The team at Beckford’s Tower were thrilled to host a special new performance up at the Tower earlier this month, created and produced by Somerset-based art organisation State of Trust.
The original dance, film and music performance, titled “Coleridge Unbound”, explored the theme of slavery, with specific reference to William Beckford, who was an owner of enslaved people, and Samuel Coleridge, who was a prominent abolitionist.
Attendees watched the performance in one of the very rooms where William Beckford would once have sat and admired his vast collections of books and artefacts, many of which were funded by his ownership of enslaved people and plantations.
Watch the Coleridge Unbound performance
Using Coleridge’s abolitionist text as a stimulus, State of Trust’s new dance interpretation responded to William Beckford’s story, exploring themes of slavery and present-day issues. The performance also drew on themes of the Somerset landscape, important to both Coleridge and Beckford, who as contemporaries and Somerset residents, represented very different perspectives on England’s relationship with the transatlantic slave trade.
The performance was followed by a Q&A with the audience, giving those who watched the opportunity to question the producers and actors.
Watch the Q&A
We would like to thank the following supporters: Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, South West Museum Development, Richard Budd Photography, Somerset Film, Alfoxton House, Unitarian Chapel Taunton, The Friends of Coleridge, Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme, Somerset West and Taunton, and The Museum of Somerset.
REMINDER: Beckford’s Tower is closed to the public until 2024 as we carry out capital works funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.