection; the British Council; British Land; Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna; David Roberts Collection, London; the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Tate and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. The exhibition builds upon renewed critical attention and follows a solo exhibition of early and recent work at Leeds Art Gallery, Bruce McLean: Another Condition of Sculpture (15 February – 11 May 2014). It is supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.

A 208-page monograph, edited by firstsite’s Senior Curator, Michelle Cotton, will be launched during the exhibition. It features new essays by Clarrie Wallis, Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain and Michelle Cotton and an extended interview with the artist. These are accompanied by over 100 illustrations including new paintings, previously unpublished drawings, posters and ephemera. Covering a period of almost 50 years, it will be the most comprehensive publication on McLean’s work to date.

Bruce McLean (b. 1944, Glasgow) studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1961 to 1963, and then at St. Martin’s School of Art, London from 1963 to 1966, where he was taught by Anthony Caro and Phillip King. From 1966, he has held teaching posts at Croydon School of Art; Maidstone College of Art; Stadelschüle, Frankfurt; Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam; and the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London, where he was Head of Graduate Painting from 2002 to 2010. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Leeds Art Gallery (2014); The New Art Gallery Walsall (2010); Chelsea Space, London (2006); Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh (2000); Norwich Gallery (1996); Arnolfini, Bristol (1990, 1980); Henry Moore Sculpture Studio, Toronto (1990); Tate Gallery, London (1985, 1972); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1983); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1982); Kunsthalle Basel (1981); Third Eye Centre, Glasgow; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (1980); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1975); and Nova Scotia College of Art Gallery, Halifax (1970). His work has been presented in significant survey exhibitions, including documenta 6 and 7, Kassel (1977, 1982); Zeitgeist, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (1982); A New Spirit of Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, London (1981); Information, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1970); Op Losse Schroeven, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1969) and When Attitudes Become Form, Kunsthalle Bern (1969). He was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize in 1985, and currently lives and works in London.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/

Limitless Dance Performance Group 15 - 25 years

  • 22 September 2014 — 26 January 2015 *on now

A session to try out the basics of breaking in a cool and relaxed space. With local dancers Limitless, specialising in breaking and basketball skills. Bring suitable clothing: beanie, loose t-shirt or hoodie with tracksuit bottoms and trainers. There will be opportunities for performance and collaboration with artists and other dancers.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15

Circuit @ The Waiting Room 15 - 25 years

  • 23 September 2014 — 27 January 2015 *on now

Tuesday Fortnightly

Join Circuit artist Mandy Roberts to explore the local environment, St Botolph’s, and beyond!

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/circuit-the-waiting-room

Art Makers for 5 - 7 year olds

  • 11 November — 9 December 2014 *on now

Try out new art styles using fine materials, with a great artist to lead you making and creating. The sessions culminate in a mini exhibition for friends and family to attend.

Suitable for

  • 5-6

Admission

£3

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/art-makers-for-children-aged-5-7-years

Craft Club Tuesdays

  • 11 November — 9 December 2014 *on now

7 - 11 years

Join members of the Colchester and Colne Embroiderers Group to try out crafting and sewing.

Suitable for

  • 7-10

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/culture-drop-in

Limitless Breaking Tuesdays

  • 11 November — 9 December 2014 *on now

8 - 11 year olds

A session to try out the basics of breaking in a cool and relaxed space. With local dancers Limitless, specialising in breaking and basketball skills. Wear suitable clothing: comfortable, loose t -shirt or hoodie with tracksuit bottoms and trainers.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£3

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/culture-drop-in

Flow Group 15 - 25

  • 24 September 2014 — 28 January 2015 *on now

The Flow Group meets to spin 'flow toys'; teach and learn from each other; while having fun and meeting new people. There is also opportunities for performance, teaching and fire spinning.


