- Theatre Conversation: David Eldridge on Beginning (National Theatre, 2017), Friday 3 November 2017, 5.30-6.30pm, G10: David Eldridge’s new play Beginning opened at the National Theatre in October 2017. In this Theatre Conversation, David discussed the process by which he created this work, which sees a relationship awkwardly developing at the end of a housewarming party in the early hours, staged in real time.
- Nights at the Circus, Friday 17 November 2017, 6-8pm, G10: In a post-apocalyptic world the circus is forced to perform. As the night plays out the performers slip between their stage personas and the person they dream to be; trapped by their own desires and lusting after new sensations. A collaboration between learning-disabled and non-disabled artists exploring sex, desire and violence. 16+. Presented by Fauve Alice and Spare Tyre Theatre Company, hosted by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre with support from Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality.
- Two-Lane Black Top,
Monday 27 November, 2pm, Birkbeck Cinema: A screening of Monte Hellman’s iconic road movie Two Lane Black Top (102 mins), with introduction and discussion by Centre Fellow Andrew Dickson.
- Theatre Conversation: Hannah Khalil
, Monday 11 December 2017, 7.30pm, G10: A dialogue between playwright Hannah Khalil and screenwriter and Birkbeck lecturer Daragh Carville. Irish-Palestinian playwright Hannah Khalil is one of the most exciting new voices in British theatre. Her play Scenes from 68* Years ran at the Arcola Theatre in 2016 and has been nominated for the James Tate Black Award. Her new play The Scar Test opened at the Soho Theatre in July 2017.
- Researching (with) Difficult Feelings,
Thursday 14-Friday 15 December 2017, Keynes Library: This two-day training workshop aimed at CHASE PhD students focused on the study of and dealing with difficult feelings in theatre, performance and humanities research. Contributors included Shane Boyle (Queen Mary), Molly Flynn (Birkbeck), Broderick Chow (Brunel), Emma Cox (Royal Holloway), Anna Harpin (Warwick), Clare Finburgh (Goldsmiths), David Harradine (CSSD), Jennifer Parker-Starbuck (Roehampton) and theatre artists Alinah Azadeh, Dickie Beau, David Eldridge, Lauren Barri Holstein and Rachel Mars. The Friday keynote was given by Jennifer Doyle (UC Riverside). Download the full schedule and podcasts of talks and conversations here.
- Queer Nights, Friday 19 January 2018, 6.30pm, G10: A bold and original one-man performance interrogating Queer night-life – the sixth show to be premiered at Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre by Martin Lewton and award-winning Theatre North. Contains nudity, strong language and challenging content.
- Coming out in contemporary Russia: a screening and discussion, Friday 2 February 2018, 6.30pm, G10: In June 2013, the Russian Parliament passed a law banning so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’. Since that time, artists and activists working on LGBT issues in Russia have become vulnerable to fines and state censorship. Nonetheless, in 2016, theatre director Anastasia Patlai premiered her documentary play Coming Out of the Closet at Moscow’s only independent theatre venue, Teatr.doc. The production stages a series of verbatim interviews to tell the stories of people who have come out of the closet in Russia and explores how the experience has shaped their relationships to their families. A screening of a filmed version of the live performance with text translated by Molly Flynn, Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Birkbeck, and panel discussion featuring director Anastasia Patlai and historian of gender and sexuality in Russia Irina Roldugina (University of Oxford).
- Dances with Worms, Monday 26 March 2018, 7pm, G10: The Earthworm is ignored. It’s time to make amends. We need to make friends with the things on which we depend. What happens to a worm when it is cut in half? What kinds of conversations can we have with the great excavators? Let Doctor Bruno take you on a journey. It’s not the usual kind of journey. Beginning in a silvery bath of moonlight on the surface, we’ll be going down into the darkness: the pitch-black world of the Earthworm. No non-humans will be harmed during this performance. Not suitable for those with a fear of the dark. Refreshments will be served. Conceived and performed by Bruno Roubicek, Scenography by Sophie Jump, Dramaturgy by Hester Chillingworth, Worm Consultancy by Iris Borgers, Production Assistance by Egija Kalnina. With thanks to Grow Mayow Community Garden and Corkscrew: Practice-based/led research at Birkbeck.
