On 19 and 20 November, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama will host a series of events surrounding Voicing Gender: Vocal Authority for the Public Platform as a part of the UK’s first national festival of the humanities, the Being Human Festival. As a part of this work, the National Theatre will generously host their affiliated Platforms event The Female Voice, in which the National's Head of Voice, Jeanette Nelson, will be joined by actors and directors to discuss vocal skills, technique and training for women in theatre.
Led by Central's MA Voice Studies Course Leader and Head of the International Centre for Voice Dr Jane Boston, and responding to current debate about gender roles and the voicing of authority by male, female and transgender voices, the collection of events will ask the questions- why are some voices heard and others not; and, what does it mean to claim a public voice? Through a series of short public performances, curated discussions and online podcasts, these questions will be explored alongside investigation into how our voices can- with meaning and creativity- transfer into areas of public life.
Following a successful application, the Voicing Gender project was selected from over 100 applications to take part in the Being Human festival week, running 15 to 23 November 2014, and will be part of a national programme of activities which aim to inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the humanities. Central’s events surrounding Voicing Gender will take place at the School on 19 and 20 November, with The Female Voice occurring on November 20 in the Olivier Theatre at the National.
Currently in its first year, Being Human is led by the University of London’s School of Advanced Study in participation with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, and with the participation of arts and cultural organisations and universities across the UK. Thirty-six grants have been awarded in total, with the nine days of festival events taking place in a number of cities including London, Belfast, Liverpool and Norwich.
The festival programme will focus on activities that make humanities research accessible to the general public and will demonstrate the role of the humanities in cultural, intellectual, political and social life.
About Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities, 15 to 23 November, 2014.
What does it mean to be human? How do we understand ourselves, our relationship to others and our place in nature? For centuries the humanities have addressed these questions. Artists, writers, philosophers, theologians and historians have considered who we are, how we live and what we value most. But are these long-standing questions changing in 2014? We are more connected than ever, yet we spend more time with smart phones and computers than face to face. The world is becoming smaller, yet the digital information we can access and store, even about ourselves, is vast and growing. Developments in science and technology are moving fast, challenging our understanding of the self and society. What sense can we make of these changes and what challenges do we face? We need the humanities more than ever to help us address these issues and provide the means to question, interpret and explain the human predicament.
The festival is held as part of the School of Advanced Study’s 20th anniversary celebrations and draws on the success of the 2013 King’s College Festival of the Humanities. Being Human will be the UK’s first national festival of the humanities. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, universities, arts and cultural organisations across the UK, it will demonstrate the value, vitality and relevance of the humanities in 2014. To find out more about the festival, please visit www.beinghumanfestival.org or follow the festival on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest