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Exhibition: Samuel Beckett - The Irish European – University of Reading

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Exhibition: Samuel Beckett - The Irish European

Release Date 25 January 2006

Samuel Beckett 1973 © John HaynesUniversity's Collection to be displayed at Museum of Reading 25 March – 25 June 2006 2006 marks the centenary of the birth of Samuel Beckett, one of the towering dramatists and writers of the twentieth century. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, Beckett is the figure who, perhaps more than any other writer or intellectual in mid-twentieth century Europe, articulated the sense of a civilisation in crisis in the post-War era. The University of Reading's Beckett Collection is the world's largest archive solely dedicated to the writer and will feature in a major biographical exhibition exploring the life and works of the influential writer at the Museum of Reading from 25 March to 25 June 2006. Featuring interactive, visual and auditory components, 'Samuel Beckett – The Irish European' will tell the story of Beckett's life and achievements from his birth in Dublin on 13 April 1906, through his wartime experiences in France, to his worldwide fame following the success of his acclaimed play 'Waiting for Godot'. The exhibition pays tribute to Beckett's Irish origins, which left a formative impression on his imagination, but also explores the profound influence that European culture had on his outlook and work. A central feature of the exhibition will be an installation which incorporates many of the memorable stage images and props that made Beckett such an iconic literary and theatrical figure. A separate collection of stunning video works by Bruce Nauman will complement the exhibition. In addition to the exhibition, the Beckett International Foundation, which co-ordinates the Collection, will be holding a series of major events to celebrate his life and work. Highlights include an exhibition of the photographer John Haynes' work at the University's Museum of English Rural Life; a gala evening hosted by Oscar-winning film director Anthony Minghella; the world premiere of Beckett's novella, 'First Love', directed by Beckett's own assistant director, Walter Asmus, and starring Lawrence Held. Reading Town Hall will welcome Sir Peter Hall who will talk about his experiences directing the first London production of 'Waiting for Godot' at The Royal Court Theatre in 1955 and John Banville, the distinguished Irish novelist and 2005 Booker prize-winner, who will speak about Beckett's late prose works and reveal the reasons for his own great admiration for Beckett's writing. For further details of The Beckett International Foundation and the Beckett Centenary exhibitions and events please go to End Images available on request. For media enquiries please contact Eleanor Holmes, University of Reading press officer on: (Tel) 0118 378 6166 (Email) Notes to Editors 1. The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise. For further information visit 2. Reading Museum Service aims to be a centre of excellence in providing opportunities for life-long learning through real objects and original documents. Reading Museum Service offers learning experiences that are fun and suitable for all the family. From the serious student to the youngest child, all levels are catered for. We offer opportunities for both formal and informal learning including the chance to handle real objects. For further information visit

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