It has been a show-packed few months in the Drama & Theatre department at York St John University. We’ve had sold out performances, site-specific shows, new shows, odd plays, applied performances, stand-up comedy, physical theatre, dramatic monologues and even a “NED” Talk.
After so many wonderful shows and as we bid farewell to our third year students, we thought we would share a selection of images from the last few weeks of the semester! As always, our students continue to amaze us with their creativity, commitment and energy.
All Drama & Theatre students have the opportunity to Study Abroad during the second year of their degree. We have relationships with world-class Universities in Europe, the USA and Canada. We asked current second year Theatre student Imogen Sutherland to write to us from her semester of study at Keene State College in New Hampshire:
Dear York St John,
So, to be completely honest I’m not too sure where to start. I have now been in the states for just over 2 months, with 6 weeks to go and the time has flown by far too fast.
First of all, I have become a coffee-drinking-Starbucks lover, something I never thought I’d say! The caramel Macchiato has become a vital part of my week, and I now have my own Starbucks reward card!! (I am actually sat in Starbucks, with a caramel macchiato as I write this) I have also become a vegetarian, however with Thanksgiving just round the corner, turkey and stuffing may be too much of a temptation.
University life in the US is very different to my UK student life. For starters drinking alcohol is highly illegal until 21, and seeing as some students become freshman at the age of 17, student parties are a police fest. All accommodation is also catered for, meaning that food is unlimited, whenever you want it. Which is actually really dangerous because the food is amazing!!
An important part of my time here is the academic side. The structure of the week is very different, with much more set lecture times and classes repeated in the week. An 8am start on a Monday and Wednesday is a bit early for me. Midterms and pop quizzes are also very real, very scary things. Essays are also based on amount of pages rather than words, having handed in an 8-page midterm and an 11-page midterm already this semester I am now dreading finals. The work is fun, my recent research paper looked into the role of the British suffragette movement on the 21st Century feminist movement. 3 out of the of my 4 classes are acting/theatre based with the fourth being a sculpture class, which has actually become a bit more of a visual arts module which is good fun (and possibly worth the 8am beginning). My favourite module overall is my ‘Gender and sexuality within the Theatre’ (which my feminism paper was part of), it’s take me slightly out of my comfort zone but incredibly interesting.
Culturally I immersed myself fully into American life. Having a roommate has been a major part of that, of which I have been incredibly lucky. I have climbed a local mountain, been to Walmart, attended a pumpkin festival and Halloween in Salem (as in witchy Salem), apple picking, tried pumpkin flavoured everything, visited an actual thrift store, had the chance to go to Boston on many occasions (and experience Americans driving in Boston, I am definitely thankful for my life)and am heading to NYC next weekend. Then i’ll go to the Ben and Jerrys factory, have Thanksgiving, shop on Black Friday, go to an Ice hockey game, i’m busy and happy.
Overall, I am having an amazing time here and it’s sad to think I only have 6 weeks left. I am, obviously, missing my YSJ family a lot though (Skype and facetime are wonderful things).
I hope you are all doing amazingly, and I look forward to seeing you all for our Poland Field Trip in January!!
The theatre director Avra Sidiropoulou* ran a 4hr workshop on Directing Basics with our BA Theatre Students on Tuesday 10th November. The workshop explored fundamental aspects that permeate the work of the stage director in relation to strategies of text analysis, directorial interpretation and point-of-view, as well as of conceiving, designing and orchestrating performance. The students devised work in response to Syrian Refugee Crisis. The workshop examined some of the reasons, means, processes and relationships that are involved in staging a play, especially in terms of concept, composition and focus.
*Avra Sidiropoulou is a theatre director and a lecturer at the M.A. Programme in Theater Studies (Open University of Cyprus). Her monograph Authoring Performance. The Director in Contemporary Theatre was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011.
Published by Routledge the book offers a timely discussion about the interventions and tensions between two contested and contentious fields, performance and phenomenology, with international case studies that map an emerging 21st century terrain of critical and performance practice. Building on the foundational texts of both fields that established the performativity of perception and cognition, Performance and Phenomenology continues a tradition that considers experience to be the foundation of being and meaning. Acknowledging the history and critical polemics against phenomenological methodology and against performance as a field of study and category of artistic production, the volume provides both an introduction to core thinkers and an expansion on their ideas in a wide range of case studies. Whether addressing the use of dead animals in performance, actor training, the legal implications of thinking phenomenologically about how we walk, or the intertwining of digital and analog perception, each chapter explores a world comprised of embodied action and thought. The established and emerging scholars contributing to the volume develop insights central to the phenomenological tradition while expanding on the work of contemporary theorists and performers. In asking why performance and phenomenology belong in conversation together, the book suggests how they can transform each other in the process and what is at stake in this transformation.
Through fragmented images, snatched conversations and half remembered events, York St John’s second year theatre students have created their production as a reconsidering of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. It has been composed in response to the student’s recent secular pilgrimage to Auschwitz; to try and answer the question “how will we remember when all the witnesses are gone?”
Inspired by the illustrations of Marcel Dzama, Level 1 Ensemble Theatre Students present
Tuesday 12th May, 8:30pm
York St John University Quad
Take a walk into the forest and experience Dzamaland first hand. Take in the night time noises whilst you surround yourself with narcoleptic trees, swaying in their dreams. Be careful and beware as the sleeping sickness catches the tourists as they wander. Their eyes watching from every crevice staring you down you as you continue to wonder. Moving deeper and deeper into the ink-stain-dark.
After the crash, the crash that went bang, banging and echoing through every still and single branch and every soft yet shaking paw. The moonshine shone on the souls of the forest and the moonshine will shine again on you, illuminating the pathway that would otherwise be clouded in a cloak of darkness.
As we settle into the forest, we are settling in to the unknown world, into a world filled creatures dancing in the moonshine. Watch reality burn away into the shadows as you stumble along the path that has been stumbled upon many times before, or had it been encountered at all?
You decide what is real and what is not, who to help whilst thinking who would help you…Open your eyes and open your mind as you trickle through a web of misinterpretation.
Theatre at York St John are pleased to announce DRIFTING EAST, a festival showcasing Four current third year BA Theatre students have been invited to perform at the recently established East Riding Theatre (ERT) in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
The shows will platform new work developed as part of the Independent Practice as Research module that all third year students undertake as part of their studies and will provide a professional opportunity outside of the University.
Performances by Chance Marshall, Clare Marsh,Cameron Morton & Orlando Wind-Cowie will happen on Monday 23rd March at 7:30pm. Free Tickets can be obtained by contacting ERT on 01482 874050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are delighted to be working in collaboration with North Yorkshire Safe Guarding Board, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and Connecting Youth Culture (CYC) at North Yorkshire County Council.
Theatre academics Rachel Conlon and Jules Dorey Richmond have been commissioned to produce a participatory play for the campaign and are employing recent BA Honours Theatre graduates to create and perform the theatre performance to raise awareness, and explore paths out of harmful and dangerous situations surrounding E-Safety. This high profile project will initially be delivered to young people within secondary school settings throughout North Yorkshire, but it is envisaged that this highly beneficial work will be developed for both a younger audience and parents in a bid to stop sexual exploitation of vulnerable young people.
This project is part of the Faculty of Arts commitment to social engaged arts practice, and sits alongside the Prison Partnership Project, the International Centre for Community Music, and Converge.
Senior Lecturer in Theatre Nathan Walker has a new book of poetic performance instructions published by Manchester based poetry press IF P THEN Q. The book ‘Action Score Generator’ is an exploration of performance writing, performance scores and poetry.
During February half-term over 60 young people from FUSE Theatre, an inclusive & accesible youth theatre project, trained on campus with the London based, nationally acclaimed Graeae Theatre company. Level 2 BA Hons Theatre students from the ‘Theatre and Social Context ‘module had the fantastic opportunity to shadow and work on the project across the week.
FUSE Theatre is an inclusive & accessible youth theatre project delivered by Connecting Youth Culture part of North Yorkshire County Council. Fuse aims to offer young people from across North Yorkshire the opportunity to take part in weekly theatre workshops in seven areas of the county, delivered by professional theatre directors.
Graeae is a force for change in world-class theatre, breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing disabled artists centre stage. Graeae champions accessibility and provides a platform for new generations of Deaf and disabled talent through the creation of trail-blazing theatre, at home and internationally.
Graeae worked throughout the week exploring their Iron Man production with the young people.