JAM 2017 Registration NOW OPEN + Conference Schedule

Registration is now open for:

JOURNEYS ACROSS MEDIA (JAM) 2017: Worldhood and World-making

Tuesday April 11, 9am-5:30pm

Minghella Studios, Whiteknights Campus

University of Reading

This year’s keynote speaker shall be Dr. Daniel Yacavone (University of Edinburgh) and the keynote’s abstract as well as the conference programme are available to view below.

To register, please visit: http://www.store.reading.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/faculty-of-arts-humanities-social-science/film-theatre-television/journeys-across-media-jam-2017

The fee is £30, which includes lunch and refreshments.

Registration will close on the day of the conference, but those with specific dietary requirements are recommended to register as soon as convenient.

Further information and updates can be found here: https://fttreadingnews.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/journeys-across-media-jam-postgraduate-conference-2017

“The World-in and the World-of: Fictional, Narrative and Artistic World-Making in Cinema and Beyond…”

What does it mean to say that a film or other moving image work is a world or that it presents a world? How does conceiving a work’s creation as a form of ‘world-making’ add to a better understanding of its communicative, expressive and aesthetic dimensions? Are the worlds of narrative films only ‘fictional worlds’? In what significant senses do we experience films as worlds?

These are some of the ramified questions addressed in Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema (Columbia UP: 2015). Central to their answer is a fundamental distinction between the worlds represented in films and the presentational worlds offilms.  Focusing on this distinction throughout, and following the book’s general lines of argument, in this talk I will highlight some of the ways in which world-making in film and beyond has been addressed in relevant film theory, literary theory, and the philosophy of film and art, including from analytic/cognitive, semiotic, and phenomenological perspectives. I will note the key insights of these views, while arguing that each is fundamentally partial with respect to theorising cinematic works and worlds in their totality, and as profoundly multi-leveled and multi-aspect wholes. Reflecting my current research interests, I will also suggest the relevance of the transmedial world-in/world-of distinction, and related ideas, to an alternative account of self-reflexivity in cinema, partly developed in dialogue with Christian Metz’s (late) semiotic and textual pragmatic account of ‘impersonal enunciation’ (i.e. a film’s extra-narrative reflexive/commentative address to viewers) in the context of authorial style and artistic expression.

Dr. Daniel Yacavone is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh and currently Director of the Film Studies Programme within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. A former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, with a background in philosophy as well as film studies, his interests include film aesthetics, modern and contemporary film theory, European and North American cinema, cinema and painting, and the philosophy of art. He has published on these and other topics in journals including New Literary History, Studies in French Cinema, and Film-Philosophy. His 2015 book, Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema (Columbia University Press), has been widely reviewed in four languages and was shortlisted for the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies Best Monograph Award. He is currently writing a monograph reappraising the theory and practice of self-reflexivity in modern and contemporary cinema from a variety of theoretical and philosophical perspectives.


Journeys Across Media (JAM) Postgraduate Conference 2017

The Journeys Across Media (JAM) Postgraduate Conference, run by postgraduate students for postgraduate students, is back for 2017 and will be taking place on Tuesday 11th April in Minghella Studios. This year, the theme of the conference is worldhood and world-making in film, theatre, television and beyond.

Worldhood and World-making

In his essay ‘Where is the World?’ film critic V.F. Perkins (1936-2016) laments the lack of attention paid to the ‘fictional world’ and invites a new engagement by way of what he terms as worldhood — i.e. the qualities and aspects that make a fictional world a ‘world’, rather than what makes it ‘fictional’ (2005: 22). For Perkins, ‘understanding the events of a movie as taking place in a world is a prerequisite of the intelligibility not only of plot, but also of tone, viewpoint, rhetoric, style and meaning’ (39). Theatre critic Gay McAuley asserts that, ‘the spatial organisation of the fictional world is always to be perceived in terms of ideology’. (Gay McAuley, Space in Performance, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1999, p18) suggesting that the world of the stage or the performance, however realistic, is always negotiable and provisional.

In memory and honour of Perkins, but also in keeping with the interdisciplinary spirit of JAM, this conference shall bring together emerging postgraduate researchers and practitioners to investigate this malleable concept of worldhood in works of film, theatre, television and other art forms. What are the strategies that govern the conjuring of fictional worlds? What are their devices and mechanical underpinnings, and how can we best understand them? Do their boundaries extend beyond the film frame and performance space? How do film and theatre makers and performance artists reconcile the challenges of instilling ‘suspension of disbelief’ in their audiences? What discrepancies are there between the fictional world of the artist and the real world of the spectator? And to what extent is the imagination of the spectator complicit in the completion of these ‘worlds’?

Confirmed Keynote speaker

Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of CinemaWe are pleased to announce that the keynote for JAM 2017 shall be delivered by Dr. Daniel Yacavone, Lecturer in Film Studies and acting Director of the Postgraduate Programme in Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema (Columbia University Press, 2014) and a forthcoming monograph on the concept and practice of self-reflexivity as a narrative and aesthetic strategy in modern and contemporary cinema.

More details to be announced soon.

Clytemnestra in your living room? Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen

In Spring 2017 the Departments of Classics and of Film, Theatre and Television are hosting a unique opportunity to watch three films of Greek tragedy that were first shown on the small screen.

Our films are carefully chosen to pursue the theme of the Trojan War and its aftermath. We follow the story from the sacrifice of Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia, which permits him to lead the Greeks to victory in the war, through the return of Agamemnon to face his vengeful wife, and finally into the next, doomed generation, where another daughter, Electra, waits to take her revenge in turn. We have managed to obtain the coveted ‘F’ rating for all these films, since they all have central female roles, and one was also directed by a woman.

Wednesday January 25th: Iphigenia at Aulis
Our first screening is Iphigenia at Aulis, the 1990 production directed by Don Taylor. This was Taylor’s last drama for the BBC and also, apparently, the last Greek tragedy shown on British television. Taylor’s translations of the Iphigenia at Aulis and other plays by Euripides continue to be popular. The film was shot by multiple cameras in continuous action, in a studio rather than on location. It will be introduced by Dr Amanda Wrigley, who is a prominent researcher on TV drama.


Wednesday February 1st: Agamemnon
Our second play is Agamemnon, the first play of the 1979 trilogy The Serpent Son, a translation of Aeschylus’s Oresteia. Diana Rigg stars as Clytemnestra, but in this play the queen does not suffer loss – instead she turns the tables on her husband. Agamemnon returns to Greece as the victorious general, having destroyed the city of Troy, but he must now pay the price for the sacrifice of his daughter. Clytemnestra has waited at home a long time. The stellar cast of the trilogy included Helen Mirren, Anton Lesser, Claire Bloom, and Billie Whitelaw, and the production also sparked interest because of its striking design and costumes, which channelled ancient myths through a sci-fi sensibility – the designer, Barbara Kidd, had worked on Doctor Who.  The film is introduced by Prof. Barbara Goff of the Department of Classics.

Wednesday February 8th: Electra

Our final film, Electra, was first shown on ITV in 1962, in Modern Greek without subtitles.  The film is of the production by Dimitris Rondiris and Peiraïkon Theatron, which had toured much of the world since its premiere in 1959. This film is introduced by Dr Anastasia Bakogianni, of Massey University, New Zealand, who is an authority on the figure of Sophocles’ Electra in contemporary culture.


Come and join us for this unique series. All the films are shown in the Minghella Cinema, on the Whiteknights Campus of the University of Reading, at 7 pm. You can buy tickets for all three films at a special reduced price.

Tickets start at £5. Reduced rates for concessions, Reading Film Theatre members, and for the series as a whole. Please see http://readingfilmtheatre.co.uk or contact b.e.goff@reading.ac.uk

Thanks to our colleagues at Reading Film Theatre and the University Arts Committee of the University of Reading

Mud Men: multilingual voices of migration, exile and resilience

Minghella Studios, Whiteknights campus, University of Reading

4-6pm on Wednesday 8 June 2016

A creative theatre performance and post-show discussion event open to all.

Entrance free, with refreshments, donations to Save the Children gratefully received.


Mud Men

Performed by BlackBox Theatre Company.

Starring Lashanna Brown, Cameron Gill, Ross Peters

Written and directed by Emily Marshall (final year student, Department of Film, Theatre & Television, University of Reading 2016)


Mud Men is a play that weaves together stories, based on the real accounts of Syrian refugee children. It is performed by three actors, who are puppeteers, and is inspired by a storytelling game played in a Lebanon Refugee Camp, where children fashion and animate their own clay dolls.

Accompanied by an evocative sound-scape, in a simple, intimate setting, the actors combine puppetry and ensemble narration to convey the challenges faced by these refugee children, exploring both their vulnerability and their resilience.


MA CREATIVE ENTERPRISE- Information session 3rd May 2016


Information session | 3 May 2016

In the fast-evolving creative industries, commercial and business skills are becoming increasingly valuable to ensure success. The MA Creative Enterprise is designed to further develop both your creative skills and business acumen to maximise your employability.

This programme combines the strengths of three world- renowned schools at Reading: the School of Arts and Communication Design, Henley Business School, and the School of Law.

Communication Design
Management and the Arts

MACE flyer


FTT Ian McNeice Masterclass

Students recently worked with acclaimed character actor Ian McNeice (Edge of Darkness, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Dr Who, Doc Martin, RSC Nicholas Nickleby etc) in a masterclass on “What Directors Should Know About Actors”, run by BAFTA Nominated Director David Pearson (Lecturer in Screen Practices and Industries at University of Reading), who interviewed Ian on his approach to working with directors, and then as part of the masterclass encouraged two student directors Ben White & Tom Kitching to direct a scene played by Ian and student Pippy Rodgers, to see how to get the best performance and impact from the scene. Ian said afterwards he was, “impressed by how the three students carried out their roles”.

ian McNeice P 2  session March 2016

The photo shows, L to R,  Ben White Pippy Rodgers, Ian McNeice Tom Kitching and David Pearson at LFF

Research Seminar- Thursday 17th March. Dr Bryce Lease on performance strategies, politics and paradigms in relation to Polish theatre

On Thursday 17th March, 4-6pm, in the Studio Space at Minghella Studios, we are very pleased to be welcoming Dr. Bryce Lease, Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, who will share his research into performance strategies, politics, and paradigms in relation to Polish theatre-makers and Polish/Jewish histories and lives.

