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The New National Justice Museum Launches Its First Crowdfunding Campaign to Celebrate Playwright Joe Orton

The National Justice Museum launches its first-ever crowdfunding campaign on 9 May 2017. The museum is hoping to raise £10,000 as part of an Art Happens campaign to help create a special exhibition exploring for the first time the fascinating role of crime in Joe Orton’s life and work.  Titled Crimes of Passion: The Story of Joe Orton, the exhibition will mark the 50th anniversary of Orton’s death and the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Orton was born in Leicester in 1933 and after winning a scholarship to RADA in 1951, he met Kenneth Halliwell, an actor and writer seven years his senior. Halliwell would become Orton’s friend, mentor, partner and eventually his murderer. Throughout his life, Orton wrote many acclaimed plays including: Loot, What the Butler Saw and Entertaining Mr Sloane.

The exhibition will pay homage to Joe Orton’s principle format of work – plays and will feature objects on loan from the University of Leicester’s Orton Archive, including archival material and the Morocco diary.

Artist (and Orton’s nephew) David Lock, will also be commissioned to create new artwork and a large-scale collage inspired by the collage that lined the walls of Orton’s and Halliwell’s bedsit in London.

Donations for the museum’s Art Happens campaign, hosted by national charity Art Fund, start at just £5 and donors can take away a selection of limited edition rewards; from badges and tote bags, to prints and original artwork from artist David Lock.

Tim Desmond, Chief Executive of the National Justice Museum said: “We’re excited to launch our first ever crowdfunding campaign with Art Happens. Joe Orton is a gay icon and a working class hero from the East Midlands and we’re looking forward to bringing focus to his life and work through the themes of crimes and punishment as part of a new special exhibition.”

Donations can be made via the National Justice Museum’s Art Happens page: https://www.artfund.org/joe-orton

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