Student of the month: Maximillion Chapman – BA English

Usually caught with a fantastic book in one hand and a large glass of pinot in the other.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

Crikey, highlights at Queen Mary! Where do I begin? As its a campus based university in central London, QM has access to such experiences that really stay with you even after your time there. I’m quite a socialite and the quick route to Soho and Shoreditch were great to really embrace London culture. My course itself was a great companion for my lifestyle as some of the modules required to go out into the city and explore! A fantastic moment for me was definitely getting a lecturer taught underneath the Globe!

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

English at QMUL doesn’t restrict itself in its teachings. There is such a wide variety of subjects within the course that allow you to really explore what you truly love. This variation has been great for me in the outside world, not only in teaching me more but also as an insight to what I might want to do in my later years.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

As said previously, I loved the social life of uni. Who doesn’t! You have one of the greatest cities in the world on your doorstep and my friends and I made sure to take great advantage of it. London was our very own playground and that’s the way it should be. I’ve made some fantastic friends that have stayed in my life even after university, we simply haven’t left London yet. Two of my very close friends loved the social aspect of the city so much that they bought a pub in Mile End!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’m currently working in content creation and marketing over three companies, which I absolutely love. It’s a lot of work but it certainly keeps me on my toes. The company I mostly work with is an up and coming new dating website, so its thrilling stuff at the moment what with everything (hopefully) going back to normal.

Before this career step, I worked for a company called the Noble Collection. Some of the more film-based fanatics might have heard of them since they primarily create fine replicas and gifts from movies such as Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings. If you own a wand, chances are Noble made it! This was a researched based job and it gave me the chance to work with notorious toy store Hamleys.

During my personal time when I’m not sat at my desk, I play rugby for the Kings Cross Steelers twice a week. It’s the first all inclusive LGBT+ rugby club in the world so I get to meet, drink and play with such a wide range of interesting guys. Its also only a hop on the tube from my flat in Shoreditch!

In regards to ambitions, I have many. That doesn’t mean I set my life path towards achieving them though. My perception on life is to just enjoy every second, because if you strive for something so desperately, you can sometimes become obsessed and miss the finer things in life. Those ambitions will come to you freely.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I think so many professors value your journey at QMUL, and it really shows in person when you get to talk to them. Sometimes communication isn’t received as clear as it should have been, whether it be about the course or results feedback. I think a good chit chat in their office is a calming alternative to essay feedback rather than the ominous online results.

Find out more about our English

Alumni Night at Peopling the Palace Festival – 17 June 2021

Our Alumni Co-ordinator Nathalie Grey has produced an Alumni Showcase which is taking place as part of the Peopling the Palace Festival this evening from 7pm.

The Alumni Showcase features a variety of talented alumni, from spoken word artists, to poets, to writers, to musical performers.


The Showcase will feature:

  • Poet and Spoken Word Artist, Jaspreet Kaur AKA Behind the Netra (History BA, 2013)
  • Author of Booker Prize long-listed novel, Who They Was, Gabriel Krauze (English BA, 2009)
  • Author, Spoken Word Artist and Playwright, Elliott Ajai-Ajagbe Daley AKA Word Play (English and Drama BA, 2008)
  • Band, Project Culture (Gary Hill (English BA, 2019) – Vocals & Guitar, Peter Stanley (English BA, 2020) – Guitar and Vocals, Jamie Richardson (Mathematics BSc, 2019) – Bass, Toby Cashman – Drums)
  • Author of Clytemnestra (Penguin Michael Joseph, Spring 2023), Costanza Casati (English and Film BA, 2019)
  • Poet, Sophia Hussain aka Eleni Sophia (English BA, 2020)
  • Young poet, Sigi X (incoming Medical Genetics student, published under Eleni Sophia’s Perspective Press Global)
  • Poet, Fathima Zahra (Biomedical Science BSc, 2020)
  • Poet, Kim Yudelowitz (Comparative Literature BA, 2019)
  • Actress and spoken-word performer, Efemwenkieke (Efe) Uwadiae (Law and Politics LLB, 2019)
  • Jazz singer, Jennifer Chukwumah (Computing & Information Systems MSc, 2021)

