Speakers: Jill Fell, Amber West, Glyn Edwards and Nenagh Watson
Mr.Punch is 350 years old and celebrations are being held over the weekend 12/13 May under the banner The Big Grin. The Subversive Symposium on 14 May continues the celebration by giving a platform to four speakers who between them will plunder history, give a nod to tradition, rant about contemporary subversives and shout out for the future. Post-Traditional Puppetry is a growing area of academic discourse and this evening’s event, hosted by CROPP, will certainly not pull the punches!
Jill Fell is author of two inspiring books: ‘Alfred Jarry An Imagination in Revolt’ (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press) and a biography of Alfred Jarry (Reaktion Books). She has a wide vision of his work and writes about how Jarry’s interest in puppetry actually seeped into the structure and dynamic of Jarry’s writing. Jarry, who caused a riot in Paris in 1896 when the central character, the tyrant Pa Ubu said ‘Merdre’ (‘pshitt’ Shite or Shittr)!
Amber West is an American researcher presenting ‘Making a Troublemaker: Charlotte Charke's Proto-Feminist Puppetry’. Charke was an 18th century cross-dressing actress and travelling puppeteer who put Punch in petticoats! West argues that Charke’s innovative puppetry, like her cross-dressing, should be considered an active challenge to, and rejection of, the binary discourses of the 18th century’s emerging capitalist patriarchy.
Glyn Edwards, Punch professor and instigator of The Big Grin, will discuss his collaboration with Ken Cambell ‘The World of Mr Punch’ - this included a puppet of Bin Laden attempting to persuade Punch to wear a suicide bomber vest.
Nenagh Watson ‘Every good wish – Joe’ – traces her journey to locate the late Joe Beeby. As part of this process Watson takes on the persona of Joe Beeby. Watson is currently learning the traditional routines with the intention of creating a post-feminist performance which utilizes the anarchic energy of Punch.
Places are free but booking is essential: see Subversive symposium