Alice in Wonderland at WAM Boola Bardip
Andrew F Peirce, ACMI Exhibition Director Chris Harris Talks About Alice in Wonderland at Boola Bardip WA Museum, 18 February 2023
Andrew heads down the rabbit hole with the travelling exhibition at Boola Bardip WA Museum in Perth, ACMI’s Alice in Wonderland exhibition. Featuring a mammoth array of archival materials from since Lewis Carroll’s iconic and formative book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was first released in 1865, this exhibition takes you on a magical journey with early silent era films, to Jan Svankmajer’s haunting and eerie stop motion feature, to Disney’s animated version, all the way to the recent Tim Burton entries. Along the way, there is a wealth of knowledge about the various different versions of the story, whether it be through drug awareness campaigns, anime, or even X-rated musical comedies: you name it, it’s here in some capacity.
Yet, don’t let the mention of X-rated musical comedies make you feel that this is solely an adult experience, as kids of all ages can find something to enjoy here, with a mystical maze like hallway experience with small doors, a spectacular Mad Hatter tea party experience where a bare table comes to life in front of you, and so much more.
Once you’ve experienced the exhibition, you can also take part in the Story Time, which is for families with young kids, and features a half-hour story telling session on Friday and Sunday mornings. Additionally, on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays while the exhibition is on, you can participate in an elaborate Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with high tea sessions running at 1030am and 2pm until the exhibition wraps up on the 23rd of April.
To help give a bit of insight into the exhibition, I chatted with the director of exhibitions and touring, Chris Harris, about his favourite part of the exhibtion, how the exhibition has been pulled together, and the logistics of bringing Jan Svankmajer’s puppetry to Australia and around the globe. Chris starts the conversation talking about the journey of the exhibition, which launched in 2018 in Melbourne, and has visited Singapore prior to landing in Perth.