The Showcase will be taking place online and you can book your free tickets here:

Student of the week: Katie Butler – BA English Literature

Always free for a chat

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

After joining QMUL I very quickly realised this was 100% my academic home, the lecturers and seminars are unbeatable and staff are really great at making you feel comfortable in exploring your ideas around texts. Outside of academics we have so many opportunities in terms of events and societies, having my own articles published in CUB magazine was amazing! I also have had the privilege of being elected for SED Student Rep in the SU, and the English Soc Welfare Rep for 2021-22!

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

Aside from developing my academic interests, I think that Queen Mary really helps to develop the tools you need to be confidently yourself – you come into contact with so many people and so many ideas and QM really teaches you how to lobby your own perspective. It’s also this last year at QM that’s made me realise I’d love to go on to do an English MA after my undergrad.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

QM is one of the best places to study if you want to meet new people – we have such a diverse student body that there’s always people to make friends with and I feel like you make more every year, I’ve met some absolutely amazing people who have definitely shaped the pastoral side of my experience here and I know I wouldn’t have found that kind of friendship elsewhere.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’ve been working in food retail since I was 16 and with the pandemic I get to tell everyone I’m a key worker but outside of that I’ve got a little book club with some friends (classic English student behaviour, I know) and I’m working on some submissions for a couple of indie lit mags – the absolute dream is to publish a novel! I also love cooking and baking so I’m always trying out new recipes in my spare time – I went veggie for March too and the food can be so much fun!

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I think what would really help would be finding a way to engage all students in the QM community, every year you hear some students feel left out, like commuters or part timers, and some are totally disillusioned with the SU, especially after a year of intermittent lockdowns so I think rebuilding that relationship would be huge

Find out more about our BA English Literature

Competition: Your Design On Our School of English and Drama Tote Bag 2021

We’re looking for a new design for our 2021 tote bag which we give away at open days, events and to new students incoming to the School.

It’s time to get arty and inspire the next generation of SED students.

What we’re looking for

Maya Ostrowka’s entry from the last competition
  • A black, line based design – it could feature a quotation or other text but needs to be blocky and easy to read.
  • Maximum A4 size.
  • A design which represents both English and Drama would be great.
  • For inspiration see the last winning design above or look at the entries here.

How to enter

To enter send your design as a PDF, JPG or EPS to sed-web@qmul.ac.uk.

To enter you must be a School of English student, staff member or one of our alumni.

What you’ll win

If you win:

  • Your bag will be put into production for our 2021 open days and events.
  • You’ll also win a £50 LovetoShop voucher.

Competition closes: Tuesday 22 June 2021 at 12 midday. A panel from SED management team will choose the winning design.

Student of the week: Emma Howes – Film Studies and Drama

That’s tough, but if I was to choose three words they would be curious, creative and collaborative.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

I have really enjoyed my time at Queen Mary so far. The teaching style is very different from the one that I experienced in high school, I didn’t take Drama GCSEs or A-Levels and instead experienced conservatoire-style training, focusing on acting, rather than the wider process. I have really enjoyed learning about the more theoretical aspects of drama, as a practice and as a ‘theory’. My favourite module so far was London, Culture, Performance. Understanding the impact of performances, theatres and wider impact that they have was incredibly interesting and insightful and left me with a lot to consider.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

The course has changed my perspective of what performance can be and the impact it has in a wider contexts. The QM drama modules are, by nature, very abstract and require you to have an open mind and whilst pushing me to creative limits, have made me reconsider the defining aspects of performance. After Queen Mary, I am hoping to go into the casting field, and I particularly want to focus on diversifying representation within the entertainment industry, both on stage and on screen. Both the drama and film departments have provided me opportunities to consider the importance of casting and representation, the pitfalls that the industry has, and ways in which these pitfalls can be properly rectified. These considerations have been furthered by the diverse student body at QM, I have been able to listen to others’ perspectives and truly understand how and where different people, cultures, communities want, and don’t want, to be perceived.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

In my first year at QM I joined the cheerleading team, and it really helped to shape my friendship groups and my university life outside of my studies. Having never attempted the sport before, I took the opportunity to try something new, thinking, if nothing else, it could be a bit of fun to try. I ended up falling in love with it! Being part of a team and working towards a goal helped bring an aspect of community and stability to the mania of first year, meanwhile, allowing me to further challenge myself physically and mentally. This year I am captain of the All-Girl team, and am improving my leadership skills, and well as my ability to creatively problem solve everything that lockdown has thrown our way!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Before coming to QM I spent two summers working at an underprivileged summer camp in New York. The impact this had on me was profound, and it was incredibly inspiring to hear the stories of young people who have experienced deep hardships in their lives and to then see their resilience and optimism for their futures. Alongside having career ambitions, I hope to one day give back and provide opportunities for young people to nurture and fulfil their talents. It feels premature to say this, as I feel as though I still have my whole life ahead of me, but ultimately, they are the future, and they deserve to, alongside being safe and happy, follow their dreams.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I think a stronger aspect of community could be built at QM, with more opportunities to organically collaborate on a wider range of things. I think the drama department has done a great job of this, and the collaborative nature of the practical side of the course has definitely helped to foster this atmosphere. But I have felt, particularly as a joint honours student and with everything being online this year, other departments have not put the same emphasis on such a crucial aspect of university life.

Find out more about our Film Studies and Drama

Student of the week: Salma Ali – BA English with Creative Writing

An indecisive creative who’s passionate about most things.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

So far at QMUL, being surrounded by like minded people has been a highlight. As well as this, being able to fully explore in depth and analyse texts, or being able to study new theories and schools of thought in detail has also been a highlight.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

Queen Mary has provided me with a lot of opportunities that I don’t think I would have been aware of if I was elsewhere – I’ve taken part in QMentoring, and this has helped me a lot to understand the world of employment in my specific field, and how I could progress beyond my BA into potentially further study, or what career paths I could take.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

One of the best elements of studying at QMUL has been the people that I’ve met and the friendships I have formed. It has also been enjoyable to join societies that are about things I am interested in, and being able to meet new people through this.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’ve been involved in the Harper Collins Author Academy, which has been amazing to be a part of and has been a great experience as a whole, giving invaluable insights into the publishing industry as well as helping me to understand what I’d have to do if I wanted to get my work published.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I think that the university has a good support system as it is, but perhaps making these more known to students could help enhance the experience of future students.

Find out more about our BA English with Creative Writing

Student of the week: Joshua Lowes – BA Drama

Big. Fun. Loveable.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

Highlights have included: creating a dress out of Greggs career bags in Making Theatre, perfuming as sex therapist Dr Dodo in Performance Composition, and working/creating alongside a talented group of people (both staff and colleagues).

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

It has allowed myself to become an independent artist, exposing me to new arts and ways of creating. Hopefully my research into the world of “drama” continues in time and my love for the subject only grows, I would love to do my Masters and PhD if at all possible. Or even gain a following in my art and work.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

QMBL Swim, I started off as a Fresher, became Social Sec, and finally president in my final year. I have made many friends in not just drama but other fields of study.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Boots (Christmas Customer Assistant; Customer Assistant, No7 Advisor)
The Alcobox (Server)
The Alchemist (Busser)
Clarins (Skincare Specialist)
The Grapes (Barman/Server)
Wilton’s Music Hall (Usher)
NTW Solutions (NHS Service Assistant)
NHS (Housekeeping Assistant)

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Paying for shows/trips that we are required to see as part of a module.

Find out more about our BA Drama

Performance Possession & Automation Event Series

Performance, Possession & Automation – a collaborative research project led by Nick Ridout and Orlagh Woods, in collaboration with Dhanveer Singh Brar – invites you to two online conversations.

Possession & Modern Acting

Friday 4th June, 6-8pm (BST)

Online

Shonni EnelowJulia Jarcho and Nicholas Ridout 

Possession: an actor seems to have been taken over by someone else.

Automation: an actor is someone whose actions are not their own.

In this public conversation, Shonni Enelow, Julia Jarcho and Nicholas Ridout explore ideas about possession and automation in relation to 20th and 21st century experiences of acting, theatre and the movies. Do they hold clues to the roles that both possession and automation play in contemporary life, and to how we might think and feel about them.

Click here, to book your place and for further information.

I was born a loser

Friday 11th June, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Edward George and Dhanveer Singh Brar 

What occurs when “lose her” is recast as “loser”, and covered over once more to become “winner”? And why in each reversioning does “pride” persist, but never in the same guise? These are questions which arise from listening to the Jamaican essayist of the song form, Alton Ellis.

By losing ourselves in Alton Ellis’s losses and revisions, Edward George and Dhanveer Singh Brar believe it is possible to begin to open up an auditory dimension to the question of spirit in Jamaica, the Caribbean, the diaspora, and in turn, modernity itself, as it was being rendered towards the end of the twentieth century.

Click here, to book your place and for further information.

Performance, Possession & Automation is a research project exploring automation and possession as two ways of thinking about what happens to human subjects who act in ways that they do not themselves fully control. How can making and thinking about performance contribute to thinking about these ideas?

In partnership with Fierce Festival, performingborders and Transform Festival

This project is supported by:

Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
The Centre for Public Engagement, QMUL
Strategic Research Initiative, School of English and Drama, QMUL

Free Peopling the Palace Festival – Line Up Announced – 7-20 June 2021

Conducting conversation / Connecting Creatively / Creating Courageously / Courageously Carrying On / and Cabaret! / Come on and join us!

Peopling the Palace is a yearly festival of performance, workshops and events that showcases the work of Queen Mary academics, artists, current students and alumni. 

This year’s theme is care and features over 25 events from outrageous cabaret nights to a day exploring the rituals of care. In times of global unrest and pandemic, Peopling the Palace Festival, creates a space to explore how important caring about each other is. The festival tackles important contemporary issues of racial inequality, mental health, care provision, neurodivergence, art in a crisis, climate justice and aging.

All events are free to attend and open to all. Advanced booking required for all events. 

New Performance

  • I am Leah (13 June) A vital new play inspired by the stories of survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 
  • Dadders (19 June):  Escape to the Meadowdrome with acclaimed artists Daniel Oliver and Frauke Requardt (The Place, Latitude Festival) to delve into their experiences of neurodivergent parent. 
  • Last Gasp WFH (19 June): Playing with the fragility of technology, particularly the unpredictability of Zoom, the team found new avenues to the classic Split Britches (Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw) aesthetic of broken down theatrical conventions, exposing the self on stage.
  • The Tempest in English and Spanish (17 June): This interactive experience explores how the arts can break the stigma around autism. 
  • The Possibility of Colour (12 June): Dystopian play about a new miracle cure and explores themes around mental health voice hearing, synaesthesia, neuro-diversity, Artificial Intelligence, privatised health and the illusion of choice.

Cabaret & Showcases

  • Alumni and Current Student Performance Showcase Nights (10,15 & 17 June): Be shocked, surprised and inspired when you support new artists and performers as they show their latest works.  
  • Her-Pees (9 June) a comfortable, inclusive, and questioning performance night ahead of their Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club Debut. 
  • Friday Night In (Film Night) (11 June): A small screen celebration of work from QMUL students, alumni, staff and other exciting filmmakers.
  • Cossy Fanny Tooty Cabaret (16 June): A cheeky performance cabaret curated by Vivian Harris. 

