Posters in Parliament 2017 by Angelica Hill

Posters in Parliament 2017: Part of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Hosted by University College London.

Angelica Hill, 3rd Year English and Drama Student

On Tuesday 14th March Queen Mary’s University took two students to the fifth annual “Posters in Parliament” event at the Houses of Parliament. Sam represented undergraduate work in Physics, and I was there for the School of English and Drama. Fifty-two undergraduate students from twenty-seven Universities across the country presented and discussed their research with fellow undergraduates, lecturers, academics, and a few MPs, including Hilary Benn, Ben Bradshaw and Caroline Lucas. Students had a rare opportunity to look around the House of Commons and sit in on some of the sessions being held; whilst MPs, legislators and policy makers got to see first-hand some of the innovative research taking place around the country. It give us a platform to present our work to those who could potentially be making decision around the research in the future.

 

It was a wonderful day of intellectual stimulation, in an environment palpably buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement. It was great to find out what my fellow undergraduates in this country are working on, as well as allowing me to learn more about areas that I might otherwise have never got the opportunity to engage with, such as nanotechnology, macroeconomics, 17th Century female medical practitioners, and other interesting and obscure areas of research.

 

We began the day in Parliament Square, meeting by the statue of Mahatma Gandhi (2015), before going through security and entering the beautiful House of Commons. Surrounded by fellow students, school parties, tourists, a few recognizable BBC reporters, and a UKIP MP, we wandered around the building taking in the history and grandeur. My presentation was partly on King Henry VI, who held 23 parliaments in this building six hundred years ago, which gave a sense of moment to the occasion for me. Sam and I got to sit in on a parliamentary hearing about the state of buses in England and whether there should be a reduction, or increase in funding towards the expansion of the bus networks across England before lunch

 

Sam presented his research on how gravitational dynamical processes, including the effect of the moon Prometheus, as well as, impacts from nearby objects, can determine the structure and behaviour of the F ring of Saturn, in the first presentation session. The poster included beautiful imagery of Saturn’s rings.

 

This section lasted about an hour before there was a change over to the second presentation session, in which I was presenting my research. I had never presented in this format before, standing beside a poster outlining my work, and did not get much guidance as to how best to present the work, however it seemed the best thing to do was to create a poster which drew people towards you, outline the key points of your arguments, and then once they had looked over the poster to speak to them about your work and outline the key arguments and facts in more depth verbally, as opposed to through a text-heavy poster.

Samuel Matthews, Physics student

My research is drawn from my third year dissertation work on the denigration of “others” in comparison to the image of the English male and “Englishness” in Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy, exploring concepts of the Self and the Other and relating the world of Henry VI to the world in which we currently live. It was nice to bring Henry VI back to Westminster today. This poster presentation format gave me quite a nice relaxed format in which to discuss my work. Although, I think I prefer verbal, paper presentations to an audience as then everyone gets a chance to hear everyone else’s ideas.

 

Following this section there was a short break, in which we chatted amongst ourselves, whilst the judging panel conferred. This was comprised of Naomi Saint, the Univesrities Programme Manager at Parliament, Diana Beech from the Higher Education Policy Institute, and Professors Dilly Fung and Stuart Hampton-Reeves from UCL and UCLan. Prizes went to research into: the ‘informal economy and migrant communities’ (Nottingham Trent University), ‘the role of art in mental health recovery’ (Hull College Group),’aortic stiffness due to increased pulsatility in cerebral arteries’ (University of Exeter) and ‘the stakeholder experiences of pharmacists in GP clinics’ (University of Reading). Unfortunately, Queen Mary’s did not come away with any prizes, however the experience of being able to present my work was invaluable and great practice for the British Undergraduate Conference both myself and Sam, as well as about 38 other QM students who will be there in Brighton for this event at the end of April.

 

Attending Posters in Parliament was beneficial in three key ways: firstly, it was great practice presenting and discussing my research with fellow scholars who could identify and question gaps in my research, and suggest theorists and texts I could explore to broaden and deepen my research; secondly, it was a great opportunity to meet with fellow scholars and hear about other sections of research which I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to hear about; and thirdly, it is was a great opportunity to meet policy-makers and see the every-day running of the Houses of Parliament, and get some sense that our undergraduate work is noticed by and matters to people who are running the country.

 

It was an honour to represent Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama at this event, which has an open application policy. My thanks to Julian Ingle in the Learning Development Team, Jerry Brotton in English and Pen Woods in Drama for their help with this work. I would strongly encourage all students to look into and apply to this event next year as you meet some wonderful people, learn new things, as well as developing the skill of communicating your research to an array of different people, from varying backgrounds, and experiencing the joy of sharing your research with others – as well as the free food.

 

Speaking at The Third Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference by Angelica Hill

On Sunday 19th February I headed off to King’s Cross Train Station to catch an 11 o’clock train up to Edinburgh for the Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference. The theme of this conference was “Diversion and Connection”, and Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama had generously sponsored my travel and accommodation for the event. I had four long hours alone on the train to go over, and over, and over, my presentation, getting progressively more nervous and apprehensive. Since I wasn’t presenting until the following morning I tried to take my mind off my nerves by working on other things too.

I got into Edinburgh at about 4 o’clock in the evening, dropped my things at the cheap hotel I had found 5 minutes from the station, and spent the evening walking around the city. I hadn’t been to Edinburgh before. It is beautiful! If I were to give you one piece of advice when attending conferences outside of London, aside from making the most of the intellectual and academic opportunities, it would be to be a tourist. I really enjoyed taking the time to explore the city, the university and to learn a little about the area. It was great to see where fellow students are making their work. Edinburgh has such a rich literary, artistic, and cultural landscape that it was exciting to have the chance to be there for a little bit.

I had submitted a proposal in January this year to speak about my 3rd year dissertation research into Shakespeare’s glorification of the 17th Century concept of “Englishness” in his trilogy of Henry VI plays. These plays were produced in the 1590s but stage the struggles and bloodshed of the 1420s-1470s amongst the English and between the English and French. Shakespeare emphasizes the differences and divisions between the English/ foreigners (the French); men/ women and Church of England/ Catholics.  With only 15 minutes to speak, I focused on the presentation of gender and, in particular, on the characterisations of Joan of Arc and Margaret of Anjou in the plays. I considered both the Elizabethan context and the modern-day resonance of the gender and xenophobia issues. In today’s post-Brexit Trumpian world this work contributes to wider urgent conversations around cultural appropriation, nationalism, and the portrayal of other ethnicities, sexes, and religions.

The conference divided into three sections. The first section of the day consisted of two groups of undergraduates (including myself) presenting literature papers ranging from The Medieval and Shakespeare to 18th and 19th Century writers. Speakers spoke about Virginia Woolf and the progression of feminist theory; the contrast between the representation of male and female desire in Troubadour poetry; the way Merlin and King Arthur are presented in Medieval literature; as well as an exploration of the boom in children’s literature during the Victorian era. My presentation went well which was a relief. Everyone reacted viscerally to the photo montage of Trump, Farage, Wilders, May, and others, with which I concluded my presentation. I was delighted that this resonance of the ideas with current issues provoked lots of conversation and I had some really stimulating questions about crossover work and ideas from other peers presenting.

After the tea break (where I am unashamed to say I stuffed my face on all the cakes, cookies, and free coffee ), another two panels of undergraduates spoke firstly about 20th Century Literature, and then International Literature. The speakers in this section spoke about the relation between the genocide of Australian aboriginal people and Jewish people in the Holocaust through literature (with this speaker having flown in from Canada); the dichotomy between the East and West as expressed through Arab literature, with a specific focus on the work of Rabih Alameddine, Chinese language internet literature, and the struggles of national identity and sexuality in Mexican literature.

The day concluded after lunch (again free and plentiful) with a Postgraduate Panel talking about their research in Universities including Edinburgh, York, Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Canada and Spain, the benefits of postgraduate study. We also heard from the conference Keynote Speaker, Dr Richard Walsh from the University of York, about narrative structure and wonder.

Attending this conference was beneficial in three key ways: firstly, it was great practice presenting and discussing my research with fellow literary scholars who could identify and question gaps in my research and suggest theorists and texts I could explore to broaden and deepen my research; secondly, it was a great opportunity to hear about other sections of literary research which I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to hear about; and thirdly, it is extremely enjoyable to meet with fellow literature lovers and hear about other university courses, and experiences as I go on to consider the possibility of Masters degrees and further academic study in the future. There was a lot of free food, coffee, tea, and wine to drown our nerves with, and everyone was really friendly and constructive. I have set up an online group for participants where we have already shared our written papers and exchanged messages since the conference. I hope to keep in touch with them.

It was an honour to represent Queen Mary’s English Department at the conference, which has an open application policy.  I would recommend other students to make an application to attend next year.

In the meantime, The Centre for Early Modern Studies at King’s College London is holding a Bodies in Motion in the Early Modern World Conference this June. Worth trying to go to it, or there is also the opportunity to submitting a poster, linked to a paper of yours, for presentation at the conference. If you’re interested email cemsconference@gmail.com.

Win tickets to a special event at Shakespeare’s Globe with Jerry Brotton #SEDbookforlife

We were reading this rather excellent article for World Book Day (2 March) on Huck Magazine’s website about books that have the power to transform our lives.

So we decided to launch a competition on World Book Day 2017 to celebrate the books that transform us.

We’ve got 3 prizes to give away to celebrate the launch of our very own Jerry Brotton’s :

  • 1 x This Orient Isle paperback + 2 x tickets to A Wheeling and Extravagant Stranger: Othello, Elizabeth and Islam event with Jerry Brotton on Thursday 9 March.
  • 2 runners up prizes of 2 x tickets to Jerry Brotton’s event (detailed above).

TO ENTER TO WIN SIMPLY ANSWER THIS:

Which book has transformed your life?

Tweet with the hashtag #SEDbookforlife:

.

Or email us: sed-web@qmul.ac.uk with your name and answer.


Information about the event

For generations race has defined interpretations of Othello. Important though this tradition has been in addressing issues like civil rights and apartheid, Jerry Brotton will argue in this talk that current preoccupations with race obscure how Elizabethan England’s religious and imperial relations with the Islamic world shaped the dramatic action of plays like Othello.

In close readings of key passages (Othello’s ‘travel’s history’, the ‘Willow song’ scene and Othello’s last speech), Professor Brotton offers a new interpretation of the play that resonates with our current anxieties about religious extremism, immigration and cosmopolitanism.

To learn more, read Jerry Brotton’s blog ‘On Othello, Elizabeth and Islam’.

“Where better to speak about Othello and its reflection of our current global predicament than at a place called the Globe? Such predicaments are now understood as much through debates about faith and belonging as race…”

Terms and conditions: Competition closes on Tuesday 7 March at 5pm GMT. The competition is open to anyone based in the UK. 3 winners will be selected to win a prize. There are 3 prizes available of:

  • 1 x This Orient Isle paperback + 2 x tickets to A Wheeling and Extravagant Stranger: Othello, Elizabeth and Islam event with Jerry Brotton on Thursday 9 March.
  • 2 runners up prizes of 2 x tickets to Jerry Brotton’s event (detailed above).

 

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

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:

verseandmusic.com

soundingvictorian.org

 

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:

5 Need to Know Questions Answered for our new BA English with Creative Writing

 

We’re very excited about our new programme BA English with Creative Writing launching in September 2017. See below for answers to 5 key questions about the course.


Register your interest in studying BA English with Creative Writing

 

1. Why should I do English with Creative Writing at QM?

Studying English with Creative Writing will help you to develop your command of both written and spoken language in a way that is useful beyond the academic contexts of literary studies. It is a degree that focuses on the communicative power of language, with a wide range of audiences and readerships in mind. Queen Mary has a strong presence in the field of contemporary writing, with particular expertise in contemporary fiction and experimental writing. We are also committed to new and emerging contexts for creative expression, including new media, the creative industries and non-fictional writing.

 

2. What sort of jobs are available for graduates with a BA in English with Creative Writing ? How will Creative Writing help in the job market?

Some graduates from English with Creative Writing will succeed as published writers. But Creative Writing graduates are also sought by employers for their skills in effective communication. Creative Writing modules require high levels of collaboration, including responses to and editing of the written output of others. Many Creative Writing graduates will progress to careers in creative industries such as publishing, journalism, advertising and the new media industries. More generally, English with Creative Writing graduates can present high level information and analytical skills to employers, including the ability to interpret, evaluate, synthesise and organise material, to formulate independent and critical judgements, creative solutions and articulate reasoned arguments.

 

3. Can you make a living as a writer?

Many people make a living as a writer. It is true that those who make a living as novelists is relatively small, but many writers combine literary production with other forms of employment, such as journalism, academic teaching or professional writing. In broader terms, the need for effective writers and communicators is at an all time high, because of the dependence of businesses on the internet, where sophisticated writing and editing skills are prized. A degree in Creative Writing prepares the graduate for both independent and collaborative textual production.

 

4. What can I tell my parents about why I plan to do English with Creative Writing

Doing English with Creative Writing will give me a knowledge of literary traditions, genres and conventions, but it will, more than ordinarily, train me in the production as well as the critical analysis of cultural artefacts. English with Creative Writing is like doing an English degree, but with a greater emphasis on the transferable writing skills that employers often seek in English graduates.

 

5. How likely am I to make it as a writer of fiction?

If you do have your heart set on writing fiction, this programme offers you invaluable contact with, and advice from those with a track record in publishing fiction. The programme helps you to make contact with literary agents,  and addresses all aspects of the contemporary literary marketplace, the relationship between literary and genre fiction, and the way to present work to publishers. The programme aims to provide you with the information that you need about the workings of the industry, the ability to set goals, self-manage and meet deadlines. These are the things that a writer needs to succeed in the marketplace.

 

Register your interest in studying BA English with Creative Writing

#SEDCareers: English graduate Mary Carter on her week with Palgrave Publishing

Before my internship with Palgrave Macmillan Journals I had only four days unpaid experience in an office environment. I had met the team’s Publisher, Amy Shackleton, at a careers evening at Queen Mary a few months previously, and since exchanged several emails and had one telephone interview, which culminated in my appointment as their summer intern. I was thrilled, of course, but in the days preceding my stay with the journals team, I was nevertheless a little apprehensive. On Sunday evening various questions occurred to me as I tried to mentally prepare myself for any undesirable situations: ‘What if I’m late on my first day?’; ‘What if I don’t get along with my colleagues?’; ‘What if I can’t keep up with the work?’ The new job jitters were getting to me.

I had been told to arrive at the Glasshouse Building at 9:45am for an orientation with HR. Having looked up the location of this building beforehand and checked the underground schedule for any delays, I arrived early and so was able to sit down in the foyer and collect myself before being given a tour with some other new employees. At least now I knew I could dismiss my fear of tardiness.

As I was only being employed on a temporary basis, after the tour I was taken off into a separate conference room and shown a quick slideshow detailing the terms of my contract, how and when I was going to be paid, and a basic outline of who Springer Nature are (Springer Nature is the merged company name for the majority of brands under Macmillan Science and Education and Springer Science+Business Media, of which Palgrave Macmillan is a part ). Feeling reassured that my needs would be looked after throughout my internship, I was then returned to the Glasshouse Building’s foyer, and told to wait for Beatrix Daniel, Assistant Publishing Manager and my mentor for the week.

Meeting Beatrix and the rest of the team (Lucy Wheeler, Marta Kask, who works at their New York office, and the aforementioned Amy Shackleton) dispelled any lingering worries. I had the opportunity before lunch to speak with each of them in turn about the different aspects of their jobs, their professional backgrounds, and to ask them any questions I had. They were all extremely easy to talk to, and made me feel very welcome. Lunch brought with it a time to get to know this close-knit team a little better, and I spent a very enjoyable hour discussing various topics with them, over a lunch they had kindly bought me in the company café.

What were the highlights of my week? The first was sitting in on a meeting between Lucy Wheeler and the editorial board for the European Journal of Development Research, one of the journals for whom she is Publishing Manager. I was fortunate to experience this, as such a meeting happens only once or twice a year, and one member of the board had even flown all the way from Australia to be there! Our presence was required for the whole morning, during which the journal’s progress and ideas for its improvement were discussed while I took the minutes. When we broke for lunch the feeling in the room was one of satisfaction: significant progress had been made, I had written several pages of useful notes, and there was food left over for Lucy and I to take back to the office!

Buoyed up by the success of the morning, I settled myself at my desk and consulted the timetable Beatrix had handed me at the beginning of the week. That afternoon I was to meet with two members of the Palgrave Macmillan journals production team. These were to be the first of several meetings Beatrix had arranged for me throughout the week, each with individuals working within Springer Nature, but in different areas of publishing. These conversations were highlights because, prior to my starting at Palgrave I had told Beatrix that I wanted to learn as much about the industry as possible, and she certainly made sure of this!

Over the course of the week I spoke with people from Palgrave Macmillan books team, the Open Access team, Nature Publishing Group, and marketing, and by Friday my head was buzzing with the multitude of career possibilities afforded by academic publishing.

Another highlight for me was due to my internship coinciding with the team’s recruitment of a Publishing Assistant. Amy was conducting the interviews and, as it is an entry-level position well-suited to recent graduates, she thoughtfully obtained permission for me to sit in on one of the interviews. It was a superb opportunity for me to gain an insight into what to expect when in the candidate’s shoes, and also to get some valuable feedback from Amy regarding the dos and don’ts of first interviews.

All in all, I came away from my week with Palgrave positive that I had learnt a great deal about academic publishing, and about the individuals within Springer Nature who ensure the world is never short of interesting and varied research publications. I also left feeling as though I had had not only an informative week, but an enjoyable one too. Though the Palgrave Journals team work extremely hard, they also know how to have fun outside of work. Included in the week’s social calendar was the lovely lunch I have already mentioned, a rehearsal with the staff choir, and a post-work pub trip.

My week with Beatrix, Amy, Lucy, and (though I never met her in the flesh) Marta showed me that journal publishing is a challenging, complex, and highly rewarding line of work. From meetings with dedicated academics to troubleshooting from your desk, no two days are the same, and I would like to thank them all for ensuring I had such a valuable and fun week.

Being Human Festival 2016 Programme Announced

The full programme for Being Human Festival led by University of London’s School of Advanced Study has been announced and is available to peruse to your heart’s content here.

We’ve picked out a few events that caught our eye and feature some of our School of English and Drama connections:

 

 

queen-mary-university-of-london-no-feedbackNo Feedback

People’s Palace Projects is a partner on this one…

Saturday 19 November | 18.00–19.30

No Feedback is a theatrical event highlighting the gentle pull of discrimination that tears at the fabric of everyday life. Giving an insight into human nature, it is set against the backdrop of catastrophes both historic and contemporary. By taking Genocide Watch’s groundbreaking research as the backbone of the production, No Feedback intelligently and sensitively asks audiences to consider their own place on the spectrum of how we relate to one another. Come and play your part in this new kind of theatre experience.

More info and book online here

 

 

queen-mary-university-of-london-spitalfields-winter-1892_a-guided-walkSpitalfields, winter 1892: a guided walk

Led by SED’s Dr Nadia Valman

Sunday 20 November | 16:00–17:45

Novels have a particular power to conjure the past life of a place and to make us alert to the traces of the past that are still visible all around us. See Spitalfields in a new light through the eyes of bestselling Victorian writer Israel Zangwill and his closely observed novel Children of the Ghetto. Explore the neighbourhood with the ‘Zangwill’s Spitalfields’ walking tour app created by Dr Nadia Valman with the Jewish Museum, London and Soda Ltd. This app brings together archive sources including photographs, documents and digitised objects from the Jewish Museum to create an immersive experience of the lively and fraught milieu of Jewish immigrant life in Victorian Spitalfields. Hear about the making of the app and sample its content on the streets of east London in this guided walk.

More info and book online here

 

 

queen-mary-the-museum-of-the-normalThe museum of the normal

Includes SED’s Dr Tiffany Watt Smith is presenting a talk entitled: ‘Blending in: The Lost Art of Disappearing’

Thursday 24 November | 18.00–21.00

From angst-ridden teenage letters to agony aunts to concerned posts in online parenting forums, it’s clear that as a society we are haunted by a fear of being labelled abnormal. But who gets to define what’s normal? Is it really something to aspire to? And is worrying about ‘being normal’ normal? At this drop-in late event at Bart’s Pathology Museum, led by the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions, visitors will enter the ‘land of the abnormal’: a pop-up museum of games, talks and performances addressing different aspects of the history of normality. Expect lost emotions, historical psychometric tests, themed refreshments, history of medicine talks and guided tours of the ‘museum of the normal’.

More info and book online here

 

 

See the full programme here

or why not read the curator’s highlights here

#NationalPoetryDay – Win a Place in SED History

Today, Thursday 6th October is National Poetry Day and we’re celebrating the literary form with a competition on Twitter that could make your words part of SED history.

Simply tweet us a poem with the hashtag #SEDrhymetime and your poem could be printed, framed and put somewhere special in the School.

More details on Twitter here

 

Here’s 3 more ways you can engage with the day:

  1. Check out Time Out’s guide to #NationalPoetryDay events today.
  2. Visit the Poetry Library in the Southbank Centre.
  3. Search for what’s happening near you on the National Poetry Day website here

 

We teach a variety of Poetry modules within these programmes:

#LifeAfterSED – Drama Graduate and Puppeteer Edie Edmundson talks about her latest show

We spoke to 2015 SED Drama graduate, Edie Edmundson about her time at Queen Mary, her career so far and her latest show The Old Woman Made of Stardust which is coming to Theatre N16 on 27 October 2016. 

theoldwomanmadeofstardustTell us about ‘The Old Woman Made of Stardust’ and how the project came about?

The first glimmers of the play appeared during my final year at QM, when I rediscovered a letter my Gran wrote for me before she died. It was a beautifully written letter – some of it has made it into the show! The tone of the letter perfectly struck a balance between softening the blow for a young child (I was 8 at the time), and maintaining clarity about the reality of death. I decided to turn the letter into a play!

