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 Staging Beckett Conference: Constructing Performance Histories

4-5 April 2014, Minghella Building, University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus.

Online registration for Staging Beckett Inaugural Conference

Staging Beckett's Inaugural Conference on 4-5 April 2014 will focus on the history, documentation and analysis of Beckett's theatre in performance in the UK, Ireland and internationally.

Staging Beckett: The Impact of Productions of Samuel Beckett's Plays in the UK and Ireland is an AHRC-funded project which runs from 2012-2015. It is a collaboration between the Universities of Reading and Chester and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The project is compiling a database of all professional productions of Beckett's plays in the UK and Ireland, with accompanying research resources. The project's conferences are: Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories (Reading April 4-5, 2014), Staging Beckett in the Regions (Chester, 11-12 September, 2014), and Samuel Beckett and Contemporary Theatre Cultures (Reading, April 2015).

Staging Beckett blog: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/staging-beckett/

Smaller Beckett image for 2014 conference

Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories features papers on productions of Beckett from across the globe, including Belgium, Brazil, Hungary, India, Ireland, Mexico, Poland, Turkey, the United States and the UK. Topics will cover Beckett and stage design, Beckett's theatrical intersections with Pinter and with Shakespeare, staging Beckett in situations of censorship, or crisis and resistance from besieged Sarajevo to the Occupy movement in Zuccotti Park New York, staging Beckett beyond the theatrical frame, and performance histories and perspectives.

Registration fee: £50 per day waged; £30 per day students, seniors and unwaged.

Keynote Lecture: 'Beckett and the Non-Place in Irish Performance', Professor Brian Singleton, Trinity College Dublin, Friday 4th April, 2.30pm

Practitioners' Panel: 'Staging Beckett Now': Saturday 5th April, 3pm.

  • Natalie Abrahami (director of Happy Days, starring Juliet Stevenson at the Young Vic, London, Feb-March 2014)
  • Lisa Dwan (recent performances of Not I / Footfalls / Rockaby at the Royal Court and Duchess Theatre, London, on tour during 2014)
  • Sarah Jane Scaife (director of site specific performances of Act Without Words II and Rough for Theatre 1 in Dublin (2013), Limerick, London and New York).

The Staging Beckett Research Team: Matthew McFrederick (Reading), Anna McMullan (Reading), Patricia McTighe (Reading), David Pattie (Chester), Graham Saunders (Reading), David Tucker (Chester).

Journeys Across Media

Memory and Imagination

25th April 2014

2014 will mark the 12th anniversary of the annual Journeys Across Media (JAM) conference for postgraduate researchers, organised by postgraduates working in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading.

JAM 2014 seeks to foster emerging scholarship that investigates interactions and relationships between memory and media.

In her posthumously published book The Life of the Mind (1978), German-American political philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote:

'Mnemosyne, Memory, is the mother of the Muses, and remembrance, the most frequent and also the most basic thinking experience, has to do with things that are absent, that have disappeared from my senses. Yet the absent that is summoned up and made present to my mind - a person, an event, a monument - cannot appear in the way it appeared to my senses, as though remembrance were a kind of witchcraft. In order to appear to my mind only, it must first be de-sensed, and the capacity to transform sense-objects into images is called "imagination."'

With this year's conference, we would like to open a dialogue about the relationship between memory and imagination, particularly as expressed within contemporary scholarship and practices. Our initial questions include: how has an inner psychological process been positioned empirically and ideologically - both in mainstream iterations, social media contexts and in performance contexts? How does the relation between memory and imagination connect and diverge in interdisciplinary approaches? How have different forms of media affected the ways in which we understand memory as personal, cultural, traumatic and constructed?

Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Archive and Imprint
  • The technique of flashback
  • Locational memory: Abandoned spaces and remembered places

The evolution of attitudes and technical approaches to representation of personal and social memory in film, theatre and television.

  • Post-colonial memory in the contemporary moment
  • Recollective memory and war
  • Memory and suffering: the ethics of representing trauma
  • Remembrance and cultural identity
  • Remembering lines: memory and the performer
  • Lost and found: 're'-remembered texts and practices (for example the BBC lost archives)
  • Memory and data: the impact of digital media
  • Memory loss and dementia: Therapeutic practices in film, theatre and television

We warmly invite submissions from PhD and MA/MPhil scholars conducting research in these areas and seek to provide a broad, cross-medial discussion forum. Previous delegates have welcomed the opportunity to gain experience of presenting and developing their work, and to establish contacts with fellow postgraduate researchers and academic staff.

Please submit a 250-word abstract for a fifteen-minute paper and a 50-word biographical note by email to the JAM 2014 team (Niamh Bowe, Sonya Chenery, Tamara Courage and Dominic Lees) at jam@pgr.reading.ac.uk

We welcome proposals for practice-as-research presentations/performances/screenings; these must conform to the 15-minute format, and should be suitable for viewing by a seated audience, within the panel format. Please include details of technical requirements. As above, please send a 50-word biographical note with your proposal.

Deadline for abstracts: 17th February 2014

Presenters who are not able to deliver their papers live are offered the option of presenting digitally, either via Skype or digitally recorded presentation. Non-presenting delegates are also strongly encouraged to attend.

JAM has an on-going collaboration with the Journal of Media Practice. Participants of both JAM 2012 and JAM 2013 have had their papers published by the journal. Please see Journal of Media Practice 13:3, the most recent publication incorporating postgraduate papers originally delivered at JAM.

In order to cover the cost of holding the conference, it will necessary for us to charge a fee of £25 per delegate (including presenting delegates). A limited number of bursaries to cover this cost may be available.

Online registration for JAM Conference 2014

 

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