232 Views

Punk, poetry and performance: Thinking Queer Review

How do you imagine the contemplations of the Bloomsbury Group in a modern cultural climate?

The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) achieved exactly that, showcasing four outstanding and diverse performers for the Thinking Queer: Bloomsbury Group event on the evening of Friday 10th November.  

Curated by the Marlborough Theatre, the ACCA invited people to their café bar for a performance centring around a response to the Bloomsbury collective, set up with groups of tables and chairs for diverse performances of poetry, dance and comedy. Although the building is not lacking facilities since its vast renovation project, the set up in the café bar allowed for a more relaxed and discursive atmosphere.

Jacob V Joyce, Nando Messias, and Marisa Carnesky had prepared pieces for the evening, with the final act screened from a recorded video from Alok Vaid-Menon. The performances were in some way a response to the philosophies and works of the Bloomsbury collective; members that include Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell.

The Bloomsbury Group were heralded as pioneers of thought surrounding sexuality, femininity, and pacifism at the beginning of the twentieth-century. Each performer had a unique response to the ethos of the circle through their own style of storytelling, and demonstrated how their theories have now evolved.  

The first act was from the non-binary interdisciplinary punk artist and member of sorryyoufeeluncomfortable collective (SYFU), Jacob V Joyce, who highlighted a firm belief in the importance of oral tradition within performance. Whilst reading biographies and information on the Bloomsbury Group, Joyce admitted that their writings were boring and dated in respect to the culture of today.

After speaking with friends and family who enjoy the writings of the group, Joyce was then able to construct a lyrical piece with imaginative use of a loop pedal, applying a colonial commentary as many of those in Bloomsbury were “viewing people of colour in colonial ways”.

The second piece performed, entitled ‘Alphabetical Anthology of White Liberal Proverbs’, is a poetic collage of “a system that routinely tries to erase [the] voice” of the non-white liberal elite. Joyce’s collection beautifully pairs illustration with poetry to compare current race and class culture with the attitude of Bloomsbury to make us painfully aware of the existence of these social barriers.

The following act was a performative piece by Nando Messias that epitomised the product of the ‘feminine’ of the early twentieth-century era. Messias, known for performances at the Tate Britain and the V & A, combines art and dance to create incredible images that critique rigid gender stereotypes. The piece set to music and recording, Francis, told the story of the conventional middle class elderly woman of the Bloomsbury epoch using choreography, costume and mime. As Messias began to unclothe, petals fell from their dress, eventually revealing a phallic object below the navel to confront a “hatred of conventions”, with every intricate movement reflecting the tone of the dialogue.

Marisa Carnesky’s Bloomsbury interpretation was more literal and comical, asking the audience: “how could I embody them?” Carnesky is known for success in productions, the Menstronauts, and renowned performances such as Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman. The piece was centred around a replica of the female upper-body attached to the torso, with womb, heart, and breasts through the embodiment of the Charleston House, the meeting place of the Bloomsbury Group.  

By objectifying the traditional feminine body, Carnesky said: “Through these objects, I live the art, the art is my experience, it’s my body”. Carnesky recognised the warm reception from the audience, offering a more humorous portrayal for the evening.

The final piece of the evening was a video performance entitled ‘All Dressed Up’ by Alok Vaid-Menon, a gender non-conforming performance artist and writer, and part of the ‘Dark Matter’ Group. There was a different atmosphere in the room at this point of the evening as the room watched and intently listened to the spoken word of Vaid-Menon; coupled with video clips of the artist. The poem directly calls for erasure of violence, and discusses how language has been merged with a violence towards queerness.

Vaid-Menon questions the concept of a collective as the LGBTQ+ community is “more connected than ever but we’ve never felt so alone”, emphasising that the digital age is a social space to celebrated, but there’s still a way to go – Vaid-Menon acknowledges that there is still collective façade of resilience within the queer community.

The evening was a great success. I’m sure many others who attended will join me in hoping that the ACCA will unite with the Marlborough Theatre and many other outlets to produce other unique cultural commentaries.

Featured Image Credit: Sarah Ferrari

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
496 views1
Campus News
496 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
21 views
Arts
21 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
73 views
Arts
73 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
83 views
Arts
83 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
107 views
Arts
107 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
128 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
139 views
Arts
139 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
132 views
Arts
132 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
210 views
Campus News
210 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
98 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
196 views
Arts
196 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
129 views
Arts
129 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
203 views
Artist Focus
203 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
140 views
Interview
140 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
209 views
Arts
209 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
229 views
Arts
229 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
271 views
Arts
271 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
187 views
Artist Focus
187 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
189 views
Books
189 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
243 views
Science
243 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
257 views
News
257 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…