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Automata on the Pier

Hastings Pier

14 March to 15 April 2018

10am to 5pm daily

Free entry, donations welcomeTurning Fish

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, internationally famous for its extraordinary collection of automata, comes to Hastings for the first time with an unmissable exhibition of mechanical moving toys and many other marvellous mechanical inventions.

'It's impossible to not be impressed, and in some cases totally stunned, by the genius and beautiful mechanics of the automata.'  Time Out, London

To view and understand the magic of automata, take a look at CMT's YouTube channel

Automata on the Pier, a collaboration between Hastings Pier and the community interest arts company, Culture Shift, will feature works by renowned artists Paul Spooner, Keith Newstead, Ron Fuller, Peter Markey, Matt Smith and Carlos Zapata as well as creations by members of the Craftivist Network, a consortium of local community organisations.

This unique show will celebrate the history and development of automata in the context of Hastings Pier's own rich heritage as an iconic destination for visitors from all over the world, celebrating the diverse creative, scientific and engineering skills of experts and the town's people themselves.  A wide reaching community project is also running alongside the exhibition, which includes workshops for 400 families and 150 school children, as well as a two month mentoring scheme for people from 7 community groups who are making their own automata pieces for the exhibition.

Exhibition highlights include Matt Smith's swimming fish, Peter Markey's wave machines and Paul Spooner's famous spaghetti-eating man in a bath.  Both Paul and Peter created pieces for Sue Jackson, the endearingly eccentric artist, who owned and ran the original Cabaret as a craft shop in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1979 before moving in 1984 to Covent Garden, where for over 15 years it acquired a cult following and attracted visitors and collections from around the globe.   Spaghetti eating man

During the weeks of the exhibition, special events are also taking place:

Tim Hunkin Talk - 'The Changing Fortunes of Amusement Arcades'

Thursday 12 April, 6.30pm - £5

Designer and amusement arcade owner Tim Hunkin will be giving a talk in the Birch Room (Hastings Pier) on 'The Changing Fortunes of Amusement Arcades' - from humble beginnings to worldwide domination and hopes of revival'.  Tim will explore the history of arcades and his own satirical machines on Southwold pier and in London incuding hte hilarious Money laundering  i-Zombie and Divorce.

Family Workshops - How to Make Automata

Various Dates, from £2-£5 (check Hastings Pier website and social media for dates)

Throughout the month long exhibition, Hastings Pier will be hosting a number of family workshops, where children will be taught how to make their own automata by local artists and teachers.

Craftivist Automata Community Day

Saturday 24 March, 1.30pm-4.30pm - free

A celebration of the community project led by Culture Shift & The Craftivist Network alongside people from Active Arts, Boathouse Theatre, Autism Sussex, Hastings & Bexhill MENCAP, Parchment Trust, Seaview and South Down's Wellbeing Centre in Bexhill and Seaview.  This will be a chance for friends and members of the public to view all of the exhibits made as part of the project, accompanied by music, performance and refreshments.

Green Jungle

‘This is wonderful news for Hastings and Hastings Pier!’

Anthony Horowitz OBE;;;

Automata on the Pier, 14 March to 15 April