Tuesday, 6 November 2012

All the world's a stage

Cheltenham is a great town for lovers of the dramatic arts. The School of Humanities has long-standing partnerships with local theatres. Dr Rebecca Bailey, Senior Lecture in English Literature, and her students have been very busy lately on the dramatic front. Here's her report:

This term returning students have benefitted from wonderful local opportunities to enrich their studies. In October, third year students from EX340 had front row seats at the Cheltenham Literary Festival for a conversation with award winning, contemporary playwright, Jez Butterworth. Talking about his new play, The River, currently running at London’s Royal Court Theatre and reflecting on the success of Jerusalem (2009), Butterworth discussed the role of the playwright in contemporary society. A fascinating experience for staff and students alike!
Second year students from the Stages of Drama module have enjoyed theatre trips to the beautifully restored Cheltenham Everyman Theatre to see Oscar Wilde’s delightful comedy The Importance of Being Earnest and Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good. Both texts are discussed on the module and students relished the chance to see such excellent live performances.

Whilst, last week, students from the Renaissance, Restoration, Revolution module ventured to Bristol’s Old Vic for a rare chance to see John Ford’s classic revenge tragedy ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Produced by the renowned Cheek by Jowl theatre company, this was an electrifying and darkly funny staging which gave a fascinating insight into the early modern imagination.
 More theatrical delights are in the offing! I understand the English Society is planning a trip to see the terrifying Woman in Black later this month and I’ve heard whispers about a Christmas pantomime extravaganza and a trip to Stratford to see As You Like It in the spring.

Victorian Spiritualities

Many scholars are working across disciplines as well as in their own. The Centre for Bible and Spirituality runs a seminar series each year that brings together theologians, litearture specialists and philosophers. Last week Dr Hilary Weeks presented a seminar paper on Tractarian (Oxford Movement) configurations of Victorain spirituality. Read all about it over at their blog Theoglos.