Leprous allsorts! A collection of archives, curios, maps and folklore are to be displayed at the long-awaited Leper Museum overlooking Taddiport in Torrington. The Museum is crammed full of oddities and even contains a period reproduction ‘lepers’ cottage’ and tavern.
The handsome building housing the museum (known locally as the Loft) has recently been given a facelift thanks to the heritage lottery fund, who financed the museums’ creation. The Loft boasts three floors containing the private ‘Lepa Nightclub’ (available for hire to young bands and established artists for rehearsals), the Faux Arts Gallery (an exhibition space for cutting edge talent in the art world), the Faux Arts Theatre group (whose first production, ‘The Life of a Leper’, commissioned especially and directed by Jay Nicholson, is to be shown later in the year) and of course the Leper Museum itself.
The opening of the Museum is timed to coincide with the infamous and spectacular annual Leper Festival, now in its twelfth year, taking place in February.
The torch-lit procession, as featured last year in the Journal, kicks off the show at 9pm and is followed by the beggars’ banquet (sausages in cider!) and the ‘Ugly Pageant’, with all-night bands to follow in the Loft.
The brainchild of local artist, Shan Miller (pictured conjoined with ‘sister’ Naomi). Historically, leprosy is of special interest in Taddiport, as it housed a leper colony in the 14th Century.
“Many curious features of the landscape and buildings remain as a testament to those leprous days” Shan revealed. ‘The Leper Festival is a way of bringing that heritage alive in a fun way, while raising money for the plight of those suffering today”.
Anyone can join in the procession, and you are invited to dress up in 14th Century peasant style….complete with spots and sores! Contact Shan if you need help, but dressing up is optional.
For events, theatrical props/room hire, to display art or get involved in future developments, contact Shan Miller on 01805 624384