Culture

Women of the World Festival 2019

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The Women of the World Festival will mark its 10th anniversary next year. The event has been so successful that Jude Kelly has quit her day job as artistic director of the Southbank Centre to head up the venture full time. The festival has since been expanded into 17 countries around the world with 65 festivals in countries from Nepal to Finland to the US.

The festival aims to “celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face and discussing solutions together”.

Karl Lagerfeld, 1933–2019

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“Those social networks, there’s something sad about them. It’s like a talkative mirror where people talk to themselves.” So Karl Lagerfeld told Women’s Wear Daily in 2014. When the designer died in February, there was an outpouring of grief on social media from across the fashion industry for the self-styled pope of fashion.

Lagerfeld was known to hold contemptuous views of the same world he profited from. And social media was key to the promotion of both his businesses and highly recognisable personal image.

Bedrooms of London

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This exhibition of photographs by Katie Wilson documents the living conditions of London’s most disadvantaged children. It stands firmly within the mission of the Foundling Museum, in what was the Foundling Hospital set up by Thomas Coram in 1741. Coram’s purpose was to care for the estimated 1,000 children who were abandoned every year in London, resulting from the polarisation of wealth in the Georgian era. Today the site houses a museum and boasts the legacy of being the first children’s charity and public gallery.

Richard II

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This production of Shakespeare’s history play is entirely produced, directed and performed by non-white women — a first for a production on a major British stage. The costumes, set and music are non-specific, sometimes African, Arabic or Indian. Around the theatre are banners made from photos of the cast’s ancestors from across the world.

The play concerns the emerging national identity and it is fascinating how different the many references to gender and race come across with this cast, raising a new commentary about their original meaning.

Corita Kent: Power Up

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The cultural explosions that took place amid the social and political upheavals of 1960s America threw up extraordinary new forms of expression that articulated incendiary challenges to state injustices and atrocities of that postwar era.

Corita Kent was a radical artist, activist, designer and art educator whose exuberant, subversive and at times controversial work revolutionised typographical design and cried out against injustice. Corita seized pop art by the throat and set it to work for human liberation.

Scottish theatre’s modern renaissance

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Mark Brown, author of Modernism and Scottish Theatre Since 1969, gives the run down on how Scotland’s particular kind of Reformation stunted the development of dramatic writing for centuries, not really recovering until the early 1900s.

To talk about Scottish theatre in the late 20th and early 21st centuries we must, paradoxically, start in the 16th century. For it was then, amid the ferocious indignation and granite moral certainties of the Calvinist Reformation, that a new course was set for Scottish society and culture.

In the case of theatre, it meant no course at all. For the virulent Protestant reformer John Knox and his fellow Calvinists, the theatre was a cesspit of godless recreation. Consequently, as the roofs were ripped from the Catholic abbeys, the theatres, too, were closed down.

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