Workshops, Conferences & Conversations

  • A Queer Climate Justice Workshop (16 June) by Queen Mary Theatre Company in the lead up to a new show, The Cabaret at the End of the World.
  • Free Creative Skills Workshops (14-15 June) to help QMUL students and the community get into the creative industries with Creative Skills Academy. 
  • Workshop on Writing Race (16 June) for sixth-form students with acclaimed artist Vanessa MacAulay. 
  • Enlightening Conversations and Conferences: ‘Women, Theatre, Criminal Justice’ with Clean Break, ‘Making During States of Emergency’, ‘Cults, Conspiracy and Pseudoscience’, ‘Mental Health and the arts’ and ‘How do Universities Care for Students Learning’.

Check out the full programme and book free tickets: https://www.airsupplycollective.com/programme 

SED Opportunity Digest – 21 May 2021

Welcome to our digest full of interesting events, opportunities and schemes that may help you meet collaborators, improve their career prospects or simply broaden your horizons.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions for next edition via sed-web@qmul.ac.uk

From QMUL, Partners & Friends

Peopling the Palace Festival 2021 is coming from 7-20 June 2021 and students get exclusive early access to booking free tickets ahead of the launch via the button below…


QUORUM: Hear for You: Digital Assistants, Smart Speakers and Listening work by Dr. Marie Thompson PhD Researcher The Open University – Thursday 27th of May 2021 – 7:30pm soft start, 8pm presentation.

Zoom event – Free admission – We welcome interest from the public, link on request via our Twitter account on Twitter account on @QuorumQMUL or our email address queenmaryquorum@hotmail.co.uk.


Performance, Possession & Automation – a collaborative research project led by Nick Ridout and Orlagh Woods, in collaboration with Dhanveer Singh Brar – invites you to two online conversations.

Possession & Modern Acting | Friday 4th June, 6-8pm (BST) | Online | Shonni EnelowJulia Jarcho and Nicholas Ridout 

Possession: an actor seems to have been taken over by someone else.

Automation: an actor is someone whose actions are not their own.

In this public conversation, Shonni Enelow, Julia Jarcho and Nicholas Ridout explore ideas about possession and automation in relation to 20th and 21st century experiences of acting, theatre and the movies. Do they hold clues to the roles that both possession and automation play in contemporary life, and to how we might think and feel about them.

Click here, to book your place and for further information.

I was born a loser | Friday 11 June, 6-8 pm (BST) | Online | Edward George and Dhanveer Singh Brar 

What occurs when “lose her” is recast as “loser”, and covered over once more to become “winner”? And why in each reversioning does “pride” persist, but never in the same guise? These are questions which arise from listening to the Jamaican essayist of the song form, Alton Ellis.

By losing ourselves in Alton Ellis’s losses and revisions, Edward George and Dhanveer Singh Brar believe it is possible to begin to open up an auditory dimension to the question of spirit in Jamaica, the Caribbean, the diaspora, and in turn, modernity itself, as it was being rendered towards the end of the twentieth century.

Click here, to book your place and for further information.

Performance, Possession & Automation is a research project exploring automation and possession as two ways of thinking about what happens to human subjects who act in ways that they do not themselves fully control. How can making and thinking about performance contribute to thinking about these ideas?

In partnership with Fierce Festival, performingborders and Transform Festival

This project is supported by:

Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), The Centre for Public Engagement, QMUL & Strategic Research Initiative, School of English and Drama, QMUL


Creative Workshop: Calling University Students! What do you think of your hometown? Why do you want to leave? Why do you want to stay?

Join Botch Job for an online creative workshop, focusing on exploring the question of what home means, and how identity can be shaped by the place you grew up in.  We want to hear about your love/hate relationships with your hometowns, why you have chosen to stay or leave and what this means for the places left behind. The workshop will be a mixture of group discussion and informal writing tasks based around these themes, and used as research in devising a new piece of theatre about hometowns. No tools or preparation will be required. 

Botch Job are an emerging company, formed in January 2019 by Jack Tricker and Tom Chamberlain as part of Camden People’s Theatre’s Starting Block artist development scheme. Botch Job have an interdisciplinary approach to theatre making, involving video and live art practices and create entertaining work engaging in wider social and political discussions. They make theatre driven by questions about the world that they have yet to answer.

If you’re interested in supporting Botch Job, then please register here https://forms.gle/H3vUTPVEJuw4XNCR8 . Attendees will receive a £10 Dominos Voucher or £10 Book token voucher.  Please respond by 23rd May at 5pm. 

Dates/Times:

  • Monday 24th May, 6pm-7pm 
  • Tuesday 25th May 6.30pm-7.30pm 
  • Wednesday 26th May 7pm-8pm

Outside QMUL

Creative Youth Worker Job at Spotlight “We are seeking amazing, creative, inspiring people to join our team at Spotlight. The role will support our young people to access and thrive within our creative programme and support our teams of expert facilitators and delivery partners. This is a perfect opportunity for freelance artists; people wanting to gain experience in the arts and youth work; anyone passionate about the arts looking for a rewarding and exciting experience! We are looking to expand our pool of agency staff so this is a flexible role that will be managed by Hays agency.”

To apply email a short cover letter (addressing shortlisting criteria) and CV to hello@wearespotlight.com by Sunday 23rd May

Download the JD

UK Asian Film Festival, 26 May to 5 June 2021

The UK Asian Film Festival 2021 brochure is now available – https://tinyurl.com/46pt2fav

Tickets and screening details can be found here: https://www.tonguesonfire.com/events#venue-screenings

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2021: City of Literature A weekend of experiments, original commissions, and interactive experiences, and invite you to encounter these prophecies with us and each other.

The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of the City of London and the Genesis Foundation invite you to join them for the fourth in the series of Cultural Conversations: Culture, Technology and Innovation’ taking place online at 5-6:30pm on 24 May 2021. The Cultural Conversations series is a sequence of focused debates around Arts and Culture in the City of London. This fourth Conversation, the first of our renewed 2021 season, will be a conversation between: Javaad Alipoor, Artistic Director, Javaad Alipoor Company; Daniel Birnbaum, Artistic Director, Acute Art; Sarah Ellis, Director Digital Development, Royal Shakespeare Company; Suhair Khan, Strategic Projects, Google; Rich Waterworth, General Manager UK & EU, TikTok.

Season for Ex-Change returns with free events addressing the climate crisis

Ahead of COP26 this November, Season for Change aims to showcase the leadership of the cultural sector on the biggest issue of our time, through 15 artistic commissions and an open programme calling on artists and arts organisations to host events, artworks and actions across the UK to declare their commitment to the climate crisis.

After a successful programme in 2020, Season for Ex-Change is back with an 8-week online programme of free talks, events and workshops every Thursday about artists, activism and the arts sector’s role in the climate movement. Find out what’s up next, with more to be announced shortly. 

Season for Change is led by Artsadmin and Julie’s Bicycle, supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Find out more at seasonforchange.org.uk

Further sources of interesting events, opportunities and jobs are…

Apples & Snakes Artists Newsletter | Arts Admin E-Digest | ArtsJobs | Creative Access (Jobs) | JournoResources | Lectures.London | MediaBeans (media jobs) | QMUL Careers | Presspad | Tower Hamlets Arts | Write at Home (freelance writing opps)

London Performance Now: Milly Miller-Adams on Performance Live: Kae Tempest

Performance Live – Kae Tempest | BBC Two

Having previously read Let Them Eat Chaos by Kae Tempest before watching this performance I arrived already appreciating their skill and talent. However watching them perform this live in front of a receptive audience with music to accompany gave new life to these words. Kae explores many contemporary issues in this 60 minute set through a continuous spoken word poem which weaves the lives of 6 strangers living on the same street.

Kae’s passion is tangible. They observe the world so astutely and are able to convey the feelings, worries and routine that we have become too used to living through. It would be an honour to watch Kae perform live however this filmed performance did well to capture the electricity they produced in the room.

Some excerpts below:

“The people are dead in their lifetimes
Dazed in the shine of the streets
But look how the traffic’s still moving
System’s too slick to stop working
Business is good, and there’s bands every night in the pubs
And there’s two for one drinks in the clubs
And we scrubbed up well
Washed off the work and the stress
And now all we want’s some excess
Better yet, a night to remember that we’ll soon forget
All of the blood that was bled for these cities to grow
All of the bodies that fell
The roots that were dug from the earth
So these games could be played
I see it tonight in the stains on my hands

[…]

In glamourous magazines, who’s dating who?
Politico cash in an envelope
Caught sniffing lines off a prostitutes prosthetic tits
Now it’s back to the House of Lords with slapped wrists
They abduct kids who fuck the heads of dead pigs
But him in a hoodie with a couple of spliffs
Jail him, he’s the criminal”[1]


[1] Kae Tempest, Europe is Lost, Let Them Eat Chaos

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here

London Performance Now: Maya Ostrowska on A Small Gathering

A Small Gathering | Home (Manchester)

Image: Manchester Home, A Small Gathering

A Small Gathering, created by Charli Dubery, Deborah Pugh, George Mann, Nir Paldi & Sam Halmarack, is described as ‘A triptych of shorts served 2m apart’.

The character we meet in the first short is Mr Pink, whose performance is nothing short of utterly bizarre. Illumined by dramatic lighting, he makes peculiarly comical facial expressions and gestures. After a sequence of shaving and applying lipstick, he attempts to go outside but due to COVID, he cannot. His nemesis (one more threatening than a global pandemic,apparently) is a small cupboard, which threatens him throughout an obscene dance he performs on his sofa. It reflects the madness that comes as a side effect of quarantine. It’s worth watching just for its humorous aspect alone.

The second short, titled Rewilding was undoubtedly inspired by the nation’s, and in-fact the world’s, phase of hoarding toilet paper and panic buying. A woman trying to muster up the courage to leave her canal boat to go food shopping. Humour is also at the forefront of this short, at one point she tapes up her window excessively, adding various ´keep away´ notes,finally settling on ‘just fuck off’. She also battles a toilet paper monster so there’s that.
Cynthia’s party is the last of the three shorts and definitely wins the prize for being the creepiest of the three. If you don’t like porcelain dolls with missing eyeballs you might want to skip this one. It depicts a quarantine tea party where only one of the guests is human. That doesn’t last for long, as we see a horrifying, though well edited sequence of a woman slowly turning into a doll. What a fun tea party.

These shorts are highly entertaining and a vividly portrayal of descending into madness – a state I think we can all relate to in some capacity, due to the times we are currently living in.

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here

London Performance Now: Lucinda Saufley on Amaluna

Cirque du Soleil: Spotlight on “Amaluna”
Thoughts on the Recording
Blogpost by Lucinda Saufley

Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Cirque du Soleil live can agree that it is nothing short of a spectacle. Cirque’s initiative to bring some of its one-of-a-kind performances to YouTube in a series of “spotlights” allows audiences far and wide to experience the magic from the comfort of their own homes. However, comfort might not be on the wish list of someone wanting to see Cirque perform. This spotlight on Amaluna is filled with death-defying circus tricks, live music, and breathtaking choreography. However, it’s just not the same – it’s hard to be brought to the edge of your seat when you’re sitting on a couch.

Some aspects of the show are augmented by the recording: the camera captures details like lighting effects and artful makeup you might not fully appreciate from the pit. The recording also enables you to better tune into the original soundtrack, which might fall second to the visuals if you were at the live show. Despite these positives, there are far more drawbacks in my opinion. For one, the energy and urgency intrinsic of a show like Amaluna are lost. Watching a human bend into impossible shapes while balancing on a tiny pole is still impressive, but the adrenaline isn’t pumping as it might if that human was right in front of you. When watching a recording, you know the aerialist won’t plummet from the rafters. You know the juggler’s balls of flame won’t end in fiery tragedy. Additionally, some of the magic is lost when the many camera angles reveal aspects of the set that audience members aren’t meant to be privy to. In one acrobatic number, a platform that appears impossibly narrow from the front is revealed to be comfortably wide – and other such little let-downs. It’s a bit like ripping the trench coat off a giant and finding it was really two people stacked upon one another all along.

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here

London Performance Now: Emma Semani on One Hand Tied Behind Us at Old Vic

One Hand Tied Behind Us | The Old Vic

The Old Vic is hosting a four-part series of monologues in recognition of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, curated by actor Maxine Peake and directed by Annabel Bolton. Under the umbrella title One Hand Tied Behind Us, the series began on Monday 1 March with Betsy by Ella Hickson, performed by Jill Halfpenny. On Tuesday 2 March, Contactless by Maxine Peake, performed by Siobhan McSweeney premiered, followed by Imagine That by Kit de Waal, performed by Flo Wilson on Wednesday 3 March and finally Mother’s Little Helper 1963 by Jeanette Winterson, performed by Celia Imrie on Thursday 4 March.

A comedic quality came with the honesty of self-reflection and admission of the failures in a relationship during lockdown. The self-empowering monologue by Susan Wokoma highlights prevalent issues of gaslighting from a partner in an intense period of claustrophobia and forced closeness. “It’s not like he hits me” is a summary of the excuse’s women give to defend their maltreatment, with the form of gratitude often imprisoning us to an alternative of escape. She is punished questioning her situation, blamed as a product of her family who must have ‘planted’ the seeds of doubt within her. The three-part monologue, told intimate and charismatic at a dressing table surrounded by products of femininity on International Women’s Day, marks the stages of a toxic relationship, revealing her loss of self as she gives her womanhood to a man. She is seen applying makeup, getting ready whilst telling herself ‘I’m hard to love’. Her own insecurities are echoed by the voices of society, with the doctor naming her to be a cause of her husband’s depression, to which she masks with a chuckle of backhanded approval ‘I’d love to fuck off and let him be happy”. Her own voice is echoed by the lies told to her that make feel inadequate, and the audience are left to question how much of their own voice, their personal internal narrative, is truly theirs.

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here

London Performance Now: Emma Howes on The Coronavirus Time Capsule, Company 3

The Coronavirus Time Capsule | Company 3

Amidst the angst, anxiety and abrupt drought of motivation provided by the summer that we will, unfortunately, never forget, a new group of voices emerged to share their side of the story. The Coronavirus Time Capsule has given an outlet and voice to those who were most impacted by the pandemic,  – young people! Company 3’s pandemic project is a compilation of weekly work created by teenagers around the world, giving insight into their new lives as everything they know moves inside and online.

The project is led in collaboration with multiple youth theatre and community groups, meaning there are varying levels of performance from video to video; yet a sense of optimism, creativity and eagerness to express is apparent throughout. Comprised of skits, stop-motion animations, baking tutorials, dances and unfiltered opinions, the videos resemble those of early YouTube – there is no need to perform for the audience, and though aspects of popular youth culture and vloggers have definitely influenced these creators, it is simply innocent creativity and expression.

Beyond highlighting we are living in future history, and these creators having some great footage to show their grandchildren, the Time Capsule emulates a true glimpse of hope for the future, both near and far. Young people are often told to get outside and make the most of their youth, for that freedom is short lived, yet here is proof that they are still able to make the most of their young, creative spirits whilst unable to truly live their lives. If they can pull together good spirits through this, then there’s hope for the rest of us still.

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here