Professor Joe Moran: LJMU English Research Stands Up

Last week at the Everyman Bistro, LJMU launched Liverpool Bright Club, an innovative comedy night on which professional performers were accompanied by LJMU lecturers in a series of stand up sets. Billed as the ‘thinking person’s variety night’, the aim of Bright Club is to spread the word about university research in an entertaining format. LJMU English's Professor Joe Moran, whose research work is focussed upon everyday experience in Britain's recent past, took part in this pioneering night to present ideas from his most recent book Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness.  Joe reflected, 'It was an interesting process trying to fit your research into the form of stand-up, as what we do when we lecture is vaguely similar but also very different. I’m used to extemporising in lectures and you can’t really do that in a routine: you have to learn the whole thing off by heart because the lines only work when you say them a very specific way. The organiser, Tim Miles, told...
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Bella Adams’s Pre-Show Talk at Liverpool Playhouse: A Raisin in the Sun

Bella Adams’s Pre-Show Talk at Liverpool Playhouse: A Raisin in the Sun

On Thursday 3rd March, LJMU English's Bella Adams will be giving a pre-show talk on Lorraine Hansberry's ground-breaking 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun, which is on at the Liverpool Playhouse from 2nd-5th March. James Baldwin claimed of the play that, ‘Never before, in the entire history of theatre, has so much of the truth of black people’s lives been seen on the stage'. Bella's talk will explore the cultural and political context of the play, and you can get tickets to hear her speak here. Bella said, 'My talk will focus on Lorraine Hansberry’s varied political interests, the critical reception of the play, the Chicago Southside setting and housing segregation. This wasn't a play I knew well before I heard it was coming to the Playhouse, and reading and researching it has been fascinating. In fact, I'm thinking of adding it to the reading list for my Race in America module next year.' If you're studying that module, or fancy seeing a fascinating...
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Lord of the Flies at the Liverpool Playhouse

Lord of the Flies at the Liverpool Playhouse

Regent's Park Theatre Company are in the middle of a sell-out run of their production of Lord of the Flies at the Playhouse Theatre this week. On Thursday 4th February, LJMU English's Alice Ferrebe gave a pre-show talk about William Golding's novel and its context. The adaptation is set in the present-day. Did Golding's novel translate across 60 years? Why is it still such a favourite school set-text? Alice: One of the things I tried to bring out in my talk was the way the novel, first published in 1954, responds to crucial anxieties in its post-war context, in particular issues around human morality in the wake of the Death Camps and the atomic bomb. Those ideas, are of course, perennial ones, and the narrative still retains its moral charge today. There's a lovely irony in the fact that Golding wrote the novel whilst himself a schoolteacher, often setting his class thankless tasks like counting the number of words on the page of a novel...
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The Winter’s Tale: LJMU English Fieldtrip

The Winter’s Tale: LJMU English Fieldtrip

LJMU Level 5 Shakespeare student, Hugh Adam, writes about the 18th November production of The Winter's Tale. The Winter’s Tale Performed at the Liverpool Playhouse, the Northern Broadsides’ production of The Winter’s Tale captures all the vital emotional elements of the text (jealousy, betrayal, abandonment, acceptance, comedy, redemption), while adding a modern twist sure to please all theatre goers, not just Shakespeare enthusiasts. Beginning in Sicily, transposed from the time of its writing to New Year’s Eve 1999, The Winter’s Tale opens with the celebrations of old friends Leontes, the King of Sicily, and Polixenes, the King of Bohemia. In accordance with the play’s complexity of tone, the celebrations are bittersweet for Polixenes, who longs to return to Bohemia and his family. His eventual decision to remain in Sicily (convinced by Leontes’ wife, Hermione) gives the insecure Leontes grounds to suppose an affair between the two, leading the King of Sicily (and those around him) into a vicious, jealousy-fuelled turmoil. The first three acts...
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Sondeep Kandola at the Playhouse

Sondeep Kandola at the Playhouse

  The Haunting of Hill House, an adaptation of the 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson, is proving a critical and popular success at the Liverpool Playhouse: the Guardian review loved the play's 'unsettling suggestion we can only save ourselves – because we are all alone in the dark'. Jackson's novel is a student favourite on our third-year 'Vamps and Villians: Exploring Gothic Literature' module, and on 10th December 2015 LJMU English's Sonny Kandola gave a talk exploring that text in terms of the female Gothic, domestic trauma and neurosis. Ruminating on Jackson's own tortured life, she linked the breakdown of the central character, Eleanor, to the anxieties around women's social role exploded by Betty Friedan's 1963 sociological study The Feminine Mystique. Sonny traced the symbolism of the (Gothic) house in the American psyche back to work of Edgar Allen Poe, explaining how the house had been used to represent fears about political legitimacy in a comparatively young nation and anxieties about the dead hand of the past that the ghost in the...
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