Another exciting Beckett conference coming soon…
Follow the links below for details of the second conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, 27 – 30 April 2016, University of Antwerp
Keynote speakers: James Knowlson and John Pilling
Congratulations to the Chester University branch of our project on the recent Staging Beckett at the Margins conference and our thanks to David Pattie and David Tucker for hosting. Thanks too to all the delegates who contributed to the event and showed once again the richness and diversity that characterizes international productions of Beckett’s work. Adding to the list of international locales which we saw discussed at Reading in April, we heard theatre surveys from Cyprus, Romania, and the city of Los Angeles, learning also of the malleability of the figure of Godot as metaphor across the history of Israeli theatre production in Shimon Levy’s talks. We heard accounts of the work that happens outside the UK’s major metropolitan cultural hubs at, for example, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, as discussed by Mark Taylor-Batty and even within them, as our own Matthew McFrederick’s discussion of Beckett’s time at the Riverside Studios revealed.
We had two keynotes, different but complementary: Carl Lavery connected an ecological understanding of theatre with the forms of attention which Beckett’s work demands of its audiences, calling up them to witness the undoing of time and subjectivity in the theatre as ‘garden’. The wonderful Tricia Kelly talked not only of the process of creating her role for Not I (in six days, no less) but gave us a captivating reading of the play, leaving us all spellbound and pinned to the spot by the frantic energy of her embodiment of Mouth. A recording was made of her talk and will be made available in the future via the Staging Beckett website.
And congratulations also to David Tucker on the very successful ‘Seeing Beckett’ exhibition, which was launched as part of the conference. Contributors were invited to make a piece of visual art responding to Beckett’s work. The results were sensitive and compelling pieces which fit beautifully into the conference theme, giving us a sense of the aesthetic fertility of the unseen, the hidden, the subtle and of course, the marginal. The exhibition can be seen at the Liverpool School of Art & Design from the 27th – 31st Oct 2014 as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival.
From the conference organisers:
“Our second conference, to be held at Kingsway, University of Chester, 11-12 September 2014, will focus on perceived notions of Beckett at the margins, on productions staged outside London and other major theatrical centres. What has the impact of Beckett’s drama been upon regional, small national, touring and marginal theatrical practices and cultures? What is at stake when staging Beckett in marginal cultures or lesser-known geographical areas? How does Beckett’s work move from a country’s capital city to its regions? Does Beckett’s work speak to national, or local, cultural contexts? How does it fit within established theatrical, cultural and economic infrastructures?
Keynote presentation by Professor Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow).
We have speakers coming from all over the world to talk about these topics and we expect this international aspect of the conference to be particularly productive. We hope to see you there!”
Conference organisers: Professor David Pattie & Dr David Tucker
For more information and to register:
Some information below about an upcoming conference on the status and use of performing arts archives at NUI, Galway:
“Performing the Archives” Conference
NUI Galway 2015
22 – 24 July 2015
In 2013, the Abbey Theatre and NUI Galway launched ‘A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History’ – the digitization of the Abbey Theatre archive, the largest theatre archive digitization project ever attempted. When this project is completed, more than 1 million items including scripts, costume designs, prompt books and performances will be available to study for generations of scholars to come. Theatre scholarship is being transformed at NUI Galway.
This conference capitalizes on NUI Galway’s unparalleled strength in Irish theatre and literary archives, taking advantage of other holdings including the Druid Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Thomas Kilroy, Siobhan McKenna and the Galway Arts Festival, among others, to facilitate a national and international conversation about the place of archives in not only theatre and performance research and teaching, but arts practice and perception of theatre history more broadly.
By emphasizing a collaborative approach between the archive service of the James Hardiman Library, academic staff of the Drama and Theatre Department, School of English, NUI Galway, as well as fostering and creating engagement between NUI Galway students, scholars and theatre practitioners and with wider national and international research community, this event will showcase NUI Galway as a hub for research in theatre and drama as well as a world leader in innovative research technologies and digital humanities.
Coinciding with the Galway Arts Festival, the conference will immerse participants in the living performance culture of Galway as the Galway Arts Festival links together artists from around the world to mount Ireland’s largest international arts festival. Through working with further campus-city relationships, such as the Druid Academy, Galway – its University and City, as well as the west of Ireland will be shown to be a cultural landmark as well as an innovator in leading collaboration.
The conference will primarily be based in the new Hardiman Research Building, providing a base to showcase the central research point on campus for the Humanities as well as linking into adjacent exhibition space, providing an access point for local and visiting scholars to experience why the Hardiman Building is a critical and crucial exponent for encountering research and fostering discovery on campus.
“Performing the Archives” will gather together scholars, artists and archivists engaged in working with archival materials on research and performance projects to explore the uses and possibilities of the archive today from theoretical and methodological perspectives. We will debate:
For more information, contact Barry Houlihan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Charlotte McIvor (email@example.com).
One of the most exciting aspects of our recent conference was the opportunity to get a sense of the variety of work being done on Beckett’s drama internationally – courtesy of our many international delegates. Continuing in this vein, I would like to draw attention to a publication by one of our conference delegates, Burç İdem Dinçel, which addresses translated productions of Krapp’s Last Tape in Turkey.
From Cambridge Scholars Publishing:
Samuel Beckett’s theatrical works maintain a prominent position within contemporary theatre. His plays provide a prodigious potential to study several forms of acting, staging, and dramaturgy, as well as language and translation, thereby setting a fertile ground to tackle the problematic issue of the relationship between theatre criticism and theatre-translation criticism. That is precisely what this study aims at by drawing attention to the fundamental characteristics of translated theatre texts as blueprints for productions and taking several aspects into account from directing to acting, from staging to performance, together with the language factor. To that end, Burç İdem Dinçel focuses on one of Beckett’s significant plays, namely, Krapp’s Last Tape, situating it within the author’s oeuvre and along the way scrutinising not only the theatrical pieces but also the prose. By looking into the Turkish translations and productions of the play, this book brings forth a new dimension into approaching theatre through translation.
For more information and a sample chapter, click here.
6-7pm Launch of Journal Of Beckett Studies special issue on Performance, and closing of conferen
In February 2014 Samuel Beckett’s drama will return to London’s West End. His three short plays, Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby, will transfer to the intimate Duchess Theatre for a limited two week run from 3rd-15th February 2014 after its original run at the Royal Court Theatre from 9th-18th January 2014 sold out. This production will see Lisa Dwan reprise her critically acclaimed performance of Not I alongside Footfalls and Rockaby, directed by Beckett’s long-time collaborator, Walter Asmus.
In a unique collaboration with Nica Burns and her company Nimax Theatres, all tickets will be sold at Royal Court prices (£12- £25).
Lisa Dwan first performed in Not I at the Battersea Arts Centre in 2005 and subsequently performed the role of Mouth at the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre, the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival (at the Steele Hall in Portora Royal School in 2012 and in the Marble Arch Caves in 2013), the Bulmershe Theatre at the University of Reading, the Hay Festival and also at the Royal Court most recently in May 2013.
Walter Asmus was Assistant Director to Samuel Beckett when his celebrated production of Warten auf Godot from the Schiller Theatre Berlin toured to the Royal Court Theatre in 1976. He later collaborated with Beckett on many television productions in Stuttgart and at the Riverside Studios London for the 1984 San Quentin Drama Workshop production of Waiting for Godot. Since then Walter has directed Beckett’s work internationally, including his acclaimed Gate Theatre Dublin production of Godot, which went on a 32 county tour of Ireland in 2008.
Further creatives include: Design: Alex Eales, Lighting Design: James Farncombe, Composer: Tom Smail, Sound Design: David McSeveney, Stage Manager: Cath Binks, Assistant Director: Matthew McFrederick.
The Duchess Theatre has proved a familiar venue for West End productions of Beckett’s plays in recent years, with productions of Endgame featuring Simon McBurney and Mark Rylance in 2009 and Krapp’s Last Tape with Michael Gambon in 2011 in residence.
Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby will also tour to: Cambridge Arts Theatre (9th-13th September 2014), Birmingham Repertory Theatre (16th- 20th September 2014) and The Lowry, Salford (23rd-27th September 2014), with international dates to be added.
The Staging Beckett Team is pleased to announce Lisa Dwan is also one of our confirmed speakers for our ‘Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories’ Conference, which will be held in the Minghella Building at the University of Reading from 4th-5th April 2014. More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information about Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby at the Duchess Theatre visit: http://www.royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/not-i-footfalls-rockaby-duchess-theatre
Conference Call For Papers
Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories
Minghella Building, University of Reading 4-5 April 2014
Staging Beckett is a three year research collaboration between the universities of Chester, Reading, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project started in September 2012, and is exploring the impact of productions of Beckett’s plays on British and Irish theatre practice and cultures while also looking at how Beckett has been staged internationally. It is compiling a database of professional productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland.
The project’s first conference (4-5 April 2014) will focus on the history, documentation and analysis of Beckett’s theatre in performance: while Beckett’s directing practice has been much discussed, and critical attention has been paid to selected premiere productions (the French, British, Irish or US premieres of Godot, for example), or ‘deviant’ productions such as the 1984 American Repertory Theatre production of Endgame, there is a great deal of work to be done in researching the diversity of productions of Beckett’s theatre in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Questions we are asking include:
We are keen to hear from academics and practitioners (whether UK, Irish or international) interested in the legacies of particular performances, the documentation and analysis of Beckett in performance, and in the dialogues between productions of Beckett’s theatre and wider theatre practices and cultural / political contexts. Issues to consider might be, but are not limited to, the following:
Please send proposals of c. 150 words to Anna McMullan (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday 13th December 2013.
Informal enquiries can be sent to Anna at the above email address, or to Graham Saunders (email@example.com) or Trish McTighe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Future Staging Beckett conferences are: Staging Beckett in the Regions (University of Chester, September 2014), and Beckett and Theatre and Performance Cultures (University of Reading, April 2015).
Staging Beckett team: Matthew McFrederick (Reading) Anna McMullan (Reading), Trish McTighe (Reading) David Pattie (Chester), Graham Saunders (Reading) David Tucker (Chester).