Performing Arts

Performing Arts

Sociability, with an emphasis on communication and collaboration, underpins the practice and study of theatre and performance in the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow. Our teaching and research has strong and established links to the professional cultural and arts sectors in Glasgow, Scotland and beyond. - Dr Minty Donald, Performing Arts Theme Lead

Engaging the Public with Performing Arts

The performing arts are inescapably social and public. The performing arts presume the presence of an audience – an exchange between performer and witness. Further, theatre-making is, generally, a collaborative process involving actors, directors, writers, technicians, designers, managers and many more working together in a shared enterprise. These attributes — sociability, an emphasis on communication and collaboration — underpin the practice and study of theatre and performance in the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow.

Our teaching and research has strong and established links to the professional cultural and arts sectors in Glasgow, Scotland and beyond. These include researchers working with the Arches, National Theatre of Scotland, Untitled Projects, the Citizens Theatre and Glasgay as critical commentators and advisors; public performances and events produced as part of collaborative doctoral projects with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company and Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel, and commissions for site-specific performances and public artworks from Glasgow Life and Glasgow Sculpture Studios/Scottish Waterways Trust/Scottish Canals.

Our students benefit greatly from our established partnerships with the arts and performance sectors through mentorship, work placements and employment opportunities. In addition, the multiple modes of learning that students undertake in studying theatre and performance — such as collaborative devising practices, and the critical use of video and other media, alongside more ‘traditional’ scholarly approaches towards research and analysis — provide them with a range of valuable and transferrable skills in their careers beyond the university.

Our theatre and performance scholarship also extends beyond the arts and cultural sectors to consider performance as a lens through which to explore and examine our (human) place in the world. Recent thinking in, for example, cultural geography, philosophy and ecology has proposed that performance is a productive mode for considering humans’ relationship with what is popularly understood as ‘the environment’.  This is a particular focus for a cluster of researchers in performance studies in the College of Art whose work includes research on the performance of rivers, ruins and forests and on how we can learn from the experiences of differently-abled people to question and enhance our understandings of ‘landscape’ and ‘environment’. This research has found us forming partnerships with ecological and environmental organisations and agencies such as eco/art/scot/land, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Creative Carbon and Glasgow Life.

Throughout the coming month we will be featuring our range of expertise in theatre and performance and some projects where we are working in partnership with cultural and other organisations.  We would like to invite you to contribute your ideas and suggestions for building on and extending our links with non-academic partners. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Dr Minty Donald - Performing Arts Knowledge Exchange Theme Lead, Lecturer in Contemporary Performance Practices (Theatre, Film and Television Studies)


 

To learn more about Performing Arts or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

 

 


Performing Arts KE Case Studies

Performing Arts KE Case Studies

Aldeburgh Residency

Purcell’s Revenge was the second Aldeburgh residency undertaken by the Concerto Caledonia in March 2013. The programme was partly researched and the performing material prepared by a College of Arts student.
The residency involved an extended rehearsal period for a group of 11 early music specialists and traditional musicians at Snape Maltings in Suffolk. Besides the preparation for a public performance there, the group was involved in coaching the Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra of emerging professionals and postgraduate students, and made an outreach trip to the traditional music community based around the Ship Inn, Blaxhall. After the performance, the group spent a further day recording material for an album to be released by Delphian.

Project Partner:
Aldeburgh Music

Academic:
Dr David McGuinness


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Live Music Exchange

Live Music Exchange (LMX) is a an online hub for promoters, musicians, agents, researchers, educators, journalists, bloggers, local authorities, venue staff, policy makers and anyone with an interest in the live music industries. The website is the one-stop-shop for information about the live music industries in the UK.
Initially funded by the AHRC, LMX is jointly hosted by the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The website features regular blogs from industry personnel and opinion pieces by academics and others. Its services include training, mediation, events management and consultancy.
The project has involved collaboration with UK Music, Live Nation, the Scottish Music Industry Association, Edinburgh City Council, and Glasgow City Council.

Website:
http://livemusicexchange.org

Academic:
Prof Martin Cloonan


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Scoring for TV and Film

David has been engaged as a music producer and composer on five series of the TV drama series Skins, made by Company Pictures for E4/Channel 4 and for MTV in the US, working with a variety of artists including Gabrielle Aplin, Rae Morris, and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
Music Performance students from the University, alongside students from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre Arts, and the University-affiliated choir Madrigirls, have gained experience of media recording sessions.
Most of the recordings are made in house at the University, broadening staff skills in providing material for broadcast, and the music production processes have informed and directly contributed to the content of the Performance and Notation courses of the undergraduate Music programme.

Project Partners:
Company Pictures

Academic:
Dr David McGuinness


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Sublimation and The Lady from the Sea

There are two distinct collaborations that together form a narrative of linked work in contemporary opera libretti. Production and success of Sublimation, a short opera co-written with composer Dr Nick Fells (GU), led to a further commission for The Lady from the Sea, a full length opera with music by composer Craig Armstrong. Sublimation was selected to travel to South Africa for performance by Cape Town Opera. The Lady from the Sea had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2012, as a key part of Scottish Opera’s 50th anniversary season.
Sublimation sold out at all its shows, to audiences totalling thousands of people. The production of The Lady from the Sea won a Herald Angel Award at the EIF 2012.

Project Partners:
Scottish Opera

Academic:
Zoe Strachan, Dr Nick Fells


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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What’s Next for Queer Performance?

‘What’s Next for Queer Performance?’ was a public discussion event programmed as part of Glasgay!, Scotland’s annual celebration of LGBT culture. Chaired and curated by Dr Stephen Greer, the event brought together a panel of practitioners to explore the festival’s legacy and – in conversation with an audience of over 170 - look ahead to the future of queer performance. Amidst increasing – but by no means comprehensive – legal and social recognition of LGBT subjects across Europe, who or what might the ‘queer’ in queer performances stand for?
 
The panellists for the evening were Glasgow-based playwright and director John Binnie (whose work first appeared at the festival in 1998), award-winning writer Stef Smith (best known for 2010’s Roadkill, directed by Cora Bissett) and performer, writer and theatre maker Martin O’Connor (whose many collaborations include work with Scottish Opera and Glasgow’s Theatre Royal). The evening was opened with a provocation from Glasgay!’s festival producer, Steven Thomson.

Project partner:

Glasgay!

Academic:

Dr Stephen Greer


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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High-Slack-Low-Slack-High

‘High-Slack-Low-Slack-High’ was programmed as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, 2012 and curated by Minty Donald. The project evolved as part of Minty’s practice-based research, which investigates site-specific performance as a means of exploring our (human) relationships with the environment - in thiscase, with urban rivers. Five artists (John Cavanagh, Minty, Douglas Morland, Nichola Scrutton and Hanna Tuulikki) created site-specific sound works in response to the tide cycle of the River Clyde in central Glasgow. The workswere performed at high tide at locations on or near to the river for five days during the festival. Nichola Scrutton, who recently completed a doctorate in Music at the University of Glasgow, included current Music postgraduate students in her performance while the project also involved undergraduate Theatre and postgraduate History of Art students in management and documentation roles. The five performances, plus a concert performance of all five sound works, which took place in the opulent, circular Edwardian board hall of Clydeport Headquarters, were witnessed by around 400 people. Audience responses suggested that the works had heightened and altered perceptions of the River Clyde, insinuating the rhythms of the Clyde’s tidal cycle into the fabric ofcontemporary city life.

Project partners: Clydeport, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.

Academic:

Dr Minty Donald


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Sacre du Printemps/Rites of Spring centenary: screenings and panel discussion

On occasion of the centenary of the first production of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps and in cooperationwith the Goethe Institut Glasgow, Anselm Heinrich brought together and chaired a panel discussion on Sacre du Printemps in its current and historical interpretations and issues around originality, adaptation and translation at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow on 23 October 2013.

The event included a screening of a reconstruction of the original choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky (by Hodson/Archer) and of Sasha Waltz’s recent 2013 production, which was just at that time receiving its German premiere in Berlin to significant critical acclaim. Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director, Christopher Hampson, was also invited to talk about his own choreography of the piece, which was premiering in Glasgow that autumn.

The panel consisted of Dr Lucy Weir (History of Art, Glasgow University), Christopher Hampson (Artistic Director Scottish Ballet), Jay Capperauld (composer), Richard Honner (Resident Conductor Scottish Ballet), Paul Tyers (Artistic Director BA in Modern Ballet, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Scottish Ballet), and Dr Anselm Heinrich.

The event was attended by about 100 people, and generously funded by the GoetheInstitut Glasgow.

Academic Profile: Dr Anselm Heinrich

Partners: Goethe Institut, Alliance Française, Scottish Ballet, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Centre for Contemporary Art


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Guddling About

Minty Donald, with her regular collaborator, Nick Millar, was invited to undertake a three-month residency in Calgary, Alberta hosted by the City of Calgary Department of Utilities and Environmental Protection (Water Services) and Department of Public Art in spring/summer 2013. The residency supported the artists in their investigation of performance practice as a means of exploring (human) relationships with water in the City of Calgary, focusing on the Bow and Elbow Rivers and their watershed. The Bow River and its tributary, the Elbow, run through central Calgary and are the city’s major water source. In June 2013, they were subject to severe flooding, which caused extensive damage and led to the evacuation of thousands of people from the city centre.

During the residency, Minty and Nick devised and carried out a series of public performances titled ‘Guddling About: experiments in vital materialism with particular regard to water’ which were intended to invite reflection on human/water relationships in the context of Calgary, following the June flood. The performances were witnessed by over 500 people and stimulated engaged, and lively debates on human/water interdependency. The residency culminated in a one-day ‘open studio’ event – an interactive public exhibition at Glenmore Dam, Calgary, which was attended by over 200 visitors.

Project Partners: City of Calgary Department of Utilities and Environmental Protection (Water Services) and Department of Public Art

Academic: Dr Minty Donald

 

Read more - Reach 04 Article


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Performing Bach and Handel

The historically informed performance of Handel’s Messiah by John Butt, an academic in the College of Arts, and Dunedin Consort became the best-selling production for the well-known independent record producer Linn Records. The records enjoyed sales of over £144,000 (20,000 copies). The combination of Butt’s historical performance knowledge and musical expertise gave the pieces an originality and freshness appreciated by audiences.

Dunedin Consort are currently Scotland’s leading baroque ensemble and the success of their recordings with Butt have meant that the group has expanded its performances and outreach activity, including several international touring opportunities. Dunedin Consort have won several awards and continue to make further recordings. 

Project Partner: 
Linn Records

Academic: 
Prof John Butt


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Campaigning for music and musicians

An academic in the College of Arts has helped to reform censorship of music and musicians in the UK and campaigns internationally for the right to freedom of artistic expression. Martin Cloonan founded Freemuse (www.freemuse.org) in 1998 and it continues to publicise censorship and human rights violations involving musicians worldwide. Freemuse has received funding from organisations around the world and has had Special Consultative Status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2012.

After the restrictive UK Licensing Act was introduced in 2003, Cloonan played an important role in supporting the Live Music Forum’s successful campaign for reform. Cloonan has also worked with Creative Scotland, the Scottish Music Industry Association and the Musician’s Union on the question of cultural policy and music.

Project Partner:
Freemuse, Creative Scotland, Scottish Music Industry Association

Academic:
Prof Martin Cloonan


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Celebrating Pantomime

The popular Pantomime in Scotland exhibition ran from 2008-2010 and toured across Scotland, reaching nearly a third of all people in Scotland. It was based on a research project of the same name by two academics in the College of Arts, Adrienne Scullion and Paul Maloney. The exhibition used archive footage from the National Library of Scotland and Scottish Screen as well as including memorabilia and audio recordings of memories of particular pantomimes.

Alongside the tour was a programme of free education and outreach events including talks, round table discussions, drama and art workshops and film screenings. Visitors were also encouraged to share their memories through reminiscence events. In collaboration with Scottish Opera and Glasgow Life, and the on-going support of the National Library of Scotland and Scottish Screen, Scullion and Maloney also produced a DVD and booklet Pantomime in Scotland: a celebration of Scottish Pantomime on film.

Project Partner: 
NLS, Scottish Screen

Academics: 
Prof Adrienne Scullion, Dr Paul Maloney


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Taking scholarship to the stage

An academic in the College of Arts was an academic advisor for the National Theatre of Scotland’s (NTS) production of Euripides’ Bacchae. Ian Ruffell was commissioned by the NTS to produce a literal yet modern translation of the play with a commentary for the playwright, David Grieg, to work with.

Ruffell played an ongoing role at rehearsals, which allowed the performance to bring the comedy of the play into focus without losing the meaning of the lines. The play reached audiences of over 30,000 in the UK and over 9,000 in New York.

Project Partner:
National Theatre of Scotland

Academic:
Dr Ian Ruffell


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Return To Battleship

A text/image performance, Return to Battleshipemerged from the AHRC funded project ‘Future of Ruins: Reclaiming Abandonment and Toxicity on Hashima Island’. The performance has played to a mixture of audiences in numerous venues in the UK and Argentina. The performance was funded by the AHRC and seeks to disclose knowledge about ecological futures. The performance is authored by the artist Lee Hassall and Carl Lavery.

Project partners:

The Nagasaki Institute of Applied Science, The Performing Garage, Worcester, Japan Foundation and the Oriel Gallery Aberystwyth.

Academic:

Professor Carl Lavery


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Changing the face of Classics in theatres and museums

Academics in the College of Arts have worked with the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow to produce an original display of museum artefacts. With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, Elizabeth Moignard and Richard Williams RA used 3D imaging and printing techniques to enlarge miniature 4th century Greek theatre masks into life sized objects.

The scanned ancient masks came from the Kelvingrove, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the Shefton Museum, Newcastle and the Museo Aeoliano Lipari, Italy.

The replicas made a significant contribution to the ‘Expressions’ display in the Kelvingrove and Moignard and Williams worked closely with curators to develop informative labelling for the display. Some of the reproductions have toured around Europe in exhibitions alongside videos of performances and have also appeared on stage. 

Project Partner:
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Academic:
Prof Elizabeth Moignard


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Writing an audio play from recorded conversations

Walking Interconnections is a collaborative research project with a team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol and the West of England, as well as 19 co-researchers from the disabled and environmental activist communities and supported by The West of England Centre for Inclusive Living.

The project used creative research methods to develop dialogues between disabled people and environmental groups, two traditionally separate communities. Co-researchers took one another on a walk of their choice, drawing maps, taking photographs and making audio recordings of their conversations.

Professor Deirdre Heddon then transcribed the recorded conversations and used their words to produce a 30 minute audio play, ‘Going for a Walk’. This play illustrates the resilience, creativity and determination of the participants. It can be downloaded (and taken for a walk) from http://walkinginterconnections.com/audio-play-going-for-a-walk/

Project Partner: 
University of Bristol, University of the West of England, The West of England Centre for Inclusive Living

Academic: 
Prof Deirdre Heddon


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Burning the Circle - A performative walk into the past

Burning the Circle was a performative walk created by Dr Cara Berger in collaboration with archaeology charity Northlight Heritage and the National Trust for Scotland.

The aim of the piece was not simply to transmit information to an audience in a creative form but to make use of the potential of performance to engage in sensate, affective and corporeal ways. Whilst walking through the landscape of Arran, the audience heard pieces of history, through the islanders’ voices, and Viking song. Reconstructed funeral pyres were both useful in research terms for experimental archaeology but also an opportunity to experience past rituals.

Working with people from different backgrounds allowed Cara to exchange perspectives and ideas with others to create a shared experience. 

Project Partner: 
Northlight Heritage, National Trust for Scotland

Academic: 
Dr Cara Berger


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Playing & Learning at Celtic Connections

Staff and students from the College of Arts participated in the opening concert of Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January 2015. The concert was a celebration of the composer Martyn Bennett and his final album ‘Grit’.

As musicians, members of the College of Arts played in the concert alongside violinist Greg Lawson, who prepared the piece for performance. The complexity of the notation used to prepare this unorthodox piece is of considerable interest, so Greg will be discussing the process with Dr David McGuinness and sharing the scores with undergraduates on the Notation course.

The diversity of research and expertise available within the College of Arts meant that they could contribute to the Celtic Connections project in a variety of ways. The concert itself was sold out and highlights aired on BBC Scotland. 

Project Partner: 
Celtic Connections

Academic: 
Dr David McGuinness


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Performing visitor engagement

Engaging Hidden Histories was part of a collaborative doctoral project undertaken by artist and doctoral researcher Tara S. Beall, working with Theatre Studies at Glasgow and The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel.

The project was designed to increase the connectivity of the Riverside Museum with its new location, focusing on local communities and histories in Govan, and specific mobile communities. It aimed to develop new strategies for visitor engagement using creative events and performance practices. The project encouraged and enabled local publics to work collaboratively with museum staff, to gather research and develop activities.

The activities developed included: four trails connecting the Riverside Museum and Govan, a performative guided walk about women in Govan, research into the history of fairgrounds in the area including ‘Behind the Scenes of the Fair’ in December 2013. 

Project Partner: 
The Riverside Museum

Academic: 
Tara S. Beall


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Wild Life: an intergenerational ecological performance practice

Sarah Hopfinger is doing a practice-led PhD in collaboration with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, focused on researching and developing an intergenerational ecological performance practice. The main piece of research involved collaborating with and directing an ensemble of eight professional and non-professional performers between nine and 60 years old. Together they createdWild Life – a live performance that is a choreography, meditation and celebration of wildness.

Wild Life is co-produced by Platform Art Centre and Catherine Wheels Theatre Company. It is has been presented to diverse intergenerational audiences including schools, community and youth groups, regular theatre audiences, and the general public in various contexts, such as the Only Human? festival at Glasgow University and Platform theatre venue in Easterhouse.

Project Partner: 
Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, Platform Art Centre, Only Human? festival

Academic: 
Sarah Hopfinger


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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Only Human? Festival

Only Human? was a two-day event which brought together researchers from film, geography, philosophy and theatre studies at University of Glasgow with non-academic communities. This festival of art and ideas explored what it means to be human, considered in relation to the nonhuman: animals, elements and environments.

Activities at the festival included talks, guided walks, films, performances and installations. Visitors to the festival described their experiences as ‘Illuminating’, ‘thought-provoking’ ‘challenging and new’. For more comments on the event, watch the video.

Project Partner: 
Only Human? festival


To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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