Here’s a quick message from our head of School Markman Ellis on our Graduation day 2016:
— Markman Ellis (@markmanellis) July 19, 2016
Here’s a quick message from our head of School Markman Ellis on our Graduation day 2016:
— Markman Ellis (@markmanellis) July 19, 2016
Brave the unpredictable summer weather for an unforgettable night under the stars at Shakespeare’s Globe at their Midnight Matinee (next up Macbeth on 22 July). If you’re looking for an alternative take on the old Bard why not try Shakespeare Burlesqued (14 July) at Senate House Library.
As we enter the world of Brexit, the radical movement of PUNK seems very relevant indeed. This year London celebrates 40 years of punk with institutions like Roundhouse, Museum of London and Design Museum all offering free events to get under the skin of the radical subculture. Our favourite activities include Jon Savage and Viv Albertine on Punk (14 July) and Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer at the BFI (7 August) .
Under a 20 minutes away from Queen Mary London Bridge City Festival (Until 31 October) is stuffed with free film and sports screenings, theatre and music all summer.
If you’ve not discovered the pleasures of London Fields Lido (pictured left) or the pop-up Beach East (until 4 September) at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now’s the time to try them. Or if you fancy a little day trip why not hurtle down the Lea Valley on a ‘hot dog’ canoe or if you’re feeling really brave try the world’s highest slide at Arcelor Mittal Orbit (see main article image above).
You, a member of the public, of the unwashed have the privilege of attending a retrospective of one of the greatest artistcelebritydivas of the 21st century. Poised staff, all in black with eye make-up running down their cheeks curtly tell me where to go, and promote an atmosphere that asks that you conduct yourself with due reverence. On display in the space is material from the artists career including videos, outfits and wigs. I am directed through to the gift shop where minimalist t-shirts stamped with the artist’s emblem are on offer alongside vials of hair and perfume. But this isn’t the Tate Modern, and I haven’t spent 4 hours queuing to be here or bought a ticket as soon as they came out at £20.00 a pop. This is QM on a Tuesday evening and the Artist in question is Atlas. The realisation of this exhibition makes for a great exploration of the myth-making that takes place around the ‘artist’. We are made into fans without even giving our consent, perhaps without even having encountered Atlas before. I am told, that for a donation I may enter the ‘tomb’. Of course, not wanting to miss out, I dutifully deposit a donation and enter. – Georgia
Unsure what to expect, we followed the malevolent doorman through into the film studio. UV light bounced off our skin, our tickets were checked and we were ushered into the extravagant confines of Grandpapi’s Pleasure Palace where the scantily clad Lilita was stood in the corner waiting. She danced for us, her long plaits flying as she twisted and turned between titillation and inner torment. She moved to the private room. She took off her clothes for us, she forced herself to drink special concoctions and then she put her clothes back on, taping her body into place, and danced once more. All for our pleasure of course. – Hattie
Appropriately staged in the Hitchcock Cinema, Eslami wittily explored whiteness in film. Recreated versions of film scenes from classics like Pulp Fiction, Pretty Woman and Breakfast at Tiffany’s were shown side by side with the originals and the white actresses that starred in them, creating a humorous tension between media whiteness and the artist’s non-whiteness. It was stark, it was funny, but the livestream footage of the audience never allowed us to forget that this was a spectacle. – Hattie
‘Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York’. So begins Richard III and Elise Lamsdale’s exploration of perceptions of disability, Abled/Disabled. Inspired by her own experience with cystic fibrosis, Lamsdale uses one of Shakespeare’s most infamous villains to emphasise her point about the associations surrounding the words abled and disabled. Words are at the forefront of the piece, lying crumpled around her on the floor as she picks her way through definitions. Yet the projected image of a pair of healthy lungs next to those of a person with cystic fibrosis reminds us of the emptiness of these words in the face of the hidden physical disease. – Hattie
Listening in on the conversation of the two on stage, it’s clear that this is a familiar set up. Two friends together making music, their chat encompassing popcorn and pop hooks, it would be easy to forget that this is staged. It felt remarkably natural and intimate, an insight into a private space. It was a shock when the lights flashed up on the audience at the end, breaking us out of the illusion that this was something hidden. The lights fade and so do the voices, our insight dwindles once more. – Hattie
