17th - 18th - 19th November 2017

 A Revolutionary Reminder a three-day event held across Colchester that used the centenary of the Russian Revolution to celebrate the possibility of radical and revolutionary social change.

A mobile programme of new artworks and piano performances by Pianist Jason Frederick played from a lorry, outdoors, across Colchester.

Funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts. Supported by Art Exchange, Colchester Arts Centre, and Colchester Trades Union Council.

Day 1: Fri 17th November

10:15 – 6th Form College video
12:00 – University of Essex video one
13:15 – Colchester Institute video
15:20 – St. John’s Green (Primary School, Abbey Fields)
video two
18:00 – Wivenhoe Station video three

Day 2: Saturday 18th November

11:00 – Balkerne Gate Mercury Theatre) video four
12:20 - Silver Oyster Pub (Queen Elizabeth Way, Monkwick)
14:20 - Weston Homes Community Stadium
15:40 – Firstsite
20:00 – Town Centre (Culver Street close to Primark)

Day 3: Sunday 19th November

15:00 – Castle Park (Dutch Quarter entrance)
17:00 – Concluding at Old Bus Depot Queen Street + Interviews video five

Posters and graphic design were a vital tool of the Russian Revolution. Low cost to produce they enjoyed mass distribution. A Revolutionary Reminder gives away free posters to remind all of us of the constant need for revolution. The posters are designed by artists: Adam Burton, Ruth Ewan, Clare Marsh and Mark Titchner.

Clare Marsh who is responsible for the truck decoration and Adam Burton are inspirational activists. Many community meetings feature Clare sewing her colourful and direct political textiles. Adam Burton prints and distributes political pamphlets, and organises political discussions. Ruth Ewan works with communities to explore radical and utopian thought and ask questions about the revolutions in our lives. Mark Titchner’s art draws our attention to marginalised, discredited or forgotten ideas. Presenting corporate mission statements and the maxims of revolutionary socialism, his work exhorts the viewer to believe.

What makes this project revolutionary?

Part 1 - Music + Artist Film

The lives of the composers of the music played in our Revolutionary Reminder programme tell us the story of the Russian Revolution and signify the importance of music and art to revolutionary change.

The revolutionaries used trains to take cinema and music across Russia. Revolutionary Reminder copies this technique using a piano and projector on a truck.

The Russian Revolution has touched our pianist, Jason Frederick’s own career. He studied with Elmer Bernstein who was born in 1922. Bernstein’s mother was from the Ukraine and it is probable that she left Russia to escape the famine and civil war that followed the Revolution. Bernstein himself wrote occasional music reviews for a Communist newspaper in the USA, and composed the music for the Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Another of Jason’s tutors was Leonard Rosenman whose music features in the James Dean movies East of Eden. This film was directed by Elia Kazan himself briefly a member of the Communist Party who first defended then betrayed his ex-comrades when questioned by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952.

Chris Dobrowolski’ s film for Revolutionary Reminder is constructed from a careful observation of the Soviet parades, and our own political culture. These parades and Chris’s film suggest that real revolution is created from below, not inspired by slogans and a celebration of military and government power.


The event was filmed by Ian Partridge who has produced these streaming online videos and a DVD version.

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