Free English and Drama Taster Sessions Announced for our Open Day on Saturday 2 October 2021

We’re really excited to deliver our tasters in a hybrid format next Saturday 2 October. Please register to get on campus or online access.

English & Creative Writing

Creative Writing Taster Session: Finding Your Many Voices – Nisha Ramayya

In this session, we will listen to a selection of contemporary poets who write and perform in voices, discuss their work, and then try writing our own dialogic or multivocal texts. 

1300-1330

What’s Love Got To Do With It?  Putting Romeo and Juliet In Its Place’- David Colclough

In this short taster lecture I’ll explore what happens when we read one of the most famous love stories – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – with the help of some historical context (spoiler: it gets less romantic). No prior knowledge of the play is required. 

1515-1545

Drama

Show Business:  Theatre and Capitalism – Michael McKinnie

What is “show business”?  How is it different from other business?  How is it the same?  And what can it tell us about the relationship between theatre and the economic world in which we live, work and play.

1345 -1415

Theatre and Protest – Aoife Monks

This session gives a taste of the long history of protest at the theatre, looking at riots, censorship and theatrical activism in the auditorium and on the streets. 

1130-1200

5 Cultural Things To Do In Summer 2021

Whether you’re a Londoner, taking a day trip before moving here or a new resident here’s our arty list of exciting ways to spend your summer in the city.

All Points East in the Neighbourhood 31 August -2 September

Free activities all week in Victoria Park near our Mile End campus including live music, free outdoor cinema, live music, live performances from Pan-Asian cabaret collective BITTEN PEACH and much more.

PLUS: We’ll be there at 2pm on Thursday 2nd September for a pop-up podcast recording with a surprise author guest.

Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 27 August-11 September

A feast of (mainly) free performance across east and south London including this spectacular ‘northern lights’ installation called Borealis and a promenade show at the Tudor surroundings of Charlton House by our very own Mojisola Adebayo. Be sure to book in advance for free and paid events.

Open House London 4 – 12 September

The doors are thrown open to London’s gorgeous, unusual and secret buildings at Open House London. Booking opens on 11 August at 12pm (midday) and it’s the perfect chance for locals to discover something new in your area or if you’re new to explore London.

Summer Reunion at Southbank Centre until end of August

Free summer weekenders curated by some cult icons including Shingai (pictured above) who’s showcasing Black talent, dance battles from Zoonation and bank holiday carnival vibes from Dennis Bovell’s Sound System Experience.

What Shall We Build Here 8-12 September

MISERY, Sad Girl Summer event 2020. Photo by Ella J Frost

What Shall We Build Here is a festival of art, climate and community at Artsadmin’s Toynbee Studios in Aldgate East, in parks and in your local supermarket. 

Mad Hearts: The Arts and Mental Health Review By Ana Claudia De Castro Lima

By Ana Claudia De Castro Lima

This two-day online event explored productive, radical, contemporary encounters between the arts and mental health, bringing together clinical, artistic, and research perspectives that offered a re-interpretation of contemporary mental health science and practice, with a view of imagining a different future. This event was joined by more than 100 people including survivors, service users, mental health professionals, artists and researchers interested in how the arts can contribute to mental health.

The conference was opened by photographic artist Daniel Regan, who shared his discovery of the power of the arts in his own mental health journey. Daniel discussed the shame and stigma of living in crisis and how transforming his relationship to his lived experience turned it into his greatest asset. Consultant psychiatrist Dr Tom Cant introduced Peer Supported Open Dialogue and the ODDESSI* trial, a multicentre randomised control trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research. Developed in Finland in 1986, Open Dialogue is a social network model of mental healthcare where the person of concern is genuinely offered the power to define their recovery.

