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).

Advertisements

Staging Beckett: Ian Rickson in conversation with Mark Taylor-Batty

The Minghella Building, University of Reading, Whiteknights campus, Reading

Thursday 3rd October 7.30pm. Doors open 6.30pm

Followed by wine reception

The University of Reading, the Staging Beckett project, and the Beckett International Foundation are delighted to present a conversation with acclaimed theatre director Ian Rickson, who will be talking about the challenges of directing the work of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, with Mark Taylor-Batty who has written extensively on both playwrights. Ian Rickson directed Pinter in Krapp’s Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 2006.

The AHRC-funded Staging Beckett project, a collaboration with the University of Chester and the Victoria and Albert Museum, is developing a database of productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland which will be available in 2014. This is a pilot for a wider performing arts database.

An exhibition will be open for the evening of the event with materials from diverse productions of Krapp’s Last Tape in the UK and Ireland, including Rickson’s production with Harold Pinter, and the premiere of the play at the Royal Court Theatre in 1958, starring Patrick Magee, directed by Donald McWhinnie and designed by Jocelyn Herbert.  The exhibition will feature items in the University of Reading’s collection related to Krapp’s Last Tape, and items from the Jocelyn Herbert Archive, housed at Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London.

Tickets are free but advance registration is essential. To book tickets visit: www.reading.ac.uk/events and follow the event link Enquiries: events@reading.ac.uk

Ian Rickson was Artistic Director at the Royal Court from 1998 to 2006, during which time he directed Krapp’s Last Tape, The Winterling, Alice Trilogy, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Fallout, The Night Heron, Boy Gets Girl, Mouth to Mouth (also in the West End), Dublin Carol, The Weir (also in the West End and on Broadway), The Lights, Pale Horse and Mojo (also at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), Ashes & Sand, Some Voices and Killers. His last production for the Royal Court, The Seagull, transferred to Broadway. Other theatre includes Old Times (West End), The River (Royal Court), Hamlet (Young Vic), Jerusalem (Royal Court, West End and Broadway), Betrayal (Comedy Theatre), The Children’s Hour (Comedy Theatre), The Hothouse and The Day I Stood Still (NT), Parlour Song (Almeida), Hedda Gabler (Roundabout Theatre, New York), The House of Yes (Gate) and Me & My Friend (Chichester Festival Theatre). Film includes:  Fallout, Krapp’s Last Tape and The Clear Road Ahead.

Mark Taylor-Batty is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the Workshop Theatre, School of English, University of Leeds. He is co-author with Juliette Taylor-Batty, of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and has produced a monograph on Beckett’s first director, Roger Blin: Collaborations and Metholodogies (Peter Lang, 2007). He has written extensively on Harold Pinter, including About Pinter (Faber and Faber, 2005) and the Forthcoming Theatre of Harold Pinter (Methuen Drama, 2014). He is an executive member of the International Harold Pinter Society, and a co-editor, with Enoch Brater, of the new ‘Methuen Drama Engage’ series of monographs on modern drama.