Photographer speaks on recreating 1936 scene

THE world-famous photographer set to capture the Pavilion's 75th anniversary celebrations has spoken of the challenges she faces in recreating the scene.

Sheila Burnett, snapper of choice for theatre heavyweights including David Mamet, Steven Berkoff and Ewan McGregor, visits Bexhill this bank holiday Monday to recreate the famous 1936 shot of the Daily Mirror Eight dancing on the Pavilion terrace.

"I think it's such an interesting challenge to get the picture as near as we can to the old one," she said.

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"I'm being ever so nerdy about it.

"I've been working out what kind of lens was used, and what the photographer was standing on.

"It's a standard lens, but from quite a way back, it looks like a 50mm. The detail is amazing.

"I'm noticing things like the circle movement in the middle and the kind of structure formation of the audience. They are all quite stiff, behaving themselves."

As a high point in the building's anniversary programme, the Pavilion is hosting a street party this August 30. Hundreds of residents are needed to fill out the balcony and pack the terrace as the Urban Shadows, a free-running group based in Eastbourne, replace the Daily Mirror Eight on centre stage.

After the picture is taken, music from each of the 75 years since the building opened its doors will keep crowds dancing, while staff will be on hand with tea and cakes.

Sheila first visited Bexhill in 2003, for a site-specific work.

"As a photographer you visit a building on different levels. For the work, for the vision the artist has made, but also the most important one is to take in this amazing building."

She must now decide some key issues - black and white or colour? Should the Urban Shadows wear spotted bathing suits?

Sally Ann Lycett, spokesperson for the De La Warr, said: "Sheila was the first person who sprang to mind when I thought of this. Apart from her talent, she's got the necessary skills in crowd control.

"Sheila will help us bring in the contemporary element while sticking to the composition and feel of the 1936 picture."

To register you interest in turning up on the day, send an e-mail to [email protected]