Laura Graham Anderson adopted and adapted staging and performance constructs of naturalistic performance, creating something hypnotic and compelling to watch. Typical box set items reminiscent of Ibsen, an armchair, a standing lamp, a tea trolley, were marked out on the floor by tape, emphasising the artificiality of their presence. They made the space feel intimate, as Graham Anderson’s repetitions and set track around the space provided a sense of containment within the structure. Layers of cardigans were removed and gestures added, repeated or dropped as the audience watched mesmerised. The theatrical structure was left bare. – Hattie
Laura Graham Anderson’s A Theatrical Nudity Structure is an exploration of repetition and the gradual exposure of the female body. Using theatrical texts heavy with tradition, Graham Anderson successfully presents a study of the female body in a theatrical context, resulting in a pleasurable collision between theatre and live art. Although her setup and actions might seem elegantly simple, she is in full control of her structure and nothing in her space is arbitrary. – Franciska
Photo Credit: Moa Johansson
Take your seat. In front of you are two buttons, a red and a green. The options are on the screen. Press the corresponding button to make a choice. It’s a concept many of us are familiar with through video games and choose-your-own-adventure books, but here the choices were in front of us as we dived through and tried to destroy the malevolent force of M.O.T.H.E.R. We didn’t last long. I’m itching for another go. Perhaps that’s the point. – Hattie
The one certainty in life is that one day it will end. You will die, I will die, we will all die. Franciska Ery’s performance explored our inevitable demise, raising issues of mortality and finality. Ery, transforming into a death figure, moved along a red line in a middle of the space as she changed into a sensual black clad being. She pulled on strings, causing pairs of sunglasses to rise and fall around the room before cutting the threads, leaving the glasses to crash to the ground. Owning the black space around her, she danced moving back and forth along the glowing red thread of life. Gradually derobing and changing back into her original self, she returned slowly along the line, leaving us alone in the darkness. – Hattie
Photo Credit: Liv Johnson
We lay down on blankets and pillows ready for our bedtime story. It is the tale of a girl, the jewel of her small fishing village, who travels to find the dollmaker. Journeying alone, the little girl encounters great danger to buy a new doll. What she does not realise is that the dollmaker’s price is her life. We awaken to find the girl, transformed into a doll, seated before us ready to be dressed up. We leave her dressed, decorated and completely still. Not all fairy tales have a happy ending. – Hattie
Catherine Palmer presents Edible Beginnings & Messy Endings, a bittersweet mixture of whimsical celebration and direct commentary on the relation between consumerism, pleasure and the body. We are invited to her party filled with sweets, pastry and sugary liquids. The overabundance of food and the pink and glittery aesthetic potently represent the overwhelming feeling of unquenched desire. Palmer’s humorous and satirical piece is filled to the brim, but all is stripped away when she stops the music, destroys her towers of food and undresses to wash herself clean. – Franciska
Low rumbles and the distorted screams of a female voice permeate the experience of looking at the photographs in ‘Over Her Dead Body’. In the sparse space it is as if there is a ghostly presence hovering over my shoulder. Fia Hacklin is the subject of the three sets of photos, her body positioned as if deposited unceremoniously, limbs at angles, with flowers strewn over her. Beauty and death, life and lifelessness sit alongside one another, drawing attention to the aestheticisation the dead female body. Fia’s work destabilises the relation between subject and observer. The subject gazes out from the photographs, her stare like a challenge, reproaching the viewer from underneath a Marie Antoinette wig. – Georgia
a) Against the metal and stone of the Hackney Showroom warehouse, with strip lighting and medical paraphernalia, there is no room for a pastoral ideal of milking. Sucking, slurping, gargling, spitting, ‘mmmm’, Beth Christlow is a vessel, consumer and producer of fluids. Moving through a sequence of stations, and interacting with the milk she encounters there, the performer seems at once insatiable and overflowing, she is greedy and trapped in a repeated process. (MmM)ilk me examines our needs and wants. Moving between woman, baby and animal, sloshing and dripping through the space, the performer crosses borders to examine the human intervention into, collision with and consumption of animal lives. – Georgia
b) (MmM)ilk me shows a peculiar creature’s experiments with milk. She is animalistic, yet grotesquely human, as the milk simultaneously revolts and attracts her. In Christlow’s clinical, white space the texture, taste and sound of milk is explored in a durational piece. She is the consumer and the producer of it, the baby and the mother at the same time. Her fascination prompts her to repeat her actions over and over again, re-visiting three different stations where her sucking, slurping and spitting give a unique rhythm to her actions. With full control and mindful endurance, Christlow is a captivating performer to watch. – Franciska
