Forthcoming events

We curate a diverse programme of events, consisting of workshops, seminars, lectures, symposia and performances.  The majority of our events are open to public audiences. Unless otherwise stated, they are free of charge to attend, and take place in Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square. Some of our events during the course of a year will address a particular research theme. For 2019-20, our theme is Making/Thinking.

Dramaturgy as an act of civil disobedience: a panel discussion with Myah Jeffers, Anthony Simpson-Pike, and Anna Himali Howard

On Thursday 20 February, 6.30-8.30pm, we welcome three contemporary artists for a panel discussion that considers the pathways between theory, practice, and civic engagement in contemporary UK theatre, and explores the twenty-first-century role of the dramaturg.

Who, in our contemporary context, has the opportunity to share their stories onstage and why? To what extent can dramaturgy as a discipline help us confront outdated concepts about the role theatre and performance play in our perceptions of ourselves? How might the queering of dramaturgical practice serve to challenge common cultural assumptions about how we tell our stories? 

This panel discussion takes place in G10, Birkbeck School of Arts.

Attendance is free but booking is essential  – book your place here.

Myah Jeffers is a dramaturg and currently one of the Literary Associates at The Royal Court. She previously held the post of New Work Coordinator at Talawa Theatre Company, is an alumnus of the Birmingham REP Foundry and has assisted on productions at The Yard Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and with young peoples’ theatre company, Company Three. Her work is centred on championing and amplifying the voices of Black & Brown people, with a particular focus to queer people of colour. She has a deep-rooted interest in new writing that spans form and has thus dedicated her time towards discovering and nurturing new and exciting writers and makers.

Anthony Simpson-Pike is a director and dramaturg whose work has been staged at The Gate, The Young Vic, The Royal Court, Southwark Playhouse, and other theatres. He is interested in exploring the political function of performance and questions around identity, power, collaboration, representation and the environment. As a writer, he directed his first play, Camp, and has completed Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab. As a dramaturg he has developed two seasons of work at The Gate Theatre and was selected as a dramaturg for The Royal Court’s International Residency. In 2018 he dramaturged the LTC’s Artist Climate Lab and curated the 2019 lab. He will be leading the Royal Court’s International Project in Jamaica and Barbados and was also invited to be the Visiting Guest Artist at the prestigious Banff International Playwrighting Residency in Canada in 2019.

Anna Himali Howard is a director and theatremaker. She was Paines Plough’s Trainee Director in 2016 and is an alumnus of the Birmingham REP Foundry. She was recently the Staff Director on SMALL ISLAND at the National Theatre. Her work as a Director includes: I WANNA BE YOURS by Zia Ahmed (Paines Plough/Tamasha); A SMALL PLACE by Jamaica Kincaid (Gate Theatre); ALBATROSS by Isley Lynn for NEW (Paines Plough/ RWCMD/Gate Theatre). As a theatremaker, work includes: JANE ANGER (Yard Theatre Live Drafts), MAHABHARAT/A by Anna Himali Howard and Zarina Muhammad (Camden People’s Theatre), THE BEANFIELD by Breach Theatre (New Diorama/national tour 2016). Anna was Associate Director on FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Drywrite/Soho Theatre international tour).

Theatre Conversation: Daragh Carville (Birkbeck) in conversation with Gbolahan Obisesan

Friday 6 March, 5.30-6.30pm, G10 (no booking required). 

Gbolahan Obisesa is one of the most exciting names in contemporary UK theatre. Winner of the Jerwood Directors Award and the Genesis Fellowship, Gbolahan is also an Associate of the Young Vic Theatre. His work as a playwright includes 2012’s Mad About the Boy (Edinburgh Festival & UK tour), Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic / Edinburgh Festival), How Nigeria Became: A Story & A Spear that didn’t Work (Unicorn Theatre) and most recently an adaptation of Chigozie Obioma’s Booker Prize nominated novel The Fisherman (Manchester HOME, UK tour, Edinburgh Festival & Arcola Theatre). Work as a director includes Yvette by Urielle Klein-Mekongo (China Plate & Bush Theatre), Cuttin’ It by Charles Danes (Young Vic, Sheffield Crucible, Birmingham Rep & the Royal Court) for which Gbolahan was nominated for an Olivier award, and most recently The Last King of Scotland (Sheffield Crucible).

GRiT/Graduate Research in Theatre

GRiT is our termly research seminar, featuring presentations by visiting scholars, faculty and graduate students. There is no need to book in advance to attend.

Forthcoming sessions:

  • Wednesday 24 March, 4-5pm (106 Gordon Square): Ian Morgan (RADA)

    Practising rebellion: Laboratory Theatre as a model for a certain Post Graduate Actor / Performer Training

    Based on generic QAA descriptors for a Masters level study, we might suggest that both rigour and revolution should be explicitly embedded in the pedagogic approach to Post Graduate Actor / Performer programmes. In fact any actor training might do if we are to go by Stanislavski, who said: “Create your own method. Don’t depend slavishly on mine. Make up something that will work for you!” Cited by Joshua Logan, in ‘Foreword’ to Moore S. The Stanislavski System (New York: Penguin Books, 1984) This talk will discuss what shifts a Laboratory-based approach to training at a UK Post Graduate actor training level might suggest, considering the fact that many Masters actor training programmes are related in both culture and content to the ‘long past’ vocational PG Diploma’s in Acting (explicitly ‘know-how’ vocational training courses, based often on industry-focused BA courses in structure and content, not traditionally critical of standards, aesthetics and approaches in their nature). 

  • Wednesday 6 May, 4-5pm (Keynes Library): Sarah Grochala (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)

London Theatre Seminar

Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre also supports London Theatre Seminar. For the schedule of seminars for 2019-20, click here.

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