Black Country comedian and actor Lenny Henry has just completed the voiceover for a short 1950s-style film of Dudley Zoological Gardens to be screened early next year in our newly-opened Tecton Interpretation Centre.
Animal Architecture, which has been made by renowned artist and writer, Adam Kossoff pictured below with Assistant, Edwin Mingard was filmed throughout late spring and features life at DZG, focusing on the relationship between visitors, animals and buildings. Adam said: “Animal Architecture tells the story of Dudley Zoo and the restoration of its unique animal enclosures, which were designed in 1937 by Modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin.
“It emulates the black and white documentary style of the 1950’s ‘Free Cinema’ movement and was filmed on a wind-up 16mm Bolex camera, to capture the everyday, poetic feel of the zoo.”
Compiled during the restoration of the zoo’s Entrance and Bear Ravine, the film reveals how Modernist design gave equal importance to the architecture of the enclosures as it did to the welfare of the animals and explores the relationship between humans and animals, while emphasising the zoo’s atmosphere and its importance as a leisure and cultural attraction for local people.
The idea for the 17 minutes 30 seconds film took, which took two years to complete was mooted by Kossoff during his filming of Made in Wolverhampton, when he visited Dudley Zoo for the first time. The film, which has been funded by the Arts Council of England, will be shown in DZG’s Tecton Interpretation Centre for a three-month period from spring 2015 before transferring to Wolverhampton Art Gallery later in the year. DZG Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman said: “It was fascinating working with Adam and his team and we are delighted that Lenny did the voiceover as he has such strong connections with the site. “We are currently working with Adam on a launch date and will be premiering the film at the start of our main season next year.”