A sneak preview of the former I carved for the face of my giant 3m high kitten sculpture soon to be installed in Barnsley Town Centre.
The face is now cast in aluminium and will be attached to the galvanised mild steel sculpture during installation. The sculpture will be sited in the Sheffield Road underpass so that the cat can peer down one of the subways looking for a mouse.
The project was sent to a shortlisted group of artists who are paid a fee to provide 3 sketches each and Barnsley MBC selected the Alhambra Cat as their preferred design.
The sculpture commemorates the Alhambra Theatre built in 1915 that once stood on the site of the new alhambra shopping centre.
The history of theatres reveals that cats were often very much a part of the everyday life. With so much food being thrown at actors they not only dealt with the inevitable rat and mouse problem but became friends of and calmed the nerves of the actors and theatre staff.
There are several several popular theatre cats still in residence today in some of the Uk’s most famous theatres. The most celebrated of today’s theatre cats are the pair at Shakespeare’s Globe. Jack and Cleo (stage names Portia and Brutus) took up their duties a couple of years ago.
The Alhambra Theatre had a cat and mouse relationship with Barnsley Council in it’s later years when it was nearly demolished a couple of times but managed to stay open as a cinema after the theatre closed and then again as a bingo hall after the cinema closed. It was finally demolished in 1982 and the new shopping centre was built.
The Sculpture will be installed in April 2014.