Hallelujah Project – Interviews
We are supported by an excellent team with huge experience of working with historic buildings. Most of the design team has been working on the project since 2017.
Catherine Halcrow and Dug Mackie from Outside Studios
What are your roles on the Hallelujah Project?
We are working on the presentation of the historic rooms and the stories of Handel and Hendrix at Brook Street. As interpretation designers, we focus on the staging of the visitor experience – physically fitting people in, and building in lots of ways for people to get the experience they hoped for.
What are the new interpretation and displays intended to achieve?
The goal is to bring the Handel’s house to life and into a more intimate focus – like the re-creation of the Hendrix flat does for Jimi Hendrix. A traditional historic house presentation is beautiful, but often the real people who lived there can feel ‘tidied away’. We want Handel to be to the fore.
What will the new exhibitions add to the visitor experience?
For the first time people will visit the complete house, including a 1740s kitchen, full of carefully sourced furniture and art. Then there will be new exhibitions in five less historically significant rooms, presenting historic instruments and artworks, models, listening booths and film that explore Handel’s music and his London in the 1740s. Hendrix fans will also enjoy reminiscing and appreciate rarely-seen live footage.
How will modern technology help to bring the history to life?
We are very focused on keeping an authentic ambience in the historic rooms, using technology to add depth and immersion. A digital app will provide the detail on the art and furnishings, so we can keep the rooms free of museum-style labels. We’ll also use technology to bring key moments to life. For example, in the Room where Handel composed, there will be a fantastic show using sound and projection that ‘takes over’ the space for a short time. The show explores how Handel created Messiah right here.
What is special about the Hallelujah Project?
There are few composers with such a central role in our national life. Who could have predicted that, so close to the project’s launch, we’d all hear his incredible anthems at another coronation? The Hallelujah Project for us is about connecting the ways in which both Handel and Hendrix have touched all of our lives, and rooting them in this physical space we’re so lucky to be able to still visit – and in so doing, to raise the hairs on thousands of necks.