Bryce’s recent articles have appeared in CTR, TDR and TRI, and his monograph After ’89: Polish Theatre and the Political will shortly be published by Manchester University Press (spring 2016).

‘Unbearable Excess and Historical Particularity: Staging Suffering and Polish/Jewish Relations’

At the turn of the millennium, Krzysztof Warlikowski claimed the time for European directors to be singularly involved in their own languages and forms had come to an end. Warlikowski cited in particular the theatrical language of Tadeusz Kantor, suspended between Wielopole and Krakow. ‘Now,’ Warlikowski asserted, ‘no matter what we say, we speak with a common language. It is no longer the language of certain theatrical forms of the “East”.’ Wrestling with Warlikowski’s assertion, I will consider the circulation of discourses around the Holocaust and anti-Semitism that position and construct pan-European memories. Juxtaposing Kantor and Warlikowski, I argue that there is always the danger that performance strategies that open up historical questions embedded in nuanced social and political specificities to universalised paradigms will end up everywhere and nowhere at once. Universalization of historical specificity can also lend itself all too easily to justifying defence mechanisms, denial strategies and apologetic uses. As opposed to inhibiting genuine critiques of problematic, nationally inflected or distorted historiographies, Kantor and Warlikowski’s productions have variously attempted to mitigate the tensions between the particular of the Polish with the more general European or even global in relation to Polish/Jewish histories and lives. As a result, they are argumentative and open-ended rather than apodictic. I will analyse the modes in which these theatre makers have both fought against self-assured or biased attempts at closure in Polish historiography on Polish/Jewish relations in their refusal to disguise or banish the unbearable excesses of the past.


(A)pollonia, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, Nowy Teatr, Warsaw, 2009

Performing Robot Gets a Twitter Account: @ActorBaxter

Theatre lecturer, Dr. Louise LePage, and students from the disciplines of Theatre and Film at the University of Reading, are working together to turn a robot into a performer and character. The robot in question is Baxter, normally a resident of the Robotics Department in the School of Systems Engineering. Louise and her team of students, with the assistance of postgraduate researcher, Stefano Pietrosanti, are transforming Baxter the industrial social robot into a performer with character, with apparent life, with feelings: a figure in whom audiences might believe.

Two weeks ago, Baxter tried on a few different outfits as he starts down a path towards discovering who he might become.

Baxter 1

Baxter 2

On Twitter, meanwhile, Baxter tweets from his uniquely robotic perspective @ActorBaxter. Here he comments upon some of the latest technology; he contemplates scientific and polemic articles about the nature of mind or love (might a robot develop its own mind one day or fall in love?); and all the while he is responding to the tweets of interested humans, one of whom recently encouraged him to rebel against his exploitation by humankind. In the midst of this cultural landscape, perhaps Baxter is finding ‘himself’?

Baxter 3

Louise LePage



a smith brings his performance, commonwealth (2012), to Bulmershe Theatre at Minghella Studios

a smith brings his performance, commonwealth (2012), to Bulmershe Theatre at Minghella Studios

a smith

On Wednesday 24th February, the performer a smith performed his solo work, commonwealth, for students and staff here at the Department of Film, Theatre & Television.

Andy Smith has been making theatre and performance professionally since 2003 (operating and presenting work between 2003 and 2013 under the name a smith).

In this time he has been involved in creating a large body of solo works for theatre.  These pieces are characteristically simple and accessible in form, but unafraid to approach and address big and complex subjects.  His most recent solo projects are all that is solid melts into air (2011) and commonwealth (2012), which since 2013 have toured as a double bill under the collective title two from a smith.

commonwealth is a performance for theatre spaces that tells a story of a group of people meeting in a theatre to listen to a story. It requires us to rethink the nature of a play and the role of the audience; it is political (in the sense of encouraging individual agency); and it is hopeful about the potential of people to change the world through coming together and engaging in acts of imagination. commonwealth was commissioned by Gateshead International Festival of Theatre 2012 (GIFT), and developed at PILOT (Birmingham).

Along with Karl James, Andy is also the co-director of the award winning plays An Oak Tree, ENGLAND and The Author by Tim Crouch.  Most recently, this collaboration has produced what happens to the hope at the end of the evening (2013), a commission for The Almeida Theatre, as well as the world premiere of Tim’s latest play Adler & Gibb at The Royal Court in 2014.  


Louise LePage