- Symposium: Creative Climate, Tuesday 8 May 2018, 9.30am-8pm, G10 & Keynes Library: This one-day symposium explored new critical-creative responses to climate change in performance, and discusses performance as a space of engagement with and communication of the larger-than-human issue of climate crisis (particularly in relation to the post-political climate). Contributions from Grace Halden & Phil Johnstone; Cara Judea Alhadeff & Rob Mies; Lisa Woynarski & Sheila Ghelani; Camden People’s Theatre, Julie’s Bicycle, Arcola Theatre; Maria Sakellari & Victoria Melody; Lily Hunter-Green & Luigi Aloia; Femi Nylander & Rob Lemkin; Maria Nita & Dominic Kelly; Nik Wakefield; Olivia Osborne; Klaus Schafler; Breathing Space Collective; and Stephen Bottoms. Keynote addresses from Zoë Svendsen (Artistic Director, METIS) and Alan Simpson (Shadow Chancellor’s Advisor on Sustainable Economics and previous Labour MP). The symposium concluded with Birkbeck’s artist-in-residence Lily Hunter Green’s Bee Composed Live exhibition and a wine reception at the Keynes Library. Download the programme here.
- Arts Week 2018: The Centre for Contemporary Theatre hosted events daily during our 2018 festival:
- Monday 14 May:
- Rehearsed Readings, 2-4pm, G10: New work from Constellations Theatre Company, who presented Greek chorus cabaret Myth Independent. Constellations are present and past students on MA Text & Performance, run by Birkbeck and RADA.
- Bee Composed Live: honeybee communication, 6:30-7.25pm, G10: What is the ‘hive-mind’? How do bees communicate, and what might we learn from them? A presentation on honeybee communication, including extracts from an interpretive language performance created by Birkbeck Artist-in-Residence Lily Hunter Green and students. Part of Green’s ‘Hive Mind’ exhibition work, Bee Composed Live, a multi-media performative installation that blends science with art to raise awareness of the declining bee population.
- Camden People’s Theatre: the St James’ Garden Project, 7.30-9pm, G04: How do you exhume 60,000 bodies? Where will they go? And what will be uncovered by all this digging? CPT’s playful new docu-theatre event excavates the hidden histories of St James Gardens, where famous names such as Lord George Gordon (of the Gordon Riots) Matthew Flinders (who first identified Australia as a continent) and “Britain’s first black sporting star”, the boxer Bill Richmond, are buried. It will also voice the strong local opposition – from residents, the local council and St Pancras Church – to HS2 and the Gardens’ destruction. The arguments that rage over HS2 tell an eloquent story of 21st-century Britain, and CPT – which knows where the bodies are buried – is going to tell it… CPT artistic director Brian Logan shared his early research towards the project.
- Tuesday 15 May:
- Theatre scratch night, 6-8pm, G10: Students from our theatre and creative writing programmes – ranging from undergraduate to PhD level – shared their work in progress. Featuring contributions from Yuqun Fan, Lucy Curtis, Anna Kennedy, Elisa Ditta, Sunandha Raghunathan & Jasmine Teo, Lucy Allan, Joanna Bowman, Laura Vivio, Edwin Lerew and Martina Usenik.
- Wednesday 16 May:
- Landscape storytelling: the story of an ‘enemy alien’ set designer, 6.15-7pm, G10: The story of British set designer Ralph Koltai, a refugee who arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport in 1939 and translated at the Nuremburg Trials. Writer, dramaturg and translator Sophie Rashbrook discussed her new play exploring his life.
- Thursday 17 May:
- Experiments with art and empathy, 6-7.25pm, G10: This performance reanimated the work of aesthetic theorist Vernon Lee (1856-1935) as she experimented with our bodily responses to art works – a process Lee described as ‘experimenting in the galleries’.
- Friday 18 May:
- On reflection: a wander with a black mirror, 2-3.15pm and 3.45-5.00pm, 106: Hold a black mirror in the palm of your hand and scry, look, listen and think on this walk led by interdisciplinary artist Sheila Ghelani. Sketch like a landscape painter, look like a tourist: what do you see and what remains just off to the side – hidden, overlooked, forgotten, unnoticed?
- GRiT: Graduate Research in Theatre: Graduate Research in Theatre is our termly research seminar, featuring presentations by visiting scholars, faculty and graduate students.
- Autumn term: Thursday 2 November, 4pm, G04: Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal (Birkbeck)
- Spring term: Thursday 18 January, 4pm, G04: Molly Flynn (Birkbeck)