*'Flow Toys' refers to toys for manipulation, dancing, tricks or performance that requires focused motivation. This can result in a positive, energized and happy state of mind .Using hula-hoops, poi, staff, juggling balls, contact juggling, unicycle, diabolo, devil sticks and crash mats. Please feel free to bring your own toys, but we also provide equipment.

Suitable for

  • 16-17

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/flow-group-2

Painting Wednesdays

  • 12 November — 10 December 2014 *on now

8 - 11 years

If you love drawing, join us for a session to try out new skills and painting techniques, take home something you create each week.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 7-10

Admission

£3

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/culture-drop-in

Painting, Printing and Drawing: Art for 11 - 14 year olds

  • 13 November — 11 December 2014 *on now

A brand new after school session for arty young people. You’ll try out new techniques and materials with a professional artist.

Suitable for

  • 11-13

Admission

Drop in session £4 per week or £32 for 10 sessions (getting 2 sessions free)

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/painting-printing-and-drawing-art-for-11-14-year-olds

Dollop: Sensory play for under 2s

  • 13 November — 11 December 2014 *on now

Creative play for children and their parents / carers. Join our artists each week to investigate texture, colour and shape and learn together through game playing and creative work.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

£4.50 per child per session (adult included).

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/dollop-sensory-play-for-under-2s

Squidge: Creative play for pre-school children

  • 13 November — 11 December 2014 *on now

Find a mixture of everyday and unusual materials, and intriguing sensory activities for you and your children to experiment with.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

£4.50 per child per session (adult included).

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/squidge-creative-play-for-pre-school-children

Dance and Mvoement for Well Being

  • 14 November — 12 December 2014 *on now

Suitable for over 60s

A gentle session suitable for those who wish to ease joint mobility, improve agility, balance and self awareness in movement. All movements will be adaptable to suit individual needs, including those who wish to participate while seated.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£3

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/dance-and-movement-for-well-being-suitable-for-over-60s-2

Painting the Space

  • 13 November — 11 December 2014 *on now

Sessions exploring painting in the space. Responding to firstsite’s exhibition and spaces you will try out new techniques and explore your own art practice.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£65 for five-week course, all materials included

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/painting-the-space

20,000 Days on Earth: Extraordinary Musicians

  • 27 November 2014 From 7:30pm *on now

A bold and unique look at one of the most mysterious and charismatic figures in music, the iconic musician and writer Nick Cave. Defying traditional rock documentary aesthetics, directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard push the genre to unexplored territory, presenting a vision of an artist in a way that is unconventional yet undeniably intimate.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/20-000-days-on-earth-extraordinary-musicians

Through the night at the museum: Sleeping in the gallery

  • 29 — 30 November 2014 10pm-9:30am

Pack your duvet or sleeping bag, load up on torches and join us for a unique experience! You will enjoy an artist designed cocktail, night-time tour around the galleries, acoustic music to lull you through until the midnight hours, a special midnight screening with hot chocolate and finally a hearty breakfast of bacon rolls and strong coffee to welcome the new day.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£25 per person

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/through-the-night-at-the-museum-sleeping-in-the-gallery

Sculptures After Dark Family Event

  • 29 November 2014 6:30-9pm

Suitable for families with children aged 6 - 12 years

A special event for families to see our building and sculptures in the dark. All the lights will be switched off and you can bring your favourite torches along to help guide you around the extraordinary spaces then follow a glow-trail around the building before finishing with a warming hot chocolate.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

£3 per person

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/sculptures-after-dark-family-event

Christmas Craft Sessions

  • 30 November 2014 11am-4pm
  • 7 December 2014 11am-4pm

Create a unique Christmas gift.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Two Days for £100

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/christmas-craft-sessions

Fault in our Stars: Young People

  • 5 December 2014 From 6pm

Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a scorn for the conformist, and a love that takes them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more astonishing given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/fault-in-our-stars-young-people

