The Level 2 Applied Theatre students performed their second political cabaret of the semester in the Dolche Vita this evening and tried something a little different. For the first half hour they provided us with the usual fare of review sketches, topical songs and provocative takes on contemporary events both within and beyond the University; all well received by an appreciative audience.
The second half of the show, changed tack. The students had teamed up with a writer from the Professional and Creative Writing degree who'd written a clever short piece set in the Starbucks, opposite the Occupy London site by St Paul's. It called for different skills from the performers and demonstrated how quickly good theatre can fabulate to shine new truths and fresh perspective on real events. This is a possible new direction for the work.
The evening ended with a short forum play looking at sexually transmitted disease with Natalie jokering. I was unsure how this might sit with the other work, but they played it with a light touch and brought exactly the right sense of playfulness to allow the audience to explore the issue. It provided a prototype for a longer piece of work.
Political Cabaret has been running for two years now and is beginning to establish itself on the Drama St Marys calender. It'll be interesting to see what the students made of tonight's variations and how that effects the work in the future. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.