Friday, 17 April 2015

Luke Williams reviews 'Tis Pity She's A Whore' - the second of his reviews on recent productions of revenge tragedies.

Luke Williams, a third year English Literature Student at the University of Gloucestershire, reflects on his recent visit to London's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to see John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's A Whore.

John Ford’s Tis Pity She’s A Whore was brilliantly brought to life by Michael Longhurst’s production at the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse (pictured below).

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, based on drawings by seventeenth-century architect John Webb, is an excellent reproduction of a Jacobean private theatre. This space was intended to accentuate the intimacy and horror of plays such as Ford’s incestuous revenge tragedy. This certainly came across in the way Tis Pity She’s A Whore was staged. Giovanni’s dramatic entrance with his sister and lover’s heart on a dagger was made even more hideous and intense by his entering almost into the audience who were seated in the pit (as pictured below).

The intimacy of the play was inescapable, from the fact that the audience see the sexual aspects of Giovanni and Annabella’s relationship, to the manner in which Giovanni (played by Max Bennett), delivered his asides almost directly to the members of the gallery above. Interestingly, the audience were also made to participate and collude with the forbidden lovers, as Putana and Annabella threw discarded garments into the audience exclaiming, ‘hide it!’
This intimacy brought to light the complexities of Ford’s work in their intended context, and provided a rich Jacobean flavour to the production. The audience could not help but be challenged by the intricate world which Ford presents, which refuses to reduce itself to simple binaries of good and evil.
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is a wonderful theatrical space, and is definitely worth experiencing!

Visit to the Pre-Raphaelite art collection in Birmingham

There are still a few places left on the Humanities field trip to see Birmingham's collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. The Pre-Raphaelites began as a collective of artists who resisted what they saw as the 'clear poison' of Renaissance art, and sought to recapture the purity and radical simplicity of medieval art. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has one of the world's most extensive collections of Pre-Raphaelite art. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais, William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones are all represented, as well as Arthur Hughes, Elizabeth Siddal and Kate Bunce.

Arthur Hughes, The Long Engagement (1859), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

On Monday 20 April, we'll depart FCH by coach at 9:30 am for Birmingham, and a guided tour around the Gallery. The rest of the day is yours to explore Birmingham's art galleries, sights and shops before we return to Cheltenham at about 4:30.  The visit is free of charge, but you MUST book your place on the coach via the Online Store.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

VIsit to Lacock Abbey

Students from across Humaities are invited to join a free trip to visit the beautiful National Trust property, Lacock Abbey, in Wiltshire on April 22 2015. The coach will leave from FCH at 10.30 am and we will return around 4.30pm. This will give a wonderful understanding of how landscape has evolved within the cultural moment. The trip will be self-guided so you will be at liberty to wander around the Abbey and the charming village at your leisure.
I'm sure you will all have fun as this landscape has been used in many recent TV and film productions from Harry Potter and Downton Abbey to Pride and Prejudice and Wolf Hall. If you would like to reserve a seat on the coach then please email Rebecca Bailey for further details: For more details on Lacock Abbey please click on the link: