Posts tagged London

London Triptych reading group seminar

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Simon Avery and Katherine M. Graham from our friends in Westminster’s Queer London Research Forum will be speaking to the Literary London reading Group about Jonathan Kemp’s London Triptych (2010) on Tuesday 24 Jun 2014, 6.00-7.30 pm in Senate House, Room 234. Jonathan Kemp’s novel charts the lives of three gay men, who all inhabit and explore London, but who do so in very different time periods. Covering 1894, 1954 and 1998, London Triptych interrogates what it means to be a gay man; what it means to be at the mercy of the law; and how London itself might be seen to facilitate a particular relationship between art and identity. The novel also asks readers to consider form, and the three narratives wind through London and through history, creating striking resonances across these times and the city.

A selection of extracts and the Afterword from the novel are available for download through the dropbox links below. Or you can get a copy from Gay’s the Word bookshop on Marchmont Street, which we are reliably informed is the only queer bookshop left in the UK .


Queer London Forum LGBT History Month events

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The Queer London Research Forum, along with the University of Westminster LGBT network, is organising a series of events as part of the celebrations for LGBT History Month.  Places are free, but need booking in advance.  You can register by emailing:, stating which event(s) you’d like to attend.

The Ageing Queer Populations of London
Monday 17th February, 7pm
The Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

This panel discussion will explore the challenges, opportunities and difficulties facing London’s ageing queer populations. How do older queer populations experience London and how do they read it differently? In part, the event will also consider how soap operas offer a frame through which London’s ageing queer populations might understand the city and its issues. Speakers for the event include Kate Hancock (Opening Doors London), Dr. Nicola Humberstone and others (tbc). The event will be followed by a wine reception.

Screening of Touch of Pink (2004), followed by a Q&A with writer and director Ian Iqbal Rashid.
Tuesday 18th February, 7pm
Lecture Theatre, University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street

London’s Queer Literatures
Friday 21st February, 8pm
Room 451, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

For this event we will be joined by a number of writers whose work engages intricately with the relationships between London and queerness, each of whom will be reading from their work. We’re excited to welcome Jonathan Kemp (London TriptychThe Penetrated Male Body), Neil McKenna (Fanny and StellaThe Secret Life of Oscar Wilde) and others (tbc). Preceded by a wine reception in the Regent Street foyer at 7pm.

Further details of these events, including biographies of the participants, can be found on the Queer London website ( in the ‘LGBT History Month’ section.

Important: Historical Novel symposium change of venue, Dec 3rd

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Because of the projected national university strike on December 3rd, the Historical Novel of the Contemporary Symposium scheduled for that afternoon will now be run as an independent event to be held in the downstairs space at the Carroll / Fletcher Gallery in central London. We are extremely grateful to Carroll / Fletcher for the generous offer to host.

Revised details as follows:

The Historical Novel of the Contemporary: A Symposium
Tuesday 3rd December, 2-6pm
Carroll / Fletcher Gallery, 56 – 57 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EQ

Speakers: Emmanuel Bouju (Rennes), David Cunningham (Westminster), John Kraniauskas (Birkbeck), Fiona Price (Chichester), Leigh Wilson (Westminster)

The subject of a revival in recent decades, in both its ‘literary’ and ‘popular’ forms, for Georg Lukács the historical novel was, above all, that which narrated the ‘pre-history of the present’. Discussing authors ranging from Roberto Bolano to David Peace, Hilary Mantel to Wu Ming, this afternoon symposium considers the historiographic and political forms of the historical novel today as it might narrate the pre-history of our own contemporary.

Medics, Monsters and Mash-ups seminar, Nov 20th

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Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination (SCIMAG) Seminar
Wednesday November 20, 3.30-5pm, Room 219 Wells Street

Medics, Monsters and Mash-ups: Gothic 2.0
Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University)

“Humanity 2.0 is an understanding of the human condition that no longer takes the ‘normal human body’ as given. On the one hand, we’re learning more about our continuity with the rest of nature—in terms of the ecology, genetic make-up, evolutionary history. On this basis, it’s easy to conclude that being ‘human’ is overrated. But on the other hand, we’re also learning more about how to enhance the capacities that have traditionally marked us off from the rest of nature.” — Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Warwick.

At the end of November 2012, Anthony Mandal won a commission through the AHRC’s REACT Books & Print initiative. Since January 2013, he has been working as lead academic partner with Bristol-based creative company, SlingShot, on Jekyll 2.0: Embodying the Gothic Text, to create a pervasive media experience that draws on the narrative and themes of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic masterpiece, Jekyll and Hyde (1886). The core of the project addresses the fundamental questions of Jekyll and Hyde: What makes us human? Do our minds control our bodies or are we shaped by our urges, compulsions and appetites? Will technology radically transform us into a new organism, ‘Humanity 2.0’? Such questions are nothing new: during the 19th century, the cultural implications of emerging theories of identity and the dominance of science were explored by numerous works of literature. Drawing on the gothic tradition, the project transforms reading into play, using participants’ bio-data (breathing, heart-rate, galvanic skin response) to shape their experience in uncanny ways.

Jekyll 2.0 will be a location-based pervasive media adaptation of Stevenson’s novel, reclaiming its transgressive power and reframing its central themes for the age of the bio-hacker. Neither a game nor a story, Jekyll 2.0 adapts a classic literary book using 21st-century technology to explore whether ‘humanity’ is a stable and meaningful concept or simply a convenient construction. As such, it merges linear fictional ‘narrative’, the interactivity associated with street gaming and the technological uncanny of bio-sensory feedback. Anthony’s talk will offer an overview of how the project is merging contemporary bio-technology with classic gothic preoccupations in order to create an immanent experience intended to be both entertaining and thought-provoking. The talk will also reflect on the methodological and conceptual questions that are emerging from current debates on creativity and technology in the early twenty-first century.

Dr Anthony Mandal ( is Reader in English Literature at Cardiff University where he is also Director of the Centre for Editorial & Intertextual Research.

Queer London Research Forum Launch, Nov 29th

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Queer London Research Forum Launch Event

Friday 29 November, 6.30pm
Old Cinema, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London

Following the success of the Queer London conference in March 2013, Katherine M. Graham and Simon Avery are pleased to announce the launch of the Queer London Research Forum at the University of Westminster. This Forum is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions about versions of Queer London c.1850-present. A series of seminars will be held in 2013-14 and we are in the process of developing a web forum to continue debate and dialogue further. The launch event for QLRF will take place on Friday 29 November at 6.30pm in the Old Cinema, University of Westminster (Regent Street Campus). We are pleased to welcome the artist Christa Holka who will be discussing her work with Sam McBean ( Katherine and Simon will open the event with some remarks about the development and future of the Forum overall. The event will be followed by a wine reception.

We very much hope that you will be interested in attending. Places must be reserved. This can be done by emailing

Staging Science events, Dec 6 and 7 2013

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Hosted by our colleagues in the new Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination, a series of exciting events on Staging Science in December:

Staging Historical and Contemporary Science: A Roundtable
Friday December 6, 2013, 6.30-8.00pm (drinks from 6pm)
The Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

Jim Al-Khalili (Physicist, Science Communicator and Broadcaster)
Tim Boon (Head of Research, Science Museum)
Imran Khan (Chief Executive, British Science Association)
Katrina Nilsson (Head of Contemporary Science, Science Museum)
Jonathan Renouf (Executive Producer, BBC Science Unit)

Staging Science ColloquiumSaturday December 7, 2013, 9.00-6.00pm
The Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

Speakers include: Iwan Morus (Aberystwyth), Daniel Brown (Southampton), Robert Kargon (Johns Hopkins), Jeremy Brooker (Independent Researcher), Tiffany Watt-Smith (Queen Mary), Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Oxford), Jean-Baptiste Gouyon (Science Museum, London), Bernard Lightman (York, Canada), Martin Willis (Westminster)

6.00-7.00pm: Drinks Reception and Book Launch for Jeremy Brooker’s Temple of Minerva (Regent Street Building Foyer)

followed by
A Performance of the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion with Charles Dickens’s ‘The Haunted Man’
Produced, directed and performed by Richard Hand and Geraint D’Arcy (University of South Wales)

There will be 2 performances of the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion – 7.00-7.30 and 7.45-8.15 (The Old Cinema)

Places for all the events that make up Staging Science are limited. Please apply early for each event as below. In your email please make clear which event or events you wish to attend. Many thanks.

To reserve a place at the Roundtable (Friday evening) please contact Rebecca Spear on

To reserve a place at the colloquium (Saturday day), which comes with an invitation to the Pepper’s Ghost performance (Saturday evening), please contact Rebecca Spear on
Please do advise Rebecca if you wish to come to the colloquium but are not able to attend the evening Performance.

To inquire about a place at the Pepper’s Ghost performance only please contact Professor Martin Willis on

For updates on Staging Science connect to SCIMAG’s blog site at:

Fu Manchu in London, Friday 4th October 2013

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Fu Manchu in London: Lao She, Limehouse and Yellow Peril in the Heart of Empire

Friday 4th October 2013
University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London W1W 6UW

We are pleased to announce a special one-day conference on the occasion of three inter-related events this autumn: the publication by Penguin Modern Classics of Lao She’s forgotten masterpiece of 1920s Chinese London, Mr Ma and Son, the launch at the Ovalhouse Theatre of Daniel York’s satiric play, The Fu Manchu Complex (dir. Justin Audibert), and, to mark the centenary of the first appearance of “the Yellow Peril incarnate in one man”, Lord of Strange Deaths: The Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer, a collection of essays edited by Phil Baker and Antony Clayton (Strange Attractor Press, 2013).

The day’s speakers will examine the contexts and enduring fascination of one of the world’s most notorious fictional villains, from the fin-de-siecle racial anxieties and obsessions that spawned Rohmer’s oeuvre to the skewed perceptions that have arisen around his pervasive influence. Of all the overseas Chinese who came to England during the inter-war years, Lao She was the only one to confront the popular Sinophobia endemic in British society directly. Mr Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London (Er Ma, 1929) portrays the pernicious effects of the media on the lives of Chinese people in London. Based on his own experiences in London and written principally for a Chinese readership, the novel gives us a rare, if not unique, picture of the social and commercial affairs of the shop-keepers, café proprietors, and seafarers, that made up the major part of London’s small Chinese community, then based in Limehouse in the East End. Daniel York’s play, The Fu Manchu Complex challenges the resonances of ‘Yellow Peril’ stereotypes for the 21st century in a satirical pastiche of classic British cinema. Five East Asian actors ‘white up’ in the style of slapstick and Victorian music-hall comedy to play the traditional colonials in a murder mystery set in the East End.

Admission is free but please register by emailing Dr Anne Witchard at:


10.00AM – “Some Kind of Admiration or Respect”: Dr Fu Manchu as Hero
Phil Baker

10.45AM – The Case of the Yellow Peril Then and Now
Dr Ross Forman (University of Warwick)

11.30AM – 11.45AM – coffee

11.45AM – Fu Manchu, Orientalism and Arabophilia
Robert Irwin (SOAS /Times Literary Supplement)

12.30PM – 1.30PM – Lunch

1.30PM – Rohmer’s Odyssey
Antony Clayton

2.15PM – Mr Ma and Son: Limehouse and the Yellow Peril genre
Dr Julia Lovell (Birkbeck) in conversation with author Paul French

3.15PM – The Fu Manchu Complex
Daniel York and Justin Audibert will discuss their play, The Fu Manchu Complex, in production at the Ovalhouse Theatre in London.

The Fu Manchu Complex runs at the Ovalhouse, Kennington
1 – 19 October, Tues-Sat 7.45pm
BOOK / BOX OFFICE: 020 7582 7680

Citizen Curators exhibition, Photographers’ Gallery

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‘#Citizen Curators’
July 1 – August 27 2013, The Photographers’ Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW

How does social media transform the way we record, share and ultimately remember major events? #citizencurators is a Twitter project co-directed by our own Peter Ride which documents the way Londoners responded to the Olympics of 2012. It aims to show how the contemporary history of London 2012 could be recorded by the people who experienced it without the filtering of an institution.

In the project, any citizen of London could become a curator using social networking and tweet their responses in words or images with the hashtag #citizencurators. These were then collected and archived by the Museum of London. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Games, The Photographers’ Gallery presents and reanimates the many photographs and tweets created by #citizencurators.

Further details at:

English Literature and Culture research seminars Feb-March 2013

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Here is the list of the next series of English Literature and Culture research seminars taking place this semester. All welcome.

Seminars are fortnightly on Wednesday afternoons, from 4pm to around 5.30pm, and will be held in room 106 in the University’s Wells Street building.

Wednesday 6th February, 4.00pm – 5.15pm (Joint seminar with Westminster School of Law)
Danny Nicol (Westminster School of Law)
‘Legitimacy and Globalised Law in Doctor Who

Wednesday 20th February, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Fran Bigman (University of Cambridge)
‘A Bit of Himself: British Male-authored Abortion Narratives from Waste (1907) to Alfie (1966)’

Wednesday 6th March, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Allan Stoekl (Penn State University / IMCC)
‘Le Corbusier and the Challenge of a Pascalian Technocracy’

Wednesday 20th March, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Matthew Charles (University of Westminster)
‘Brecht as Educator’

Conference on The Olympic Park, Culture, and Regeneration – 30th January, 2013

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30 January 2013 in room MG14 Marylebone Campus, Marylebone Road

Our friends in Westminster’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment are hosting an event next week entitled ‘What is the role of culture in the regeneration of the areas around the Olympic Park?’ The event draws together practitioners and academics from a variety of professional backgrounds who will share their experiences and perspectives of cultural projects in the areas around the Olympic Park.

6.10 Introduction – Chair: Marion Roberts – Professor of Urban Design – University of Westminster

6.20 Dr Nancy Stevenson – Programme Leader: Tourism and Events – The Cultural Olympiad and cultural legacy

6.35 Ceryl Evans – Head of Museums and Culture, London Borough of Hackney – Mapping the Change

6.50 Dr Isaac Marrero Guillamón – Post Doctoral Researcher, Birkbeck – Critical art and the Olympic State of Exception

7.05 Adriana Marques – Principal Advisor for Arts and Culture, London Legacy Development Corporation – Culture at the heart of the Olympic Legacy

7.20 Liza Fior – Partner, Muf Architecture/Art – Future project and proposals

7.35 Questions and Discussion

Contact Details: For further details and to book please follow this link

The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays

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We are delighted to announce the publication of The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays, edited by our colleague John Baker and published by Intellect Books.

Known for his work as a performer and songwriter with the Birthday Party, the Bad Seeds, and Grinderman, Australian artist Nick Cave has also pursued a variety of other projects, including writing and acting. This collection of critical essays provides a comprehensive overview of his multifaceted career. The contributors, who hail from an array of disciplines, consider Cave’s work from many different angles, drawing on historical, psychological, pedagogical, and generic perspectives. Illuminating the remarkable scope of Cave’s achievement, they explore his career as a composer of film scores, a scriptwriter, and a performer, most strikingly in Ghosts of the Civil Dead; his work in theatre; and his literary output, which includes the novels And the Ass Saw the Angel and The Death of Bunny Munro, as well as two collections of prose. Together, the resulting essays provide a lucid overview of Nick Cave’s work that will orient students and fans while offering fresh insights sure to deepen even expert perspectives.

You can order the book here:,id=4900/

Anne Witchard on ‘Lucky cat’ show, resonance fm this Saturday

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Listen this Saturday 1st December at 3.30pm to our own Anne Witchard on the Lucky Cat show on Resonance FM, hosted by Zoe Baxter. Anne will be talking about her latest book Lao She in London (Hong Kong University Press 2012) which details the time Chinese writer Lao She spent in London in the 1920s. The book reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce as well as his tiem spent in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse.

If you don’t happen to be in central London, you can listen online at: Resonance 104.4FM.

Capitalism, Democracy and the Novel seminar

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Courtesy of our friends in the Centre of the Study of Democracy …

The Prose of the World:
Capitalism, Democracy and the Novel

Dr David Cunningham, University of Westminster
Tuesday November 6, 17:15-18:45 | Westminster Forum, 5th Floor, Wells Street

UPDATE: Video posted at:

Queer London Conference: Call for Papers

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Queer London Conference: Call for Papers

Saturday 23rd March, 2013
Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, University of Westminster, London, UK

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Matt Cook (Birkbeck College, University of London)

This one-day conference is dedicated to a consideration of London and its role in creating, housing, reflecting and facilitating queer life. It aims to bring together scholars from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds to consider representations of queer London and how London itself represents queers.

That London is a focus and centre for queer life and culture can be seen on its stages; in its bar and club scenes; in its film festivals and its representations in film; in its performance art; in its political life; in its gyms; in its history; in its book groups and book shops; and in its representations in the contemporary queer fiction of writers like Alan Hollinghurst and Sarah Waters. What the ‘Queer London’ conference aims to do then is to offer an opportunity for further analysis and investigation of these representations / representational platforms and to consider the socio-cultural role that London plays in queer life. The conference will focus on the period 1885 to the present and welcomes interdisciplinary proposals and those from a wide range of disciplines, including: Literature, History, Art, Cultural Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies.

Please send abstracts of 500 words, or proposals for panels of three linked papers, by Friday 30th November 2012 to Dr. Simon Avery and Dr. Katherine M. Graham at the University of Westminster. Abstracts should be sent as Word attachments to and, and should include details of your current affiliation and a very short author bio.

Conference blog page:

Death and Space, Somerset House, Oct 23rd

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Death and Space
Tue 23 October 2012, 6.15 pm

£5 full price; £3 student, unemployed and over 65s
The Deadhouse, Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA

‘Death and the Contemporary’ is a series of site-specific events organised by our new colleague Georgina Colby, along with Anthony Luvera, that will take place across London in October 2012 as part of the Inside Out Festival. Panel discussions with keynote philosophers, writers, visual artists, and theorists will provide an exciting interdisciplinary forum in which to consider issues surrounding the representation of death in contemporary culture.

The first event, ‘Death and Space’, is scheduled to take place at the Dead House, Somerset House, on October 23rd, 2012. Confirmed panellists include David Bate, Andrea Brady, Robert Hampson and Tom Hunter. A glass of wine in included in the ticket price.

Further details at:

Lao She in London out now!

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We’re delighted to announce the publication of Anne Witchard’s new monograph from Hong Kong University Press, Lao She in London. Focusing on one of China’s great modern writers, the book contributes to the rethinking of modernism as an event outside the boundaries of a single language, a single historical moment, or a single national formation.

“A beautifully written book that combines literary biography with a remarkably succinct account of British modernism and an evocative portrait of interbellum London, as viewed through Chinese eyes. Anne Witchard reminds us eloquently of the key role played by Chinese influences—both classical and modern—in literary modernism, and makes a great contribution to our understanding of Lao She’s London years.” — Julia Lovell, Birkbeck College, University of London

Details at:

August 2012  188 pp.  14 b/w illus.
Paperback ISBN 978-988-8139-60-6

#Citizencurators: collaboration with Museum of London

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#Citizencurators is a history project that will record the experience of Londoners during the Olympic fortnight. Created for the Museum of London, #Citizencurators will collect tweets, moments and images using social networking to tell the story of everyday life in the capital. Directed by the IMCC’s Peter Ride and the Museum of London’s Hilary Young, with a project team made up of students from the MA Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture at Westminster, the aim is to investigate how new media/ social networking can provide alternative approaches to supplement contemporary collecting. As action research project, it is also designed to result in knowledge that can assist the Museum in the collection and management of ‘born digital’ material.

#Citizencurators explores what it is like to live in London during the Olympic fortnight (27 July – 12 August). The established narrative of the Olympics is focused on the experience of the athletes, participants, employees and tourists. However a larger part of the Olympic experience in London is not being articulated. This is the daily experience residents whose lives are inevitably caught up in the Olympics but who are ‘bystanders’. What will the Olympics mean to the single mum with a young family in Stratford, the work commuter who uses the Jubilee line, the resident in an apartment block partially occupied by the army, the young club-goer intending to enjoy a summer of fun, the foreign student or to the Starbucks barista? Will the Olympic experience unfold as community-strengthening activity or a headache of disruptions and an overflow of tourists?

To take part, simply tweet like you normally do and use the #citizencurators hashtag. Ultimately by following typical tweeters the team want to collect streams that document peoples’ lives in London during the Games in a way that reflects the normal use of social media, not something out of the ordinary.

For further details, see:

Anne Witchard on Making History

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A chance to listen to our own Anne Witchard on BBC Radio 4’s popular history programme Making History in which listener’s questions and research help offer new insights into the past. Anne talks to Tom Holland about how the Victorians disapproved of the ballet, how some artists and poets became infatuated with it, and how London street-dancing may well have influenced the Parisian ‘Can-Can’. First broadcast on June 12 2012. Listen to the podcast here.

Reminder: Soho Poly Theatre Festival begins

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Soho Poly Theatre Festival
40th anniversary celebrations

19-21 June, 2012

A reminder that the Soho Poly Festival opens tonight, with a short talk by Fred Proud (the first ever artistic director of the theatre) then Robert Holman introducing his short play ‘Coal’. A short and sweet evening all round – plus you get to see our amazing reclaimed space!

For details of further events this week, go to:

China in Britain #3. Theatre and Music, July 18th

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China in Britain: Myths and Realities
Theatre/Performance and Music

July 18th 2012, 9:45am – 5:30pm
The Old Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

You are warmly invited to the third in this University of Westminster/AHRC funded series. The day will present an eclectic programme with presentations from actors and broadcasters and academics. Dongshin Chang (City University of New York), Diana Yeh (Birkbeck College and University of East London), Simon Sladen (University of Winchester) and Ashley Thorpe (University of Reading) will present research that restores the history of China and Chineseness to the English stage, from Regency Extravaganzas, such as Chinese Sorcerer to chinoiserie theatre in the 1930s and Lady Precious Stream. We will look at subversive pantomime in Thatcher’s Britain, Poppy, and more recently Anna Chen’s Steampunk Opium Wars and Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey: Journey to the West.

The UK’s most high profile British Chinese actor, David Yip, remembered by many for his role as Detective Sergeant John Ho in The Chinese Detective will be talking about his new multimedia show Gold Mountain. There will be performances from comedienne, poet and political pundit, Anna Chen (aka Madame Miaow), actor David Lee-Jones, currently the lead in Richard III – the first British Chinese actor to be cast as one of Shakespeare’s English Kings – and Resonance Radio’s Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter, playing Korean Punk, Chinese Hip Hop and Reggae, Japanese Ska, Thai Country, and Singapore 60’s pop.

Entrance – including lunch and refreshments – is free of charge so for catering purposes it is essential to book your place by emailing: