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Comedian Christopher Green is British Library's first artist in residence

He is best known as country singer Tina C and music-hall star Ida Barr – but now comedian Christopher Green has become the British Library’s first artist in residence.

In his new position, he will use the library’s vast collections to trace the history of hypnosis – and at the end of his studies, in October, he will reveal a brand new character to 'confound, amaze, heal and entertain'.

Green - who is trained in both hypnosis and hypnotherapy –  will also present some of his discoveries from the library’s collections in two free lunchtime sessions on May 30 and September 11.

He said: ‘I was delighted to be asked to be the inaugural artist in residence and I think it’s great that it’s a live artist. The British Library has such a rich history across all disciplines, but it’s often forgotten how strong its links with the stage and performance of all types are.

‘I will be searching through these collections, plundering and plucking shiny objects that grab my attention. The British Library is a vibrant, exciting place to be – always packed with interesting people doing interesting things, banging away excitedly at their laptops. I’m going to be slowing them down, putting them under and freeing them from everyday constraints. Am I snake oil salesman or saviour?’ 

Green – who was also one of the performers behind the innovative Office Party shows – has started his research studying the playbills and papers of the great Victorian conjuror and ventriloquist, Evanion.

Zoe Wilcox, a curator at the library, added: ‘It is very exciting to have a live artist take up residence in the Library, exploring a subject which fascinates us today as much as it did the Victorians.

‘We are looking forward to seeing what Christopher uncovers from across our collections and learning more about the tricks and techniques of the early hypnotists. I hope Christopher’s residency will encourage other creative artists to come and be inspired by the British Library’s collections.’

The residency is being funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which supports research and education.

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Published: 9 Feb 2012

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