Six of the Best – University Theatre

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Curate the Campus

Image provided by LICA and LUTG

After last year’s successful arty goings on, ‘Curate the Campus’ is back and is bigger than ever.  Last year saw the expansion of innovative, outdoor site–based artworks, such as the Wheelhouse’ performed by Acrojou, who impressed crowds by singing, dancing and acting their way around their homemade wooden wheel house, complete with windows, curtains and other home comforts – you really did have to see it to believe it.

This year the event has expanded even further across campus by making the most of the site’s nooks and crannies and increasing their number of events. Consisting of a range of different happenings, some site–specific and some mobile, the event will challenge perceptions of art and performance in a friendly, fun and fascinating manner. Inescapable and easy to directly engage with; a silver whale big enough to challenge Moby Dick, musicians descending from the heavens and a dance routine with office chairs are but some of the encounters the festival has to offer.

Quirky and intriguing, we expect nothing less from Lancaster’s art scene so keep a look out across campus between Monday 1st until Friday 11th May and be prepared to embrace the weird and wonderful. For extra details cast your eyes over www.liveatlica.org/curatethecampus or jump on the bandwagon and follow the team on Twitter at #curatethecampus.

Stephanie Bell
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The Quiet Volume

Image provided by LICA and LUTG

By now we are all accustomed to the termly phenomenon of the library invasion occurring in the last few days before deadlines. Symptoms include sweating, nausea and a frenzied panic as you realise you haven’t factored the writing of essays into your time management scheme, instead flitting between different states of intoxication. In inane desperation to convince yourself and others that you have it under control, you become a recluse slave to the library and devour books quicker than Matilda. You’re doing well; you’ve typed out the title and haven’t looked at Facebook once. This is an achievement and deserves a reward. You glance up and through dazzling sunlight you behold the ultimate library totty. Lacking liquid confidence you tentatively refrain from an approach, pondering what could have been whilst wiping the drool from your keyboard. However – all is not lost.

‘The Quiet Volume’ is a performance in ‘Curate the Campus’ festival, set to take place in Lancaster University’s library which explores the tension often found in such places. The performance which requires two participants per set offers “the feeling of heightened awareness in which every sound is magnified, every movement has increased significance and all words dance with possibility.” This could well be your chance.

Performances run every 30 mins in Lancaster University’s Library between these start and end times:-
Tuesday 8th – Thursday 10th May: 13.00 (first performance) – 19.00 (last performance)
Friday 11th May: 13.00 (first performance)-  18.00 (last performance)
Saturday 12th May: 11.00 (first performance) – 16.00 (last performance).

Stephanie Bell
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Franko B – Because of Love

Image provided by LICA and LUTG

To ensure the ‘Curate the Campus’ event goes out with a bang, Franko B is your go-to guru for everything unconventional, unusual and downright odd. He is your eccentric uncle who evokes attention, intrigue and respect. In his new semi-autobiographical performance piece ‘Because of Love’ the artist utilises dance, theatre and visual art to cast his net over new audiences. Essentially revolving around the human condition, Franko’s latest work is concerned with themes of love, loss and the different stages of life.

Known for his somewhat visceral approaches Franko B recalls past emotions, offering a raw reflexive response of both cultural and personal reminiscences questioning how the past is often viewed through rose – tinted glasses. Sounding pretty normal so far? This is not only an ambitious piece for its scale and complexity but also for the addition of a ‘Lost’-style twist as mid performance the artist engages in a dance with a mechanical life – sized polar bear…I rest my case.

If you’re as intrigued as I am pop along to the Nuffield Theatre at 7:00pm on Friday 11th May – you may even get a bear hug or two.

Stephanie Bell
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LUTG: Station

image provided by LICA and LUTG

In a departure from the theatre group’s norms, this term the society will be staging an exciting, new piece of work by one of its members.

‘Station’, by first year English Literature and Creative Writing student Andrew Ainscough (who performed in ‘A Little Night Music’ and ‘He Who Gets Slapped’ with the society), follows the trial and tribulation laden past of two middle aged men chancing to run into one another at a train station in the middle of the night, having been out of contact for many years. To both men, this encounter is too eerie and convenient to be a mere coincidence, and their floating memories and ambiguous thoughts are played out on the stage by their younger selves, unravelling the mystery and the motives behind their meeting along the way.

It is the first original LUTG play in almost two years, and the first completed work by the author. It is certainly a risk to put on a brand new piece alongside the other, more established works on offer, but Ainscough isn’t worried; “I think people are always intrigued and excited by new theatre… it has an attractive appeal and allure for potential theatre-goers.”

‘Station’ will be performed on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of June at 7:30 at the Nuffield Theatre, and is the first of many steps that LUTG are taking towards a future where young writers might see their seeds blossom more often. Make sure you catch it while it’s on – ‘Station’ will have no delays to apologize for!

Ronnie Rowlands
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LUTG: Stags and Hens

Image provided by LICA and LUTG

The Sugarhouse has its Indy and Mainstream night, its Retro night and its standard ear-bleedingly loud night, but come June, Lancaster University Theatre Group will be spearheading the venue’s first ever 70’s night.

Willy Russell’s ‘Stags & Hens’, which is quite fittingly set in the male and female toilets of a loud and messy nightclub, follows the stag and hen parties of a soon to be newlywed couple, who are unaware that their do’s are taking place in the same venue. Drunken yearnings and regrets boil over when the bride-to-be has doubts about her marriage, especially when an ex-boyfriend shows up and offers her the chance to elope – like the tale of Rapunzel if her tower was a ladies’ cubicle.

Like LUTG’s other offerings this term, ‘Stags and Hens’ will be overseen by directorial newcomers – in this case, second year theatre student Mike Collier and newly elected society president Lisa Coleman, both of whom see the endless scope for familiarity that the audience will have with the play; “The kind of conversations that happen in club toilets is something which we’re sure a lot of people can relate to… the students will be able to latch on to Willy Russell’s wit very quickly.”

“We’ve got an amazing production team who are raring to source all things 70s, including two bathroom sets,” says Lisa Coleman who, along with LUTG’s usual fine cast of actors, promise you the fullest, funniest 70’s experience on offer. “Incidentally,”she adds, “has anyone got a spare toilet they’re not using?!”

LUTG presents: ‘Stags and Hens’ takes place at the Sugarhouse on the 10th, 11th and 12th of June. Tickets are £6 for students and £7 for adults.

Ronnie Rowlands
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LUTG: Belongings

Image provided by LICA and LUTG

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s ‘Belongings’ tells the story of Deb, a British soldier returning from the service, and finding that her ‘home’ is not the dreamlike, heavenly utopia that six months dodging mercenaries and artillery in the humid, volatile streets of Afghanistan would force you to believe.

While he doesn’t expect much (if any) of the student body to have served in Afghanistan, debuting first year director James Varney (who you may remember as Henrik Egerman in ‘A Little Night Music’ and the Oatcake-eater in ‘The Wonderful World of Dissocia’) is still confident that ‘Belongings’ will strike many an emotional chord with the audience; “anyone who has returned home after a long period of time must have experienced a similar sense of broken nostalgia, of ‘home’ not being quite the perfect return to the familiar.” To the director the field specific plot of ‘Belongings’ is, beneath the surface, relative to the simplest facets of everyone’s lives; “…the university student will be no stranger to what it is like to leave behind friends, which often, in my experience, leads to a re-evaluation in light of which friendships withstand that sort of thing.”

Playing the role of a house and a military sleeping area is the Dukes DT3 theatre, a traverse venue which has never failed to make an insular, psychologically intense production that little bit better. On the 22nd and 23rd of June at 7:30 (with a 2:30 matinée on the 23rd), be there, where a theatre-goer belongs.

For more information on ticket prices and bookings, go to the Dukes theatre website, at http://www.dukes-lancaster.org/

Ronnie Rowlands
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