Senior Lecturer in Dance and Theatre
The theatre final degree show, known formerly as LICA381 Advanced Theatre Practice, is the culmination of a theatre programme that trains students in theatre skills, performance composition and theoretical reflection. Several significant professional theatre companies of international standing first created work for the Lancaster theatre final degree show. Yet, as is the case at other high-ranking research-led universities, the aim here is not to produce jobbing actors, but rather intelligent and able creatives who can integrate theoretical concepts with cutting-edge practical methods to explore contemporary issues in ways that engage, excite and challenge audiences.
Theatre students are pack animals. One of the hallmarks of the Lancaster theatre programme is that it provides rigorous training through all three years in collaborative creation and problem-solving. This is not only why the statistics indicate that our graduates are highly employable in many professions, but also why Lancaster is one of the highest ranked universities in the UK for Drama, Dance and Cinematics. This year we are top for student satisfaction.
As is so often the case, the two shows created this year were very different from each other. Some Obligatory Inhibitory was a beguiling piece of visual theatre that combined hieratic live action with original minimalist music, costumes, film and light. Mesmeric and other-worldly, the show refracts as much as it reflects the group’s existential unease over climate change. In contrast, A Woman Like Me combined epic acting, stand-up comedy, burlesque, physical theatre, and social and contemporary dance. Angry, funny, troubling and uplifting by turns, the show drew directly on the group’s personal experiences to explore the negative ways in which society repeatedly judges the female body, but equally to find moments of riotous release.
On the cusp of lockdown, a full-length live performance of each of these two shows was filmed on 16 March 2020. It must be said, then, that the videos you can see are only records of those performances, not the performances themselves. Live theatre is ultimately unrepresentable. That’s why we need it back.