Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre – Autumn 2017

Welcome to a new academic year. As the term begins, we are delighted to welcome a number of new Fellows to the Centre, including Lily Hunter Green (as Artist in Residence), Kris NelsonAmy Lamé and Scottee. For more on their work, and our other Fellows and Centre members, please click here.

Join us for a number of public events this term, which speak to the theme of night-life (no booking required):

Theatre Conversation: David Eldridge
Friday 3 November 2017, 5.30pm, G10

Writer and Birkbeck lecturer David Eldridge’s new play Beginning opens at the National Theatre in October 2017. In this Theatre Conversation, David will discuss the process by which he developed this new work, which is set over the course of a night at a party.

Performance: Nights at the Circus
Friday 17 November 2017, 6pm, G10

In a post-apocalyptic world the circus is forced to perform. As the night plays out the performers slip between their stage personas and the person they dream to be; trapped by their own desires and lusting after new sensations. A collaboration between learning-disabled and non-disabled artists exploring sex, desire and violence.

Film screening: Two-Lane Black Top (dir. Monte Hellman, 102 mins)
Monday 27 November, 2pm, Birkbeck Cinema

Join us for a screening of Monte Hellman’s iconic road movie, with an introduction and discussion led by Centre Fellow Andrew Dickson.

Other events this term include:

Theatre Conversation: Hannah Khalil
Monday 11 December 2017, 7.30pm, G10

Join us for a dialogue between playwright Hannah Khalil and screenwriter and Birkbeck lecturer Daragh Carville.

Irish-Palestinian playwright Hannah Khalil is one of the most exciting new voices in British theatre. Her play Scenes from 68* Years ran at the Arcola Theatre in 2016 and has been nominated for the James Tate Black Award. Her new play The Scar Test opened at the Soho Theatre in July 2017.

GRiT seminar series: Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal (PhD candidate), ‘The Value of Authenticity’
Thursday 2 November, 4pm, G04

This research will explore the notion of ‘the authentic’ in service and hospitality work, comparing it with the search for ‘truthful’ or ‘authentic’ performance in theatre. Using workplace training documents which provide instructions for employee’s behaviour and emotional labour, it will consider what role these social performances play in generating value, and why ‘authentic’ experience has become so prized by businesses and consumers in today’s economy.

Researching (with) Difficult Feelings
Thursday 14-Friday 15 December 2017

A two-day training workshop aimed at PhD students at CHASE institutions, featuring presentations by theatre academics and makers, and a keynote by Prof. Jennifer Doyle. Click here for more information.

For regular news and events, keep an eye on our new website or follow us on Twitter @BirkbeckCCT

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A Fun Palace for Grown Ups – Saturday 4th October 2015

On Sunday 4 October from 2.30pm, the Centre for Contemporary Theatre is hosting events in the School of Arts as part of Camden People’s Theatre’s contribution to this year’s national Fun Palaces festival: A Fun Palace for Grown Ups

CPT’s Fun Palace for Grown Ups is distinctive as the focus of Fun Palace events tends to be on children and young people.

As part of A Fun Palace for Grown Ups, we are really pleased to be presenting a talk from Philip Hedley (former artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East), rehearsed readings from The Writers’ Group (consisting of MA Text and Performance students) and a new performance from a young theatre company, BARK.

A Fun Palace for Grown Ups comes at the end of what is induction week for many programmes, and can act as an additional welcome to new students.  Information on the line-up of events hosted in the School of Arts is below, and links to the events at CPT and other venues in the Euston area.

A Fun Palace for Grown Ups: A FREE celebration of being a grown up from Camden People’s Theatre, New Diorama, Birkbeck, Wellcome Collection, the Fitzrovia Centre & others.

All events are FREE but booking is essential:

Birkbeck events take place in the School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square WC1H 0PD
Sunday 4 October, 2.30-5.30pm

2.30-4.30pm: The Writers’ Group: Rehearsed Readings, Peltz Gallery

– Neka Da Costa, Whoopey’s the Musical: A dark comedy that satirizes the nitty gritty of the fast food industry, set in a fictional but recognizable restaurant.
– Wafik Doss, Staged Impeachment: A play about a play that never gets played.
– Lucinda Everett, Liked: A drama exploring the darker side of the world’s obsession with youtube.
– Yuki Sakamoto, The Macaroni War: A story about imagination and its loss and a warning to all ages.
– Virginia Smith, My Shrimp and I: An exploration of cultural stereotyping through a one-woman show that intertwines music and words.
– Kate Tiernan, Freight: Adventure in a tiny tin tank. A freight carriage holds hostage the hopes of freedom. With lyrical and fiercely poetic language, two characters fight to conceal their judgment and desires in the pursuit of anonymity.
– Rebecca Williams, Hikikomori in London: Mental health labels when cultures collide: the story of a unique friendship when one man tries to help someone he can’t hope to understand.

3-4pm: Answer A) BARK School by BARK, G10

Re-realise your potential as a school child in these ridiculous one-on-one mini classes.

2.30-5.30pm: Joan Littlewood: Her Life and Work

Philip Hedley was Joan Littlewood’s assistant director for two years and her successor as artistic director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Philip will give a detailed and rich account of one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable and influential UK theatre directors. With lively personal anecdotes, Philip will discuss the context for Joan’s work, her fundamental beliefs about theatre, and her legacy, including her ideas for a Fun Palace.

To book, and to see all events taking place as part of A Fun Palace for Grown Ups, visit


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