“I was stabbed at the Adelphi Theatre. I cannot rest.”: Nineteenth-Century Theatre Ghosts, an online talk

Southport’s THE ATKINSON arts centre presents an interesting-sounding talk via Zoom which is just right for the Halloween season.

At 7.00pm GMT on Wednesday 3rd November, learn about theatre ghosts from Dr Catherine Quirk, Lecturer in Drama, Creative Arts Department, Edge Hill University.

To many historians, the Victorians invented the theatre ghost. Innovations in theatre technology over the first half of the nineteenth century meant that ghosts, vampires, fairies—all things supernatural—were an expected part of the business of the stage. But what happens when those who play the ghosts refuse to exit on cue?

This talk will explore the technologies that allowed ghosts to appear on the nineteenth century stage, and will tell the stories of some ghostly figures who keep the nineteenth-century stage with us to this day. Why were the Victorians so fascinated by the spectacle of a spectre? And why won’t their spirits leave the theatre?

Tickets for the hour-long event are free to members of The Atkinson and £5 for others. You can find details here and book tickets here

BOOKING AND JOINING NOTES: Booking is required before 4pm on Wednesday 3 November. The talk will be presented using Zoom. You will receive an email invitation to join a Zoom meeting just after 4pm on Wednesday 3 November.


Join a free conference on Changing Perspectives on Live Performance this Friday and Saturday

Taking place online on Friday and Saturday October 8th/9th from 8.30am to 18.30pm BST, Changing Perspectives on Live Performance: interrogating digital dimensions and new modes of engagement is an intriguing, free two-day conference hosted by Anglia Ruskin University.

The past year has brought changing circumstances to the performance scene. The impossibility of rehearsing and performing to live audiences has forced artists to investigate new alternatives. This has affected both the aesthetics of performance-making and the professional practices of performance-makers. Changes in formats have created new ways of reaching audiences which have more fully exploited an ever-increasing engagement with a wide variety of screen-based technology and digital platforms.

This has significantly transformed live performances which have adapted to new ways of working and resulted in resourceful and imaginative alternatives and variations. Identifying the features of these changes will highlight pioneering directions for the future of live performance. This involves developments in the relationship between dance, theatre and film, offering digital innovations within liveness that this symposium wishes to identify and analyse.

In welcoming presentations, provocations, workshops, and performances as part of the proposals for participating in this symposium, their aim is to identify and analyse the transformations and generate new conversations among artists and theoreticians.

Keynote speakers :

Anne Bogart (theatre director, SITI Company, USA)

Prof Maria Shevtsova (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)

Dr Mark Nicholls (University of Melbourne, Australia)

Wim Vandekeybus (dance theatre director, Ultima Vez, BE)

Roundtable discussion includes:

Charlotte Vincent (choreographer/director, Vincent Dance Theatre, UK)

Workshop by:

Parliament of Practices

The symposium will cover but is not limited to the following themes:

integrating screen-based technology and practices into live performance

blurring the boundaries between the stage and the screen

preserving, enhancing, or degrading the actor’s performance via screen-based technology

delivering virtual performances – platforms and best practice

the role of recording live performances

theatrical adaptations of cinematography

choreographing the camera when recording live performances

streaming performance or recording performance

site-specific as the new theatre

evolving and enduring innovations

theatre developing its own cinematic language

expanding and diminishing theatrical markets

changing patterns in audience engagement and spectatorship

cognitive dimensions of engaging with emerging forms

impact on emerging artists and pathways into production

re-thinking notions of live performance

the digital hiatus altering the experience of live performance

the experience of the liveness in a digital context

digital dramaturgies within live performance

the gendered nature of the impact of digital and technological innovations

definitions of digital theatre

blended and hybrid modes in transmission of meaning


Register for the Conference and find more details here


Sarah Siddons and Brecon’s theatre history explored in online presentation

Statue of Sarah Siddons, sculpted in 1897 by Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud, located at Paddington Green, London

At 3pm BST this Saturday, October 2nd, there’s a rare chance to learn about theatre history in Brecon, Wales, and to hear about the Brecon-born theatrical sensation that was Sarah Siddons in a free live and online event.

Jayne Gold, a Guildhall School lecturer, is progressing research on theatre in Brecon as part of her PhD. at University of Bristol, and will discuss her latest discoveries relating to Brecon’s theatre traditions. Alongside her, Catherine Hindson, Professor of Theatre History at Bristol, will discuss some of the wider contexts of 18th and 19th century provincial theatre.

The online and in-person event will be complemented by an examination of some of the items in the collection at the Brecknock Museum which are linked to the greatest actor of her day, Sarah Siddons. Attendees will also enjoy a live re-creation of some of the area’s theatrical story.

This free event is presented both live at The Muse, Glamorgan Street, Brecon, (in-person attendance sold out) and online via YouTube – you can watch here

EXTRA You can also hear Jayne Gold talk about her research in a short audio piece called Brecon Stories which you can find here


US viewers get to see Ian McKellen sold-out show while benefitting their own theatre organisations

Finally US viewers get a chance to see Sir Ian McKellen’s “show of a lifetime”, as for a limited period it is available via TBD.

Universally praised, his 80th birthday tour covered the whole of the UK to audience approval. On the way, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for theatres and charities, the show did a huge amount for causes dear to Sir Ian’s very big heart.

The great news about this release is that proceeds from this release benefit over 40 partner organizations including regional and community theatres and educational theatre programs across the US.

That the show comes highly recommended is a given. Viewers can find more details about how to get hold of this treasure chest of wit, anecdote and performance excellence at the TBD site here


Online talk TRAILBLAZERS OF BLACK THEATRE plus Q&A on 22 September

Ira Aldridge, the original Trailblazer of Black Theatre

On Wednesday 22 September there’s another fascinating online talk. TRAILBLAZERS OF BLACK THEATRE is an illustrated talk by Stephen Bourne, author of forthcoming book Deep are the Roots, an odyssey into Black history on the stage.

Deep Are the Roots celebrates the pioneers of Black British theatre, beginning in 1825, when Ira Aldridge made history as the first Black actor to play Shakespeare’s Othello in the United Kingdom, and ending in 1975 with the success of Britain’s first Black-led theatre company.

In addition to providing a long-overdue critique of Laurence Olivier’s Othello, Bourne has unearthed the forgotten story of Paul Molyneaux, a Shakespearean actor of the Victorian era. The twentieth-century trailblazers include Paul Robeson, Florence Mills, Elisabeth Welch, Edric Connor and Pearl Connor-Mogotsi.

There are chapters about the ground-breaking work of playwrights at the Royal Court, the first Black drama school students, pioneering theatre companies and three influential dramatists of the 1970s: Mustapha Matura, Michael Abbensetts and Alfred Fagon. Drawing on interviews with leading lights, here is everything you need to know about the trailblazers of Black theatre in Britain and their profound influence on the culture of today.

Mr Bourne will take us on an illustrated tour of his new book and then take questions. ‘Deep are the Roots’ is published by the History Press on 7th October and is available from Amazon.

This event is organised by Black History Walks in conjunction with the Sarah Parker Remond Centre at U.C.L.

This is an online event at 6.30pm UK/GMT time. The Zoom link will be sent to your email. Check your JUNK MAIL when you register and just before the event starts.

Tickets are free but must be booked to receive the broadcast link.

Get tickets here