MA English Studies graduate Richard Dodwell talks about his new theatre work PLANES

MA English Studies graduate Richard Dodwell is presenting his new show PLANES at The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick from Tuesday 31 January.


PLANES | Tue 31 Jan-Sat 4 Feb | The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick | £15/£12 (conc)


Tell us about your new work PLANES? How did it come about?

PLANES is a “live tuning” into missing things. By that I mean it’s a live work for theatre that explores notions of remembering and processing difficult experiences, with a live accompanying score by the poet and composer Timothy Thornton. In this case, that difficulty is the suicides of people close to me. Mental Health is in crisis and more and more people seem to be suffering as services are slashed and the world becomes crueler. I suppose, as someone trying to survive, the work emerged to try and harness the truth of both what grief is and how we move forwards—but it’s a tough one! I did a couple of scratch previews of that work, with the help of Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre, and then The Yard invited me to present the work as part of their NOW 17 festival of new performance. So I was really chuffed about that.


Who or what inspires you to make theatre work?

Anything and everyone really. I try to make work that’s honest and not too obscured by style and posturing, although inevitably when you “make” something it always runs the risk of being perceived as such. I guess that’s the magic of any kind of art making or creativity—the multitude of ways it can be perceived. I’m not here to moderate or manipulate anyone’s feelings, although I am trying to create a world where people find some sort of connection. I’m hugely inspired by the European avant-garde and the New York experimental theatre of the 70s and 80s. The Wooster Group particularly are a huge inspiration, as is the writer and filmmaker Derek Jarman. I guess I want to make work that documents the experience of being alive, here and now, without too much thought.

What was studying English Studies at Queen Mary like? Do you have any favourite memories or tutors?

Fantastic. I have very warm memories there. The English Department is second to none: great teaching, excellent resources and the chance to really engage with literary theory—which has influenced my creative practice hugely. My favourite memory is meeting Matthew, who studied on the MA with me. He was a wonderful friend and support throughout the course, and introduced me to lots of new left-wing and radical revolutionary thought. He was a wonderful person: sensitive, vibrant and hugely caring. Sadly, Matthew took his own life in October last year. I miss him hugely. This show is partly dedicated to him.


For more information about Richard’s work please visit his website here

#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – Wednesday 25 January 2017

Here’s our list of events and opportunities we’ve just discovered and that are coming up in the next week.

If you’d like to add anything to next week’s digest then please email us.






The Sick of the Fringe | Various Venues | Fri 17-Sun 19 Feb

The Edinburgh fringe institution created by our very own Dr Brian Lobel comes to London to host a three day festival ‘A celebration of the body – its problems and potential‘. There are lots of our SED current and former staff and students taking part including Daniel Oliver, Aoife Monks and Xavier De Souza. Many of the tickets are free so be sure to snap them up when they go live on Friday 27 January.

See the brochure here

Book online here from Fri 27 Jan



Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English Lunchtime Seminar:  Emily Vine (joint with | Wed 25 Jan | 12:45-13:45 | QMUL Mile End – ArtsOne 3.17

This week’s work in progress is entitled: ‘Death, remembrance and religious ritual – examples from the Huntington Library’.

See the full events schedule here for future dates


Drama Postgraduate QUORUM Seminar: Catherine Hindson | Wed 25 Jan | 18:00-20:00 | QMUL Mile End – ArtsOne RR2

Quorum is a series of research seminars in the drama department at Queen Mary. All events are free and open to everyone. Drinks and snacks provided. Arts One building, RR2. This week we welcome Dr Catherine Hindson for a seminar entitled: ‘Off Stage Labour: Actresses, Charity Work And The Early Twentieth-Century Theatre Profession’.

See the full events schedule here for future dates


Long Table: BME Success & Belonging in QMUL and Beyond | Thu 26 Jan | 18:00-21:00 | QMUL Mile End – Bancroft Building

The event is an open forum for students and staff to discuss the experiences of black and minority ethnic students at QMUL. It’s happening on Thursday 26th January at 6pm. It’s organised and facilitated by students and staff in Drama and Politics alongside the Engagement, Retention and Success Team at QMUL.


Thoughts on British Black and Asian Literature (1945-2010) | Fri 27 Jan | 15:30-17:30 | Goldsmiths, University of London

The event features: an afternoon’s symposium of discussion with leading scholars in the fields of post-war British Black and Asian Literature with readings by Moniza Alvi and Courttia Newland.



A Night of Mechanicals | Fri 27 Jan | 18:30 | Pinter Studio, QMUL Campus

QM Shakespeare and QMTC present a fun night of short scenes of Shakespeare which are all prepared only 1 hour before.


PLANES by Richard Dodwell | Wed 31 Jan – Sat 4 Feb | 19:30 | The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick

Join our MA English Studies graduate Richard Dodwell for his new piece PLANES (pictured above):

‘Part live memoir, part aerial sound piece, PLANES is a strange and searching show about finding a voice in the wreckage of everyday living.’


Letters to Windsor House by Sh!t Theatre | Soho Theatre | Wed 31 Jan-Sat 11 Feb

Our graduates Sh!t Theatre present their hit Edinburgh show

For more SED events see our calendar here


Jobs & Paid Internships


Communications Executive | Women for Refugee Women | Deadline: Mon 6 Feb

Women for Refugee Women is a small, dynamic organisation, which is committed to making a real difference to the situation of refugee women in the UK, by speaking to
wide audiences and supporting refugee women themselves to tell their stories. WfRW are currently seeking a communications executive to join our team. The right person will be determined to create positive change.


Opportunities & Volunteering


Independent Social Research Foundation – Early Career Fellowship Competition

The Independent Social Research Foundation wishes to support independent-minded researchers to do interdisciplinary work which is unlikely to be funded by existing funding bodies. It is interested in original research ideas which take new approaches, and suggest new solutions, to real world social problems.

The Foundation intends to make a small number of awards to support original interdisciplinary research, across the range of the social sciences, to be held from a start date no later than the end of December 2018. Scholars from within Europe are eligible to apply.

The award is intended to enable a scholar at the early career stage to pursue his/her research full-time, for a period of up to 12 months. The amount will be offered to buy out the costs of replacing all teaching and associated administration in the applicant’s home institution, and will be considered to a maximum of £50,000 per successful applicant. Within that sum, reasonable support for research expenses may be considered on a matched-funding basis with the host institution.

Scholars from within Europe are eligible to apply – applicants should be within 10 years of PhD award, and they will normally have a permanent appointment at an institution of higher education and research. Career breaks may be taken into account.

Applicants should consult the Criteria as set out on the ISRF website and show that they meet them. Applicants should follow the Application procedure and should present their Proposal in the format specified there.

Entry deadline: Friday 3 March 2017



Calls for Papers


CfP: Arthur Symons at the Fin de Siècle: A One-Day Symonsposium | 21 July 2017 | Goldsmiths, University of London

This one-day symposium explores the contribution of Symons to the literary and artistic culture of the fin de siècle, with a particular focus on his early verse. We welcome proposals for papers, and abstracts of 500 words should be sent as Word attachments to by 31st March 2017.  Papers should be 20 minutes in length.



To add a listing to next week’s digest or to help us update this edition please email us by Friday 27 January 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

Sounding Victorian: Swinburne, Tennyson, salons and the musical play of childhood

Digital project brings together research from Queen Mary, Saint Louis University, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the University of Illinois, Indiana University East, and the University of Cambridge

As I began my research last year into the relationship between the poetry of Algernon Swinburne (1837-1909) and the operas of Richard Wagner (1813-1883), I became aware that the British Library held a number of musical settings of Swinburne’s verse. Very little research had been done on his affinity with Victorian and Edwardian composers – despite being thought of as one of the most musical of poets – and so, with this in mind, I started to look through whatever was available. The first items, some of the earliest musical settings from the 1860s (Swinburne’s first, notorious collection, Poems and Ballads, was published in 1866), excited my interest. I called up more, and soon these few pieces of music had turned into well over a hundred and much of it displayed a range and quality that far surpassed my expectations.


The resulting catalogue (which is still growing, song by song) now potentially charts a different reception history for Swinburne’s verse (well into the 1920s and beyond). It suggests not only an extraordinary artistic enthusiasm for Swinburne’s poems as music but also has implications for an analysis of Swinburne’s wider cultural impact. The material is rich and varied, from simple domestic piano and voice settings to unaccompanied part-songs, theatre songs, incidental music (for Swinburne’s plays), cantatas and orchestral extravaganzas. There are very well-known names amongst the catalogue, such as Charles Villiers Stanford, Hubert Parry, and Arthur Sullivan. But there are also many little-known figures who deserve far greater attention, such as Adela Maddison (1862-1929), who adapted Swinburne eight times, including an elemental and boundary-shaking version of his ‘Triumph of Time’ (available on my website here).


So that the music can be heard, I have been transcribing pieces from the original scores into notation software. In doing so, the effect has been revelatory. There is a sense, as a piece takes shape, of bringing back the dead. A good example is this rendition of ‘The Hounds of Spring’ from the 1906 production of Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon (1865) at the Crystal Palace or this version (apparently the Victorian equivalent of a ‘hit song’) of ‘The Oblation’, by the bizarre Theophilus Marzials, who (it is claimed) also wrote some of the worst poetry ever published.


My work is now to become part of the new Sounding Victorian consortium – an initiative of Phyllis Weliver of Saint Louis University – which will be a group of digital projects that create an experiential way of exploring archives that document sound (music and literature) in nineteenth-century Britain. My own website will change and form Sounding Swinburne and sit alongside Sounding the Salon (which will investigate the Victorian salon as an alternative musical space, with historically-informed performances and archival texts), Sounding Childhood (studying the sound of children’s play through recreational songs, religious pieces and hymns), and the well-known Sounding Tennyson. This site currently showcases sonic and textual versions of Tennyson’s poetry, including the first recordings of Emily Tennyson’s piano and vocal settings of ‘Break, Break, Break’, made in the drawing room at the Tennysons’ restored home, Farringford, using Queen Victoria’s piano.