Things sparked into life thanks to the Queen Mary Theatre Company. I was able to put the play on as part of the New Writer’s Festival and from there it was chosen for the Fuel London Student Drama Festival. I have always loved puppetry, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between puppetry and childhood – particularly how puppet theatre can be used to help children deal with trauma. Puppets can help break down the barriers of self-consciousness and distil complicated issues.

My research – and a puppetry course I took after leaving uni – prompted me to revisit ‘The Old Woman Made of Stardust’, to develop it into something which could help promote honest and open conversations about how the grief caused by bereavement can affect children and their families.

 

What can an audience expect to experience in the show?

The show is aimed at families, and I hope it will appeal to audiences of all ages. It tells the story of Lily, a little girl who loves to look at the stars. Lily and her Gran play games together, dreaming up constellations and flying like birds. What kind of bird would you be? But when Gran dies, Lily’s vivid imagination catapults her into a strange and tangled forest as she tries to find her way through the grief and make sense of death. Lily’s world is full of magic and colour, a place of paper birds, talking foxes and shooting stars. It is a world turned upside down by the loss of her Grandmother. The play uses innovative puppetry and original music to create a magical world and tell a heart warming, hopeful story or love, loss and growing up.

 

Puppet Theatre Barge

What else have you been up to since graduating from Queen Mary?

I’ve been very busy! Straight after uni I started training to be a puppeteer on the Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice (a wonderful place everyone should visit!), and I did an intensive ten week course at the Curious School of Puppetry in Bethnal Green. From there, I’ve teamed up with some fellow puppeteers to start a company called Wondering Hands who use puppetry to investigate complicated issues – our other show is about sex and consent! Alongside working part time at Wilton’s Music Hall (great local venue!) and the Barbican, I’m just about to start rehearsals as a puppeteer for The Little Match Girl at the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse this Christmas. It feels like a lot has happened since leaving QM….!

 

What was your favourite thing about studying at Queen Mary?

Studying Drama at QM really opened my eyes to a wide range of live art and performance I would not have come across otherwise. The work we studied and also the incredible work created by students as part of the course and through QMTC really broadened my horizons when it came to my options post uni. The course encouraged me to interrogate art and performance and place it in a wider context in a way I had never done before – something I think is very useful for anyone considering a career in the arts! I think my favourite thing about QM in general probably has to be the location… the East End has so many great venues and interesting things going on. And coming from a small town in Devon, the chance to meet people from all over the world was brilliant.

 

What advice would you give current students that you wish you’d known before starting at university?

Get involved in societies! It was my involvement with the Theatre Company which introduced me to some fantastic friends and helped me gain some valuable practical skills. There are so many great societies at QM, and they need students to make them grow! I wish I’d had the confidence to get more involved with political societies such as QM Equality, I was always hovering on the fringes but never quite got stuck in. I think now more than ever students need to have a voice, and it’s getting together for common goals in societies that can give people the experience and community needed to make things happen!

Queen Mary at the Edinburgh Festivals

The Edinburgh Festivals are stuffed full of talented students, graduates and staff from Queen Mary. If you’re at the fringe please do support these performers and staff.

Queen Mary Theatre Company

qmtc fringe

Queen Mary Theatre Company is made up of students from across Queen Mary including from our Drama and English programmes. This year they’re presenting four shows:

  1. Crapappella (Aug 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27): Featuring timeless classics such as Diarrhoea, The Comic Sans Song, and Ballad to Beige, Crapappella isn’t any ordinary a cappella show…
  2. iDolls (Aug 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27): Can’t imagine a world without social media? Welcome to a world within social media.
  3. Monkhouse (Aug 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26): Welcome to the world’s worst school disco. The Monkhouse School Annual Ball goes horribly wrong as an unknown shooter fires two shots into the dark 1960s London night.
  4. Rotterz (Aug 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 ): Four youngsters and their dog battle an unexpected apocalypse on a small Scottish island.

 

Alumni at The Fringe

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Our alumni are out in force to represent the best of theatre and performance practice and critique. Here’s a selection:

  1. Billy Barrett: Fringe reviewer and member of company Breach showing the much talked about and now (19/08/2016) Fringe First award-winning Tank.
  2. Figs in Wigs: Quirky pop-theatre sensation Figs in Wigs are a favourite of Lyn Gardner the Guardian’s theatre supremo and their show is already getting rave reviews.
  3. Victoria Hancock: is performing her Tom Waits inspired solo show Frontal Lobotomy at Southside Social!
  4. Dr Brian Lobel: MA and PhD grad is leading The Sick of the Fringe programme.
  5. Catherine Love: Reviewer extraodinaire, read Catherine’s articulate insight into the world of contemporary performance.
  6. Elf Lyons: Comedienne and provocateur Elf explores ‘the age-old fear of turning into your mother and what it means to have it all…’.
  7. Simon Nader: Simon is at Assembly Roxy with a ‘sell out B-movie show (deep breath) Escape From the Planet of the Day That Time Forgot.
  8. Sh*t Theatre: One of the Guardian’s picks of the day, Letters to Windsor House is an eye-opening look into east London life through the opening of other people’s mail is a must-see.
  9. Xavier de Souza: Prolific producer Xavier is chairing an event for producers as part of innovative health-based programme The Sick of the Fringe.
  10. Karl Taylor: Producer extraordinaire of the talk of the fringe, Triple Threat by Lucy McCormick at Underbelly Cowgate.

