His Dark Materials exhibition announced: World Building in Wales

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea has announced His Dark Materials: World Building in Wales, an exhibition in partnership with production company Bad Wolf, offering a look behind-the-scenes of BBC and HBO’s multi-award-winning fantasy drama.

His Dark Materials. Image: Bad Wolf Productions
His Dark Materials. Image: Bad Wolf Productions

Based on Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of novels, the series concludes with the third and final season later this year and, from December, for the first time, visitors will be able to see costumes, concept art, Visual Effects footage, props and more from across all three seasons.

The trilogy follows Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen), an orphan who lives in a parallel universe in which human souls live outside the body in the form of animals called dæmons. We first meet Lyra as a baby, left under the care of the scholars at Jordan College by her supposed uncle, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy).

His Dark Materials - Bear
Image: Bad Wolf Productions

The story follows her extraordinary journey through the many Worlds of His Dark Materials, pursued by the religious authority, the Magisterium. Aiding her on her journey is Will Parry (Amir Wilson), and her own dæmon, Pan (voiced by Kit Connor). The cast also features Ruth Wilson as the formidable Mrs Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda as aeronaut Lee Scoresby, and Simone Kirby as scientist Mary Malone.

The majority of the series was filmed at Wolf Studios Wales in Cardiff, which utilised its six stages to create the many worlds of His Dark Materials, from the sprawling streets of Cittàgazze to the snow-covered North and the palace of the armoured bears on Svalbard.

The exhibition will fill the gallery’s beautiful Atrium and Room 8 and 9 on the first floor. In the Atrium space, visitors can see key props such as the alethiometer, the subtle knife, and the amber spyglass, as well as larger set pieces such as the Cittàgazze angels, Magisterium banners, and Lord Asriel’s projector. In Rooms 8 and 9, there will be the opportunity to see intricate costumes from characters across all three seasons, as well as concept boards, illustrations, videos and Visual Effects sequences showing the full spectrum of creativity involved in bringing the stories to life.

This free exhibition, open to the public, will not only celebrate Philip Pullman’s brilliant trilogy and Bad Wolf’s fantastic television adaptation, but also the importance of artistry and creativity in all its forms that contribute to bringing a TV series to life.

Presented in partnership with Bad Wolf, IJPR Media and Screen Alliance Wales, the Gallery is also be working with Screen Alliance Wales to offer masterclasses and learning events to bring the exhibits to life.

“The level of artistry that goes into every costume, set and prop on His Dark Materials is beyond anything I have seen produced before,” commented Bad Wolf CEO, Jane Tranter. “To have the Glynn Vivian Gallery celebrate the art, imagination and craft of His Dark Materials is an absolute honour. I am certain visitors will be amazed and delighted by what our teams have created in Wolf Studios Wales.”

“I’m delighted that we can welcome this world-first exhibition to Swansea,” enthused Council cabinet member Elliott King. “It celebrates Wales as a truly creative nation. The city has a growing reputation for top-quality events and His Dark Materials: World Building in Wales will be another that shines the spotlight on us. It will gives local people a new opportunity to enjoy some quality free time at no cost.”

His Dark Materials: World Building in Wales exhibition will run from the 1st December 2022 to the 30th April 2023 Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Alexandra Road, Swansea, SA1 5DZ | Opening Times, Tuesday – Sunday 10.00am – 5.00pm, last entry 4.30pm | Web: www.glynnvivian.co.uk

Glynn Vivian at Night / Opening party will be held on the 1st of December 2022, 5.30pm – 8.30pm

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