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Writers of the stage and screen to headline at Birkbeck Arts Week 2016

More than 50 free public events hosted in and around School of Arts, 43-47 Gordon Square

Award-winning writers of the stage and screen will lead a series of headline events at Birkbeck, University of London’s Arts Week 2016.

Running from Monday 16 to Friday 20 May, the annual celebration of arts and culture will feature the widest programme in the festival’s history, with more than 50 free events for the public to attend.

Headliners at the five-day springtime showcase will be Birkbeck’s David Eldridge (BBC’s The Scandalous Lady W) and Colin Teevan (RTÉ and Netflix series Rebellion, and current West End production of Faustus); plus also an evening with Patrick Marber, the man behind theatrical and movie hit Closer.

The Birkbeck academics will screen and discuss their works in person (Mr Eldridge, Mon 16 May / Professor Teevan, Thursday 19 May), while Mr Marber will be in conversation offering offer illuminating insights into his body of work on Tuesday 17 May.

The Arts Week 2016 programme comprises a packed schedule of lectures, performances, screenings, book launches, workshops and discussions.  It features contributions from Birkbeck's own academics and guest artists and scholars from all over the world.  All events are free to attend, and are open to anyone with an interest in arts and culture.

Other highlights of the Birkbeck Arts Week programme for 2016 include:

Indigenous filmmaking in Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria, Colombia

  • (Mon 16 and Tues 17 May, 6-9pm, 43 Gordon Square)
  • Showcasing the photography and film work of Amado Villafaña – a member of the Arhuaco people of Colombia. The director will join via Skype to talk about working with his indigenous team in one of the most incredible parts of Colombia.

Can Journalism Change the World?

  • (Tues 17 May, 6-7.30pm, 43 Gordon Square)
  • In this panel discussion award-winning journalists – including BBC newsreader Emily Maitliss – will reflect on the relationship between journalism and social change in a post-digital, post-Snowden world. This event celebrates the launch of the new MA in Investigative Journalism at Birkbeck.

What’s My Cue?

  • (Wed 18 May, 6-7.30pm, 43 Gordon Square)
  • Artists from the Master of Fine Arts Theatre Directing programme will present a workshop performance exploring the idiosyncrasies of part scripts – involvement optional! The workshop will be followed by a panel discussion with eminent Renaissance theatre historian Professor Tiffany Stern.

Walking Tours

  • (Various)
  • Arts Week 2016 will feature a series of walking tours led by experts in their fields, offering members of the public the chance to explore the cultural and architectural history of such London hotspots as Covent Garden Piazza, Bloomsbury and the National Portrait Gallery.

You Must Mutate

  • (Fri 20 May, 6-7.30pm, 43 Gordon Square)
  • Senior lecturer in Creative Writing, Toby Litt, will launch his new collection of non-fiction essays, Mutants (Seagull Books, 2016). This event will also feature Toby in conversation with lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Caroline Edwards, focusing on the future of contemporary fiction in an increasingly fast-paced technological world.

Theatre Conversation: The Complete Deaths

  • (Fri 20 May, 6-7.30pm, 43 Gordon Square)
  • At the 2016 Brighton Festival, physical comedy ensemble Spymonkey will premiere The Complete Deaths – a compendious enactment of all 75 on- stage deaths found in Shakespeare.  Join the show's director Tim Crouch and critic Andrew Dickson for a conversation about the deaths incarnated in Shakespeare's plays and the show's distinctive approach to re-imagining them.

Arts Week will be primarily hosted in and around 43-47 Gordon Square – once home to several members of the Bloomsbury set and now home to Birkbeck’s School of Arts.

Professor Hilary Fraser, Dean of Arts, said that this year’s Arts Week reflects the contemporary nature of everything that goes on within Birkbeck’s School of Arts.

She said: “I’m delighted to invite members of the public to once again share in our annual celebration of the arts at Birkbeck, and taste the particular flavour of our research and teaching.

“Whatever the topic, art form or period, our work is contemporary, in the sense that it explores issues of the moment and showcases new research. This can be seen in every corners of our engaging 2016 programme ­– the biggest yet in the festival’s history – in which top artists and academics in their fields address some of the most important issues that affect our society today.”

Birkbeck Arts Week 2016 runs from runs from May 16 to 20.  To see the full programme of free public events visit, at or on Twitter @birkbeck_arts (being sure to use the hashtag #BBKArtsWeek) While attendance at all events is free, booking is essential.

Listen to the Arts Week 2016 preview episode of Birkbeck Voices:

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