Society for Theatre Research offers free online discussion

On Wednesday 20th October at 7.30-9.00pm BST, The Society for Theatre Research invites you to attend a free online discussion entitled “That Other British Asian Theatre: British East Asian and Southeast Asian Performance”, focusing on British East and Southeast Asian representation in theatre.

British East Asian and Southeast Asian theatre and performance are perhaps less well-known than theatre and performance created by British South Asian companies and artists. How are British East Asia and Southeast Asia represented by theatre-makers?  So, how has Asia been represented on the contemporary British stage? Increasingly more plays about Asians and on Asian themes have been produced at the National Theatre, the Arcola, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and more.  There are a wealth of stories, histories and voices that are yet to be explored and told. Join theatre artists Kumiko Mendl and Kwong Loke in conversation.

Kumiko Mendl trained at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris. She is a founder-member of Yellow Earth Theatre Company (now New Earth Theatre), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020. Yellow Earth’s work includes Asian-themed work as well as new versions of European classics such as Miss Julie. Kumiko Mendl is Artistic Director of New Earth, whose work encompasses performance, community engagement and professional development for emerging actors.

Kwong Loke trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is an actor and director.  He was a founder-member of Yellow Earth Theatre Company and of Stone Crabs Theatre, focusing on intercultural performance. Kwong Loke has appeared in The Great Wave (National Theatre), and Pah-La (Royal Court).  He teaches acting and directing in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as directing at drama conservatories.

To book your free ticket to this Zoom event, please find booking and further details here

West End Live is back – live and free!

Those who enjoy a good musical will be delighted to hear that after missing an in-person event last year, WEST END LIVE will be returning to London’s Trafalgar Square on September 18th and 19th.

As part of Westminster City Council’s Inside Out Festival and the Society of London Theatre’s #BackOnStage campaign, West End LIVE will see Trafalgar Square transformed into an open-air theatre like no other, treating thousands of theatre fans to free performances of iconic numbers from the West End’s top shows over the weekend of 18 and 19 September. 

This year’s event features the first ever West End LIVE appearances from award-winning musicals Hamilton and The Book Of Mormon, as well as an exciting roster of new shows – including The Prince Of Egypt, Disney’s Frozen, Dear Evan Hansen, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Back To The Future: The Musical and Pretty Woman: The Musical – alongside many established favourites.

In total, over 30 shows and acts will take to the stage for this unique two-day celebration of theatre, a joint production by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

The event also continues its partnership with Magic Radio, with an array of leading Magic presenters co-hosting the stage across the weekend, including Emma B, Tom Price, Sonali Shah and more to be announced.

Official London Theatre will be backstage throughout the weekend sharing exclusive behind-the-scenes content across their social media channels.

West End LIVE will remain free and unticketed as in previous years. To keep everyone safe, however, all attendees aged 18 and over will be asked to demonstrate their Covid status to gain entry to the event.  Please be aware of this and be prepared, which helps the stewarding teams to help you.

West End LIVE will be BSL interpreted by Sue MacLaine and Marco Nardi.

Find out more details at the West End Live 2021 website here

SELF-CARE NOTE: This event is likely to be very popular, with large crowds to negotiate. If you have any concerns about being with large crowds of people at this time, please consider your wellbeing and take whatever steps you feel necessary to help you cope. Being in a large crowd after an extended period of isolation can cause unexpected reactions, so please be kind to yourself and make sure you help yourself before helping others. If you experience any anxiety or panic, please seek help or support from a friend or the stewarding teams at the event.

Watch Now: Finborough offers another classic revival – with a few intriguing twists!

Yet again the brilliant Finborough Theatre comes up with another online offering to enjoy through August. This time it’s another in their ever-fascinating line of theatrical rediscoveries which are always worth seeing. Another intriguing facet to this production is the appearance in the cast of two people best known as theatre critics not actors- Michael Billington and Fiona Mountford. Intrigued? Me too!

Presented as part of the Kensington and Chelsea Festival, this play is – intriguingly- actually located in the borough, in the streets in and around the Finborough itself. The play is available now until 25 August.

MASKS AND FACES OR, BEFORE AND BEHIND THE CURTAIN by Charles Reade and Tom Taylor was written and first performed in 1852

“We are actors. The most unfortunate of all artists. Nobody regards our feelings…”

Country gentleman Ernest Vane comes to London and is seduced into the celebrity lifestyle of a group of players – soon discarding his new wife for the more obvious charms of the great stage actress Peg Woffington.

In the tradition of The School for Scandal and The Rivals, Masks and Faces is both a 18th century period caper and a tribute to the backstage world of the theatre, complete with the hapless failed playwright, Triplet, and his hungry family, to real-life writer Colley Cibber, and the ghastly critics Soaper and Snarl……

Set in the 18th century, written in the 19th century, filmed in the 20th century (with an all-star cast), and now presented for the first time online, MASKS AND FACES is a celebration of making theatre.

First performed in 1852, the history of MASKS AND FACES is rooted in Kensington and Chelsea and the local area around the Finborough Theatre. It provided Ellen Terry – a former resident of Finborough Road, and a long term resident of Earl’s Court – with one of her first and most acclaimed leading roles. The production is supported by the Friends of Brompton Cemetery, next to the Finborough Theatre, where the co-author Tom Taylor, and actors Ben Webster and Sir Squire and Lady Bancroft – all known for their roles in Masks and Faces – lie buried.

Presented by Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre as part of The Kensington + Chelsea Festival 2021 which runs from 21 June–31 August. The Kensington + Chelsea Festival will bring people together to inspire and be inspired, offering a season of arts experiences in venues and unusual spaces, putting culture at the heart of pandemic recovery. The multi-disciplinary will celebrate creativity and culture for everyone. The Festival mix spans visual art, public art, design, theatre, circus, opera, dance, music, outdoor arts, comedy, spoken word, young people’s take-over stages, family shows, talks, micro-commissions, with creative experiments enabling audiences to see artists bringing new ideas to life.

MASKS AND FACES will be available to watch online from Wednesday, 28 July at 6.00pm to Wednesday, 25 August 2021 at midnight. The show will be available with subtitles on Screensaver here.


Find the theatre’s information about the show here

Enjoy an online walking tour of the changing face of Leeds cinemas

Paramount Theatre, Leeds

The good people at Leeds Civic Trust are responsible for organising a number of projects and events that help audiences from Leeds and surroundings to see the built heritage which surrounds them with fresh eyes and a healthy dose of appreciation.

For the cinema enthusiasts amongst u,s they have created a virtual cinema tour, looking at the changing face of cinema buildings in Leeds and taking in eleven cinema buildings which at times had theatrical presentations also. Garance Rawinsky leads the tour, which is now available online via YouTube.

You can watch the tour here

LGBT PRIDE MONTH EVENTS: Explore the truth behind the legend of Alan Turing in a fascinating online talk by his nephew

Image by Justin Eagleton

June is LGBT Pride Month, and June 9th is International Archive Day, so what better time to celebrate the great work of the UK National Archives? To mark the event, here’s another fascinating free online talk courtesy of the National Archive, entitled REFLECTIONS OF ALAN TURING.

World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing’s career has inspired a number of creative works, amongst them Hugh Whitemore’s stage hit of the 1980s, BREAKING THE CODE, with a memorable performance by Derek Jacobi as Turing, and again a few years ago with film THE IMITATION GAME, where Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed Turing to much acclaim.

So, by now, everyone knows the story of the code-breaker and computer science pioneer Alan Turing.

Or do they?

Our knowledge of Alan Turing has been fragmentary, and further obscured by decades of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. In this discussion these layers of super-encipherment are stripped away to disclose the real story.

Was Alan Turing actually much of a codebreaker?
What is the meaning of Alan Turing’s trial, his suicide, the Royal Pardon, the £50 note, and the film The Imitation Game?
Drawing from Alan Turing’s background, his discoveries and his life-story, this talk uncovers a fresh legacy from Alan Turing for the 21st century.

This talk is presented by Dermot Turing, author of the acclaimed biography PROF, about the life of his uncle, Alan Turing and X, Y & Z: THE REAL STORY OF HOW ENIGMA WAS BROKEN. He spent his career in the legal profession after graduating from Cambridge and Oxford, and is a trustee of Bletchley Park. He has extensive knowledge of World War II code-breaking and is a regular presenter at major cryptology events.

Presented online on Wednesday, 9 June at 7.30pm BST, the talk lasts approximately 30-40 minutes, followed by a 15 minute live Q&A and promises to give real insights into this most fascinating of men.

You can find more information and book your free tickets here

Further supporting information about the presentation:

This online talk will be presented on Microsoft Teams. You do not need a Teams account to join an event, and can select the Join anonymously option to join from your browser if preferred. If you are accessing the event from a mobile device, you will need to download the Teams app. For the best experience we recommend using either a laptop or desktop computer.

You will receive a reminder email, including a link to join in advance of the event. For more information on attending a Teams event, please visit: