2018-19

  • Circus Life: Art and Artistes ran in the Peltz Gallery at Birkbeck from Wednesday 7 November to Wednesday 12 December 2018. The exhibition celebrated circus’ 250th anniversary, and featured paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics and sculpture by artists currently working alongside the circus community, including Peter Lavery, Kate Stone, John Stillman, Abel Kesteven and Curtis Tappenden, as well as prints by Laura Knight, and pieces by Clarice Cliff and Clifford Hall. Alongside the exhibition, we hosted a programme of events:
    • Wednesday 7 November, 6-8pm: Private view and reception (Peltz Gallery): This evening will include circus skills demonstrations and the opportunity to meet some of the exhibiting artists.
    • Saturday 10 November, 2-5pm: Circus Life: Circus on Screen (Birkbeck Cinema): Supported by BIMI (Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image), this special programme of circus-themed films includes a number of short “back stage” documentary pieces about circus life, followed by a 90th anniversary screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 silent classic The Circus.
    • Monday 12 November, 7.30-9pm: Theatre Conversation: Circus Life, Cultures and Communities (G10): This panel discussion will be hosted by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow Julius Green, offering a unique opportunity to meet with performers from the circus community and discuss their life and work.
    • Thursday 6 December, 7-8.30pm: Circus Life: Why We Should All Run Away with the Circus (Peltz Gallery): Join Dea Birkett and Ron Beadle at our finale event as they look to the future and discuss why we should all run away with the circus. Dr Birkett is a writer, broadcaster and Ringmaster of the Circus 250 project. Ron Beadle is Professor of Organisation and Business Ethics at Northumbria University and Visiting Professor at the National Centre for Circus Arts. He researches ethics in circus and is co-founder of the Circus Research Network.
  • Panel discussion: Alvis Hermanis: On Friday 16 November, 6.30-8.30pm (G10), we co-hosted a panel discussion in which two major theatre directors discuss the importance of historical concepts of the avant-garde in contemporary European theatre. The panel was followed by the launch of the book Spaces and Stages of Avant-garde Theatre in Central-Eastern Europe. This event took place as part of Back to the Future: Central European Avant-Garde Reclaimed, a major international conference organised by Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, and Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • St James’ Gardens Project: On Saturday 24 November, 9pm and Sunday 25 November, 6pm, Camden People’s Theatre presented a first work-in-progress sharing of the St. James’ Gardens Project. Directed by Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow Brian Logan, it explored the impact of the HS2 development on St. James’ Gardens in Euston. Supported by the Birkbeck Public Engagement Seed Fund.
  • Depicting Donbas: Creative and critical responses to the war in Ukraine: On Thursday 25 and Friday 26 April 2019, we hosted Depicting Donbas: Creative and critical responses to the war in Ukraine, a series of three events over two days exploring how artists across genres are responding to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The reading, the symposium, and the evening performance were all free and open to the public. Depicting Donbas was made possible with support from Birkbeck Research Centres Collaboration Fund, UCL Octagon Small Grants, Birkbeck School of Arts Strategic Research Fund, Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary TheatreBirkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community, and Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality.
    • On Thursday 25 April from 6-7:30pm we hosted Ukrainian writers Iryna Shuvalova, Iryna Starovoyt, and Olena Styazhkina for a reading and discussion of their works. The reading will take place in the Masaryk Room at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies.
    • On Friday 26 April from 10am-4:45pm we held a symposium at Birkbeck School of Arts featuring presentations and discussion with Ukrainian writers, theatre artists, photographers, filmmakers and academics on the role of creative practice during times of conflict. Click here for more details on speakers and details of the programme.
    • Following the symposium Friday 26 April from 7-9pm the Centre presented a documentary theatre performance from Ukraine’s Theatre of Displaced People written and performed by Alik Sardarian and Natalia Vorozhbyt, directed by Georg Genoux.
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