Cuming Out Party entrepreneur and social specialist Jessie took us through her services, dealing with relatives at family parties convinced that it’s a phase and how best to cope with knobs in bars who demand proof that you’re a lesbian (NB there’s only so much she can do about the latter). Taking a volunteer from the audience, she embarked on the festivities of a true Cuming Out Party, concluding with a singalong to a certain Diana Ross classic. Satirical yet celebratory, we came out and wanted the world to know, you’ve got to let it show. – Hattie
She entered the space collecting objects painted a strange turquoise. She pulled a sheet of foil from the rucksack on her back, stuck it to the wall and stood behind it to change, like a caterpillar in a cocoon. She emerged triumphantly as a turquoise clad artiste, silently handing out wacky glasses and pulling more and more fantastical turquoise objects from her enormous rucksack. She continued to inhabit the halls of Festival 41 for the rest of the evening, playing ping pong, crawling blue snails up people’s knees and hiding inside her foil fortress. She wouldn’t let me inside, the arty so and so. – Hattie
The inspiration behind Old Wives Tales, as the name suggests, came from the stories we’re told as children, although in this case the prince does not appear to be the hero. Four dancers conveyed the story, choreographed by Karina Brown, as the music expanded and built to the piece’s climax. Bodies twirling and falling in unison, the performers danced for their lives. Don’t go down to the woods alone. A male ballet dancer might come for you. – Hattie
Upon entering Princess Elsa’s kingdom of West Ham we were sent to different group challenges, hoping to find the mystical, ephemeral notion of the meaning of performance. Observing woodland creatures frolicking in the wild, to interviews between the Princess herself and her loving subjects in recorded in a public park, performance is clearly not as straightforward as perhaps the citizens of West Ham might have thought. After stopping for juice, biscuits and a chat with Princess Elsa, we then entered the kingdom’s dark underbelly, greeted by the most narcissistic and social media obsessed of the Princess’ subjects. Playing Truth or Dare and enacting private rituals to put on Instagram, we performed versions of ourselves for the camera. By the time we left it was clear that, as one of the Princess’ interviewees suggested, ‘everything is a performance’. – Hattie
The smell of incense weighed heavy in the air. Bowls and containers filled with liquids and objects littered the stage, milk, tampons, figurines and icons ritualistically moved and placed. An Indian song soared and looped, its repetitive melody almost hypnotic. Prakash’s slow movements and the heady yet relaxing atmosphere created an aura of comforting ritual. As she left the stage, the incense spiralled and the atmosphere slowly faded. – Hattie
a) my forest without echoes is an hour-long durational piece in which Moa Johansson has full agency. Her face covered in hair, she blindly reaches for metal bars and dry twigs to create an artificial forest. And while durational pieces tend to follow one consistent rhythm, Johansson’s movements cannot be expected: one minute she is spending three minutes to break a twig, the next she suddenly unravels many yards of brown paper with erupting energy, showing a wide range of different dynamics. Her movements and stillness are marked with her occasional “woo” sounds as she yells out into her imaginary forest. Marking her body with her materials, she ends up in an entangled nest, uncomfortable and uninviting. She lays there, creating a final image that stays with you long after her piece is over. – Franciska
b) I originally only intended to stay in Moa Johansson’s hour long durational performance for ten minutes. I emerged from the main space an hour later. Covered in sheets of paper with architectural diagrams on, Johansson scraped herself along the wall causing them to steadily fall, unveiling her naked body underneath. She manoeuvred metal poles, dropping them into place with a sharp, echoing bang, and marking herself with charcoal where the ends of the metal cylinders had pressed into her flesh. Breaking the sticks of her forest with her body, she encased herself in them, creating a nest-like structure as she and the forest became inseparable. The echoes faded and silence fell. – Hattie
Photo Credit: Sojourner Hazelwood-Connell
With no wall-text to read, the spectator is invited to Michael Green’s exhibition with openness to interpretation, prompting them to walk around and discover connections on their own. The exhibition, loosely connected to Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, is both domestic and sterile. The pieces are scattered around the room with precision, creating images that allude to the sea, the sky, and the familiarity of home. With merely a small booklet that you can collect from a shelf, Green presents a unique relationship between the written and the visual. – Franciska
The Queen Mary experience is so much more than just our school, the university’s societies are a great way to make new friends, learn new skills for your career and most importantly have fun.
