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Box of Light which runs from 25-27 October at the Library of Birmingham is a celebration of the pre-cinema,magic lantern and early cinema. A series of events, talks workshops and activities taking place throughout the weekend. The event coincides with the Magic Lantern Society's Convention.

Library of Birmingham and The REP 25 – 27 October 2013

To coincide with the Magic Lantern Society’s annual conference in Birmingham, Flatpack Festival presents Box of Light, a  weekend full of events, workshops and activities celebrating early cinema.

Before the days of film, the magic lantern was an important source of entertainment, using glass slides to create moving images and visual tricks. Birmingham played a key role in this pre-cinema world, producing thousands of lanterns for export, leading to the birth of the flipbook, and eventually the cinema. 

Box of Light Variety Show

25 October

7.30 – 9.30pm – £8

Studio Theatre, Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND  

An evening of edification and entertainment featuring acclaimed performer Professor Heard, who will provide a whistle-stop history of lantern shows and explain how they helped pave the way for cinema. This will be followed by the Physioscope, a Victorian experiment with light and mirrors recreated for the first time in a century by Roderick MacLachlan, and the finale of the show is provided by French artist Julien Maire, whose Open Core performance includes a live dissection of a video projector. 

Birmingham de Lux

Saturday 26 October 11am and 1.30pm, £5

Birmingham de Lux is Ben Waddington’s exploration into the city’s people, locations and moments that led up to the creation of cinema. The story of the transition from theatre to picture house is one of bold experimentation, imaginative use of simple devices, intriguing prototypes and assorted forgotten wonders that prefigure our long-term fascination with the moving image. The tour takes place in and around the city centre and lasts approximately 90 minutes.


26 October

1.30pm – Free (bookable)

Designer Benjamin Redford will be giving a talk about his ingenious miniature slide projector which has proved to be an online sensation and a big hit on Kickstarter. In response to modern technology and the craze for Instagram, Benjamin has created a tiny projector to share Instagram pictures called the ‘Projecteo’. This analogue approach works by creating wheels of slide film to hold up to 9 images, which can be watched and enjoyed as a slideshow

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