Widow wear inspires Night Shift

Seasonal garb inspired a social event with a hint of education: Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times.

Felicity

Felicity

A sign in Old Town at the Royal B.C. Museum formed a ghost of an idea in Kim Gough’s mind.

“Mourning orders given prompt attention,” it reads.

Black dresses, veils, handkerchiefs and widow’s-wear laid out for the Halloween season inspired a social event with a hint of education: Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times.

“This is the first time I’ve tried to slip some learning in there,” said Gough. “I wanted to find an event where people may have had no conscious intent for learning.”

She knows adults want an excuse to be part of the education program, having seen parents and caregivers look wistfully on during children and family programs. She calls Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times a “Wonder Sunday for grownups.”

Wonder Sunday is an interactive, learning-based event geared toward kids and families that happens on the last Sunday of each month.

In the adults-only version, D.J. Primitive and Bucan Bucan provide the live soundtrack as costumed players offer insight into characters and customs from the past.

The Halloween-themed event introduces experts extolling true tales of life and death from a Victorian point of view.

Actors will fill the space on the third floor of the provincial museum with characters. A pair of Pioneer Players will portray mourning widows while others offer gothic readings of Victorian poems and stories.

A lovelorn fortune teller – popular in Victorian times – will try to lure guests into traditional games and activities.

“This thought that spirits are closer to the earth this time of year gave people the opportunity to reach out to them,” Gough said. “(Mediums) really became this craze. A lot of it however, was parlour tricks and theatrics. It became an opportunity to perform.”

A short-sighted medium will bring her brand of treachery offering a Victorian-era séance.

“You can’t talk about spirits and not talk about how it affected the living,” Gough said.

Magestic Theatre will become the lecture theatre, featuring seriously spooky but true tales from a collections manager, an archivist and an archaeologist.

Collections manager Delphine Castles will show the meaning hidden in the mourning clothing of early Victorians.

“She’s going to talk about the clothing and … how it passed along messages about how to behave and how to treat (widows).”

Archivist Ann ten Cate will share some of the tragic stories found in the B.C. Coroners’ reports, preserved at the B.C. Archives, and University of Victoria archaeologist Erin McGuire will show how she uncovers death as revealed in the archaeological record.

The Royal B.C. Museum hosts Night Shift: Living and Dying in Victorian Times on Oct. 25, and the evening includes a cash bar and light snacks.

Guests are invited to arrive between 7 and 8 p.m. to view other exhibits, then enjoy the party in Old Town at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 and are available only in advance.

Participants must be 19 years of age or older and photo ID will be required for entry. Visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read