Events

We curate a diverse programme of events, consisting of workshops, seminars, lectures, symposia and performances.  The majority of our events are open to public audiences. Unless otherwise stated, they are free of charge to attend, and take place online. Some of our events during the course of a year will address a particular research theme. For 2021-22, our theme is recovery.

Working in the Arts Workshops

A series of three lunchtime workshops with academic, writer and dramaturg Lewis Church.

What does it mean to work in theatre and performance today? How do you take your first steps after graduation? Designed for Birkbeck students but open to all, these workshops provide a space to start to answer these questions by helping you develop your own strategy for professional development.
 
Each online workshop will be focused on practicalities and useful resources and be centred around an open discussion of the challenges and opportunities of a career in the arts today.
 
Funding and Money
Monday 25 April 2022, 1-2pm
 
In this workshop we will discuss the important issue of money in the UK performing arts sector. This will include an outline of funding structures and guidance on applying for grants, discussion around developing a career as a freelancer and consideration of the kinds of jobs that exist both onstage and off.
 
Venues and Festivals
Monday 9 May 2022, 1-2pm
 
In this workshop we will discuss sharing your own artistic practice, from plays to live art. It will focus on developing a network around your practice within the UK through festivals, platforms and curated opportunities, and discuss strategies for productive collaboration and engagement with venues and arts organisations.
 
DIY in the Arts
Monday 23 May 2022, 1-2pm
 
What does it mean to ‘do-it-yourself’ in the arts today? How can artists make and sustain their own opportunities when established institutions are struggling to do so? And what does independence look like after the pandemic? Drawing on his research into punk subcultures, guerrilla film makers, and live artists in the US and UK, Lewis Church will lead this discussion of the future of making your own art on your own terms. This session takes place as part of Birkbeck Arts Week 2022.
 
Dr Lewis Church is an academic, writer, and dramaturg. His research is concerned with experimental performance, subcultures and censorship, and is currently focused on the new culture war of the early 21st century and its intersections with theatre, performance, and live art. This has been published in PAJ, The First Line, Punk & Post-Punk, and the forthcoming collection Theatre in a Post-Truth World: Text, Politics and Performance.
 

Other writing includes interviews and features with punk legends Penny Rimbaud, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, and rebel artists the Guerrilla Girls, AA Bronson, Vaginal Davis, and Poppy Jackson. As an artist and producer he has worked with Ron Athey, Franko B, Bobby Baker, Split Britches, Sh!t Theatre, and others. He has taught at Birkbeck since 2018, as well as at other institutions in London and Edinburgh.

Birkbeck Arts Week 2022

From Wednesday 18 to Friday 27 May 2022, join us for this year’s Arts Week festival – an eclectic range of inspired contributions from Birkbeck’s academics, artists and associates. Film screenings, performances, workshops and discussions encompass everything from nineteenth century optical toys to art and eco-activism. Many events are in person, lots of others online and you can also enjoy a selection of recorded talks at any time. All Arts Week events are free.

Browse the full schedule of more than 50 events and book online here. Theatre and performance events throughout the festival include:

Thursday 19 May

13:00 DAN RYAN: IN CONVERSATION
Dan Ryan, one of the UK’s leading stage and screen actors talks with Birkbeck’s Daragh Carville and David Eldridge about their work together on The Bay (ITV, 2019-date) and Middle (National Theatre, April-June 2022), among his many other stage credits. In-person.

15:00 COLLAGE AND FEMINIST THEATRE MAKING
Good Friends for a Lifetime (MA Text and Performance graduates Maeve Campbell, Lily Levinson and Minna Jeffrey) introduce collage as a tool that can be used to inspire and support feminist, collaborative and non-hierarchical theatremaking processes. In-person.

18:00 BOOK LAUNCH: MEDIATIZED DRAMATURGY
Book launch for Seda Ilter’s new book on the evolution of playtexts in response a mediatized age. With Barbara Fuchs, Christina Papagiannouli, Vicky Angelaki, Duska Radosavljevic, and Sarah Grochala. Online.

Friday 20 May

15:00 WE MOVE – FINDING CONNECTION AND JOY THROUGH MOVEMENT
The first of two workshops exploring the possibility of connection and joy through movement, open to artists of all abilities and disciplines and hosted by choreographer, dancer, teacher and Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow Ingrid Mackinnon. In-person.

18:00, MARY/MARIANNE
A short film and presentation exploring the ways in which women’s work and voices have been silenced in both historic and contemporary contexts by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellows Sarah Sigal and Katharina Reinthaller. Online.

Monday 23 May

13:00 DIY IN THE ARTS
Bring your ideas and your independent spirit to this part-presentation, part-workshop with academic, writer, and dramaturg Lewis Church. Explore how artists can make and sustain their own opportunities when established institutions are struggling to do so, and what independence looks like after the pandemic. Online.

15:00 THE TWOFOLD ROAD: OR HOW TO RISE UNTARNISHED
In-progress performance of a new play investigating the link between violence and femininity through history via multiple intertwining stories, presented by Birkbeck MA Dramaturgy graduate Chiara Dadini. In-person.

18:00 A MOVEMENT EXPRESSION VIA INDIAN MARTIAL ART KALARIPAYATTU
Demonstration of Kalaripayattu, a martial art for the battlefield and how it symbolises the cycle of human physiological growth, through a presentation and live Q&A session. Led by arts producer Krishnapriya Ramamoorthy. Online.

Tuesday 24 May

18:00 BREADTH
Play conveying fictionalised experiences through characters on a multiracial street, casting a kaleidoscopic lens on survival through violence; prejudice; the struggle for breath: the grip of the COVID-19 virus on our lungs, the importance of oxygen for life. Presented by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow Alda Terracciano, Raminder Kaur (Sussex) and Mukul Ahmed (Birkbeck MFA Theatre Directing graduate). In-person.

Wednesday 25 May

15:00 WE MOVE – FINDING CONNECTION AND JOY THROUGH MOVEMENT
The second of two workshops exploring the possibility of connection and joy through movement, open to artists of all abilities and disciplines and hosted by choreographer, dancer, teacher and Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow Ingrid Mackinnon. In-person, outdoor.

18:00 FIGHTING BODIES/MARTIAL MINDS: EXPLORING A NOBLE HABITUS THROUGH MARTIAL ARTS.
A practical workshop on key principles of fourteenth and fifteenth century European martial arts including wrestling and swordplay, run by theatrical fight directors Craig Hambling and Kiel O’Shea. In-person.

18:00 IRISH PLAYS ON LONDON STAGES: WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?
A collaboration between Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre and THISISPOPBABY (Ireland) on the state of Irish plays in London now: who is writing them, where they are being staged, and what the term ‘Irish play’ now means. With Graham Whybrow, Rachel O’Riordan, Gillian Greer and Nancy Harris. Online.

Thursday 26 May

18:00 PERFORMING THE CLIMATE
“Present difficulty: better future.” A new piece of climate theatre created by Birkbeck’s MFA Theatre Directors in response to the work of Zoe Svendsen, theatre-maker and the UK’s first climate change dramaturg. A radical reimagining of the future to come. The performance will be followed by a discussion with the directors. In-person.

Friday 27 May

15:00 PATAFLAFLA: A RHYTHM WORKSHOP FOR WELLBEING
In this drumming workshop, learn the basics of percussion and rhythm, freely express yourself through the beat, and explore the positive effect music and rhythm can have on our mental health and wellbeing. With Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow Lucy Yates. In-person.

Browse the full schedule of more than 50 events and book online here.

 

GRiT: Graduate Research in Theatre

GRiT is our termly online research seminar, featuring presentations by visiting scholars, faculty and graduate students.

Future sessions:

  • Monday 30 May 2022, 4-5pm: Natalie Raven (Plymouth Marjon University)

Radical Rest: the Art of Recovery

Due to circumstances beyond our control, our conversation event with practitioners from St Margaret’s House, Bethnal Green scheduled on Friday 26 November, 6-7pm was cancelled. We hope to rearrange this event for later in the year.

Read more about the work of St Margaret’s House on themes of rest as part of the festival Being Human 2021 here.

London Theatre Seminar

Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre supports London Theatre Seminar. For information about the seminar in 2021-22, click here.

Past events

Read about our past events at the links below.

Bitnami