Free cinema screening: He Named Me Malala

Students from the MA in Curating, in conjunction with the Studio 3 Gallery, have organised a free cinema screening of He Named Me Malala (2014) at the Gulbenkian cinema next week, on Thursday 22 November 2018.

The documentary tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, who was wounded when Taliban gunmen opened fire on her and her friends’ school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

The then 15-year-old teenager, who had been targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education in her region of Swat Valley in Pakistan, was shot in the head, sparking international media outrage. An educational activist in Pakistan, Yousafzai has since emerged as a leading campaigner for the rights of children worldwide and in December 2014, became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

‘The documentary highlights the efforts in the modern times to emphasise democracy, identity and themes surrounding women’s rights, meanwhile, the film shows the similar influence on women’s suffrage during the ancient period – especially the Age of Revolution period. We chose this documentary to invite audiences to feel the feminine power, connecting with our feminist artist Miss Ponkeno in Beyond the Barricade exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery,’ explained Jiadi Zhang, a graduate from MA Curating.

There will be an accompanying collection for donations for the Kent Refugee Action Network.

The screening will begin at 6.30pm, and more details are available here:

Podcast recalls comedian Felix Dexter

Dr Oliver Double, Reader in Drama within the School of Arts and Head of the Performance and Theatre Research Cluster, has just released the latest episode of the podcast series ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’.

In the podcast series, Olly examines objects from Kent’s British Stand-Up Comedy Archive alongside Project Archivist Elspeth Millar.

In the latest instalment, the item from the archive is an audio interview with Felix Dexter (1961-2013), a Caribbean-born British comedian and writer known for his contributions to the BBC’s The Fast Show and Citizen Khan.

The interview was conducted by Olly himself, while undertaking his own PhD research about the history of British stand-up. ‘I went to see him in a student bar at the University of Sheffield’, recalls Olly. ‘The thing I remember about his performance was that there was a really eggy moment right at the beginning, but the gig was all the more enjoyable in that it rescued from a misstep early on.’

Olly was able to record an interview with Dexter on cassette after the gig. ‘Considering it’s about 28 years old, it’s really good quality.’

The episode also explores the history of Black British comedians.

The podcast is free to download and is available here:

Imagining Autism features on ITV Meridian news

Dr Melissa Trimingham, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre in the School of Arts, was interviewed by ITV Meridian news today regarding a residency at The Beacon, a school in Folkestone, to engage children with autism in multisensory play.

The initiative emerged from the Arts and Humanities Research Council Imagining Autism project, a collaboration between Melissa and Nicola Shaughnessy, Professor of Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre, and colleagues from the School of Psychology, the Tizard Centre, and the Gulbenkian Theatre to use drama, puppetry, sound and media, to engage children with autism.

The report coincided with a residency at The Beacon which culminated in an Imagining Autism Family Day  last Saturday, 3 November 2018, which featured the multisensory environment housed in the specially created ‘pod’ in which children engaged in an interactive imaginative story, travelling into space.

The news report is available to watch online here:



Paul Allain edits collection on European stage directors

Paul Allain, Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of Arts and Dean of the Graduate School, has just edited a volume in the book series The Great European Stage Directors (Methuen, 2018), available as part of a set of four books.

The Great European Stage Directors comprises of two sets offering an authoritative account of the work, lineage and legacy of the major European theatre directors from the second half of the twentieth century. The first set covers pre-1950 directors, the second set explores directors working post-1950 to the present day.

Paul has edited book 5 in the second set, including contributions on Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999), English producer-director Peter Brook (1925-) and the Denmark-based Italian theatre director Eugenio Barba (1936-).

The book draws upon Paul’s own research interests in Polish theatre and includes a substantial chapter on Grotowski.

To find out more, please see the publisher’s page here:

Helen Brooks contributes to documentary commemorating WWI

Dr Helen Brooks, Reader in Theatre and Cultural History in the School of Arts, has featured in a documentary on Untold Stories of World War 1. The documentary, presented by historian Dan Snow for the digital channel History Hit, premieres today, 1 November 2018.

The ambitious documentary is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and draws together expertise and material from 26 universities and organisations. Helen contributed her expertise from her research as part of the Great War Theatre project and her involvement as a co-investigator on Gateways to the First World War: an AHRC-funded consortium for public engagement with the centenary of the conflict.

As well as exploring the plays that were produced during the conflict, the documentary also features the use of stately homes as hospitals, uncovers material from German photographer Käthe Buchler who documented her hometown during the war, and examines an excavation of a military base.

The trailer can be viewed below, or via the following link:

Peter Stanfield on Hollywood Westerns in The Sunday Post

Peter Stanfield, Professor of Film and Media in the School of Arts, featured in The Sunday Post at the beginning of the week, interviewed for an article entitled ‘Ride Off Into the Boxset: From Westworld to Red Dead Redemption, Why We All Just Love Cowboy Westerns’, in the edition dated 29 October 2018.

The article ties in with the release of the video game Red Dead Redemption 2, which immerses players in the Wild West to engage in gun slinging and cattle rustling.

The article draws upon Peter’s research expertise in the Hollywood Westerns. Peter explains that the themes of the classic Western are timeless: ‘It is mouldable to whatever age in which it’s made. When it was a really popular genre, it spoke to the popular concerns of the day. The Gene Autry films were about the plight of the working man and the Great Depression.’

To read the full article, please see the page here:

Ben Thomas on revolution in painting

Dr Ben Thomas, Reader in History of Art, will be giving a paper at the Paul Mellon Centre in London on Wednesday 7 November 2018, entitled ‘R. B. Kitaj and the Revolution in History Painting’.

The paper will discuss the impact of the art historian Edgar Wind (1900-1971) on the work of the American artist R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007), and present new research carried out for the forthcoming monograph Edgar Wind and Modern Art: In Defence of Marginal Anarchy (Bloomsbury, 2019).

From 1996 to 1999, Ben was Research Assistant to Margaret Wind (1915-2006), Edgar Wind’s wife, helping her to prepare the papers of her late husband for deposit in the Bodleian Library.

For more details, please see the event page here:

Margherita Laera on the myths of Europe

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre in the School of Arts, will be a guest speaker at the London venue Rich Mix as part of an event entitled ‘Europa – Myths of Europe’ on Wednesday 24 October 2018.

The event is part of a monthly free series of talks on Europe organised by the music, theatre and dance company Dash Arts.

This session will ask what Europe is by looking at the mythologies associated with it. Starting from ancient, historical, and contemporary myths, the event will explore European identity and the role that theatre has played in forming it. Alongside an informal conversation, the evening will also feature exquisite music from Greek lyra and laouto duo Bonnendis.

The panel of speakers will also include author Timothy Garton Ash (Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford), dramaturg Katie Ebner-Landy, and Dash Arts artistic director Tim Supple.

The event is free to attend and begins at 7.30pm. For more details, please see the Rich Mix page here:

Kaitlyn Regehr discusses the #MeToo movement on TRT World

Dr Kaitlyn Regehr, Lecturer in Media Studies in the School of Arts, was interviewed yesterday on Showcase, the arts and culture programme broadcast on news channel TRT World, regarding the #MeToo movement.

TRT World is a Turkish international news channel, broadcasting in English.

The interview concerned the first year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, which started when the actress Alyssa Milano used the hashtag on Twitter in response to the allegations of sexual assault and harassment of film producer Harvey Weinstein.

In the interview, Kaitlyn relates the impact of the term: ‘On 15 October 2017, the term “Me Too” was used 12 million times on just one day, and from there we saw a real revolution of social change come forth.’

Does Kaitlyn consider whether the movement has led to social change? ‘I think it depends on how we define change. Has it changed social policy change? Not so much.’ However, despite this Kaitlyn argues, ‘we’re now having a much more open discussion about sexual violence which is really important.’ She suggests that with the public will, policy change will follow.

The video is available to view on the Showcase YouTube channel here:

Oliver Double on Front Row

Dr Oliver Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts and Director of the Centre for Popular and Comic Performance, featured on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row last week, to attempt to answer why is the unfortunate mishap hilarious – so long as someone else is falling off the ladder?

Front Row is a magazine programme discussing the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music.

‘One of the oldest theories of why we laugh is that we laugh at the expense of somebody else,’ explains Olly, who features 2 minutes into the programme, ‘we can trace this back to Aristotle, who said “comedy is an imitation of men worse than average”. But that’s not really an adequate explanation, in the sense you do laugh at Laurel and Hardy falling over but at the same time they also inspire great affection.”

Olly was interviewed alongside Jonathan Sayer of Mischief Theatre, and stand-up comedienne Natalie Haynes.

The programme may be heard here: