November 10, 2011


Kith and Kin: New Glass and Ceramics

Glass and ceramics both have strong roots in the North East of England and have been taught together at the University of Sunderland for many years. This exhibition at the National Glass Centre (from 11 November to 12 February 2012), curated by Peter Davies and Kevin Petrie of the Institute for International Research in Glass and the Ceramic Arts Research Centre, assembles contemporary works from two "families" of creative practice that share affinities and histories. Nick Renshaw produces ceramic figures whose ambiguous forms and odd expressions allow viewers to project their own emotions on to them, while James Maskrey uses traditional glass-blowing techniques to make amusing groups of vessels based on famous explorations.


Three Days in May

There was a brief moment in May 1940 when the British government considered making peace with Adolf Hitler. Ben Brown's thrilling new political drama (at Trafalgar Studios until 3 March 2011) takes us into 10 Downing Street for the three pivotal days when incoming prime minister Winston Churchill (Warren Clarke) faces one of his greatest challenges. Having urgently assembled his War Cabinet, he is confronted with an intense game of political chess as he tries to persuade treaty supporters, including Neville Chamberlain, that Britain must fight to the death. As they thrash out whether to negotiate terms through Mussolini or escalate the battle against Fascism alone, it is largely the force of one man's personality that pushes through a policy that has profoundly shaped Europe and the world ever since.


Startle Reaction

German-born artist Torsten Lauschmann, now based in Glasgow, has always been fascinated by the earliest forms of magical entertainment and the latest technical innovations. He was responsible for a celebrated hoax in 2006, when he encouraged people across the Western hemisphere to jump at the same time in order to shift the Earth's orbit. In his largest solo exhibition to date, at Dundee Contemporary Arts until 8 January 2012, he looks beyond the divide between optimistic and sceptical attitudes towards technology, using automata and cinema to play with the notion that we are all capable of believing in things we know to be false. Works on display include Misshapen Pearl (2003), a wistful investigation of the street lamp's function in consumer society.


Eugene Onegin

Closely based on Pushkin's classic novel in verse, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (1879) is a lyrical masterpiece that ranks among the most powerful and frequently performed of his operas. This new production, in repertory at the English National Opera from 12 November until 3 December, reunites director Deborah Warner and music director Edward Gardner for the first time since their collaboration on Britten's Death in Venice in 2007. The title character (Audun Iversen) is a cynical big-city dandy who becomes entangled with the impressionable young country girl Tatyana (Amanda Echalez) and the tragically self-dramatising poet Lensky (Toby Spence), only realising too late that true love was within his grasp. The result is a poignant depiction of passion and disappointment.


Equality, Diversity, Queer Theory and Children in a Modern Age

The opening of Durham University's new Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities - designed to research crucial questions of equality and diversity in societies across the world - will be marked by a public lecture at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, London at 6.15pm on 14 November. Renowned queer theorist Kathryn Stockton, professor of English at the University of Utah, will seek to challenge thinking about homosexuality and heterosexuality by exploring the themes of her recent book, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, and asking if there is such a thing as a "gay" child. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance from jphoenix.csgs@durham.ac.uk.

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