Jouer Beckett / Performing Beckett

Jouer Beckett / Performing Beckett
12 October 2017, 9.00am - 13 October 2017, 6.00pm
Conference / Symposium
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU


To what extent is the interpretation of a playwright’s works determined by the performance conditions in the country where they are performed? 

Two study days already held in Bordeaux, and these two study days in London, address this question in relation to Samuel Beckett, whose plays reveal different qualities depending on whether they are staged in France or in the UK. They evaluate the influence of cultural intermediaries on the reception of his bilingual oeuvre through analysis of the following elements: directorial customs, actor training and acting practices, theatre management, institutional financial and material resources, touring networks, and audience demographics.

Research papers will help participants identify and compare different factors at play in the critical (and staged) readings of Beckett’s plays in France and the UK, which may influence how the work is perceived. 


October 12th / 12 octobre

Room 243 

Morning / Matinée

09:30    Opening of the first study day and introduction by Jean-Michel Gouvard (Bordeaux-Montaigne) and Dominic Glynn (IMLR, London) / Ouverture de la première journée d’étude et introduction par Jean-Michel Gouvard (Bordeaux-Montaigne) and Dominic Glynn (IMLR, London)

09:45    Jean-Michel Gouvard (Bordeaux-Montaigne): Waiting for Godot in 1953: Performance and reception

11:00    Hélène Lecossois (Lille III): (Re)historicising Beckett's shorter plays - Irish and Algerian (post)colonial contexts

12:15    Anna McMullan (Reading): Staging Beckett in the UK and Ireland: site specificity and intermediality 

Afternoon / Après-midi

14:30    Derval Tubridy (Goldsmiths, London): Installing Beckett

15:45    David Pattie (Chester): “At me too someone is looking...”; Power Structures and Coercion in Beckett's theatre​

17:00    Everett Frost“My comforts! Be friends!”: Directing the Samuel Beckett/Morton Feldman Collaboration in Words and Music, “a Piece for Radio”

October 13th / 13 octobre

Room 234

Morning / Matinée

09:45    Dominic Glynn (IMLR, London): Brook and Beckett

11:00    Rebecca Infield (Warwick): "Krapp's Last Tape"/"La derniere bande": Translation, Revision and Performance

12:15    Pascale Sardin (Bordeaux-Montaigne): Beckett performed in the context of the globalisation of “contemporary performance”: between commodification and politicisation


The Court Room

Afternoon / Après-midi  

14:00    A trio of performances: Rough for Theatre I; Rockaby; and an extract from Embers. 

For the concluding part of the ‘Performing Beckett/Jouer beckett’ Study Days in London, we present a selection of short performances from Beckett’s dramatic work. Each of these plays explores Beckett’s audio aesthetics and demonstrates the importance of sound as an essential sensory experience of performing Beckett. Afterwards we invite the audience to participate in a discussion with the actors about the texts, and their experience of approaching Beckett for live performance.

Rough for Theatre I, first written in French in the late 1950s, performed in English by Miztli Neville and Michael Kiersey.

Rockaby, first written in English in 1980, performed by Esther Ruth Elliott.

Embers, first written in English in 1957, an extract performed by Miztli Neville and Michael Kiersey.

Performances by Esther Ruth Elliot, Michael Kiersey and Miztli Neville / Coordination by Joanna Lally. 

Generously supported by the Cassal Endowment Fund; Université Bordeaux-Montaigne; TELEM

All are welcome to attend this free event. Places are limited so please register in advance



Cathy Collins
020 7862 8738