[*ODDESSI stands for Open Dialogue: Development and Evaluation of a Social Network Intervention for Severe Mental Illness]

On the second day, the artist keynote was given by playwright and theatre director Julie McNamara, an outspoken survivor of the mental health system, who works with people from locked-in spaces, foregrounding the stories of disavowed voices from the margins of our communities. People who have lived in long-care hospitals are not ordinarily perceived as artists and storytellers with meaningful contributions to make in our cultural industries. Julie talked about her creative process, staging the voices of women who transgress, women who fail to perform femininity as constructed in this ableist, patriarchal society. Lived expert consultant Amanda Griffith introduced the Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF), a radical approach to understanding emotional distress and wellbeing that is attracting interest both nationally and internationally. Aimed at a wide range of stakeholders, the framework highlights the links between personal, family and community distress and wider issues arising from social inequalities and injustices. This gives particular attention to the experiences of people and groups who have been exposed to abuses of power on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, nationality, age, sexuality, disability, or their status as a mental health service user, and the way these identities and associated experiences of power intersect.

A series of panels invited discussion on different topics. In the panel led by the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, the audience applauded the concept of “emodiversity”, developed as part of a programme for emotional literacy in primary schools, a superb pilot run by Prof Thomas Dixon.

Conference delegates participated in a Creative Enquiry all group activity, led by Dr Louise Younie, pioneer of the creative enquiry approach for flourishing in medical education. Moreover, selected participants were invited to present their artworks of poetry, painting and music: a delightful moment, inviting both aesthetic pleasure and reflection.

During discussions and reflections raised by this momentous event, the audience was enraptured and applauded the presented projects and innovative practices. Also, organizers and the public felt stimulated to discover new alternative approaches to mental health for future times, taking into account above all creativity, open dialogue, and direct participation from users of the health system.

It was clear that the bio-scientific, logical-rational, reductionist, and mechanistic model of mental health needs updating. An empathetic look, which gives rise to interpretive and communication abilities, is necessary to approach the idiosyncratic narratives brought by survivors and service users. In addition, the well-established hierarchy relationships within the mental health medical environment, which highlight authority and power, oppress and make stagnant the creativity and humanization that should permeate all human relationships. All this misinterpretation over mental health care leads to overly rigid and standardized models of approach, lacking human connection.

Hence, health professionals need to be open to access subjectivity and make deeper connections, giving voice and opportunity for self-expression. Ultimately, the arts seem to be a catalyst tool to materialize the inner turmoil of mental disorders, providing opportunities for representation and meaning-making, as well as being a fantastic means to well-being.

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 

Queen Mary Conversation Week

Dear Colleagues, we can in theory sit outdoors with friends now, but it is threatening to snow. So instead I just wanted to invite you to some more events taking place this week involving our colleagues and collaborators:

On Data in Motion: A Conversation – This conversation will explore the overlaps between the work of data scientists and mathematicians in using data to predict motion, and the ways in which dancers and sports scientists map movement.  The commissioned conversation will have Alexander WhitleyThomas Prellberg, Professor Dylan Morrissey, Andy ReynoldsIoannis Patras of  and Dr Elisabetta Versace (QMUL School of Biological and Chemical Sciences). The panel will be chaired by Dr Martin Welton, Reader in Theatre and Performance.

On the Art of Boxing in the East End: A Conversation – The celebrated East End prize-fighter Daniel Mendoza revolutionised boxing in the late 18th and early 19th century. As a Jewish boxer, Mendoza experienced and challenged antisemitism throughout his life. Mendoza’s body was buried in the Novo Jewish Cemetery at Queen Mary, which still contains a plaque commemorating his life. Chaired by QMUL’s Dominic Johnson, Professor of Performance and Visual Culture. The conversation will include Professor Nadia Valman (QMUL), a artist named Jake Boston, and with other guests from the boxing world, TBC. They are joined by Ian Gatt, a sports scientist and Upper Limb injury specialist of the English Institute of Sport, who is Head of Performance Support for GB Boxing.

