A Bath Spa University lecturer has been covertly involved in Banksy’s new art exhibition, Dismaland, recruited to train 100 people to become stewards at the bemusement park.
The stewards needed to be taught to be as unhelpful as possible, and Pat Welsh, senior lecturer in Acting BA (Hons) at the University, coached them to be dismal and aloof – all part of Banksy’s vision for his Dismaland creation.
Pat, from Larkhall in Bath, has taught acting for ten years at Bath Spa University, and specialises in comedy and live performances – he was enlisted by a friend and fellow comedian to help train the group.
The large group of non-performers were told they would be extra’s in a film and were recruited by a pretend film studio to avoid suspicion.
It took four days of intense training and secret drama workshops in the Weston-super-Mare Royal Hotel before Pat was able to reveal to the group that they would be acting as stewards at Bansky’s Dismaland on the seafront.
Pat, who has never met or had any direct communication with Banksy, said: “The challenge of developing the performance skills of inexperienced and sometimes reluctant actors was exacerbated by the necessity to limit the details of the ultimate role to the bare minimum.
“It was a tough brief to have to teach someone to act deadpan, not to laugh and not to over-act, after all the stewards were there to add to the overall dismal experience but not to outshine the amazing artworks on display.
“Once the stewards were on location they soon embraced the concept and the feedback on their consistently negative outlook has been universally positive.”
Pat has subsequently recruited a number of Bath Spa acting undergraduates to boost steward numbers.
Dismaland is a temporary art project organised by street artist Banksy, constructed in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.