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Successful Art Happens campaign will create an exhibition on Joe Orton at the National Justice Museum this summer

The National Justice Museum is celebrating after successfully raising £10,000 required to create its next special exhibition – Crimes of Passion: The Story of Joe Orton.

The museum, which tells the story of justice through time, will for the first time examine the challenging role of crime in Orton’s life and work.

National charity Art Fund helped the museum raise £10,000 towards the cost of realising the exhibition through its crowdfunding platform, Art Happens.  This is the first time the museum has funded an exhibition in this way.

The exhibition will not only mark the 50th anniversary of Joe Orton’s death, but it will also mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Born in Leicester in 1933, Joe grew up on a council estate and in 1951, he won a scholarship to RADA, where he met his partner, Kenneth Halliwell, with whom he would share the rest of his life.  A leading playwright, Joe’s work defined the swinging sixties.  However, in 1967, tragically Kenneth murdered Joe and then committed suicide.

It is important to the museum that these anniversaries are recognised as part of its programme of public learning as to how the law can and does more to protect fundamental but neglected personal rights.

Tim Desmond, CEO of the National Justice Museum said: ‘Joe Orton really was an East Midlands working class hero, whose life, work and death were all linked with crime and punishment. This is a fascinating exhibition for the National Justice Museum, which explores these themes for the first time and we are delighted by the generosity of donors who made it happen.’

The useum would like to thank everyone that donated to the campaign, in particular, Nottingham based investment management company Intelligent Money, which offered to match all donations to enable us to reach our target and donated over £4,800 towards the campaign.

The exhibition will be co-curated with Dr Emma Parker, a leading Orton academic from the University of Leicester; and will open to the public on 22 July until 1 October in the Museum’s free exhibition space.

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