Education & Arts
The Plaza provides many opportunities for heritage interpretation as it was an icon of a rapidly changing world.
The World Depression of 1929 – 33 took place at a time when Britain was still far from having recovered from the effects of The First World War. The North-West of England was hard hit by the Depression, with the 1930’s being the most difficult time in living memory for many people in this area.
In 1932, unemployment was still at high levels but, at the time The Plaza was built, social attitudes were changing towards class, society, design and architecture. The Plaza was a mirror of society at a watershed moment in British social history. This provides an opportunity to examine elements of the history of The Plaza individually and collectively in order to understand the evolution of Britain during the critical inter-war years.
Physical built heritage is, of course, a fascinating element of The Plaza’s history but it is by no means the only or perhaps the most important element of the interpretation and its possibilities. The history of needs to be analysed within the environment of Stockport and Britain and should be considered alongside the following issues, although this list is by no means considered to be definitive:
LOCAL AND REGIONAL ISSUES
- History of entertainment in the Stockport and Manchester region
- The development of the silent cinema in the North of England
- The diffusion of the Art Deco style throughout the North of England
- The economic competition between cinema and theatre
- The concept of economic partnership between cinema “circuits”
- Relationship between English literature curriculum and film programming, e.g. Laurence Olivier’s Richard II or William Golding’s Lord of The Flies
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
- The development of the Super Cinema in Britain
- The development of the Art Deco style of architecture in Britain since the Paris Exhibition of 1925
- The changing social attitudes to entertainment
- The changing social attitudes to the class system
- The comparative decline of theatre and expansion of cinema
- Technological advances in construction and materials and how this impacted on cinema and building design in general
- The economic climate of inter-war Britain and how this provided for the expansion of new forms of entertainment
The Plaza is planning to employ an Education and Outreach Officer to facilitate and develop the Plaza’s educational resource and to create many more opportunities for the community to access and make use of the facilities on offer. The Stockport Plaza Trust intends to develop the considerable potential of the Plaza for activities beyond conventional theatre and cinema usage and hopes that this will increase the use of the building, particularly during daytime hours. The Trust recognizes that there is huge potential of for diverse usage of the building and the employment of an Education and Outreach Officer is critical to implement and further develop appropriate policies.