English Graduate Rachel gives a great guide to making the best of studying in London. She shares her experiences of free days out, where to get great deals and cultural finds on Queen Mary’s doorstep.
Yes, London has one of the best & busiest transport systems in the world and as a student you can get 30% off travel on the entire Transport for London network. In this post Amy takes us through the tips and tricks to avoid stress on London transport.
We love Charlie’s honest and wry approach to reading books you don’t like and the unexpected pleasures you can get from them.
Charles Hackley, ‘Old Books‘ (CC BY 2.0)
Does what it says on the tin, really.
The New Chaucer Society is an international body, with members from North America, the UK and Europe, Asia and Australasia. Its 2016 Congress will bring together over 500 members for four days of lectures, papers, workshops, and discussion panels. The activities include poetry readings (Lavinia Greenlaw will be reading from her latest book of poetry, A Double Sorrow, which imaginatively recreates Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde); an evening of medieval music by Opus Anglicanum; Patience Agbabi talking about ‘multilingual Chaucer’; and a performance of a medieval play, The Pride of Life, by a theatre company from Toronto (Poculi Ludique Societas). The paper sessions include talks on torture and violence in the Middle Ages, on digital approaches to working with medieval manuscripts and texts, on Chaucer and medieval science, and on global Chaucer.
Mile End resonates with Chaucerians on a number of counts. On the main eastern approach route to London, it was close to Aldgate and Chaucer’s place of residence in the 1370s and 1380s. In 1381 it was the location of King Richard II’s encounter with a large company of Essex rebels involved in what has become known as The Peasants’ Revolt. Queen Mary’s own community of twenty-first century medievalists looks forward to welcoming Congress participants and to introducing them to a part of London rich in Chaucerian associations.
Here’s some of the things you can experience at the festival:
Top: Siren Band Middle: Daniel Oliver Weird Seance Bottom: Jen Pearce
In a land where dinosaurs still roam the Earth, where the nights are stormy and the 3G slow, a grandson stays up with his grandfather as the old man prepares to pass on to the next life. Except this isn’t your usual grandparent/grandchild relationship. Throw in an immortality myth, some psychological bullying and the grotesque treatment of a pickled egg and you’ll start to get a bit closer to the twisted world of Jellyfish. Written by Drama finalist and Royal Court writing programme alumnus Reece Connolly, the play will be heading to the London Student Drama Festival (LSDF) on 5th March.
Reece is a prolific playwright within the QM community, having put on five plays since starting his degree in 2013, including selling out multiple nights at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe with QMTC venture A Fistful of Hunny. Emily Collins (English and Drama finalist and Associate Director at Theatre N16) directs, following on from successes at The Old Red Lion, Theatre N16 and Camden Fringe. With stellar performances from Jack Ridley and Sam Woodyatt, and technical and production help from Patrick Balcombe and Georgia Moorhouse, this strong team are hoping to triumph at this year’s LSDF.
Founded in 2013, LSDF is an annual event that brings together student plays from across London’s universities and aims to shed light on the wealth of theatrical talent amongst students in the capital. Jellyfish will be representing Queen Mary at this year’s event, competing for the chance of being invited to perform at The Pleasance a week later. Various prizes will be up for grabs, with the winners decided by the theatre professionals that make up the judging panel.
According to Reece, Jellyfish is the ideal representative of QM theatre to take to LSDF. ‘It’s classic QMTC in a miniature, crystallised form – darkly comic, traditional yet subversive, a little daring, a bit sweaty, and a lot sweary.’