 

Staff at the Edinburgh Festivals

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Our staff across the School are busy performing or presenting their research to a wider audience of festival goers:

  1. Jerry Brotton (Aug 27): We admit this event isn’t at the Edinburgh festivals but it’s in AUgust a lovely event so we thought we’d include. Jerry Brotton looks at maps and how they can embody cultural values at Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature & Thought.
  2. Daniel Oliver (Aug 11-14): Daniel brings his ‘calamitous participatory performances’, Weird Seances to the Forest Fringe.
  3. Tiffany Watt Smith (Aug 18): Dissects the history and meaning of a cornucopia of emotions at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

 

Did we forget anyone? Please let us know and we’ll make sure we add into this post.

George Oliver Readshaw from QMTC on Monkhouse at the Edinburgh Fringe

Monkhouse is one of four shows on its way to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with the Queen Mary Theatre Company.

We caught up with George Oliver Readshaw to talk about creating the show and the build up to the festival thus far…

If you’re not up at the fringe be sure to reserve a ticket for the preview happening on Friday 5 August at 7pm.


Tell us about Monkhouse the show you’re taking up to the Edinburgh Fringe for 2016? What will an audience experience?

Monkhouse is a one-room-whodunnit-thriller-black-comedy-1960s-period-piece-theatrical-slap-in-the-face. It follows six horrible cockney kids hiding from an unknown gunman in their school gym.

While writing the script and compiling ideas it was incredibly important to me that this was a one hour show squeezed into 45 minutes. Our slot at the Edinburgh Fringe is exactly one hour, and they are very strict, so that includes getting the audience (hopefully in their thousands) seated, getting all the props and set ready after the previous show, and then vice versa. So really we have 45 minutes tops to get a show done. That’s not very long. So it’s vital that the audience can laugh, cry and generally live every moment as much as they can and as quickly as they can. So an audience can expect a super-charged, high tempo assault on their senses. That said, I’m a big fan of the theatrical ‘pause’, so we’ve made time for a few of those too.

 

What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned so far in preparing for the Edinburgh fringe?

Research. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Be it promotional material, costume design, voice, lexicon, where one wears one’s trousers, the past is a different country and details are vital. We’ve played fast and loose with a couple of things, but we are really trying to create an authentic 1960s London aesthetic. The world of the play has to be compelling and true as well as sexy and cool, and the research side, as tedious as it can be, is so so important to any piece.

 

How do you think being in the QMTC helps your future career?

Immeasurably. I’m lucky enough to be continuing my studies at drama school this September and I know I would never be anywhere near that were it not for the opportunities offered by QMTC. Our university has a deservedly well renowned reputation for its drama department, and the plethora of performance styles that you are exposed to here is just phenomenal. I’ve seen my friends doing all sorts on stage, and the talent that lies here at QM is pretty inspiring. I’ve been involved in plays by Terrence Rattigan, Edward Albee, Sondheim, Shakespeare and most importantly some supremely talented writers and directors who are students just like me. This is kind of what it’s about really. Making plays with your mates. I would say that QMTC has put me exactly where I want to be.

 

Tell us about your time at Queen Mary and how you came to study with us. What have been your highlights so far studying drama at Queen Mary?

Well I am actually an English student but in honesty have spent the vast majority of my university life in the Pinter Studio. Basically all of it. I should pay rent there. But my highlights have been my experiences at the Edinburgh Fringe. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in two really interesting and funny fringe shows, both with fantastic people, all of whom are big friends of mine still. It’s such a great thing that QM offers, you get to take something that you have made and show it to the wider world at the biggest arts festival on the planet. Plus it’s the biggest party on the planet.

 

Find out how to book tickets for the Monkhouse London preview

Find out more about the Queen Mary Theatre Company

Secret East London Map

East London is one of the most diverse and culturally rich areas in the world. We’ve made this east London map to help you discover the hidden gems that can get you closer to your ideal career, meet new friends and have fun while you study or work with us.

Did we miss a hidden gem? Email us or tweet @QMULsed with your favourite place in East (ish) London and we’ll add to the map.

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19 More Reviews from Festival 41

And we’re back with more fascinating insights into the themes and nature of performance made right here at Queen Mary during Festival 41 from 17-20 May 2016.

Below you can read the written responses by from our finalists; Hattie Long, Georgia Bate and Franciska Ery to the final batch of performances.

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Reminiscence by Keita Ikeda (pictured above)

Ikeda’s digital installation, an expression though light, sound and smoke, makes for a mesmerising and enveloping experience. From the clamour of the Hackney Showroom bar, stepping into ‘Reminiscence’ is like stepping into a mind that is in a trace. The studio space is transformed by and filled with shifting light and sound. Transfixed audience members sit, stand and lie silhouetted against the constantly changing and sculptural light. Moving through a spectrum of colours, beams fall down through the space onto bodies, then evolve into semi-translucent walls in which smoke marbles – triggering a need to reach out and attempt to touch what I know is intangible. This is technology that prompts interaction, evokes mental processes and produces a calming and almost magical environment. The artist is behind the tech desk and present in the calibration of the technology, illustrating how the digital can be used to tap into and effect human experience. – Georgia

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Welcome to AA by Daniela Hirshova

What if you could attend a support group to treat your addiction to art? Daniela Hirshova’s satirical piece invites a circle of participants (including two lecturers from Queen Mary) to discuss their toxic artistic passions. Due to the audience participation, the piece requires some degree of improvisation, but that does not seem to be a problem to Hirshova, who successfully follows the structure of her performance while keeping it highly entertaining. The audience laughs without hardly any interruption, but underneath the comedy Welcome to AA might be hitting close to home: pursuing the arts has many risks and does not offer financial stability, and Hirshova successfully presents this issue in a comedic manner. – Franciska

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Welcome-to-AA-by-Daniela-Hirshova

When Death Us Do Part by Peter Walker

Peter Walker waits for his audience on top of a balcony in the Hackney Showroom’s main space, looking down on them with knotted eyebrows. This opening image perfectly sums up When Death Us Do Part, in which Walker portrays Peter A. Goodman, a man who believes he is the best man in the room, which is why he is so baffled that he is still single. On his quest to happiness, his plan is to conform and get married right there and then to an audience member. Walker’s aggressive tone and rush to get married are used to explore the concept of marriage and the desire to reach ultimate happiness. Using a harness, melodramatic music and unexpected audience participation, Walker’s piece is highly intense and uniquely engaging. – Franciska

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Story of a refugee by Milica Opacic

Upon entrance the audience is separated – half of the spectators can sit with Milica Opacic in a candlelit tent, while the rest of us are left to observe from the outside. Opacic rocks tiny figures of refugees with a hypnotic energy, occasionally spraying them with water and abruptly cutting them off, letting them fall unceremoniously to the floor. The selected few can look at photographs and read letters to gain some context, but all the outsiders can do is watch, unable to prevent the cruel cutting of the tiny figures’ strings. – Franciska

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Soul Spacing by Cain McCallam

Cain McCallam presents a durational piece featuring projection, music, and wall art that is continuously growing throughout the performance. The established aesthetic is constantly changing, resulting in a colourful chaos in which McCallam dances in a trance-like state. – Franciska

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Bamboo Senses by Sojourner Hazelwood-Connell

A ritual is made palpable, incense burns, a bell rings, piles of bamboo canes encircle open space into which the performer steps. The audience sit around the edges, on the outside of the circle, in the centre Sojourner Hazelwood-Connel undertakes her own sensory ritual. Water, smoke, sound, sand, matches and movement are all used to enliven the space and open it out to the audience. Sojourner spins around with bamboo canes in hand which swish through the air extending and accentuating her movement. She pours water over herself which christens the audience as it is flicks out from the spinning canes. Sojourner makes and breaks the space in dynamic movements, thrown down, the canes clatter on the concrete floor. ‘Bamboo Senses’ is a vigorous and exciting piece, the use of objects and the commitment to movement by the performer serving to intensify how motion is witnessed in performance. – Georgia

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Reality Check by Dominika Visy

On entering the studio space at Hackney Showroom, we are given a flyer for ‘an evening of poetry’ typed in ornate affected characters. A woman recites a poem onstage, then looks up at us in surprise. Framed as if we have stumbled upon her preparation for a poetry recital, Dominika Visy goes on to lampoon the conceited and sentimental love poetry of some ‘Dominika Visy’. She reads it in farce, drawing attention to the limitations and evasions of words and providing us with an antidote – experiences of love are performed through the domestic. Here are relationships realised in tissues, in blowing up balloons and trying to iron a fitted sheet. The realm of princes and images of abundant and gushing nature are confronted with metaphors which are created through the interaction with everyday objects. The ingenious simplicity and honesty with which Visy pits her experiences of love against the kind of love that represented in poetry results in a funny and refreshing performance, as well as a wry and self-deprecating interrogation of the reality of aesthetics expressed in art. – Georgia

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I Did It Because I Wanted To by Martha Pailing

Gutsy, voluble and grotesque, Martha Pailing’s piece is a wonderfully unseemly and weird outpouring of speech. ‘I did It because I Wanted To’ sees the performer in white towel, hair dripping wet as if she has just stepped out of the bath that is projected behind her. Reading from a towelled diary, Pailing traverses a terrain of people in all their messy and vulgar brilliance. Different voices and faces move in and out of focus throughout the performance and it’s hard to know where the personal stops and other people begin. The language of the piece has a strange distinctive poetry with an insatiable and greedy cadence. The pedestrian nature of the performance slides into the surreal, however in its strangeness it taps into some truth. It is a piece which takes delight in shirking the pleasant and the polite. A look behind the façade of decency which unearths a kind of invigorating confessional brutality, an embrace of the uncouth truth, of what we might want to say but don’t. – Georgia

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Exposed by Clarissa Blake

Over the course of an hour Clarissa Blake pushes herself as she undertakes an exercise routine. Accompanied by three screens which show her performing archetypes of women which can also be read as versions of herself. In the dark, neon shapes painted onto her skin stand out and highlight muscles. This luminous circuit training brings to mind exercise fads, a workout sold as rave – the new ways which the possibility and need for a flawless body are sold to women. But there is no music and no instructor, instead there are tablet computers on the floor, the technology dictating Blake’s movements and how long she does them. The audience are dotted around the edges of the space but the performer is isolated in her effort. Her face obscured in the dark, it is in her body, in the amplified sound of her efforts which emanate out from speakers and in the slap of feet against concrete floor that we witness the transition from energetic to exhausted. The performer’s increasingly drained body placed alongside the three versions of the performer on the screens, draws attention to dissonance between the real and ideal. The actual effort of exercise on the one hand, and the unassuming, poised and performed exercise on the other. The action of wearing out the body feels like a way to release it from the pressures of the specific kinds of representation that are shown on the screens. In this disquieting piece of endurance, the drive to ‘perfection’ or ‘success’ is realised in the action of movement and its effect on the performer. – Georgia

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Artpocalypse: Zut Alors! by Becky Rourke

Becky Rourke cannot do magic, and she knows it. Her performance is concerned with the failure to entertain, featuring anticlimactic reveals and magic tricks that don’t work. Her eagerness to create something magical builds up to a sweet ending with confetti, ABBA, and a celebration of finding an audience member’s card. It is truly an optimistic and playful performance. – Franciska

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THE RISEFALLRISEFALLRISE OF AJAX MCFURY [or HOW I LEARNT TO STOP WORRYING AND BECOME A LEGEND] by Reece Connolly

Ajax McFury enacts a resurrection right in front of us, only to be finished off again. He is a man who courts death and driven by a desire for immortality. With his performance Reece Connolly investigates the figure of the living legend. However, there is never any real danger displayed, and Connolly intentionally mocks iconic stunts to place the emphasis on the presentation of bravery, rather than bravery itself. His cardboard, DIY aesthetic seems to imply that all of this is a facade, and the quest to become forever remembered is, in reality, futile. – Franciska

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THE-RISEFALLRISEFALLRISE-OF-AJAX-MCFURY-[or-HOW-I-LEARNT-TO-STOP-WORRYING-AND-BECOME-A-LEGEND]-by-Reece-Connolly

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They Speak by Mira Yonder

An intriguing umbrella creature blinks bright lights, peering out at the audience arranged on the tiered seating in Hackney Showroom. In the light, the creature is revealed crouched, with limbs covered in tights extending out from the black umbrella – making hands and feet into something more like paws. Strange noises emanate from it, as if it is playing, encountering, and working something out. It flirts with, but doesn’t relegate itself to a recognised language, but its noise is not nonsense either. The audience find something and respond to the modulating sounds which seem to be approaching language from afar. The creature is vulnerable but cheeky, discovering the world and putting its feelers out. There is something, not only of being foreign, but being an outsider which comes through in the piece. ‘They Speak’ was a peculiar, eccentric and absorbing piece which made me consider how we approach what is alien and how the alien might approach us. – Georgia

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 They-Speak-by-Mira-Yonder-(credits-to-Sojourner-Hazelwood-Connell)

Photo credit: Sojourner Hazelwood-Connell

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hours of hair by Vimbai Gavure

Vimbai Gavure stands unmoving, her eyes obscured and body draped in black cloth she is elevated like a monument in the centre of the studio space at Hackney Showroom. She is lit by the flicker of television screens stacked upon one another and on stands which make a semi-circle around her. Braids of hair stretch out from her head to the screens, mapping and connecting up the space, like a web or the roof of a tent. The looming and impassive version of the artist is surrounded by yet more versions of herself, each involved in the labour of pulling twisting brushing, braiding, doing and undoing hair. An amplified straining and creaking sound of hair-work, repeats unabated throughout the piece. The sound creates a tense atmosphere, infecting and shaping the artists movement whilst conjuring up the pain and effort involved in achieving hairstyles. As the audience tentatively make their way around the space, ducking under braids, the figure begins to slowly move her head from side to side, like an automaton. As she picks up speed the movement ripples out along the braids and coins drop from her hair, then cascade onto the floor. ‘hours of hair’ highlights the supreme effort and cost which goes into haircare by women of colour serves as an interesting frame to examine the effect of the white-washed ideals of beauty perpetuated in western society. – Georgia

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The Quest To Find: The Richard Curtis Quality by Laura Pegler

Laura Pegler is determined to find the ‘Richard Curtis Quality, and worryingly determined to find the man himself. With the help of audience members and the ‘celluloid-time-Curtis-inium’ machine our buoyant host stages chaotic realisations of moments from Curtis films before our very eyes. But when everything doesn’t go to plan, our host realises we need to look for magic elsewhere. ‘The Quest To Find : The Richard Curtis Quality’ is a fun and affirming performance which ponders what it is that we are searching for and suggests that it’s okay to ‘not feel okay’ all the time. – Georgia

 

Re-Tale by Monique Geraghty

Heels are clicking in Hackney Showroom’s main space. Monique Geraghty enters and steps into a spotlight. Her performance is about obedience and endurance using three workers in retail to frame her context. Geraghty’s piece almost operates as a short one-person show, allowing her to embody different characters but ultimately point to the same message. – Franciska

 

Something I Want You to Know by Joshua Young

Joshua Young’s intentionally explicit piece features a white, glowing closet. Young’s shadow playfully moves around as he invites an audience member to join him in the closet; repeats the word ‘gay’ over and over again; and tucks a gay flag into his pants. His whimsical piece is paired with elaborate technical elements such as live feed, projection, and several sound effects that successfully aid the humorous, light tone of his performance. – Franciska

 Something-I-Want-You-to-Know-by-Joshua-Young

Ya Mam’s Ya Dad by Maria Hunter

Maria Hunter enters the stage and starts tapping, singing along. From the very first moment to the last, her performance is absurdly entertaining, featuring two performers poorly lip-syncing to Hunter’s words, a short sequence about nervous breakdowns, and even an interview with a blue papier-mâché toe. And while you might find yourself asking from time to time, ‘what am I watching?’, the performance is unquestioningly unique and grotesquely funny. – Franciska

 

Women and War by Dinara Chenuka Punchihewa

Dinara Punchihewa does not speak, instead we hear her telling a story through voice over. She stands firmly on the almost bare stage, using a sequence of movements to illustrate the horrific nature of sexual assault. The haunting lighting illuminates her face stern with commitment and stamina, almost expressionless, even when she opens her mouth to release a silent scream. Her piece is difficult to watch, and yet you cannot look away. – Franciska

 

The Shqipdon Osmani Show by Shqipdon Osmani

It is really what it says on the tin – Shqipdon Osmani presents The Shqipdon Osmani Show, a game show including questions about performance, art, and, of course, Shqipdon Osmani. Using three contesters who are audience members, Osmani is an intentionally insulting and narcissistic host, successfully triggering laughter with self-referential parody questions that never let the contesters win. And while many of this self-aware comedy might be considered a commentary on performance and art, the highlight is really a twist ending that concludes this game show with a final punch line. – Franciska

The-Shqipdon-Osmani-Show-by-Shqipdon-Osman