AND THEIR PREDECESSORS:
New Directions in Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Performance Research
One Day Symposium
Saturday, May 14, 2016
University of Warwick
School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies
The aim of this symposium is to investigate current developments in theatre and performance research and scholarship during the long nineteenth century and to consider ways forward. We invite the submission of abstracts on any topic connected to nineteenth-century theatre and performance in any part of the world. We are particularly interested in papers focussing on alternative approaches to and/or alternative examples of theatre and performance in our period and also in papers relating to what has been called the ‘new theatre history’, to innovative research methods and to reconfigurations of theatre history on both a national and global scale.
The symposium is curated by the editors of Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film
: Jim Davis, Janice Norwood, Pat Smyth, and Sharon Aronofsky Weltman. Please submit symposium abstracts for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 March, 2016.
I hope everyone reading this, especially those who love “Cox and Box,” will be delighted to learn that Retrospect Opera, a UK charity I help direct, is going to make a recording of Sir Francis Burnand and Edward Solomon’s “Pickwick” of 1889. Better still, Simon Butteriss is going to sing the role of the immortal Mr Pickwick! Please do look at our website for more details: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/
Burnand and Solomon, who were writing comic songs together as early as 1880. Of their collaborative works we believe that “Pickwick,” the first really successful musical version of a Charles Dickens story, is the one that merits revival. When it first appeared, critics saw it as a natural successor to “Cox and Box.” Though Solomon was often compared to Sullivan, and sometimes seemed to be waiting in the wings to take over as the Savoy’s composer in chief, we believe that his music has NEVER been recorded! If anyone knows differently, please reply to me.
That’s the good news. The bad news (mayhap) is that we do need to raise funds to make the recording possible, probably about £12,000. We have a supporters’ scheme whereby anyone who donates £25 or more gets their name on our website and a copy of the recording and accompanying materials when it is released. Bigger donations get bigger rewards. Anyone who wants to pay for the whole thing will be wined and dined as they have never been wined and dined before!! (But in fact, 10% of the funding has already come in from Dickens people and more is promised from that direction.)
"Presenting the Theatrical Past: Interplays of Artefacts, Discourses and Practices"IFTR Conference, Stockholm University, 13-17 June 2016
The conference “Presenting the Theatrical Past. Interplays of Artefacts, Discourses and Practices” addresses questions concerning our relationship to theatre history, i.e. the relation between present and past. How and why do we deal with history? What do we do with history? To what extent is historical research an exploration of our present?
Departing from the 250th anniversary of the Drottningholm Court Theatre, IFTR 2016 focuses on critical perspectives on theatre history. The theatre of the past is accessible to us via historical objects, theoretical discourses and archive materials. But we can also experience it through performance practices that keep traditions alive or engage in re-enactments of theatre events and representations.
Critical investigation of historiographical issues in the field of Theatre Studies touches upon the interplay between theatrical artefacts
. In our view such historical artefacts in relation to theatre can be theatre sites/venues, historical objects (props, scenery, costumes), historical materials and documents, historical locations for re-enactments, etc. Practices comprise performances such as theatre, drama, dance, opera, performance, installation art, laboratory experiments, educational curricula etc. The notion of discourse relates to historical ideas as well as contemporary theories, questions of ‘historically informed productions’ (HIP) and historiographical concepts, reconstructions of past performances etc.
For more information, visit the International Federation for Theatre Research website.
21st Annual Symposium: “Adapting Dickens”
Iceland University, Reykjavik
11–13 July, 2016
No sooner had Dickens made a name for himself by writing novels than the London theatres began to adapt them to the stage. Indeed, both The Pickwick Papers
(April 1836–November 1837) and Oliver Twist
(February 1837–March–1838) underwent such adaptations before the serial run of either had come to an end, and the latter was staged in one form or another no fewer than forty times before 1850! Just over half a century later, “The Death of Poor Joe,” a silent film from 1901 initiated a long series of adaptations of his works for cinema, and in 1959, BBC television broadcast adaptations of Great Expectations
and Bleak House
that proved how well suited his works were to either type of screen. Over four hundred adaptations later, there is no sign that the public’s enthusiasm for adapting Dickens is on the wane. Quite the contrary, audio versions of his works, a mode that can be traced directly to Dickens’s own dramatizations and his celebrated (and much imitated) readings can now be downloaded in a matter of minutes in MP3 format from a large number of internet sources. By the 1840s, his novels had been translated in Dutch, French, German, Italian and Russian, influencing a host of European writers over the following three decades. If we add the visual arts, musicals, graphic novels, video games, and a multitude of objects from Christmas decorations to cigarette cards and figurines, there seems to be no limits to the adaptability of Dickens’s works.
Papers (deliverable in twenty minutes) related to adaptation as well as proposals on all aspects of Dickens and his works are welcome.
Potential subjects related to the symposium theme include:
- Dickens and translation
- Dickens and film
- Dickens and performance
- Dickens and the theatre
- Dickens and television
- Dickens and audio
- Dickens and the visual arts
- Dickens and adaptation theory
For more information, visit the Dickens Society Website
My two-year Marie Curie Fellowship period begins this month (February 2016). After some complications involving my visa sponsorship certificate, I have arrived in the UK. Though I am officially sponsored by Brunel University, I am somewhat mobile, and I am using these first weeks of the fellowship to do some writing. With that in mind, I have located a flat with a most inspirational view of Edinburgh Castle. Even on a cloudy day, the scene lifts the spirits.
Meanwhile, back at Brunel, Tom Betteridge is working with his students on a production of No Thoroughfare. This play, co-written by Charles Dickens an Wilkie Collins, has an interesting history that connects with questions of adaptation and copyright. I will be working with Tom's students next month, and I look forward to seeing what they do with this play.
I will move to London later this spring, when my projects will be at a stage at which they will benefit from an infusion of fresh research.