‘I think its strength lies in its subtlety – it’s a real time straight-through locked room piece about two people talking, elevated by great performances and inspired direction, so it’s giving us a real chance to shine, gimmick-free.’
After a sellout preview in the Pinter Studio, the team would love to get the same strong support as they move away from QM turf. Follow the link below to grab tickets and make sure you book for the Saturday. The Jellyfish returns. You don’t want to miss it.
Put together by a collection of QM finalists, Re: Play showed off the promising work being created by students studying in the drama department. With two of the three performances initially created as part of taught practical modules, it proved the scope and quality of student work at Queen Mary is not meant for good grades but bigger things. Although tonight’s performance was firmly on QM turf in the Pinter, it could form a foundation for external showings of work in the future. Using the scratch performance development technique used by organisations such as Battersea Arts Centre, the aim of the night was to collect feedback for the ongoing development of each work. This proactive and practical approach to the development of a piece is key for many professional theatre companies, so getting started whilst still at university with all the resources that come with it is a potentially massive boost for the creative process.
Opening the evening were Theatre Counterpoint with Don’t Turn The Lights On, a piece exploring adolescence and gender norms through a combination of games and repetition performed by Jay Walker and QMTC production manager Mira Yonder, and directed by Dadiow Lin. Claiming to use ‘analysis of musical structure as dramaturgy for the composition of devised theatre’, Theatre Counterpoint’s rhythmic musicality proves promising and it will be interesting to see how the piece develops in the future. There are some really lovely moments aesthetically, with clever use of repeated movement, light and projection. Their message can be a little heavy handed in some of the dialogue, however with a little refining this should be a really exciting piece deserving of many a Fringe stage.
Next up was Box by Keita Ikeda, originally devised as part of the Beyond Acting final year module. Keita’s technological wonder Boxy may just be a cardboard box with an expression projected onto it, but that doesn’t stop you from feeling a bit devastated when it gets ripped into tiny pieces. ‘He can’t feel anything, he’s just a box’ says Keita as he stabs him repeatedly with a knife, but oddly enough we the audience feel something. A clever exploration of sentience and the portrayal of emotions onstage, Box has got some serious legs.
Closing the night were former GPP group FeminArt with their piece Kitchen Art. Martha Rumney, Olga Kravchenko and Mira Yonder’s grotesquely sexual housewives compete to be the most domestic and seductive. It’s comic and somewhat unsettling, their forced smiles burning into your retinas as the sexy domestic goddess stereotype becomes subversively obscene. It doesn’t seem to have changed hugely since they performed it as part of GPP last year, but it is undoubtedly strong so it will be interesting to see how they will expand upon next.
A fantastic way to show and develop creative work away from the classroom setting, Re: Play proves itself to be a great example for other student performance makers at QMUL to follow. It just goes to show, if you’ve got a piece that you’ve created within or outside of class it doesn’t have to be doomed to live on only through your grade transcript. Take the initiative and hit replay.
Upon entering the endearingly dilapidated Limehouse Town Hall there’s already a buzz of anticipation in the air. QM finalists Pussy Patrons have attracted quite the crowd for their specially curated evening of Feminist performance, a Cabaret of Cunts involving puppetry, spoken word, music and of course, the Pussy Patrons themselves.
Originally coming together as part of GPP (Group Practical Project) in second year, Pussy Patrons have continued to develop their work as a performance troupe, refining and expanding upon the Cabaret’s original form. Compered by Elyssa Livergant’s glamorous alter ego Polly Parton (sister to Dolly), the night wasn’t just about the performances on show. A series of speakers talked about the work of Irish abortion rights collective Speaking for I.M.E.L.D.A., QM graduate Emer Morris’ upcoming verbatim performance about the Focus E15 Mothers, and the activist group Sisters Uncut. All were inspiring and empowering causes, adding to the melee of brilliant women coming together to make it an evening to remember.
