Alan Meggs ‘Reclaims Cabaret’ in a REG talk that transports us all to 1980s Italy…

Join Alan Meggs, one of our brilliant doctoral researchers in Creative Writing and REG member, as he whisks you back into his memories, conjures some hauntings and argues with passion for reclaiming the lost stories of touring cabaret performers

Watch the talk HERE!

Reclaiming Cabaret: A queer haunted auto ethnography of real, researched and imagined stories from cabaret past and present 

A patchwork tribe of suitcased entertainers. A queer haunted autoethnography of real, researched and imagined stories from the cabaret nightclubs of Europe past and present.

During the 1980s, British dancers, including Alan and his peers, worked abroad, taking jobs as a means of acquiring an Equity card, or for work security and regular wage, or to see the world. With no known accounts of this period of recent dance history online, he approached The Stage, Equity, Dancing Times, The National Resource Centre for Dance andUNESCO’s International Dance Council, to enquire about records or archives of the time. Negative replies told me something had to be done or the undocumented lives and the styles of choreography no longer performed, would be lost forever.

Using autoethnography, hauntology and queer theory, Alan’s innovative Creative Writing doctoral project here at the University of Brighton recounts his life in a small touring cabaret dance company in Italy between 1980-1986. It also examines people and places from the origins of the modern cabaret in fin-de-siècle Paris and brings the past andpresent together in a magically real space where real, researched andimagined lives meet, haunt and interact within his lived experience.

Alan Meggs, University of Brighton
Alan Meggs trained in dance at the Arts Educational Schools in London at the end of the 1970s. After a long performing career that spanned cabaret, West End Theatre, T.V., film and national/international tours, he stepped ‘behind the scenes’ working across almost every aspect of live entertainment from dance captain to choreographer, actor to director, dresser to wardrobe supervisor, stage hand to production manager, arriving in academia in 2018. (<>😉

Laura Hanna on ‘Representation and Collective Creation: The Work of MENA Arts’

The Performance and Communities REG and UoB’s Decol Collective  were very proud to co-present our first collaboration event with our special guest speaker, Laura Hanna. Laura talk was entitled ‘Representation and Collective Creation: The Work of MENA Arts’, and centred on her work with MENA Arts UK (a not for profit arts organisation for UK-based professionals who are connected to the MENA+ region (Middle East, North Africa and surrounding region). The session ended with a Q&A about her work and our work.

A recording of the talk can be found HERE 🙂

The MENA steering group (left to right): Laura Hanna, Ramzi DeHani, Nadia Emam, Laila Alj, Jessie Bedrossian, Kerry Kyriacos Michael, Sepy Baghaei, Arian Nik, Lara Sawalha, Lanna Joffrey, Shireen Farkhoy, Philip Arditti, Penny Babakhani

More information about Laura and MENA’s work can be found here: HOME | Welcome to MENA Arts UK

We at the Performance and Communities REG and UoB’s Decol Collective look forward to hosting more exciting talks and events soon, so watch this space!

News from the Performance and Community REG

Prof. Deborah Philips speaks at CMNH Online Seminar.

Title: And This is My Friend Sandy (Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend, London Theatre and Gay Culture)

In this seminar Professor Deborah Philips will talk about her book “And This is My Friend Sandy” which situates the production of The Boy Friend and the Players’ Theatre in the context of a post-war London and reads The Boy Friend, and Wilson’s later work, as exercises in contemporary camp. It argues for Wilson as a significant and transitional figure both for musical theatre and for modes of homosexuality in the context of the pre-Wolfenden 1950s.

Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend is one of the most successful British musicals ever written. First produced at the Players’ Theatre Club in London in 1953 it transferred to the West End and Broadway, making a star out of Julie Andrews and gave Twiggy a leading role in Ken Russell’s 1971 film adaptation. Despite this success, little is known about Wilson, a gay writer working in Britain in the 1950s at a time when homosexuality was illegal.

Drawing on original research assembled from the Wilson archives at the Harry Ransom Center, this is the first critical study of Wilson as a key figure of 1950s British theatre. Beginning with the often overlooked context of the Players’ Theatre Club through to Wilson’s relationship to industry figures such as Binkie Beaumont, Noël Coward and Ivor Novello, this study explores the work in the broader history of Soho gay culture. As well as a critical perspective on The Boy Friend, later works such as Divorce Me, Darling!, The Buccaneer and Valmouth are examined as well as uncompleted musical versions of Pygmalion and Goodbye to Berlin to give a comprehensive and original perspective on one of British theatre’s most celebrated yet overlooked talents.

Free tickets for the event are here

Performance and communities research and enterprise group RESEARCH PAPER AND DISCUSSION

WEDNESDAY 18TH @1.30 ON MS TEAMS JOINING CODE:  sni336o (please email me if you cannot get in)

Flirting with Ghosts: A Conversation about Performing (in, as & with) Queer Bodies.

SL Grange & E.M. Parry

SL Grange is a theatre-maker, writer and facilitator. She is particularly interested in collaborative and ensemble work, and in improvisatory practices that allow for a plurality of voices – including the audiences’ – to be a part of the conversation. Ess has worked with theatre company Improbable for many years, producing and facilitating events that use Open Space Technology; a deeply democratic process designed to empower groups to improvise their own agenda and take action collectively. Ess is currently in the third year of their PhD project at UoB. The research looks for ways to encounter and have a conversation with Mary Frith; a queer performer and criminal who has been dead for 361 years, and with whom Ess is in love.

E.M. Parry is a transgender, trans-disciplinary artist, working and playing across scenography, performance, drag and visual art. Flitting between genres and platforms, their work has been seen at Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, the V&A Museum and Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, international opera stages and leaky basements. They are currently working on a creative practice-led PhD at the UoB which centres the trans performing body as a tool and method for queer historical research.

Mall and Ess met at art school in the early ‘00s, where we spent a lot of time drinking rum, smoking pipes and talking about all the things we wanted to make together, and we’ve pretty much been doing that ever since. Two decades on we’re both doing performance-centred PhDs that cover queerness, time, history, embodiment and flirting with ghosts. We’ll be talking about our work, our projects, the places where they overlap and interlace, the places they sit separate but adjacent, the ghosts of all the work we didn’t get to make, and the archive that is friendship.


Bodies on the move: on screen and in the street

Bodies on the move: on screen and in the street

Workshop organised as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival

May 29th, 4-7pm

 Sallis Benney Theatre,

University of Brighton,

Grand Parade

Brighton BN2 OJY

 Join performance artist Claudia Kappenberg in an investigation into the experience of migration through film and movement. Responding to audio-visual material, we’ll ask how we might embody modes of migration together, developing patterns of movement that take us beyond the Sallis Benney Theatre and into the urban environment.

Migration is often a polarising and paralysing issue. By engaging with it through collective, embodied experiences, and attention to both human and non-human movements, we hope to open up opportunities for more careful considerations and expansive understandings. Ones that apprehend the ways in which migration patterns are limited, constricted and disrupted, but also created and transformed, through technologies, infrastructures, places and knowledges.

The workshop is open to all, no experience in performance or embodied practice required. There will be plenty of options for sharing thoughts and experiences throughout the event.

Bodies on the move is part of the Migration and Refugee Film Festival hosted by the University of Brighton’s Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics.

£5 concessions / £10 full price (please get in touch if you would like to attend but are unable to pay). Ticket price includes post-workshop refreshments.

Book tickets on the Brighton Fringe Festival website:

The event is supported by the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics. Any profits will go to Thousand 4 £1000


Poetry on Stage: Multimedia poetry performances by highly acclaimed contemporary Greek poets

Poetry on Stage 

Real and fictional entities and encounters come alive onstage:

An (under)water letter to V.W., Recitation on the brink of drowning, A civil partnership suffering from dysfunctional amnesia, Thetis and Chimera, Queering Lament: Selections from the Occult Songs of the Greek people, Being in love with a fugitive we never met, Reflecting on the social media laboratory, An attempt to overwrite haunting personal memories with found google “confessions”

Poets performing

 Orfeas Apergis, Sam Albatros, Marios Chatziprokopiou, Phoebe Giannisi, Panayotis Ioannidis, Patricia Kolaiti, Pavlina Marvin, Konstantinos Papacharalampos 

Patricipating artists 

Koper, Marianna Devetzi

Performance Room 225, Grand Parade Building

Friday 5 April, 19:30pm


The performances will be in both English and Greek


Free entry




Greek Poetry Now

Join us for an open discussion with a new generation of contemporary Greek poets and performers

In the decade of the Greek economic crisis a dynamic group of Greek poets has responded to recession by staking out new artistic and theoretical ground.  Taking poetry on stage, boldly experimenting with the interface between poetry and performance, they present innovative multimedia and participatory events that expand the possibilities of poesis.


With the Greek poets and performers

Orfeas Apergis, Sam Albatros, Marios Chatziprokopiou, Phoebe Giannisi, Panayotis Ioannidis, Patricia Kolaiti, Pavlina Marvin, Konstantinos Papacharalampos


 The North Gallery, Grand Parade Building

Saturday 6 April, 1.00 – 2.30pm 



Extraordinary & everyday utopias: shaping shared futures


When – Thursday 11 July 2019

Where – University of Brighton – City Campus

What – This one-day symposium gathers together academics, students, writers, artists and practitioners committed to developing imaginative, creative and ethical narratives of desirable futures to meet contemporary social challenges.

Dominant narratives of the future are apocalyptic or business-as-usual, the world will either end horribly and abruptly, or we will be saved by geo-engineering or a techno-fix. We champion work that challenges both catastrophising and complacent visions of the future that can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and powerlessness. Extraordinary and everyday utopias celebrates work – real and imagined – that promotes and inspires social change and sustainable, empowered futures.

We welcome critical and creative work that connects with and also creates narratives of extraordinary and everyday futures. These might include but are not restricted to one or a combination of the below:

Artistic futures

Pedagogic futures

Future communities

Interdisciplinary futures

Future natures

Future design

Organic futures

Diverse futures

Healthy futures

You will each have 20 minutes with which to share your work. This might take the form of a traditional presentation, but we also encourage work that offers creative alternatives to the conventional conference format.

Please submit a 300 word abstract (or use the equivalent in images, video, audio etc.) to Stuart Hedley at

The abstract needs to include your name, affiliation, the title of your submission, an outline of your contribution and details of how you will you use your 20 minutes. The deadline is 5pm on 29 March 2019.

We anticipate a post-conference publication with a mix of creative and critical work.


Research in Action Engendering the Stage: Monday 13 May 2019, 6.00pm Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Hello all,

Here’s a super looking event going on at the Globe, in the wonderful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse:


Casting women in men’s roles may seem like a radical innovation of our times, but playing with gender was an exciting feature of early modern theatre practice across Europe. Professor Clare McManus and Professor Lucy Munro help us to discover the history of gendered performance on the Renaissance stage.


Our research workshops give you a chance to be part of the Globe’s exploration of early modern and contemporary performance culture.

Using extracts from well-known and less-familiar plays, Globe actors and leading academics uncover and question the practices of the Shakespearean stage. Expect discoveries – and expect to be asked for your feedback.



Here’s a link to the event for those interested!


Happy new year!

Dr Craig Jordan-Baker

Hannah Vincent discusses playwriting

On the 13th December 2018, Hannah Vincent, RLF Fellow at Brighton University, took part in the Performance and Community REG programme by offering a talk on her work as a playwright in the Joint Stock method. Hannah is a novelist and short story writer but her writing career began in theatre and she later worked as a television script editor for BBC Drama. Her play for radio, Come to Grief  won the 2015 Audio award for Best Adaptation, and was adapted from her own stage play, produced as part of a residency at the Royal National Theatre Studio.

Hannah’s talk was entitled, ‘Experts in our own lives: the Joint Stock Method’ and she was invited to contribute to this blog herself – over  to you, Hannah!

Thanks for having me, Craig. I was happy to come and speak about my experience of working in the Joint Stock method at the Royal Court Young People’s Theatre back in the early 1990s. I have fond memories of that particular time – formative memories, too, as the approaches I was introduced to as a young writer have had a powerful influence on my developing practice.

The Joint Stock method offers a way of dismantling hierarchical theatre-making structures by inviting director, writer and actors to research a play together. Members of the company are considered equal and collaborate in a workshop environment. The play is developed by the whole group. In the first stage of the process, writer, actors and director research a given topic and conduct interviews, bringing the results back to the rehearsal room where actors assume the role of the interviewee and characters begin to emerge. These characters are placed together in improvised scenes and then the writer goes away to write the play, drawing on whatever aspects of the research seem most valuable.

After this, a more conventional rehearsal period begins with a first draft of the play. The text remains flexible and the writer is collaborative, accommodating ideas from other company members as the material is refined and adjusted. I leaned a lot form this process – as a writer and practitioner I continue to be open to feedback and I think this comes from my early experience of allowing my written work to be ‘up for grabs’ during its drafting.

An important element of the Joint Stock research/rehearsal process is the invitation for experts in the field to address the company. When I wrote my play about HIV and AIDS education in 1990 there was a lot of ignorance surrounding the subject. We met health workers and specialists as well as people living with a diagnosis. My interest in verbatim techniques and the rich material that can be generated by paying attention to the way in which individuals articulate themselves has informed my subsequent practice in prose and life writing as well as drama.

Since we are all experts on something I invited members of the Performance and Community group to interview each other and listen out for the idiosyncracies of speech and mannerism which characterise our accounts of ourselves. I think the group agreed that the results are often more striking, original and moving than anything a writer could come up with alone in their artist’s garrett.


For more information about Hannah visit

TECHNE Studentships available at the University of Brighton

Studentships are available for PhD study at the University of Brighton!


techne awards about 57 AHRC scholarships each year across the range of arts and humanities disciplines: 45 in its open competition and 12 through the Collaborative Doctoral Award route. Collaborative Doctoral Awards can be found on the ‘PhD with Partners’ page.Studentships include maintenance and fees for three years for a full time student; or six years for a part-time student. Please note that overseas students are not eligible for technescholarships. EU students are eligible for fees but not maintenance. Studentships are open to students who have already started their doctoral study but they must have at least 50% of the funded period of an AHRC award (usually 18 months) remaining at the time they start their scholarship.

techne welcomes both interdisciplinary research proposals and those focussed within traditional discipline areas.

If you are interested in a techne studentship, please contact a member of staff at the university where you wish to study in the first instance and check their deadlines. You can find out who this should be on our Members, Partners and Students page. The member of staff will be able to advise you on your suitability for a techne studentship, and support you through the application process. It will be necessary to apply separately for both a techne studentship and a place at your chosen university.

When directed to do so by their university, students should submit their techne application through the techne Application Portal, which is now open for use. A word version of the application form and the application guidance are available.

If you wish to find out more, go to the TECHNE Website:

Dr Craig Jordan-Baker

Gap Knowledge: the Epistemology of Practice as Research

On the 14th November 2018, P.A. Skantze came to give a talk as part of the Performance and Community REG programme. P.A. is a Reader in Performance Practices at Roehampton University. She directs theatre and composes for performance in Europe and the UK.  Her musical Stacks will premiere in 2019 and her production Scoring Shakespeare an amalgam of text and sung libretto will premier at the National Theater of Croatia in 2020.

P.A’s talk was entitled, ‘Gap Knowledge: the Epistemology of Practice as Research’. For some time, the concept of Practice-as-research has caused controversy within the academy by challenging the traditional bounds of scholarship, research and how knowledge is transmitted (and arguably, performed). P.A. herself states that her Practice-as-Research work, ‘gives shape (changing, shifting shape) to a form of thinking, of making, of thinking in making and making in thinking already alive in the practice as research work underway for many performance artists/scholars and theatre makers’. Indeed, key to her discussion of her opera Scoring Shakespeare was the affirmation of the script itself a kind of score, whose musicality and potential is realised through the hybrid form that opera represents. That is, the play itself is ‘far more subtle than written description allows for’ and only by exploring through practice, can one come to realise the potential of the work and, as a corollary, the unity of theory and practice, because such engagements represent theory-in-practice. This is in some sense reminiscent of the familiar idea that a script is a ‘blueprint’ for performance, but P.A’s observations helped to broaden these kinds of ideas into the questions of research and the role of the academic.

One thing I found particularly interesting was P.A’s idea that one needs to practice ‘abandoning oneself to the supposition that one does not know’. This seems to me not only an epistemologically modest position, but as a starting position, characterises an exiting way of seeing research (and Practice-as-Research) as something open, explorative and whose end-state is provisional.

For more information on P.A’s work:

And here is a link to the video:


Craig Jordan-Baker