On the Art of Teeth: A Conversation – This conversation explores the practices of dentistry and the histories of teeth and asks: what has art got to do with it?  Colin Jones, author ofThe Smile Revolution in Eighteenth Century ParisJanetka Platun and David Mills. They are joined by Professor of Applied Performance Practice Ali Campbell (QMUL Drama) and Head of Paediatric Dentistry Ferranti Wong (QMUL), who will discuss their collaboration on the child-led research project The Dental Detectives to explore dental anxiety and possible solutions in paediatric dentistry.

I’m Thirsty: On Reclaiming Water and the Arts as Universal Common Goods – This conversation starts from the premise that as much as water is indispensable to our survival, so are the arts. And yet, both are dangerously devalued in our society. To start the conversation, a social anthropologist named Megan Clinch, and a artist named Ruth Levene will introduce their research exploring the impact of flooding on the communities that live in the Calder Catchment, Yorkshire. After this, the co-directors of the MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health, Bridget Escolme (Professor of Theatre and Performance, QMUL) and psychiatrist and theatre scholar Maria Grazia Turri (Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, QMUL), will come in as well.

On Storytelling, the Child and Public Health: A Conversation – This panel will explore the critical work of storytelling in communicating public health messages to children or about children. Professor Tina Chowdhury (QMUL Engineering) will talk about her work using immersive tech to visualise foetuses in the womb – a practice that both treats foetal illness, and inspires women to experience agency around preventative health measures during their pregnancies.

On Promoting Wellbeing Through Music: A Conversation – This conversation delves into the incredible power of music to support wellbeing in social and educational settings. Hattie Rayfield of the London Chamber Orchestra introduces the LCO’s Music Junction programme, which works with children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds to provide them with opportunities to develop artistic and social skills through shared music making. Kerstin-Gertrud Kärblane joins the panel to discuss her work with Music Junction as a mental health practitioner through Queen Mary’s MSc in Creative Arts and Mental Health. Professor Paul Heritage of Queen Mary’s People’s Palace Projects will speak on his collaborations with María Claudia Parias Durán, Director of the Fundación Nacional Batuta in Colombia, who make music with 40,000 young people each year – many of them displaced by the civil war. Director of Music Paul Edlin (QMUL), who has created an online space for student musicians at Queen Mary to share their experiences and music throughout lockdown, chairs the panel.

On the Arts and Creative Sector after Covid: An East End Town Hall Conversation on Diversity – This closed workshop invites local arts, creative, community and heritage organisations to join with Arts Council England and other funding and advocacy organisations at an East End Town Hall.  

3 Things Still to Do in Black History Month

1. Diaspora Speaks and PEACH Magazine are excited to present: On Black Voices! – 22 October

2. Ankhi Mukherjee is talking about Nigerian American writer and photographer Teju Cole for our Lisa Jardine Annual English Lecture – 22 October

3. Prof Susheila Nasta MBE is in conversation with Helen Thomas

Professor Susheila Nasta MBE and Dr Helen Thomas will discuss their long histories within the world of black writing and publishing.

The event will celebrate the publication of a free e-book: Black Agents Provocateurs – 250 Years of Black British Writing, History and the Law, 1770-2020 written by Helen Thomas and also the publication of the first Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing, edited by Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein.

They will discuss questions around:

  • the politics of publishing and editing
  • how they created their books
  • shifting definitions of black British writing
  • he importance of decolonising the school and university curricula

5 Things to look forward to for 2020 students – in London and online

Welcome to 2020 at Queen Mary. We want to get you excited about studying and exploring London and culture online as part of your university experience.

Here’s some suggestions:

1. Epic Exhibitions

IRL

Go to a blockbuster or tiny exhibition in London:

Online

2. Unusual London

IRL

Uncover unusual sights and experience:

Online

3. See Performance

IRL

Online

4. Give Something Back / Self Care

IRL

Online

5. Explore Industries and Careers in London

IRL

  • Get help from QMUL Careers team to secure internships, work experience and learning opportunities while you are at university
  • Sign up to the creative version of Linkedin, The Dots and follow cool companies that have free events you can attend
  • Find somewhere unusual to work here – the article is by our English graduate Lara Mills

Online

Add your suggestions in a comment below…

Performance, Possession & Automation Conversations

Performance, Possession & Automation – a collaborative research project led by Nick Ridout and Orlagh Woods, in collaboration with Joe KelleherFiona Templeton and Simon Vincenzi – invites you to three online conversations.

Automation & Cultural Production

17 July, 6-8pm (BST)

Online

Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout for a conversation about automation and cultural production.


Instead of imagining a future in which our lives are managed for us by robots or AI, it may be time to think instead about how automation is already deeply embedded in our everyday lives. Automation is not replacing human beings, but it may be changing how we work and act, and how we think and feel about ourselves and other people. 


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

Possession & Performance

24 July, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Paul C. Johnson and Rebecca Schneider join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and performance. 


What if possession is a totally modern idea? Could it be a way for people who live modern lives in a supposedly secular culture to describe modes of being that don’t fit with their ideas of what it is to be yourself? How does performance help us think about possession? Are performance and possession both ways of becoming an automated or programmed self? 

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

Possession & Subjectivity

31 July, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity.

Might possession and other experiences in which people seem to lose control of themselves – like intoxication or narcosis – expand our understanding of what it means to be a subject, beyond the bounded subjectivity assumed and promoted in so-called ‘Enlightenment’ thought? Do subjects always and everywhere have to fit neatly into bodies?

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?

This project is supported through the Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and The Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary University of London in partnership with Fierce Festival and Hampstead Theatre.

Anərkē Shakespeare and Queen Mary’s Centre for Global Shakespeares presents Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Stratford-upon-Avon and London

Anərkē Shakespeare’s candlelit production of Macbeth premieres at The Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s burial place, and then tours to London for a very limited run at St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch, the burial site of Shakespeare’s main actor, Richard Burbage.

Anərkē Shakespeare is an innovative theatre company that combines scholarship and creative practice inspired by the working conditions in which Shakespeare conceived his plays. Shakespeare’s “myriad minded” texts are brought to life by a diverse, gender-blind, actor-led ensemble, in an intensively short rehearsal period, without a director.

Stratford-upon-Avon Run

  • Show Details:
  • Stratford location: Church of the Holy Trinity, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BG
  • Date: 7th, 9th, 10, 11th March 2020
  • Time: 7:00pm
  • Price: £10
  • Duration: 100 mins

Tickets at the door or online at: https://www.stratford-upon-avon.org/

London Run

  • London location: St Leonard’s Church, 119 Shoreditch High Street, Hackney, London E1 6JN
  • Date: 13th – 14th March 2020
  • Time: Friday 13th March 2:00pm, Saturday 14th March 2:00pm and 7:30pm
  • Price: £12
  • Duration: 100 mins
  • Tickets at the door or online at: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/macbeth

Praise for Anərkē Shakespeare;

“The best Shakespeare performance that I have seen for years!!” – audience response

“The lack of fuss about mimetic casting … cleared the way for the play to shine radiantly through.” – Professor Michael Dobson, Shakespeare Institute

“The production made questions of ethnicity completely irrelevant … benefited hugely from the experience and authority of its multiracial cast.” – Professor Tony Howard, University of Warwick

“A feast of fine acting, and a revelatory X-ray of the structure of the play.“ – Professor Richard Wilson, Kingston University

Contact details for Anərkē Shakespeare:

Four Eye-Opening Careers Events in February 2020

Please note for all links you need to be logged in to Target Connect.

More info here

Routes into Teaching – Tuesday 11th February, 18:00-20:00

Keen to explore a career in teaching but unsure of the route to take? Join us for an exciting panel featuring multiple teaching providers. This event will give you the opportunity to hear from recent graduates, recruitment staff and senior staff who will tell you about their training programs, recruitment processes, the types of opportunities available and what it’s like to work for them. There will be an opportunity for informal networking and Q&A with the representatives.
Confirmed providers include:
Ark Teacher Training
Department of Education – Train to Teach
Burnt Mill Academy Trust
St Mary’s University
Teach First
The Thinking Schools Academy Trust

Book here

Looking for an LGBT+ friendly employer – Wednesday 12th February, 16:00-18:00

Looking for an LGBT+ friendly employer, not sure where to begin? Join us as part of the Students’ Union LGBT+ History Month and ahead of the Pride Careers Fair to find out the key aspects to look for when searching for the right employer to begin your career journey. Hear from a panel who will give invaluable advice and talk about their personal experiences.

