Odds and quads

November 19, 2009

When Julie Flowers and Rosalind Howell put on a piece of "live art" called Grill ... A Piece of Toast at a National Review of Live Art event at Nottingham Trent University in 1994, they used this piece of toast to publicise the show.

The piece of white sliced, with the words "by Julie and Rosalind" scratched on one side and "Grill" on the other, has been in an archive at the University of Bristol ever since. Along with the gloves worn by Sir Laurence Olivier as fading music-hall star Archie Rice in the first production of The Entertainer, and the prompt book used for Dame Judi Dench's professional debut as Ophelia in 1957, it forms part of the university's extensive Theatre Collection museum.

Since food is not usually allowed in archives, the toast required special attention from the conservators. It is kept sealed and isolated in a special environment to ensure that, while it may be stale, it does not decompose.

Send suggestions for this new series on the sector's treasures, oddities and curiosities to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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