Thursday 3rd December Dr Tiago de Luca (University of Liverpool)– Slow Time, Visible Cinema: Duration, Experience, and Spectatorship

Room 102 (Studio Space), The Minghella Building. Whiteknights Campus at 4pm


This talk will examine how the body of films commonly subsumed under the term ‘slow cinema’ demands the conditions provided by the film theatre if its spectatorial contract is to be fully met. It will explore this hypothesis with reference to three recent durational films which, not coincidentally, focus on the theatrical experience as a theme in its own right: Goodbye Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, 2005), Fantasma (Lisandro Alonso, 2006) and Shirin (Abbas Kiarostami, 2008). By investigating the ways in which slow cinema eschews the conventional temporal articulations of narrative cinema in favour of indeterminate temporalities, it will be argued that the slow cinematic style might be fruitfully understood as a meta-reflection on a collective mode of spectatorship which loses its exclusivity as cinema ventures into new public spaces and onto new screens.


Tiago de Luca is a lecturer in Portugese at the University of Liverpool. His specialisms include cinematic realism, world cinema and sensory audiovisual theory. He has recently published a book chapter in the anthology Theorizing World Cinema (I.B. Tauris, 2011), as well as peer-reviewed articles in film journals such as Cinephile and Journal of Chinese Cinemas.


Playwright and scriptwriter Alecky Blythe at the University of Reading- Thursday 19th November

Playwright and scriptwriter Alecky Blythe is coming to the University of Reading on Thursday 19th November.  Everyone is very welcome.  Please bring your friends.

Alecky Blythe

Bulmershe Theatre, Minghella Building, 4.00

A talk and Q&A with Professor Lib Taylor (FTT).  Alecky Blythe will be discussing her verbatim method on plays such as Come Out Eli (2003), Cruising (2006) and The Girlfriend Experience (2010), as well as her experience of working on the musical theatre piece, London Road (2011 & 12).  Everyone welcome


Reading Film Theatre, Palmer Building, 7.30

An introduction to the film London Road.


Alecky Blythe

Alecky Blythe is a playwright and screenwriter whose highly acclaimed verbatim plays and films are developed via using the vocal recordings of real people as the script.  Blythe records interviews which are edited to produce a sound text. The actors in most of her work don’t learn their lines but rather listen to the script through earphones while performing, and reproduce exactly what they are hearing, including all the stumbles, repetitions and hesitations as well as the accents, emphasis, colour, pitch, pace, intonation and inflexions of the original speakers.

In London Road, which focused on interviews with the people affected by the Ipswich murders in 2006, some of the recorded material was filtered through a musical score so that everyday speech created the rhythm and melodies of the songs. It has now been made into a very successful film to be shown at RFT on 19th November.

London Road won the Laurence Olivier Award of Best New Musical in 2012.  This is one of a number of awards that Blythe has won: Come Out Eli  was awarded the Time Out Award for Best Production on the Fringe in 2003; Do We Look Like Refugees?, won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010.

Her most recent work has focused on the London Riots with a TV Documentary, The Riots in their Own Words (BBC 2, 2012) in which actors listened to and spoke the words of real people and Little Revolution, at the Almeida Theatre in 2014, which mixed professional actors with a chorus of local volunteers.

Blythe’s play Do We Look Like Refugees? began its British tour with a performance at the opening Minghella Building in 2011 and we are delighted to welcome Alecky Blythe Back to Reading.



Lib Taylor

Lib Taylor is Professor of Theatre and Performance in Film, Theatre & Television. She has published widely on the body in performance, women’s theatre and contemporary British theatre. She has directed and devised research performances, including performances of Marguerite Duras’s later plays and the theatre writings of Gertrude Stein. She was co-investigator on the AHRC research project Acting with Facts,which focused on documentary theatre and television.  See  Among its publications it produced an archive of thirty interviews with actors and directors, including Alecky Blythe, on approaches to performing real people in verbatim plays.  See

Calling student collaborators for a performance project with a robot!


I am about to start a project investigating robots as performers and am seeking student collaborators to work with me on the project. I am interesting in the following questions, amongst others:

  • Are robots performers?
  • What do robots have to do with theatre?
  • What beliefs or expectations do we have about robots?
  • What do these expectations say about us as humans?
  • Who is responsible for our decisions?
  • Will robots one day do away with the need for humans to work?
  • How do we feel about the possibility of robots becoming conscious?
  • What will a world populated by humans and robots look like?

I am seeking students across each of the years and levels of study who have an interest in exploring these questions, and in doing so theatrically. I have 14 spaces for students with a range of skills and interests. Over the course of the coming months, we will explore the creative performance potential, and nature, of Baxter the robot. This exciting project, which is generously supported by Robotics researchers in the School of Systems Engineering and the Department of Film, Theatre and Television, will culminate in a public performance-lecture on Wednesday 20th April 2016 in Bulmershe Theatre, Minghella Building, Whiteknights, University of Reading.

Interested student-participants can find out further details on Blackboard and may speak to me individually. The deadline for sending me your application to participate in the project is Friday 13th November 2015. Email your application to