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BA Comedy and Satire’s New Course Convenor

Our new BA Comedy and Satire programme, now entering its third year, has a new convenor. After teaching on the course for the past year, Diane Messias will now be stepping up!

Diane is highly-experienced in theatre, radio, TV and film. She is a writer, director, producer, script editor, script consultant and performer, specialising in comedy and drama. She has written for and worked with many of the top household names in British comedy and theatre, including Rory Bremner, Harry Hill, Alistair McGowan, Ian Hislop, Richard Ingrams, Paul Merton, Richard Wilson, Michael Hordern, Annette Crosbie, Alan Coren, Willie Rushton, Andrew Sachs and Barry Took. At the BBC, she wrote and produced multiple series of The News Quiz, and directed and produced the first radio episodes of One Foot In The Grave.

We hope you will join us in wishing Diane all the best in her new role. We can’t wait to see what she has in store!

TAP Out Festival 2019

Over three weeks back in May, our third year BA Drama & Theatre Arts students self-organised and performed in our annual TAP Out Festival, which brings together an eclectic mix of performance work from the Theatre Making 3 Projects module. Now, we’re taking a look at a couple of our newly graduated students’ work and reflecting on the success of their final performance at Goldsmiths.

This year’s TAP Out Festival included a programme more diverse, more innovative and more experimental than we’ve ever seen. From devised performance to live art, installation, new writing and solo performance, each project was the result of a critically informed, research-led performance making process undertaken by our talented and dedicated students.

A figure wearing a yellow top, pink trousers and a decorative eye mask crouches down looking at a picture in a frame

April Spiers in Opia

One of the many standout performances was April Spiers’ ‘Opia’, a solo clown, mask and movement piece. Opia refers to “the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable”. The foundations of April’s performance were built on audience interaction and eye contact as the trickster-like figure explored what it is that makes a space comfortable.

She explains, “I wanted to explore the temporality of ‘home’ and the emotions we associate with it, as well as the feeling when moving on and seeking comfort in new environments.” Slinking around the stage to music from Mac Demarco, The Smiths and Oasis, April’s character unloaded various props out of his suitcase, trying to fashion his own concept of home.

Daisy Moloney in Do You Hear the Apocalypse

Daisy Maloney’s ‘Do You Hear the Apocalypse’ was a minimalist solo performance. Daisy’s script followed a deaf woman who had survived the apocalypse and convinced herself that a mannequin was her husband to cope with being alone and unable to hear the world around her.

As Daisy’s mum is transitioning from being partially to completely deaf, she wanted her piece to be completely disability accessible. “I had my script running throughout on a projector which told people to a T the dialogue and my actions, so it worked as subtitles,” Daisy explains.

TAP Out marked the end of the creative journey that our students have taken through their time at Goldsmiths. After three years of devoted study, we are so proud of our BA Drama and Theatre Arts degree finalists for putting together such a dynamic programme of performances.

As summarised by Daisy, “The experience was, of course, stressful at times but so liberating. The course consists of a new profound art that pushes you as a person. A constant creative clash of themes and ideas that ultimately reinvents you as a person.”

The George Wood Theatre Refurbishment

In 2018, we opened the doors to the new and improved George Wood Theatre. A year on, we take a closer look at the refurbishment and consider how the Theatre and Performance department has transformed.

The history

The George Wood Theatre has a rich history. It was first built in the 1850s for the Royal Naval College and has withstood two World Wars. Whilst still preserving trace memories of its former identity by incorporating many original structures, such as the intricate roof detail and raw brick walls, The George Wood Theatre is now located firmly in the contemporary. After spending decades in a space that was not fit for 21st-century practice, we now boast an exciting suite of facilities which has revolutionised our teaching practice. With this being the first year that final performances have taken place in the new theatre, our staff, students, technicians and audiences will all attest to amazing difference that the refurbishment has made to our department.

An old picture in black and white shows Goldsmiths in the early 20th century

The chapel, now The George Wood Theatre, can be seen to the left

The spaces

Whereas the old theatre could only function in an end-on configuration, the stage can now function end-on, in the round or traverse. With the restoration of the fantastic chapel windows, the space can transform into an atmospheric daylight space, which is extremely rare in theatre architecture.

The tension wire grid above the theatre not only allows for superb lighting but also has a central opening from which students have dropped or flown things onto the stage during performances. With the new-found flexibility of The George Wood Theatre, our students can respond creatively to its many options.

The refurbishment also created two other state-of-the-art studios. Behind the theatre, the new black box studio offers a space consonant with many such studios across the world.

Above, our new sprung floor dance studio provides a bright, clean and movement-conducive teaching, rehearsal and performance space.

Future opportunities

We owe a massive thank you to the dedicated team of architects, surveyors and engineers who, whilst retaining its architectural charm, helped to transform The George Wood Theatre. As the potential of the hidden volume was maximised, three areas were created out of one. A bespoke, user-friendly space was produced where many future practitioners and researchers can nurture and master their craft. It is where generations of students will make memories, learn, and go on to leave indelible marks on our live culture.

 

Welcome to Goldsmiths’ brand new Theatre and Performance blog!

Here is where you will be able to keep up to date with all of our goings-on – your one-stop shop for all things TaP! As the outgoing Head of Department, I can attest to just how vibrant our community is here and I am delighted to now have a platform from which to share all of our exciting news.

Our department is comprised of a dynamic cohort of researchers, artists and practitioners who are always working on exciting projects nationally and internationally. From research to performance, music and dance, TaP at Goldsmiths is a hub of innovative practice which pushes the boundaries of mainstream theatre, constantly challenging accepted norms. Here we embody that sense of radicalism and uniqueness which has set Goldsmiths aside from other universities. Our teaching challenges but also prepares our students to be free thinkers and makers who would rather employ than wait to be employed; theatre that is new, daring and refreshing.

On this blog is where you will be able to read about all the interesting things that our staff, students and alumni are working on, both inside and outside of Goldsmiths. We will be posting events, reviews, interviews, profiles, opportunities and more, so make sure you keep checking back.

As this will be my first and last blog post as Head of Department, I am delighted to be welcoming Dr Ben Levitas as my successor. It has been a very rewarding four years leading this eclectic department in which I have learned so much about colleagues and students as well as about myself. TaP is a great department; do make it your home.

Professor Osita Okagbue