Next London Theatre Seminar, 2 February 2017, with Ayumi Fujioka and Jim Davis

Please join us for our next London Theatre Seminar on Thursday, 2 February in the University of London Senate House (Room 104 Torrington Room). This seminar will feature two papers from Ayumi Fujioka  (Sugiyama University, Japan and Visiting Scholar, SOAS) and Jim Davis (University of Warwick). It starts at 6.30 PM and will close at 8.30, to reconvene in a local pub.

This talk is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) London.

We hope to see you there!

Broderick, Louise, and Bryce

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Ayumi Fujioka, ‘Early 20th Century Transcultural Popular Entertainment in the British and Japanese Theatre: From Edwardian Musical Comedy to Teigeki Actress Plays’ 

Musical comedy performed by the Gaiety Girls was noted as an enormously popular genre by attracting a large number of audiences in Britain at the turn of the 20th century, and this unique theatre entertainment soon spread and flourished in various parts of the world. However, it is barely known that Japanese modern theatre encountered British Edwardian musical comedy and adapted it to its own theatre entertainment, Teigeki (the Imperial Theatre) Actress Plays. A Japanese playwright, Taro Masuda and an actress, Ritsuko Mori, both stayed in the UK and later contributed to the sparkle of Teigeki Actress Plays (1911–1929). This paper explores how British musical comedy was introduced to Japanese modern theatre by focusing on the work of Masuda and Mori to clarify the transferring of femininity on stage and consider audience perception of it in both countries.   

Ayumi Fujioka is a visiting scholar at SOAS, University of London (UK, 2016-2017) and an associate professor in Theatre Studies, School of Cross-Cultural Studies at Sugiyama University (Japan). Her research is centred on various aspects of the Edwardian Theatre. She currently conducts research on the intercultural relationship between British and Japanese theatre during Edwardian era. She has edited a book: ‘Dan Leno and Pantomime-Wonderland’, ‘An Imagined National Theatre: the Royal Court Theatre’, Theatres and Theatre-World in London: A History of Modern British Theatre, Asahi Press (2015), and co-edited books: ‘The Birth of Repertory Theatre Movement’, Critical Aspects of Theatre Studies vol.2, Sankei-sha (2015), ‘The Emergence of an Actress Who Tells the Story of Herself; Elizabeth Robins in British Modern Theatre’, Critical Aspects of Theatre Studies vol.1, Sankei-sha (2011). Her research is aided by grants both from Sugiyama University and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. 

Jim Davis, ‘Some Aspects of Anglo-Australian Cultural Exchange 1880-1960’  

This paper seeks to investigate cultural exchange between England and Australia 1880-1960, suggesting that the performing arts enjoyed a certain degree of two-way traffic between the two countries. Anglo-Australian cultural relations in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century have often been discussed in terms of cultural imperialism and cultural cringe. The visit of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh to Australia in 1948, for instance, has been described as a royal progress and they and many other English actors and performers have been defined in terms of the ambassadorial role they played when visiting Australia. There is no doubt that some visiting performers could be quite patronising and condescending in their attitude towards the Australian public, while some Australian audiences were quite sycophantic in their response to English actors. Yet there is also a need to recognise the complexity of cultural interaction between Australia and England from the 1880s onwards and to move towards a more sophisticated model for its analysis. Taking several cases, including Bland Holt’s Australianised melodramas in the early twentieth century and Robert Helpmann’s career in Britain and Australia, the paper will argue for a more complex cultural relationship between the countries, especially through more popular forms of entertainment, than is sometimes acknowledged.

Jim Davis is Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick holds a BA (Hons) in English and MA from Oxford University and a PhD in Drama from Exeter University. He joined the University of Warwick in 2004 after eighteen years teaching Theatre Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he was latterly Head of the School of Theatre, Film and Dance. In Australia he was also President of the Australasian Drama Studies Association (the tertiary association of drama teachers), and member of the Board of Studies of the National Institute of Dramatic Art. He was an assessor for the Australian National Playwrights’ Conference, and co-organiser of the first conference held in Australia by the International Federation for Theatre Research. Prior to leaving for Australia he spent ten years teaching in London at what is now Roehampton University.

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