Festive ‘Watch-along’ of The Muppet Christmas Carol! 11th December 2020

 
The English Literature and  Creative Writing programmes are hosting a Festive ‘Watch-along’ of The Muppet Christmas Carol!  Next Friday afternoon, the 11th of December, Dr Rob Edgar and staff will host a viewing of this celebrated musical fantasy comedy of Charles Dicken’s Christmas story through Teams! We invite you to attend to view it alongside other students on the two programmes and to post observations in the chat.  AND – at the end of the viewing, Rob and team members will announce the quiz questions, which will be aimed at those of you who have watched the film the most carefully There will be prizes!  
 
Additionally, the office is organising a gift voucher for £5.00 worth of popcorn/movie viewing from a local York cinema for all who sign up and attend. We wanted to give you popcorn in person, but this is the best way we can think to do this; if you get your own popcorn for the watch-along, you can get some local cinema popcorn the next time you are there.  Please sign up on this Event Brite link to let us know you can be there, and we’ll send you a Teams link. 
 
We wanted to find a way to celebrate getting to the end of what has been a challenging semester, and to say a giant ‘Well Done’ for getting through! We hope to see you there!
 

The Show Must Go ONLINE: An Interview with Rob Myles on Modern Day Theatre’s Perseverance Through a Global Pandemic, by Emma Brimelow

We went into the first lockdown the week that our Shakespeare: Perspectives students were due to go on their trip to see The Taming of the Shrew, and, as happened in Shakespeare’s times, the theatres closed, and many people found their livelihoods in jeopardy. Emma Brimelow reflects on the resilience of the theatre community during this pandemic, interviewing Robert Myles, who set the standard for Zoom Shakespeare with his The Show Must Go Online project. As her blog post reveals, innovation and creativity did not come to an end, and she got to review a unique production after all.

Emma Brimelow 

What a lot of people hoped would be ‘the best year of their lives’ has slowly turned into one for the books, and sadly not in the way we had hoped. Covid-19 arrived in late January for the UK, and no later than two months after this around a third of the world has been put into some form of lockdown, Great Britain being no exception. On the 23rd of March, Boris Johnson announced everyone who isn’t an essential worker must stay inside and isolate, and many businesses are currently suffering due to forced closure, the theatre being one of them. In the past I’ve enjoyed watching numerous productions, my last being Dick Whittington and His Cat at Romiley Forum, and so I found myself missing the theatre experience. Luckily, Robert Myles has a solution for those of us who are missing out!

Created in less than a week in response to covid-19, ‘The Show Must Go Online’ was thefirst platform to produce Shakespeare for an online audience using online actors. Created on zoom and streamed on YouTube, TSMGO has been named “the most prolific creator of online theatre” by various academics (Medium, 2020), and after watching their production of The Taming of The Shrew it’s clear to see why. The shows stay true to theZoom shakespeare nature of theatre, including adding intervals, pre- and post-show discussions and adding virtual applause to the Zoom productions on YouTube. The quick response to the pandemic amazed me, with the first show airing the first week of the official lockdown, however I was lucky enough to get in contact with Rob Myles, who shared an exclusive insight into the process of creating TSMGO so fast.

Rob stated that the idea came to him pre-lockdown and was simply an idea until his initial tweet about creating the platform blew up.  The first show The Two Gentlemen of Verona aired just six days after that tweet was made, and since then to this day eight more shows have been broadcasted. Rob stated, “We were able to move so quickly because myself and my producing partner Sarah Peachey both work in innovation when we’re not working in the arts, where fast deadlines and online conferencing are both commonplace,” meaning that he was surrounded by a strong support network to get TSMGO going as quick as possible. However, he also told me that “it would have been nothing without the response from actors and theatre makers” which he claims are still reaching out to him today about appearing in future productions. Rob has helped over 150 currently unemployed actors from all over the world, allowing countries to come together and rejoice in such difficult times.

Before I saw any of the live shows, I admit I was sceptical.  I’ve seen a couple of Shakespeare productions, including more recently Macbeth at The Royal Exchange Theatre, and wondered how a play would function without the scenery and the costumes, and even more important…the interaction between characters. After watching TSMGO’s rendition of The Taming of the Shrew, I was surprised to see just how well the production flowed. The core of the success of the plays are the actors, who week by week learn a new script off by heart in less than six days, yet still manage to perform with such fluency and enthusiasm!

In the productions, the actors try their hardest to DIY costumes and props, some even including their dogs in the readings! In the reading of The Taming of The Shrew, I particularly enjoyed the couple of stunt doubles (who were isolating together) performing the fight between Katherina and Petruchio. It was staged extremely well and brought an aspect of humour to the reading. To put it simply, Rob Myles and his cast are doing all they can to make the best out of a bad situation.

The first production, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, brought in nearly 35,000 views (Ludmon, 2020) and Rob tells me that “thankfully the interest remains just as strong.” They are currently working through every Shakespeare play in chronological order and anticipate that they should make it through every one of his works by late November. You can support Rob and his team of actors through their patreon, which I have linked below and become a theatre patron yourself:

https://www.patreon.com/TheShowMustGoOnline

Update: The Show Must Go Online are still going strong! Check out their latest production Cymbeline. All their productions are available online on YouTube.

Check out The Taming of The Shrew for yourself here:

And Estella Green’s review for us here.

Works cited:

Broadribb, Ben. Shakespearean Parody In Lockdown: The Show Must Go Online Presents William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Medium.  

Ludmon, Mark. The Show Must Go Online- Shakespeare’s Plays Read Live Online. British Theate.com. 30th March 2020.  

Myles, Rob. Personal Correspondence via Email. 9th May 2020. Used with permission.

Myles, Robert. “THE SHOW MUST GO ONLINE” 2020

 Eleanor Worthington Prize: DISABILITY PRIDE. HIDDEN DISABILITY

The opening of the  Eleanor Worthington Prize exhibition, is to be held at the South Quad Art Foyer of YSJ on 4 March 2020 at 17:00 to 20:00

It is the third year that YSJ hosts this exhibition, on the theme of art and disability, showing the works submitted for the Anglo-Italian Eleanor Worthington Prize of 2019, on the specific theme: DISABILITY PRIDE. HIDDEN DISABILITY

Please find attached the flyer announcing the exhibition, and a detail of the work by Monica Marshall, the YSJ winner of the Mark Bailey special prize.

You can find out more about Monica Marshall’s work here in Benjamin Longbone’s review of last year’s exhibition.

The Civic Party will also be attending. 

There will be a sign language interpreter at the event.

(Free wine too!)

“All The World’s A Stage”. Mollie Pigott reflects on the RSC’s production of As You Like It (Shakespeare: Perspectives Trip 2019)

“All The World’s A Stage”

Director Kimberley Sykes combines pantomime, audience interaction, puppetry and musical elements to create a fantastical, almost Brechtian approach to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s current production of As You Like It.

A photo from the RSC’s current production of As You Like It. Photo from: https://www.rsc.org.uk/as-you-like-it/production-photos

For the past eleven weeks, I’ve constantly been reminded in lectures and seminars that Shakespeare’s plays are texts that were written with the intention to be performed on a stage, not to be read in a classroom. My Shakespeare: Perspectives module’s two-day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon proved that there’s more to the Bard’s plays than just text to be analysed. Shakespeare’s plays offer escapism, a chance to get away from reality with friends or family and I was lucky enough to escape to the Forest of Arden in the most recent production of As You Like ItContinue reading ““All The World’s A Stage”. Mollie Pigott reflects on the RSC’s production of As You Like It (Shakespeare: Perspectives Trip 2019)”

Exploring Englishes in the World, 8 June 2019

Book your ticket here!

Event details

An estimated 1.5 billion people – 20 per cent of the world’s population – speak English today. While there are many Global Englishes, not all ‘Englishes’receive equal recognition and respect.

To counter this, York St John University staff and students will celebrate the wonders of Global Englishes, showcasing their heritage and vitality through an introduction to literature, food and other traditions and customs.

Come along and meet researchers from the University’s School of Languages and Linguistics and the School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy and discover more about how Global Englishes have developed and continue to evolve.

Continue reading “Exploring Englishes in the World, 8 June 2019”

Hidden Figures Screening: March 28th

By Charlotte Stevenson

On Thursday 28th March 2019 at 17:00, FT/002, York St. John Feminist Society will be hosting a free screening of Oscar nominated motion picture, Hidden Figures. The movie tells the story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who produced defining work which made possible numerous NASA successes during the U.S. Space Race and beyond.

Continue reading “Hidden Figures Screening: March 28th”

LGBT History Month Event: Trans and Non-Binary History and Acceptance, 13 February, York St John University

It’s LGBT History Month in February and we have some great events. How about coming along to this:

Trans and Non-Binary History and Acceptance, 13 February, York St John University

A talk with Kit Heyam. Former co-ordinator of the York LGBT History Month, and experienced trans-awareness trainer, Kit will return to York St John to share stories of trans and non-binary history and acceptance. Kit identifies as a non-binary transgender man and co-ordinates the Rainbow Plaques project.

This event is free and is open to all. The talk will be 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q+A.

Book via Eventbrite here.

Now That’s What I Call Life on the Literature Programme 2018: A Retrospective (2/3)

This week, as a new year begins, we are taking a look back over the past 12 months and celebrating everything that’s happened here on the Literature programme this year. In this post, we’ll be rounding up the big stories from the blog. We don’t have room to mention them all, but here are the ones that made a real splash on the blog!

Tomorrow  be hearing what you said about your time with us in 2018. 

Continue reading “Now That’s What I Call Life on the Literature Programme 2018: A Retrospective (2/3)”