Topics will include:

How to identify a supportive employer
How to come out at work and the benefits
How to build a network
What LGBT+ students have to offer

We’ll be hearing from:

Triona Desmond – lesbian co-parent and Senior Chartered Trade Mark Attorney at Pinsent Masons LLP. 
Sal Morton (he/they) – a queer artsperson and senior researcher and content writer for career guide Chambers Student.
Daniel Nasr – diversity & inclusion specialist for the charity and international development sectors, currently leading on Unicef’s inclusion strategy in the U.K.
Dr Lipi Begum– senior fashion and sustainability lecturer and researcher for the University of the Arts London.
Kenneth Pritchard – gay public affairs and strategic communications professional for the Post Office.

Timings for the event will be as follows:
16:00-17:00 Panel conversation
17:00-17:30 Audience Q&A
17:30-18:00 Chit chat

Book here or just turn up on the day

Media Summit – Wednesday 19th February, 17:00-19:00

Interested in the Media sector? Journalism? Publishing? Theatre? Radio? Join us to explore a variety of industries and roles. Learn why these roles are realistic to pursue and how to secure a position in your chosen sector. You will hear from professionals who will talk about their personal experience of the sector and give you top tips along the way! Come prepared with some questions and be ready to do some valuable networking.

Confirmed representatives include (with more to follow!):

Senior Editorial Manager, Penguin Random House

Radio presenter at the BBC
Head of Content for Riviera Maritime Media
Head of Strategy and Planning at Liberty Communications
Theatre Manager at Ambassador Theatre Group

Book here

Why Big Business is Interested in Humanities Students! – Thursday 20th February, 16:00-17:15

PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) is a global professional services firm operating in 157 countries and employing 276,000 staff in 100s of different roles advising businesses on  areas including audit, tax, legal, consultancy, climate change, human resources, risk, deals and many more.  They are really interested in employing graduates studying Humanities and in fact already do employ a number of QM Humanities alumni.

Ashley O’Connell, a recruiter at PwC, is coming to talk about why a global business such as PwC is interested in you, what skills do you have that are valuable to a business like theirs, what kind of opportunities exist, why these are good roles for Humanities students, what they look for in students, what kind of activities they value that you get involved in and how Humanities students can do well in recruitment.

Ashley is flying over from the Channel Islands and will talk about opportunities in both London and the Channel Islands including, graduate jobs, summer internships and insight programmes.  N.B. There are still vacancies for 2020 graduates to start in the Channel Islands this summer.

If you are curious as to what you have to offer a big business operating in any sector, this is a great chance to understand how to market your degree in a way that makes you relevant and to get top tips and insights from a business recruiter.  

Book here

London’s Theatre of the East Exhibition and November Events at Dr Johnson’s House featuring our students, Jerry Brotton and Pen Woods

Our very own Jerry Brotton has been working with Dr Johnson’s House as they present a series of events including a round table discussion about the exhibition and a dramatic reading of Irene by our Drama students.

London’s Theatre of the East – Meet the Artists

Saturday 9 November from 2 – 5pm

Visit for free to see our upcoming exhibition, London’s Theatre of the East and get a chance to meet the artists whose work is on display at the House. Explore all four floors of Dr Johnson’s House and discuss with our artists their varying responses to the theme of London’s links to the Middle East and North Africa over the past 500 years. You can read more about our exhibition here.

There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day!

Ottoman Empire map end of section: Roundtable Discussion

Thursday 14 November 7pm (Doors open at 6.30pm)

Join us for a roundtable discussion between the artists featured in our upcoming exhibition, London’s Theatre of the East, organised in collaboration with The Arab British Centre. Playwright Hannah Khalil, novelist Saeida Rouass, documentary photographer Lena Naassana and textile designer Nour Hage will join Dr Jerry Brotton, author of This Orient Isle, and the Donald Hyde Curator of Dr Johnson’s House for a discussion on how each artist approached and responded to the theme of the historical connections of the Middle East and North Africa with London, via the lens of Dr Johnson’s 1749 play, Irene, set during the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Tickets £12 – includes a complimentary glass of wine

London’s Theatre of the East – Late night opening

Tuesday 19 November 6pm – 8pm (last entry at 7.30pm)

A rare opportunity to explore the Dr Johnson’s House at twilight and see all four floors of the museum, plus our upcoming exhibition for free.

You’ll also have a chance to meet the artists featured in London’s Theatre of the East in an informal setting and to discuss their exhibits with them, which are their responses to Johnson’s 1749 play Irene and their research into the connections between the Middle East, North Africa and London.

There’s no need to book, just turn up on the night!

Irene at Dr Johnson’s House

Thursday 21 November 7pm (Doors open at 6.30)

When Irene premiered at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane in February 1749 it ran for a respectable but underwhelming nine nights. Johnson regarded it as a failure, as did James Boswell, who claimed his friend ‘had not the faculty of producing the impressions of tragedy’. But the time has come to revisit Johnson’s neglected play – join us in the home he was living in while Irene was originally staged for the first public performance of Johnson’s play in 270 years!

This dramatic reading of Irene will be performed by the students from the English and Drama department of Queen Mary University London, under the direction of Dr Penelope Woods, Lecturer in Drama, with the advice of Professor Lois Potter, author of The Life of William Shakespeare, A Critical Biography,and Professor Emerita, University of Delaware.

Tickets £12 – includes a complimentary glass of wine

Unmissable English and Drama events in Semester 1 19/20

We have ground-breaking events galore in our first semester of the 2019/20 year. Please do join us for collaborations with Southall Black Sisters, The Guardian and many more in-house events.

Don’t forget to follow our research seminars English Postgraduate Research Seminar, QUORUM Drama Seminar and Queen Mary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies for more events.

Monday 21 October

PANEL DISCUSSION: The Postcolonial Novel of Ideas


Jeanne-Marie Jackson-Awotwi (Johns Hopkins) & Rashmi Varma (Warwick)
Chair: Andrew van der Vlies (QMUL) present a panel discussion on ‘The Postcolonial Novel of Ideas’.

See more events in this series


Wednesday 23 October

Shattering the Glass Ceiling

Come and hear from leading Guardian journalists about the intersections of race, class and gender and how they impact careers in the media.


Thursday 31 October

Halloween Party with Daniel Oliver – BOOK Launch and Lo-fi Relaxed Rong Table Discussion

The event will include: discounted copies of the book, a chance to discuss its core topics (neurodiversity, awkwardness, audience participation) using Daniel’s clunkily conceived Rong Table format and due to the date, fully non-commital/over-committed Halloween dress code will be optional.


Friday 8 November

Reimagining Britain: Curating, Performing, Publishing, Reading

This one-day symposium will host a series of discussions about the current climate for artistic and cultural production in Britain. The four thematic strands are on English literature (in particular school and university curricula design), publishing, curating and performing. The event brings together experts and practitioners who will share their experience of how these areas of the arts may or may not be changing, especially given ongoing agendas around inclusivity, diversity and ‘decolonising’.

Speakers include: Aditi Anand, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Natasha Bucknor, Elizabeth Cooper, Corinne Fowler, Rachael Gilmour, Nadia Yahya Hafedh, Anthony Joseph, Danuta Kean, Madhu Krishnan, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Malachi McIntosh, Rachael Minott and Jeremy Poynting.