The Great White Silence: Anniversary Screening

  • 5 December 2014 From 11:30am

To mark 100 years since Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions this film tells the story of the ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913) led by Captain Scott. Joining Scott on board the Terra Nova was official photographer and cinematographer Herbert Ponting, the images that he captured have fired imaginations ever since.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members,

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/the-great-white-silence-anniversary-screenings

Touch of Sin: World Cinema Season

  • 7 December 2014 From 2pm

A new series of world cinema with support from the Film Hub Central East. Local communities in Essex are welcome to suggest films for our winter / spring seasons. As an introduction, we have programmed three films from the East. To join the project or to suggest a film email: judith@firstsite.uk.net

Dir. Zhangke Jia (2013) 120mins, Cert. 15

A reflection on contemporary China told through four people in four different provinces. An angry miner revolts against the corruption of his village leaders. A migrant worker at home for the New Year discovers the infinite possibilities a firearm can offer. A pretty receptionist at a sauna is pushed to the limit when a rich client assaults her and a young factory worker goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/touch-of-sin-world-cinema-series

Frozen Sing Along and Art

  • 13 December 2014 1-4pm

Pre-movie icy mocktails, popcorn and arty Frozen activities, including Olaf Christmas cards, rainbow reindeer food mixing and a sparkly snowflake covered grotto.

Dir. Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee (2013) 102 mins, Cert. PG

Courageous optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic expedition, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hysterical snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£5.00 per person (includes refreshments, materials, film and activities)

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/not-finished-frozen-singalong-and-art

Laugh Yourself Silly: EAFA

  • 14 December 2014 2-4pm

A selection of delightful and unusual archive footage screened in partnership with the East Anglian Film Archive.

Comedy archive shorts selected by Jack Williams (firstsite’s Young Film programmer)

A range of short comedy films from 1900-1970s. A selection of intriguing comic films shows the outlandish charm of life in the past.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/laugh-yourself-silly-eafa

Snowpiercer: Unseen Cinema

  • 18 December 2014 From 7:30pm

An eclectic selection not shown previously in Colchester selected by Colchester Film Festival Directors.

Dir. Joon-ho Bong (2013) 126 mins, Cert.18

A failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system then emerges. A sci-fi thriller full of surprises, Snowpeircer is based on a French graphic novel from which film director Joon Ho delivers a dystopian cinematic treat.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/snowpiercer-unseen-cinema

Maleficient: Family Film Saturdays

  • 20 December 2014 From 3pm

Dir. Robert Stromberg (2014) 97 mins, Cert. PG

Angelina Jolie shines in this twist on the traditional Sleeping Beauty story. This is the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain; an unforgiving fairy who is driven to curse an infant princess, only to learn that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.

Admission

£2.50

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/maleficent-family-film-saturdays

Maleficent: Autism Friendly Family Film

  • 20 December 2014 From 1pm

firstsite continues these screenings for families who have members on the autism spectrum or need a relaxed screening. A comfortable and easy going welcome is offered where the lights will be at a low level not dark and the volume is slightly quieter. Cinema goers are free to move around, make sounds or noise or come and go in the auditorium. There are no trailers in our cinema and you can bring your own snacks to this screening.

Dir. Robert Stromberg (2014) 97 mins, Cert. PG

Angelina Jolie shines in this twist on the traditional Sleeping Beauty story. This is the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain; an unforgiving fairy who is driven to curse an infant princess, only to learn that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2.50

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/maleficent-autism-friendly-family-film

Death in Venice: LGBT

  • 8 January 2015 From 7:30pm

Dir. Luchino Visconti (1971) 125 mins, Cert. 12

Featuring a young Dirk Bogarde as Gustav Von Aschenbach, Death in Venice follows a composer absolutely absorbed in his work, as he arrives in Venice. Here he meets a young man by whose beauty he becomes obsessed. His intense affection and its inevitable and tragic penalty is told here in Visconti's brilliant work.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 11-13
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£6, £3.50 concession, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/death-in-venice-lgbt

The Wind Rises: World Cinema Series

  • 11 January 2015 From 2pm

A new series of world cinema with support from the Film Hub Central East. Local communities in Essex are welcome to suggest films for our winter / spring seasons. As an introduction, we have programmed three films from the East. To join the project or to suggest a film email: judith@firstsite.uk.net

Dir. Hayao Miyazaki (2013) 126 mins, Cert. PG

The latest film from Studio Ghibli director Miyazaki tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, from his boyhood dreams of becoming a pilot, to becoming one of the most innovative aircraft designers in the world. Jiro eventually makes fighter planes used during World War II. This film delivers gorgeous visuals, intelligent storytelling and mystery.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 18+
  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 16-17

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/the-wind-rises-world-cinema-series

Pulp: Extraordinary Musicians

  • 15 January 2015 — 15 December 2014

Dir. Florian Habicht (2014) 90 mins, Cert. 12A

A film about death, love and supermarkets! Pulp found fame on the world stage in the 1990s with anthems. 25 years on, in 2012 they returned to their hometown for what could be their last UK concert. This film features exclusive footage of their extraordinary live shows and interviews with the band sharing their thoughts on fame, love, mortality and car maintenance.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 16-17
  • 18+
  • 14-15

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/pulp-extraordinary-musicians

Camille Claudel 1915: Coffee Morning Screenig

  • 16 January 2015 From 11:30am

Dir. Bruno Dumont (2013) 95 mins, Cert. PG

This historic biopic stars Juliette Binoche in mesmeric form as Camille Claudel (protégé of Auguste Rodin). Claudel is in an asylum trying to prove to her doctor that she is mentally stable while waiting in hope that her brother, the poet and Christian mystic Paul Claudel, will visit and consent to her discharge from the institution.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 14-15
  • 18+
  • 11-13
  • 16-17

Admission

£7.50 includes Hot drink and cake

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/camille-claudel-1915-coffee-morning-screenin

Advert-tastic: EAFA

  • 18 January 2015 From 2pm

A selection of delightful and unusual archive footage screened in partnership with the East Anglian Film Archive.

Archive promotional adverts selected by Mary Dodds (firstsite Young Film programmer)

A humourous collection from 1926 - 1970s of advertisements for everything from mustard to filmmaking. There’s Colmans, Saxa Salt, Robinsons Barley and many more old favourites featured.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/advert-tastic-eafa

Begin Again: Unseen Cinema

  • 29 January 2015 From 7:30pm

An eclectic selection not shown previously in Colchester selected by Colchester Film Festival Directors.

Dir. John Carney (2013) 102 mins, Cert. 15

Begin Again brings us a career best role from Keira Knightly as she portrays a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. A chance encounter between a disillusioned music-business executive turns into a promising collaboration between the two.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 18+
  • 16-17

Admission

£6, £3.50 concessions, £3 members

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/begin-again-unseen-cinema

The Circus: Autism Friendly Family Film

  • 31 January 2015 From 1pm

firstsite continues these screenings for families who have members on the autism spectrum or need a relaxed screening. A comfortable and easy going welcome is offered where the lights will be at a low level not dark and the volume is slightly quieter. Cinema goers are free to move around, make sounds or noise or come and go in the auditorium. There are no trailers in our cinema and you can bring your own snacks to this screening.


Dir. Charlie Chaplin (1928) 72 mins, Cert. U

This is one of the finest Chaplin silent comedies for which he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award. This is a great introduction to silent films for a younger audience.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2.50

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/the-circus-autism-friendly-family-film

The Circus: Family Film Saturdays

  • 31 January 2015 From 3pm

Dir. Charlie Chaplin (1928) 72 mins, Cert. U

This is one of the finest Chaplin silent comedies for which he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award. This is a great introduction to silent films for a younger audience.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2.50

Website

http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/the-circus-family-film-saturdays

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