All the groups under the Sounding Victorian banner will eventually use the ind ustry standard for machine-readable music (Music Encoding Initiative). Sounding Tennyson is already the first project worldwide to add sound to an International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), a standard that will also be extended to all members of the consortium. As the Sounding Victorian website states, each of the projects will be freely available, allow for concordance searching, bring together items found from scattered archives, alongside short, scholarly essays to situate the material, and bybuilding digital tools, help students, scholars and the public engage with the material, whether or not they read music.


It is, to say the least, an exciting time for my research. If you have a moment, please take a look at the current page for the Sounding Victorian site, which will give a strong sense of what the project will offer, both within its interdisciplinary field, and as an example of the potential of digital humanities.


For more information about the topics covered in this article please visit:


#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – 18 January 2017

Here’s our list of events and opportunities we’ve just discovered and that are coming up in the next week.

If you’d like to add anything to next week’s digest then please email us.




Booking now open for Theatre, Performance and Employment happening on 23-24 February 2017

The event Queen Mary University of London, bringing together scholars, artists, and activists from the theatre and performance industries.



Emily Vine: ‘Death, remembrance and religious ritual – examples from the Huntington Library’ | Wed 25 Jan | 12:45 | ArtOne 3.17, QMUL Mile End Campus

All are welcome to this lunchtime work-in-progress seminar next week jointly hosted by  and the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English.


Jane Chapman: “Double the Work, but Double the Scope? Researching Comparative and Interdisciplinary Media History” | Tue 24 Jan | 18:00 | Senate House (Room 243), University of London

Comparative media history using content from beyond the English-speaking world and the British Empire is still relatively unexplored as a field for publication. This presentation proposes a way forward, by identifying the existence of transnational themes that emerged from the reality of print communications during the long 19th century: modernism, “orientalist” trade, cultural and scientific exchange, design, and fashion. Focusing on Germany, France and Japan, the pros and cons of an interdisciplinary approach are discussed in relations to science periodicals in Europe, women’s uses of periodicals in the late nineteenth century, periodicals for ex-patriot communities and satirical publications.


For more SED events see our calendar here


Jobs & Paid Internships


Communications & Marketing Administrator at Queen Mary University of London | Deadline: Mon 23 Jan

This exciting role will support the administration and coordination of the Communications and Marketing department at Queen Mary Students’ Union.


Opportunities & Volunteering

Contemporary Women’s Writing Essay Prize

The journal of Contemporary Women’s Writing (Oxford University Press) is delighted to announce the launch of the 2017 Essay Prize.  The Contemporary Women’s Writing Essay Prize aims to encourage new scholarship in the field of contemporary women’s writing, recognise and reward outstanding achievement by new researchers and support the professional development of next generation scholars.

Entry deadline: 1 February 2017



Calls for Papers


Bodily Extensions and Performance (Avatars, Prosthetics, Cyborgs, Posthumans) | Deadline for manuscripts to be considered for publication: Tue 31 Jan

The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media is seeking contributions for a special issue on Bodily Extensions and Performance.

The journal is looking for full essays of between 5,000 and 8,000 words that might consider (but are not limited to) the following topics:
– The politics of bodily extension in performance
– Cultural representations of extended bodies
– Ethics and bodily extensions in performance
– Bodies in cyborg performance
– Performing avatars as extended bodies
– Posthuman performance
– Designing the extended body for performance
– Prosthetics, disability, and performance
– Bodily extension and the performance of social identity
– Augmented bodies and superhumans in performance
– Choreographing for extended bodies
– Performing with bodily extensions
– Spectating extended bodies in performance

Essays should be formatted according to the Routledge journal style.

Please contact Sita Popat at if you have any queries.


KATHERINE MANSFIELD AND VIRGINIA WOOLF – Journal of Mansfield Studies – Call for Papers | Deadline: Thu 31 Aug

For volume 10 of Katherine Mansfield Studies, we invite comparative essays that explore aspects of the manifold relationship between these writers and their works, from their early meetings to the simultaneous launch of Prelude and the Hogarth Press through Mansfield’s early death and Woolf’s reflections on reading Mansfield’s published and posthumous oeuvre.

To add a listing to next week’s digest or to help us update this edition please email us by Friday 20 January 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

SED explores the new Queen Mary Graduate Centre!

Our roving reporters Jenny Gault (Director of Administration) and Hari Marini (Student Administrator: Research Student Support) have been to explore the new Graduate Centre. The seven-storey building includes 7,700 square metres of new learning and teaching space.

Here’s a quick collage of what they found:

Untitled design (13)

Clockwise from top left:
  1. Jenny outside the front of the new graduate centre.
  2. Hari in her favourite new room the Debating Chamber.
  3. Jenny taking pictures of the grassy roof and wooden roof terrace.
  4. ‘Pretty in Purple’ chairs in the postgraduate common room.


We spotted some more lovely pictures of the new building by our student Adam on Twitter:

Here’s another lovely one at dusk of the view from the Graduate Centre: