Thinking In, And Out, Of ‘The Box’ For The Future Of Plymouth’s Past

The new name for Plymouth’s pioneering £37 million cultural centre is set to quite literally explode onto the scene this weekend, with an unexpected piece of contemporary dance and street theatre which will herald in the title for the new ‘museum of the future’: The Box.

Following a recent teaser campaign, shoppers in the city centre are set to witness ‘choruses’ of walking boxes around the Drake Circus area, this coming Saturday, before they all come together in a collective global crescendo that will them illustrate the new name and strapline: ‘The Box – Where the Greatest Explorer is You.’

Commissioned from the Barbican Theatre, and directed by Mark Laville, ‘The Box’s’ stunning launch performance is set to showcase the stories of over 100,000 boxes holding thousands of artefacts and items, to be housed in the pioneering new museum and centre, due to open in 2020, as part of the 2020 Mayflower commemoration.

A symbol for Plymouth’s current regeneration, and a museum for the future, the new name and matching brand has been selected as a result of research and collaboration with a number of local and national focus groups, as well as ongoing joint working with the city museum and art gallery’s staff, funders and volunteers.

In collaboration with the world’s leading arts design, marketing and advertising agency, Dewynters, the centre’s leadership team has selected the name ‘The Box’ alongside a striking new logo, which will also been revealed across the hoardings at the building site on North Hill.  The strapline ‘Where the Greatest Explorer is You’ will also be used across initial communications, as will the term ‘Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives’ to reflect the consolidation of the venues which will be managed by The Box team.

Interim Chief Executive of the project, Paul Brookes, said: “Finding the right name is a major challenge, however ‘The Box’ just fits us perfectly in so many ways.  The central feature of our daring, contemporary architecture is already entitled ‘The Box in the Sky’ and is the strong concrete box, the dramatic cantilevered archive in the sky, designed by the architect Ben Aston, which will house the archives and precious collections from around the city. In addition, the initial concept for the history centre was based on a modern-day take on a cabinet of curiosities, revealing what’s hidden within, whilst provoking thinking that is out of the box.

“So, our dual mission of loving our past, whilst stepping into our future is at play here. Plus our team is currently working furiously behind the scenes, co-ordinating tens of thousands of individual boxes, packing the varied collections, which will be housed within The Box for its official opening in 2020.”

Mr Brookes continued: “Like our architecture, ‘The Box’ as our title is a strong, brave, contemporary move. As this weekend’s performance from the Barbican Theatre team will show, although to some it may at first glance appear simple, it actually holds a great depth and a multitude of meanings.”

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said; “The name ‘The Box’ symbolises the pioneering spirit of our exciting new contemporary museum. This is an absolutely transformational project, creating a place and experience that will encourage engagement and understanding through sharing its vast and diverse collections and archives. Alongside this, The Box will see some of best of contemporary art come to Plymouth. What’s on at the Box is going to be a question that not only Plymouth residents will ask, but regional day-trippers as well as national and international visitor.”

Dewynters, the marketing and design agency for the arts and live entertainment, has worked on branding projects for national and international organisations including the Royal Academy, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and the British Film Institute. Dewynters led the creation and development of The Box brand.

James Charrington, CEO of Dewynters said; “This has been an intriguing process for all involved, and we have had an extremely passionate response from all of the focus groups.  The project started with over 70 naming options, and by a clear process of elimination, brought that down to five. ‘The Box’ emerged as the definite favourite, for a number of emotive and strategic reasons.  The logo was designed to reflect the exciting new proposition in Plymouth, and is based on the structure of a specimen box with the different typefaces representing the individual collections coming together under one roof. The naming and logo device will give opportunity for future marketing campaigns under titles such as ‘What’s in The Box?’, ‘Think out of the Box’ and ‘It’s all at The Box.’”

Funding for The Box has been secured from a range of significant partners including Plymouth City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, the Coastal Communities Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Plymouth University and the Wolfson Foundation.

The launch performances will be brought together with The Box team working with The Barbican Theatre, Drake Circus, Yo Sushi and Marks & Spencer.  Lead Artistic Director Mark Laville of the Barbican Theatre has brought in Nicola Rosewarne as Director, Jules Laville as Choreographer and Matt Dean as the Designer.  A host of professional artists are drawn in from the city and region, including Paul Lacey from the Scribes, Jack Rosewarne-Hebb from the Andy Quick Band and artists from Onyx Aerial Arts and Yskynna Aerial Arts.  The creative team also partnered with City College Plymouth’s Performing Arts Department to create the piece.

Paul Brookes said: “This coming weekend’s launch performances will illustrate how the Plymouth cultural sector can work together with the businesses and facilities within the city centre to showcase the artistic journey that we are all on together.  Thank you to everyone involved; to Drake Circus, Yo Sushi and Marks & Spencer, for hosting this innovative launch for us, and to all the performers and volunteers who made this such an exciting event.”

Coastal Communities Minister Jake Berry said: “This Government is determined to revive our historic coastal towns and ‘The Box’ will be an amazing symbol for both Plymouth’s and the whole of Britain’s coastal heritage.

“Backed by £2 million from our Coastal Communities Fund, this exciting new museum is set to become a key visitor attraction and this launch performance is just the first step on its journey.”

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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