Dr Simone Knox has participated in a three hour discussion…

Dr Simone Knox has participated in a three hour discussion about British television drama for German radio’s ‘Lange Nacht’ series. Together with Professor Andrew James Johnston from Freie Universität Berlin and Philip Olterman, the Guardian and Observer’s Berlin correspondent, she discussed the particular aesthetic and narrative characteristics as well as socio-cultural concerns of programmes including The Avengers, Upstairs, Downstairs, Doctor Who and The Thick of It. The panellists considered the different traditions of British television drama, and how these have developed within a changing broadcasting context, as well as the reasons why British television drama such as Downton Abbey appeals to foreign viewers, and how significant exportability has become to British drama production. The recording will be broadcast on Deutschlandfunk and on Deutschlandradio Kultur each over the weekend 7-8 December 2013.

Home Theatre Project 2013


For a week from 21st October a group of 30 Film, Theatre & Television students from Reading worked on an exciting and innovative project with the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London. 30 new, one person shows were performed in 30 host homes across London. The project, which took place in the UK for the first time this year, was developed with Stratford East’s Brazilian partner Festival Internacional de Cenas em Casa.

A tailor-made performance was created for each host in their own home and presented to an audience of the host’s choosing by one of the 30 performance artists recruited to work on the project. Each performer worked with a third-year student from Film & Theatre, who assisted in the development of the piece and filmed the final performance. The performances were recorded using tablet computer technology, building on a Department T&L project to explore the use of tablets in the teaching of performance and supported by CDoTL. All the films were screened at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 9th November and they can all be seen here:  http://www.stratfordeast.tv/

We would like to invite you to a Reading screening of all the performances in the Cinema of the Minghella Building.  The 30 short films (about 20 minutes each) will be shown throughout Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th December, starting at 10.00 in the morning and finishing at about 8.00pm.  You are welcome to visit the cinema at any point in the day and stay for as many screened performances as you wish.  Entrance is free of charge.

Giving Voice to the Nation: the archives of the Arts Council of Great Britain now open

Three leading lights of Giving Voice to the Nation, a five-year research project into the archives of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1945 to 1995 (University of Reading and V&A Museum) inform Aleks Sierz of what they found when they delved into the records of the state funder of theatre and performance. Recorded at Blythe House, 19 November 2013.


Home Theatre (UK): Broadcast Day


Photograph credit: Phil Clarke-Hill

Tune in to www.stratfordeast.tv any time between 8am and 11pm on Saturday to view the Home Theatre (UK) performances which our 3rd years have been working on. Theatre Royal Stratford East staged 30 performances in 30 homes across London (including a hospital, a care home and a houseboat). The performances took inspiration from the stories of those hosting the work, from boroughs across the capital.

A student from Film, Theatre & Television worked on each of the performances. They took part in the rehearsal process, contributing to the development of the project and creating an integrated strategy for filming the resulting performance. The development of the performances culminated on Saturday 26th October, when the hosts invited an audience of friends and family to see the work and share a meal, over which thoughts and experiences were discussed. The films are being screened at Theatre Royal and simultaneously streamed to launch the theatre’s new web TV channel, enabling audiences around the world to enjoy the works and be part of the conversation.

Call for Papers: Staging Beckett Conference, April 2014

Conference Call For Papers

Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories

Minghella Building, University of Reading 4-5 April 2014

Staging Beckett is a three-year research collaboration between the universities of Chester, Reading, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project started in September 2012, and is exploring the impact of productions of Beckett’s plays on British and Irish theatre practice and cultures while also looking at how Beckett has been staged internationally. It is compiling a database of professional productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland.

The project’s first conference (4-5April 2014) will focus on the history, documentation and analysis of Beckett’s theatre in performance: while Beckett’s directing practice has been much discussed, and critical attention has been paid to selected première productions (the French, British, Irish or US premières of Godot, for example), or ‘deviant’ productions such as the 1984 American Repertory Theatre production of Endgame, there is a great deal of work to be done in researching the diversity of productions of Beckett’s theatre in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Questions we are asking include:

  • How did approaches to staging Beckett’s theatre change from the 1950s to the twenty-first century?
  • Have there been distinct approaches to staging Beckett at particular moments and in particular theatre cultures?
  • How have productions of Beckett’s plays commented on or reflected wider political / economic contexts?
  • What kinds of dialogues can we trace between productions of Beckett’s plays and local, national or international theatre histories?
  • Can we trace cross-influences in approaches to staging Beckett across productions?
  • What can particular case studies of individual or comparative productions contribute to constructing performance histories of Beckett’s theatre?
  • How can future performance practice of Beckett’s theatre be informed or inspired by previous productions?
  • We are also interested in methodological issues around Beckett, performance and the archive, and around Beckett, performance and the digital.

We are keen to hear from academics and practitioners (whether UK, Irish or international) interested in the legacies of particular performances, the documentation and analysis of Beckett in performance, and in the dialogues between productions of Beckett’s theatre and wider theatre practices and cultural / political contexts. Issues to consider might be, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How particular directors / performers have approached staging Beckett
  • How particular economic, funding, and / or political contexts have influenced productions of Beckett’s plays
  • Beckett and stage design / scenography
  • Technical innovation in productions of Beckett
  • ‘Deviant’ productions (ie that have flouted Beckett’s stage directions)
  • Productions that were planned and didn’t happen (refused permission, for example)
  • Beckett and particular local, national or international theatre cultures
  • The ‘festivalisation’ of Beckett
  • International touring productions to the UK and Ireland
  • UK and Irish productions that have toured (such as Dublin Gate Beckett Festival)
  • Digital archives of Beckett in performance / Beckett performance on the web

Please send proposals of c. 150 words to Anna McMullan (a.e.mcmullan@reading.ac.uk)  by  Friday 13th December 2013.

Informal enquiries can be sent to Anna at the above email address, or to Graham Saunders (g.saunders@reading.ac.uk) or Trish McTighe (p.mctighe@reading.ac.uk).

Future Staging Beckett conferences are: Staging Beckett in the Regions (University of Chester, September 2014), and Beckett and Theatre and Performance Cultures (University of Reading, April 2015).

Staging Beckett team: Matthew McFrederick (Reading) Anna McMullan (Reading), Trish McTighe (Reading) David Pattie (Chester), Graham Saunders (Reading) David Tucker (Chester).