Kicking off the first half was poet Leanne Moden, with her witty, touching poems about sex, the female body and opportunity setting the tone for an inspiring evening of women being brilliant. Next up, Bristol’s Tight Theatre performed an excerpt of their Edinburgh Fringe piece PUSSY, exploring sexuality and sexualisation in a whimsical physical theatre style that is distinctly their own. They engage with topics of masturbation and shaming as well as with Beyonce’s more problematic lyrical past with a deftness and comic timing that didn’t compromise the sincerity of the issues they were tackling. I would definitely recommend checking them out when they next visit London. Folk duo Molly and Jess ended the first half with hauntingly beautiful harmonies and forthright lyrics about the historical oppression of women, and Kate James Moore of Commedia Puppets brought a touch of playfulness to her feminist puppetry reworking of Hamlet, Ophelia’s Garden for those who ventured downstairs during the interval.
With a focus on the female body in all its glorious messiness (fortunately they put down a tarpaulin first), Pussy Patrons took to the stage in the second half for a glorious and at times downright disgusting show of feeling like a woman. With a little help from their old friend Shania Twain and a whole host of other pop culture references, body shaming and objectification were exposed, pubes celebrated and pussies proudly patroned. Comedy, spoken word, dance, song, the Cabaret of Cunts has it all, tied up nicely with an emotive core proving why we still need feminism today. The audience reaction said it all, with half the audience giving them a standing ovation before the performance had even finished.
The night ended with a party, reinforcing the celebratory nature of the Cabaret of Cunts. Yes serious issues were tackled, but more than that, womanhood in all its forms was flaunted in a fiesta of femininity. It wasn’t just about the Pussy Patrons, it was for patrons of pussies everywhere.
For much of the nineteenth century, Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867) was a ubiquitous figure in London literary life. Sociable Sunday breakfasts at his home in Russell Square were famous, as readers of A.S. Byatt’s novel Possession know. The evening might find the bachelor Robinson at his club, the Athenaeum in Pall Mall. He would often take a very long walk to call on an old friend, such as the novelist Mary Hays in Greenwich. As he walked, he read. And whatever his destination, Robinson talked. Staples of his conversation were the rights of religious dissenters, the abolition of slavery, the genius of Wordsworth and Goethe – and the inability of these two great poets to understand each other. He had many personal memories to recount. If he was less inclined to discuss the provincial, dissenting education he had ‘suffered’ in Bury St Edmunds and Colchester, he would linger on his trip to Germany in 1800-1805. There he had studied at the University of Jena, rapidly becoming the foremost British mediator of the Kantian revolution in German philosophy. In 1804 he had given private lectures on this topic to Madame de Staël in Weimar – now rediscovered and published after 200 years. Then, as the first foreign correspondent of The Times, Robinson had reported on the Spanish Peninsular War from Altona. Travelling under a false German passport as ‘Heinrich Robinson’, he narrowly escaped capture by Napoleon’s troops. He published translations and articles, aspiring to success as a ‘literator’. It was as a solicitor, however, that he made a comfortable living, and gained the social status that enabled him to promote the foundation of the University of London. And almost every night, the indefatigable Robinson described and reflected on his experiences in his diary. Robinson took great care of his own manuscripts, leaving them to Dr Williams’s Library, of which he was a trustee.
The Henry Crabb Robinson Project will publish Robinson’s most important manuscript works with Oxford University Press, both in hardback and on Oxford Scholarly Editions Online. The series editors are Timothy Whelan (Georgia Southern) and James Vigus (QMUL). The Reminiscences, one of the great nineteenth-century autobiographies, is uniquely self-effacing: Robinson arranges the account of his life around his descriptions of the people he encountered and befriended. The enormous Diary (from 1811), including the travel diaries, will be edited in subsequent phases of the Project. The OUP edition will replace all previous editions, which were radically selective. The Early Diaries (pre-1811) are being edited by Philipp Hunnekuhl (Hamburg). A team of special subject area editors, assembled to reflect Robinson’s polymathic interests, will contribute to an edited collection entitled ‘All Our Knowledge is Reminiscence’: Essays on the Reminiscences of Henry Crabb Robinson. Editing and reflecting on Robinson’s prolific manuscript writing is necessarily a team effort.
Friends often upbraided Robinson for his excessive modesty. He spoke out on behalf of many writers and their works, but too rarely for his own. Sara Coleridge, daughter of Robinson’s friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge and one of his many female correspondents, remarked to her diary on his ‘talent and quickness’. My own path has distantly echoed that of Robinson: I worked for three years at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, and have settled in London. This experience has given me a first-hand opportunity to admire Robinson’s achievements as a polylingual producer of ‘informal’ texts. No-one better absorbed, adapted to and embodied the spirit of his age. This unobtrusively brilliant writer has left his 21st-century editors with a challenge, in the best sense.
From January 2016, the Project will be affiliated with the new Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English.
James Vigus, email@example.com
Technically underway (though with most of the shows starting this coming week) is the Calm Down, Dear festival at Camden People’s Theatre. Why is this exciting? Apart from it being an awesome-looking collection of feminist theatre work it also features some students from our very own Queen Mary!
Are You Ready for Your Close Up is a piece exploring sexism in the film industry, focusing on the experiences of female actors, and will be on during the festival at 9pm on the 6th of October. While I must point out that I am perhaps a little biased, being friends with Queen’s Others as the group are known, Are You Ready for Your Close Up is all set to be a wonderful piece of immersive theatre.
In the supportive spirit of QM Drama, I sat down with Queen’s Others to chat about the show and help get people interested!
Get tickets here!
Official statement about the piece: ‘Queen’s Others is a contemporary theatre company comprised of Queen Mary University students. As part of our professional debut, we have created an immersive theatre piece exploring the relationships of women and film. We were inspired by George Kuchar’s I, An Actress, both by content and aesthetic.’
I am constantly surprised at how old-fashioned some newspaper reviewers are. I’ve done a few cuts of Shakespeare texts, as a dramaturg, and with Hamlet it’s great because there are different versions of it printed in Shakespeare’s time, so you can use 400 year old editions of the play to help you cut it. One of Hamlet’s soliloquies is only there in one text, and because the director I was working with wanted a shorter version, that was one of the easy ones to cut. The Daily Telegraph reviewer was outraged! But given one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries thought it was all right one soliloquy down, I thought we could cut it if we liked! (And Shakespeare’s dead, so he won’t know…)
Quite a lot of reviewers have a strictly realist idea of what theatre should be like. The idea that you can’t have in early modern performances people of different racial backgrounds, different ages, different sexes, seems daft to me. If you want to be really literal, you’d have to have to cast Measure for Measure with Viennese actors only. Those plays were made for an all male company, and no one cried: “What’s that young man doing playing that young woman?”. The actors told the story; women weren’t allowed on stage, so you told the story using men. Each casting is going to produce different meanings, and that’s fascinating.
The only claim for authenticity that I would make for cross-casting is that the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries were created for what we might now think of as highly meta-theatrical spaces. They weren’t made for theatres in which you sat in the dark and shut up apart from the odd laugh, and peered into a space that was pretending to be real. These were spaces where everyone could see each other, whether by daylight or candlelight, and the actor could just turn around and talk to the audience. So the idea that somehow the actor would erase his presence as an actor is quite silly; at the Globe reconstruction today, too, if an actor were to talk to him or herself for too long, it would seem odd and dull – , because the audience are palpably there.
Thoughtcrime, Minilove and Big Brother all got the West End treatment with Headlong’s stage adaption of 1984, but why was making the show different from the book important? Well, because theatre… that’s why.
Video description: ‘Making an epic adaptation of something isn’t easy, but knowing how two art forms are different from each other sure helps. Also yes, this was the best title I could think of.’
Head to my channel to check out my other videos and find my social links: DaniSurname.
Humans of the SED (HotSED) is our new series of interviews with the School’s students, alums, and staff. Here’s part two of our interview with BA Drama finalist, Martha. Click here to read part one.
It’s really clichéd, but having the wealth of stuff and people and culture at my fingertips has been really valuable. But also I honestly feel like I’ve grown up so much since coming to uni, thanks to being in London.
Roman Road is my all-time favourite place in the world. I don’t think I’ll ever leave Bow. I think I’ve found my place to live now. I actually love it. It’s at the start of its regeneration process, but it’s still really, really rough and ready.
There’s a lot of locals, and a lot of OAPs, which is actually really refreshing to see, and they’re just going about their daily lives. But then you can be sitting in a nice coffee shop eating non-gluten cake on your Mac, and you look outside and there’s local people going about their daily life, which is really nice. I don’t think you get that in London any more. I feel I live in a real place. And whenever I walk down Roman Road, there’s a real sense of community, because people have lived there all their lives.
I don’t want to move from there, but it’s only going to get more expensive.
I think Bow could have a more village-y vibe than Dalston. There’s a lot of cafes popping up, and funny little gift shops. Which I’m a little bit opposed to, but I also shop in them, so I can’t be that opposed to them.
I’m definitely going to do a Masters. It was last year, I just realised – as soon as we had a break, like Christmas or Summer – I realised that I feel a bit lost without academia. I just quite like learning.
I don’t know if I’d do a Masters in Drama; I’m thinking I might do a Masters in Anthropology, like Social Anthropology. Because I think people are really interesting.
I’d love to do work in the theatrical environment, but with communities that are underprivileged. I want to make theatre a little more accessible, which sounds like a really huge aim, but I think by taking theatre out into communities and not branding it so much as ‘theatre’, we can do a lot. And by doing a Social Anthropology Masters I feel like I’d be more well-rounded to do that.
If I do a Masters or a PhD, I’d be interested in going to Goldsmiths, or maybe a different uni, to get a different identity. Because I think if you stay at the same university forever, you become a Queen Mary person, or you become a wherever person.
I do love it here; I’d either do my Masters here, then do a PhD somewhere else, or do a Masters somewhere else then come back here.
I have a real issue with the gender pay gap, which actually started in a module at uni, with Julia Bardsley – I did research into the pay gaps in lots of different industries, and also in university environments, especially the University of London, which was very eye-opening.
I think the main thing for me, as I’m on the cusp of going into the real world: the thought of not being paid as much because I’m a woman when I’m doing the same job as someone else makes me really, really angry. I think that’s such an injustice, and one that’s incredibly current.
Of course, women’s rights have really improved, but it’s one thing letting women have careers, but it’s another thing not paying them enough to support their families and to be able to live the same life as a man. I don’t understand how it’s okay.
In theory, I wouldn’t work for an employer who paid women less than men. But in practice, how do you find that out? Because wages are confidential. But if I did find out, I’d certainly have something to say about it.
Humans of the SED (HotSED) is our new series of interviews with the School’s students, alums, and staff. First up BA Drama finalist, Martha.
Probably arriving into Albert Stern, which is where I lived in first year, and it was a massive house. It’s really different from every other hall, and just the sheer amount of people that would say hi to you.
You’d get the same three questions every time: “Hi, what’s your name?, what do you study?, and where do you come from?” it was really boring. And by the end of it, do you know what, I was making things up.
I loved Albert Stern. All my best friends are from there now, loved it.
I founded – with David Loumgair – the Dogs of War Theatre Company. It’s going really well. We did an Othello adaptation called Not What I Am: Iago was a woman. Then we did a community thing in Stanley Halls in Croydon, where we got verbatim bits from the community.
We set it up so we could have more vocational skills that we developed ourselves, and because I’m interested in providing opportunities for young people.
It is a massive challenge. Because we do all the logistical stuff ourselves, which you don’t learn at uni.
Now we’ve been R&D-ing our new show, pencilled in with VAULT in November. We recently applied to Arts Council England, but unfortunately didn’t get the money; but we’ve given ourselves enough time to reapply. We’ve had some fantastic advice from the Arts Council: we’ve found them so, so helpful.
We had a rehearsed reading two nights ago, and one of the girls who was reading for a part met a very famous scientologist who’s friends with Tom Cruise. And he said “Do you want a sponsor?” ‘Cos their billionaires. So we’re like “Yes”.
We may be converted to scientology. Is it worth it for my craft?
I always wear sunglasses on my head, and people always say it’s really stupid. It also helps push my hair back, but I argue it’s only just September, and everyone’s saying we’re going to have an Indian Summer, so basically, I’m being prepared. For life.
I’m not a fashionista. Definitely not. Absolutely no. I’ve been asked this recently by someone. I’m not anything. I’m definitely not a hipster. I think I’m just…I don’t know. Does one have to put a label on oneself?