UCL’s Bloomsbury Theatre and Grant Museum of Zoology Bring Arts and Science Together in Performance Lab

Performance Lab credit Grant Museum of Zoology
Performance Lab credit Grant Museum of Zoology

Experience eleven energetic live performances created from eleven experiments in science and the arts, as they explode onto the Bloomsbury Theatre’s stage and the Grant Museum of Zoology in the first exciting PERFORMANCE LAB season from Monday 29 April 2019 – Thursday 20 June 2019.

Commissioned  by UCL Culture, PERFORMANCE LAB brings a radical and bold theatrical season of ground-breaking discoveries to the stage. Brought to life by artists, dancers, opera singers, stand-up comedians and UCL academics – a season of symposiums, live performance, discussions and full theatre and musical performances.

Free performances and a top ticket price of £10 makes this exciting new enterprise even more genius!

UCL has a long history of supporting the creative crossover between research and the arts, and now for the first time the hugely innovative PERFORMANCE LAB season explores how research can inspire creativity in the arts and how live performance can animate the cutting-edge research at UCL, one of the world’s leading universities.

Highlights of the season include a full production of the rarely performed Kurt Weill comic opera The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken (4/5) casting young opera talents, baritone Edmund Danon as the Tsar and mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries as the leader of the anarchists. The production is a collaboration with Virtually Opera, combining opera and film to create a multimedia production, with full orchestra conducted by award winning conductor Johann Von Stuckenbruck, produced by UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

The Science of Laughter (2/5) is a high octane evening with UCL neuroscientistProfessor Sophie Scott experimenting with the audience and multi-award winning stand-up comedians Tim Key, Stuart Goldsmith (Like I Mean It – Dead Parrot) andMaawan Rizwan (who has amassed 18 million+ views of his comedy YouTube videos.) Discover the secrets of why we laugh and having a good giggle!

MUSO (7/5) an unique comedic evening of opera with UCL academics Subhadra Das(Curator of UCL Science Collections), Dr Chiara Ambrosio (UCL Science & Technology) and Dr Claire Thomson (UCL Scandinavian Studies) as they are joined on stage byImpropera, creating opera on the spot inspired by the untold stories behind some of the exciting research taking place at UCL.

Deconstructing the Dream (15&16/5) developed in collaboration between Kelly Hunter’s Flute Theatre and Professor of Social Neuroscience at UCL Antonia Hamilton, this performance takes you inside Bottom’s brain as he dreams the dreams of Shakespeare. This project inspired the research and enabled new approaches to imaging technologies used by the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience – which will reveal activity in the performers’ brains to the audience.

The Grant Museum of Zoology will open its doors to Vigil, an exciting new performance by award-winning artist Tom Bailey in response to the museum’s unique zoology collection. What’s a Cinnamon-coloured Cryptic Tree Hunter, a Problematic Flasher, a Dusky Seaside Sparrow, or a Fire Millipede from Hell? Vigil is a wild, playful encounter with internationally threatened species and excavates the moving, poetic, often comic qualities in these names, exploring the human experience of mass animal disappearance in a poignant and artistic way.

Sylvia Kluczewski, Producer (Theatre), UCL Culture says: “Performance Lab is an exciting new programme from UCL Culture, which will make public the university’s cutting edge research in a creative experiment with some of the UK’s most innovative artists, musicians and theatre-makers. The university’s recently refurbished Bloomsbury Theatre and world-class museums will welcome academic and artistic communities to develop and to share their work with peers, students and the general public. This first season will generate new ideas and ways of working through workshops, talks and new collaborations, as well as presenting an eclectic range of public performances.

At its heart, the programme unpicks the relationship between academics, artists and live performance, investigating how these collaborations can help us to see the world more clearly.  How does live performance animate research and research inspire great art – we invite the audience to explore with us.”

PERFORMANCE LAB is an exciting new fixture at UCL’s venues including the Bloomsbury Theatre – the home of innovative performance.

PERFORMANCE LAB’s Autumn Season 2019 will continue to develop and grow with more live performance and creative experiments highlighting the extraordinary synergy between culture and research pumping through the veins of UCL – bringing the arts and scientific research together.

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