Discover more events in the Wasafiri 35 series here


Tuesday 12 November

The Sexual Cultures Research Group at QMUL: Saleem Haddad

Saleem Haddad was born in Kuwait City to an Iraqi-German mother and a Palestinian-Lebanese father. His first novel, Guapa, published in 2016, was awarded a Stonewall Honour and won the 2017 Polari First Book Prize. His short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, including most recently in the Palestinian science fiction anthology “Palestine +100”. Haddad was also selected as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers of 2016 by Foreign Policy Magazine. His directorial debut, Marco, premiered in March 2019 and was nominated for the Iris Prize for Best British Short. He is currently based in Lisbon.

Saleem will be in conversation with Nadia Atia (QMUL). There will be an opportunity to buy copies of Guapa, which Saleem is happy to sign on the day.

Tickets are free, but booking is essential.


Saturday 16 November

East Side Story

East meets west in this high octane dance-off with two titans from the dance world, IMD and Bolly Flex. This show fuses hip hop and Bollywood in four acts, The Greatest Bollywood Showman, The Real Avengers of the UK, The History of Hip Hop and Romeo and Juliet Remixed! Check out glittering examples of cinema’s great dance moves with breath-taking agility and dynamism at Queen Mary’s Great Hall. These tributes and stories use acrobatics and physical theatre and provide the perfect homecoming for both IMD’s Omar Ansah-Awuah and Bolly Flex’s Naz Choudhury to return to their east London roots. Special guest appearances will help ignite this energetic dance spectacular as a reminder that commonalities and differences between cultures can be celebrated in the most exhilarating ways!


Saturday 30 November

Turning the Page: Book Launch with Southall Black Sisters

A literary conversation between two groups of BAME women – published writers responding creatively to the stories of the SBS support group.

Launching an anthology of writings, Turning the Page, by the SBS Survivors’ Group

Southall Black Sisters ends its 40th anniversary year with a unique evening, crowning a year- long series of events to celebrate its survival and reflect on its history. The anthology represents an intimate engagement, a two-way literary conversation, between established writers and emotionally vulnerable women who have found relief in writing about their troubled lives.

The survivors’ group at Southall Black Sisters have spent six months writing their stories in the company of Rahila Gupta.

Jackie Kay, Moniza Alvi, Meena Kandasamy, Miss Yankey and Rahila Gupta have written new work in response to the stories written by the SBS women. Their new work will be published in the book and they will read from this and other work alongside the SBS women. Imtiaz Dharker will also be performing at this event.

Be uplifted! Break your hearts and recommit yourself to the cause during the 16 days of activism against violence against women.

Did we miss any events? Leave a comment below…

School of English and Drama Takeover at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Lots of our students, alumni and staff use the Edinburgh Fringe to showcase and critique new performance work.

Queen Mary Theatre Company

This year QMTC have four shows heading up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Here’s the blurb for all of the shows…

Auto-Nation by Cindy Kim

On the verge of a natural disaster, a prison guard is called into work and discovers a newcomer to the team – an Artificial Intelligence named Sally. When the city is evacuated, what happens to the prisoners?

If I Die On Mars by Clarice Montero

The final 24 candidates for The Mars Mission Programme have been observed for a month by the public in a reality TV show designed to choose the final four. The public have voted and the candidates are about to be sent off to Mars with no hope of return… as soon as the final confirmation is granted.

At This Stage by Megan Young

Have you ever loved a show so much that you wished you could kidnap all the actors, keep them in your basement and get them to perform it again for you? No? Just Rupert?

Rock’n’Roll Girls by Rachel Jermy and Ellie Calnan

Lola, Eleanor Rigby, Brown Sugar, Roxanne, and Monica – you may know their names, you may even remember singing them in the shower or at a party. What you probably don’t know is their stories. Neither do they, but they’re trying to figure it out.

Alumni at the Fringe

Just These Please

Georgie Jones is part of this highly acclaimed sketch troupe who are performing their new show ‘Suitable’ at the fringe.

The Cat’s The Thing

Marissa Landy is taking her comedy based on the reality of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to the Space @ Surgeon’s Hall.

I, Am Dram

Hannah Maxwell channels her inner am dram in her new show at the fringe.

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats

‘Celebrating their final year as Europeans, island monkeys Becca and Louise got invited to the 2018 European Capital of Culture in Malta. Lads on tour…Sh!t Theatre went to drink rum with Brits abroad but found mystery and murder in the fight to be European. Here it is, another excuse for the multi award-winning Sh!t Theatre to get drunk on stage. ‘

Kayla MacQuarrie: Traumatised

‘From an Essex-based, sad, weird kid to a less sad, trans, lesbian loudmouth. She’s grown up, gotten hurt and she’s still here and ready to share in her debut hour. Winner of the Best Comedy Show Award at the Brewery Fringe Festival.’

Criticism and Insight

Bechdel Theatre: BT talk gender and representation on stage and list shows that pass the Bechdel Test.

Check out their list of shows

The Sick of the Fringe: Lewis Church will be covering shows which deal with health at the fringe. Follow @TSOTF for the latest.

To Do List: Rupert Dannreuther from the admin team is a blogger with a mission to bring the offbeat underdogs to the fore at this year’s fringe.

Check out their 50 Unmissable shows list

Did we miss a show? Leave a comment…

4 Unmissable Summer Events in the School of English and Drama

We’re not going anywhere this summer.

Join us for a London staycation full of sizzling summer events in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.


Power at Play: responding to Pilot Theatre’s production of Noughts & Crosses (22 May, QMUL):

Join us for a FREE Noughts & Crosses (Malorie Blackman) panel event that asks questions like: ‘What wider questions does this production raise about drama and power? How is drama power for you?’. Join Esther Richardson (Director of Noughts & Crosses) and cast members, Drama academics and students from Queen Mary University of London to discuss and explore the powers of Drama. Book here

The panel includes: Heather Agyepong (Sephie, Noughts and Crosses), Esther Richardson (director, Noughts and Crosses), Gail Babb (QMUL and Goldsmiths lecturer and theatre producer, Talawa), Avaes Mohammed (poet, playwright, performer), Dee Ndlovu (QMUL Drama student and theatre maker).


Show and Tell at All Points East (28 May, Free Festival in Victoria Park, Mile End):

Join us for inspiring mini talks in the park at this free festival which has top street food, stalls and free activities.

Our line up talking about studying and working in the creative industries includes comedian Ahir Shah (BBC3, Live at the Apollo), writer Ayisha Malik, Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman and more pictured above. RSVP here


Open Days (21-22 June, QMUL)

Never been to our campus? Get a feel for the place and get tours and more information from our support departments. Book here

Gothic, Sci-Fi or Fable: Reading Frankenstein then and now – English A-Level Debate (27 June, QMUL)

Is your English teacher always telling you to refer to literary and historical context but you’re unsure what this looks like in practice? Have you heard that there are theoretical and philosophical approaches to texts but aren’t confident using them yourself? Do you wish you knew more about the Gothic genre and how this could link to more contemporary genres, such as Science Fiction?

Three outstanding academics, from Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama, are here to help.

An expert in the body and technology in contemporary culture, Zara Dinnen, a specialist in the Gothic across the nineteenth century, Sam Halliday, and an expert in Romanticism with interests in theory and philosophy, Shahidha Bari, will be unpicking issues around context, theory, genre and ‘Frankenstein’. They will share their expertise on context, theory and genre, to unpack how the text could have been received then and how readers receive it now. They will discuss different frameworks that can be used to interpret this seminal text, and demonstrate to you what it looks like to apply those frameworks in practice.

You will leave this event with a better sense of how to use literary and historical context to develop your analysis of this text; and you will leave knowing what it would be like to study English at Queen Mary, where diversity of ideas is at the heart of what we do.

It promises to be the type of lively and engaging discussion our School of English and Drama is known for!