Untameable: New Barry Hines exhibition to showcase early drafts of Kes and Threads

Unseen material from the life and work of Barry Hines are on display to the public for the first time as part of a new exhibition at Sheffield University. 

The free Untameable exhibition is inspired by Barry Hines’ writing and the contents of his archive at the University’s Library. Curated by artists Patrick Murphy and Anton Want, the exhibition highlights Hines’ works, mostly covering the personal and political landscapes of working class life in South Yorkshire. The exhibition features the original script of Threads as well as an invitation to a private screening of the film that was sent to people in Sheffield who acted as extras.

Items from the archive featured in the exhibition include; the earliest draft of a Kestrel for a Knave, sections of an unpublished screenplay that is set against the backdrop of the miners’ strike, and an early draft of the novel The Gamekeeper – which Hines wrote on a University of Sheffield textbook while working in the university’s Arts Tower building. The exhibition also includes materials and photographs from Hines’ early life, including his report book from Ecclesfield Grammar School, sports achievement certificates and his old school scarf.

Dr Dave Forrest from the University of Sheffield said: “This exhibition is about bringing the work of Barry Hines back into the present tense. The questions his novels, films and television dramas raise are just as relevant now as they were 50 years ago.”

Anton Want added: “Barry’s work as a writer has an authenticity that people of all ages respond to, his stories are their stories. He was the genuine article and has influenced countless lives both in this region and internationally, first as a teacher and later as a writer. I’d urge people to visit the exhibition which offers a personal insight into his wonderful archives at the University’s Library along with some rare and unseen material.”

Patrick Murphy said: “This project offered the great opportunity of working with the Barry Hines Archive and creating new work in response to it. I found it very rewarding and a chance to visually explore my own working class background. Works such as A Kestrel for a Knave are timeless and universal.”

The exhibition, Untameable, is running now from Monday to Friday between 9am and 7pm, and Saturdays between 12pm and 6pm, at the University of Sheffield’s Western Bank Library until 20 December 2019. Admission is free and open to the public. 

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