It’s no secret that Queen Mary’s Drama department has a penchant for the weird and wonderful; indeed, that’s what grants it much of its excellence. Boasting an impressive concentration of artists and academics working in performance and live art – