GRiT: Graduate Research in Theatre: postgraduate students, Fellows and staff met at our regular reading group, to discuss research in theatre and performance studies. In 2014-15, our theme was desire: or, what do we want, and how are we going to get it?
Thursday 7 May 2015: Bruno Roubicek, Digging, Dwelling and Performance.
Thursday 29 January 2015: Sara Ahmed and Beatriz Preciado
Wednesday 19 November 2014: Performance, Futurity and Utopia
Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre: On Saturday 20 June 2015, the Centre hosted a symposium on Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre, organised by Gillian Woods (Birkbeck) and Sarah Dustagheer (Kent). It explored the unique glimpse stage directions offer regarding what actually happened in the early modern playhouse. Stage directions constitute first-hand evidence of the movements, gestures, and spectacles that took place on the stage, as well as the shape and use of it. Contributors met to discuss their work on stage directions with each other and two theatre practitioners, well-versed in the practical realities and demands of staging early modern texts. The symposium formed essential research towards the forthcoming book Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre (under consideration at Arden Shakespeare), which aims to illustrate the creative possibilities of these understudied but crucial parts of play-texts. See more information about the symposium here.
On Going On: Sustaining Life in Theatre: Held on Friday 5 June, this day-long symposium asked of performance practitioners and theatre professionals: how do you keep doing what you do? What are the strategies of support, care and welfare you draw upon, or provide, to enable your practice over time? How do you motivate, endure, survive? How are these issues and questions reflected in your practice, or not? The day included contributions from Centre Fellows and other invited presenters, including performance artists, actors, writers, choreographers, producers, industry officials and academics. Presenters included Dickie Beau, Martin O’Brien, Paul Fleming (Equity), Julius Green, Rosemary Lee, Brian Lobel, Roz Paul, Rajni Shah, Neil D’Souza and Sara Wookey. The event also featured a keynote dialogue between Professor Alan Read (King’s College London) and David Slater (Entelechy Arts). Organised by Fintan Walsh. You can read an account of the symposium by Maria Patsou, PhD candidate and two podcasts from the event can be found on our Podcasts on Theatre page:
On Going On: Sustaining Life in Theatre – Keynote dialogue
On Going On: Sustaining Life in Theatre – Managing the Show
Theatre Conversation: The Author in Istanbul:On Wednesday 3 June, the Centre held a Theatre Conversation exploring the journey of Tim Crouch’s The Author (2009) from Britain to Turkey, where it was performed in translation at Talimhane Theatre, Istanbul. The discussion focused on questions regarding intercultural adaptation and translation, ownership, creative processes, audience reception, theatre management and production from the perspectives of the writer, producer and translator/director. The discussion’s participants were Tim Crouch, playwright and theatre-maker, and Seda Ilter, director/translator of The Author/Yazar in Istanbul and lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at Birkbeck.
Performing Greece: on Saturday 9 May, the Centre hosted Performing Greece: an International Conference on Contemporary Greek Theatre. The conference brought together academics, critics, writers and performers to discuss questions concerning contemporary theatre and culture from and about Greece, especially artistic work that deals with the crisis, immigration, and Greek politics.
Theatre Conversation: Is the theatre becoming less diverse?:on Tuesday 28 April, the Centre hosted a discussion event exploring equality and diversity in the theatre profession. Chaired by Rob Swain, director and professor of theatre practice at Birkbeck, the discussion explored how theatre professionals have sought to change structures and practices in the theatre for the better, and the forces that impede those efforts. Participants included actor, playwright and producer Meera Syal CBE; casting director Jane Deitch who had recently undertaken a ground-breaking survey of actors being trained and working in the theatre; and creative director of Euphoric Ink and artistic associate of the Royal Court, Ola Animashawun, who had recently researched diversity among directors for the Young Vic and National Theatre.
Shakespeare Teachers’ Conversation: on 18 March 2015, the Centre staged a conversation for teachers working with Shakespeare on using critical sources, featuring a presentation from Lilla Grindlay (Sutton Valence School). Shakespeare Teachers’ Conversations take place once a term at Birkbeck. They provide a space for teachers and lecturers to meet one another, discuss their methods, and share ideas and practical classroom/seminar tasks. Each meeting focuses on a particular challenge involved in teaching Shakespeare and other Renaissance drama. Short presentations (one each from a Key Stage 4-5 and a university perspective) are followed by informal discussion.
Actors – The Real Employment Landscape – Update 2014: on Wednesday 26 November 2014, supported by HEIF funding and in collaboration with Drama UK, the Centre organised an event asking: where are graduates finding employment and should we be preparing them for broader areas of work than are currently covered in drama school curriculums? It presented the results of new research alongside some broader data focusing on actors currently working in the industry. In addition Drama UK gave a ‘snapshot’ of a research project investigating the ethnicity, class and affluence of drama school students.
Theatre Conversation – Wanted: Time to Experiment, No Pressure: a round-table discussion, on Monday 1 December 2014, debating the conditions of research and development in the arts. Artists agree that this process is important for creating theatre projects of every scale – but time and resources to support it are increasingly scarce. The discussion explored how the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts scheme supports smaller or one-off projects, and the role of the scheme in developing and sustaining new theatre and performance work. Convened by Andrew McKinnon (theatremaker and director of MA Creative Producing for Theatre and Live Performance), contributors included Pascale Falempin (ACE Theatre Assistant), Kerry Irvine (Producer, Scenepool & Bath Spa University), Martin Lewton (Artistic Director, Theatre North), Chris Mellor (Producer & ACE relationship manager), Ine van Riet (Producer & Development Officer, Bush Theatre) and Claire Saddleton (Producer & ACE relationship manager).