PhD student Daniel Bendelman publishes in Disability and Society

Congratulations to Daniel Bendelman, currently studying for a PhD in Drama by Practice as Research, who has just contributed to a co-authored paper in the journal Disability & Society (Vol 34, 2019), entitled ‘Doing it Differently: Emancipatory Autism Studies Within a Neurodiverse Academic Space’.

Disability & Society is an international journal exploring issues such as human rights, discrimination, definitions, policy and practices. The article is part of a special issue on ‘Disability, Activism and the Academy: Time for Renewal?’ and Daniel contributed as part of a team of six authors.

In the current research climate, in which many autistic and autism communities are increasingly calling for a move towards collaborative forms of research, we consider how a loosely formed academic community may serve to challenge ‘business as usual’ in the university environment. Mindful of the need to move beyond theory, the authors use their experience to consider how knowledge about autism and neurotypicality can be meaningfully (co)-produced, and made available both to the research community and also to autistic and autism communities.

The article explores how autistic experience may trouble normative meanings of academic knowledge production. The authors also consider the limits and possibilities of a neurodiverse research collaboration to reflect on ways in which a loose epistemological space may serve to contribute to knowledge about both autism and neurotypicality, adding to debate around collaborative research.

The topic is related of Daniel’s PhD research, as his thesis title is provisionally ‘How Might the Use of PaR Methodologies within Critical Autism Studies Offer New Strategies of Cripping, Deconstructing, and Recreating the Production of Autism Narrative through Popular Media?’, supervised by Dr Shaun May.

To access the article online, please see the page here:

Shaun May’s research appears in The New York Times

Dr Shaun May, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre, has featured in The New York Times site this week as part of an article on comedy and autism.

The New York Times is an American newspaper with a digit reach of 2.9 million.

The piece, titled ‘What’s So Funny About Autism?’ by Michele C. Hollow, was published on 18 June 2019 and explores how those with autism experience – and write – comedy.

The article cites Shaun’s research publication ‘Autism and Comedy’ from the journal Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance (2017, Issue 3, pp 436-455), which challenges the myth that people with autism lack a sense of humour.

‘Just because you or I might find things funny, it doesn’t mean we have more or less of a sense of humour,’ explains Shaun in the piece.

For his research Shaun interviewed the comedy group ‘Asperger’s Are Us’, who recently featured in the HBO series, On Tour With Asperger’s Are Us.

To read the full article, please see The New York Times page here:

Students premiere short film for charity, Jelly (2019)

Students across the university have organised a film premier in support of the charities National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Jelly is a short film about a couple who haven’t been together for very long, but fall pregnant and how that alters their relationship. It is both written by and stars Anna Reith, who is studying on the BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre. Anna wrote the script while taking the module Playwriting I: For Beginners. It also stars James Wood, who is studying on the BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations.

The film is directed Alfie Court and produced by Lisa-Nicole Lhermette, both of whom are studying on the BA (Hons) in Film and Drama.

The supporting crew include Chad Lee Brown, also on the BA (Hons) in Film and Drama, and Henry Davies, an alumnus having completed the BA (Hons) in Film.

The premiere will be on Sunday 23 June 2019 at 2pm in Grimond Lecture Theatre 2. Tickets for the event cost £2 on the door, with further donation buckets at the event.

For further details, please see the social media pages here:

The trailer can be viewed here:

Congratulations to Drama alumna Zoë Carey-Williams

Congratulations to alumna Zoë Carey-Williams, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Drama and French in 2017, who worked on the comedy TV movie Death on the Tyne (2018), which has been nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the Broadcast Digital Awards 2019.

Death of the Tyne was produced by UKTV, and saw Zoë starring alongside comedy legends Johnny Vegas and Sue Johnston. The film is a follow up to Murder on the Blackpool Express (2017), and follows a mystery on an Amsterdam cruise ship crossing the Tyne.

Explaining her background, Zoë said: ‘I studied Drama and French at Kent and the teaching on the acting modules I chose for second and third year were outstanding. We were really pushed and taught so many tools to apply to the craft.’

Following her study, she wanted to pursue acting professionally – which swifty led to her getting the role of Hen in Death on the Tyne: ‘I got the role from a self-tape audition. It was only a couple of lines but it was my first professional speaking role on-screen and I was ecstatic – and very nervous – because the cast featured many brilliant and hilarious actors who I’d grown up watching, and the director Ed Bye had directed my favourite comedy show as a kid, After You’ve Gone.’

Has Zoë any advice to current students? ‘Sometimes we take our time at university for granted – the access we have to brilliant minds ready to impart their wisdom. I still go back to the notes from my courses. I will always be grateful for my time at Kent!’

To see the full list of nominations, please see the page here:

School of Arts students awarded at Music Prize ceremony

Congratulations to School of Arts students Carmen Mackey, currently studying BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre, and Fleur Sumption, BA (Hons) Art History, who have been awarded prizes at this year’s Music Prize ceremony for their contribution to Music at Kent. The ceremony, which took place this week, showcases the musical talent of students at the University of Kent each academic year.

The University of Kent Music Prize is awarded each to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at the University this year. This year, the prize was awarded jointly to Carmen Mackey and to Leon Schoonderwoerd, PhD in Theoretical Physics.

Carmen is a member of the University Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and the Minerva Voices, and was the Sorceress in the semi-staged performance of Purcell’s opera, Dido and Aeneas, in the Colyer-Fergusson in February 2019. She has been an extremely active member of the Musical Theatre Society and coached and performed in their recent successful production of Sondheim’s Company. Carmen is also a Music Performance Scholar, studying with Juliet Schiemann.

The David Humphreys Music Prize, which is awarded to a student who has made a particularly special contribution to our music-making, was awarded jointly to Fleur Sumption and Helen Sotillo (PG Law).

Fleur Sumption has sung in the University Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and the Minerva Voices. She has featured as soloist in many concerts, including the December 2018 Choral Concert, and as Belinda in Dido and Aeneas. Fleur has also been one of the two vocalists in the University Big Band and when not singing plays alto saxophone. She has just completed her year as President of the Music Society and as a Music Performance Scholar, studied singing with Juliet Schiemann.

The Canterbury Festival Music Prize was awarded jointly to flautist Robert Loveless (Computer Science) and string-player Molly Richetta (Maths). The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize was awarded year’s winner was Tom Barton (Politics and International Relations), and the University of Kent First-Year Music Prize was awarded to Elle Soo (Social Anthropology).

Carmen Mackey

Carmen Mackey by Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Fleur Sumption

Fleur Sumption by Matt Wilson / University of Kent

GOLKK Theatre to perform in Pisa

GOLKK Theatre, one of the Graduate Theatre Companies sponsored by the School of Arts, will be performing their show ‘Peeking in the Portrait’ at the Festival of Academic Theatre (FAcT), held in Pisa, Italy this week 12-14 June 2019.

The festival is organised by the Scuola Normale Superiore, a university based in Pisa and Florence. It provides the opportunity for five university theatre groups to perform Pisa. GOLKK have received additional funding by the School of Arts at Kent.

‘Peeking in the Portrait’ creates a world where four people and a camera have no limitation to where they will end up. The work is inspired by the life and works of Lady Clementina Hawarden, one of Britain’s first female photographers. The show, developed by GOLKK on the MA in Physical Acting, explores what it means to exist in a world where we are simultaneously witnesses and the witnessed.

The show will be performed at 9pm (CET) on 14 June at the Teatro Lumiere.

Alumna Patrycja Dynowska at the Tristan Bates Theatre

Alumna Patrycja Dynowska, who graduated with an MA in Physical Acting in 2017, will be performing in a one-woman show at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden in London, opening on Tuesday 18 June 2019.

Sh*t Happens is a multidisciplinary performance exploring the taboos and challenges of living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, drawing on personal experience of one of the more than 300,000 people affected in the UK.

The performance deals with the awkward and often embarrassing subject in a light and humorous way that is not deprived of its importance and seriousness. Through the use of technology, autobiographical stories and poetry, the spectator gradually discovers the inconvenient aspects of living with a chronic invisible disease.

Explaining the background to the show, Patrycja said: ‘I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in January 2013 at the age of 21. I was scared, ashamed, embarrassed and didn’t really know how life-changing it was going to be. I felt there was little to no understanding of the condition. Having been able to see a show that addressed this subject in a light-hearted way would have provided comfort and reassurance, that being affected by this debilitating disease is not the end of the world. I hope to spread awareness on Inflammatory Bowel Disease and make people realise that more and more individuals are being affected by invisible and debilitating diseases nowadays, and what better way to do it than through theatre?’

Patrycja spoke of her time at Kent: ‘The MA Physical Acting contributed greatly to my development as an actor, performer and a theatre maker. It gave me the confidence and inspired me to create my own work that is strongly rooted in physical and devised theatre. Since graduating I have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Orestes by Wacky Goats) and at The Bread & Roses Theatre (Some Birds Never Return by The Collective). Sh*t Happens is my first full-length solo performance.’

The show runs until Saturday 22 June, with performances at 6.15pm each night and a matiné​e perform​ance on the final Saturday at 2:30pm. Tickets cost £12/£10.

Patrycja will also perform the show at the Camden Fringe Festival, from Wednesday 14 to Sunday 18 August at Camden People’s Theatre.

For more details, please see the page here:

School of Arts success at Student Employability Rewards 2019

Students from the School of Arts won an impressive haul of prizes this week at the Employability Points Rewards Evening, held on 4 June 2019, attended by many employers and the Deputy Vice Chancellors for Education and Research.

Aleksandar Angelov, currently studying for a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre, won the prize for Highest Scoring Student on the Canterbury campus with over 4000 points and the highest total of any student since the inception of the awards 10 years ago. Aleksandar won his points by being involved in a huge variety of activities. This year he became a supervisor of the Spring Calling Campaign, with duties including recruiting, training and motivating callers in order to raise money for the Kent Opportunity Fund.  He has also been an ambassador for the School of Arts, welcoming potential students to the university of Kent and leading tours and workshops. This year, he has continued to progress in his passion for business, undertaking a marketing and e-commerce internship with Nova Décor and attending events organised by the Hub for Innovation and Enterprise.

Rumen Russev, studying on the BA (Hons) in Film with and a Year Abroad, was runner-up for the student with the most points awarded in 2018/19. Rumen is a keen videographer with notable projects including several short films, during which his roles have included writer, director, operator, editor and producer. He worked as a coordinator for a reality show in Bulgaria and cinematographer for the feature film You Won’t Remember Me. Rumen also worked as a film teacher at ‘Cinema Academy’, which involved helping a group of young individuals to create a film over a period of three months and completed a festival internship which involved supervising a team of assistants and organising press events.

Tyler Hamblin and Megan Warwick, who both study on the BA (Hons) in Film, took first and second place prizes for students with the most points won through volunteering. Tyler is a very active member of KTV, in his role as station manager he has undertaken a range of projects as well as directing and writing several of his own short films.  Megan has assisted with Open Days for the School of Arts and is a member of Homeless Outreach as well as taking part in the Kent Union Buddy Scheme.

Lily Anderson, who is currently studying on the BA (Hons) in Film with a Placement Year, won the prize for first year student with the most points. Lily is an enthusiastic member of KTV, having been involved with many productions, including: Tea Time Film Festival Specials, Confessions at Kent, KTV Varsity Lives 2019 and many more.  She also organised and ran KTV live workshop training sessions, helping new members with their editing and camera skills. Roles undertaken during their filming projects include script supervisor, camera operator, producer and director, as well as taking on the responsibility of promoting and advertising the films.

This is a great achievement for the School – there have never been so many prizes awarded to one School before.

Will Wollen, the Employability / Placements Coordinator for the School, said: ‘This is indicative of the fact that we are managing to embed Employability in our School culture. Thanks to all of you, particularly Academic Advisers and Student Support, for promoting the scheme so well.’

More information about the Employability Points Scheme can be found here:

Gulbenkian to showcase highlights from Drama and Theatre student work

We are delighted to announce the Gulbenkian Picks from our Drama and Theatre students’ summer festival of student work, to be performed in the Gulbenkian theatre on Tuesday 4 June 2019.

Two performances have been chosen, one representing the Stage 1 students taking DR339: Making Performance 2, and one from the Stage 3 students as the culmination of the module DR678: Creative Project.

Adam’s Birthday Party, by The Bald Sopranos, is the first chosen performance from our Stage 1 students. The ensemble have been experimenting with various performance practices and plays chosen from different moments in the 20th Century (including Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Susan Glaspell’s The Verge, Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano and Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine).

From Stage 3, the Gulbenkian has chosen the show Toxxicc, by ensemble Britney’s Peers. Having graduated from University, Ally, Em, Shan and Josie reunite in their hometown. After getting kicked out of a party for drunken behaviour, the girls plonk themselves on a bus stop bench. In 40 minutes, the girls tackle sex, body image, infidelity, and last, and definitely least, BOYS!

The Gulbenkian is open to the public and seats 340. The show will be free, beginning at 7.30pm. For further details, please see the page here:


Alumnus and comedian Matt Hoss at the Gulb

Alumnus Matt Hoss, who graduated from the Department of Drama and Theatre with a BA (Hons) in Classical & Archaeological Studies and Drama in 2015 and an MA in Stand-Up Comedy in 2016, will be performing a gig at The Gulbenkian, the on-campus theatre and cinema, on Thursday 30 May 2019.

Matt’s emotionally honest and hilarious show discusses romance, awkward sex and heart-warming tales of failing in love. Matt retells his raw stories of bad dates, cringeworthy displays of affection and his intense, personable and authentic relationship with finding ‘The One’.

Speaking of his time at Kent, Matt said: ‘After studying stand-up at the University Of Kent, it allowed me to find my comedic voice, develop my anarchic inner clown and become an engaging storyteller. With all of those skills, I was able to go on to be a professional comedian and create my debut EdFringe hour, and gave me the tools to produce a show of which I’m really proud of, The University Of Kent course allowed me to hone in and make me into the best performer I can  be. This show is a testament to my time here at Kent.’

Matt’s one-hour show will be performed as a double bill alongside another star of the comedy circuit, Jenny Collier.

Tickets cost £3 concessions/£5 full price, and the show begins at 8pm.

For more details, please see the page here: