March 31, 2011


Land Girls and Lumber Jills

The Women's Land Army (WLA) and Women's Timber Corps (WTC) were created in 1917 to help meet growing wartime demands for home production. Yet it was during the Second World War, with so many men away fighting overseas, that they became crucial to the supply of food and energy. Whether volunteers or conscripts, "land girls" took on all types of agricultural work, from sowing to shearing, while "lumber Jills" provided the wood. This exhibition at the National Museum of Costume, Dumfries, which runs from 1 April to 31 October, explores their daily lives and their vital contribution to the Scottish war effort. Items on display include a formal uniform from the 1940s and the medal awarded to all surviving members of the WLA and WTC in 2008.



Shared Experience is famous for its productions, often imaginatively adapted from classic literary texts, which combine intense physicality with arresting visual imagery. In this play by joint artistic director Polly Teale, the date is 1845 and Branwell Bronte has come home in disgrace, dismissed from domestic service after an affair with the mistress of the house. Yet, as he sinks into alcoholism and mental illness, his sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne are at work on the books that will become among the most famous in the English language. The play is at the Oxford Playhouse (until 2 April), and will run at the Tricycle Theatre from 5 to 30 April, before going on a national tour to Richmond Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Glasgow Citizens Theatre.


Dominic Frasca: Contemporary Guitar

Acclaimed by the composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, as well as by the popular accolade of more than 800,000 YouTube hits a month, Dominic Frasca is perhaps the finest young exponent of the contemporary guitar in the US. He has always been influenced far more by ensembles than by solo artists, and he uses instruments with six, 10 and 13 strings, often physically modified, and combines them with electronic sampling techniques and multichannel loudspeakers to achieve a polyphonic, sometimes almost orchestral effect. His first concert in the UK, on 1 April, marks the 50th anniversary of the American Museum in Britain and takes place in its new performance space, The Coach House.


25th BFI Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

Promising "the best in new international queer cinema", this festival opens on 31 March with two gala performances of Kaboom, described as "a sci-fi story centred around the sexual awakening of a group of college kids", and continues until 6 April. Other films include: Gigola, a thriller set in the Parisian lesbian underground of the 1960s; documentaries about AIDS, rent boys, queer activism, male-to-female sex transition and the first play on a gay theme to attract a mainstream American audience; and "a sex-positive road movie", making the case for "pornography as political art and social commentary", entitled Too Much Pussy! Feminist Sluts in the Queer Show X. There will also be debates and an "in conversation with" event featuring novelist Sarah Waters.


The Georges Lemaitre Anniversary Conference

Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966), Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain, is one of the most compelling figures in the history of science. In 1931 he put forward his theory that the Universe had expanded from a "primaeval atom". Although it proved highly controversial at the time, it has now been largely accepted under the name of the Big Bang. To celebrate the 80th anniversary, the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge has organised a three-day conference (8-10 April) at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to explore Lemaitre's life and work, the philosophical and theological implications of his theories and his legacy for modern cosmology.

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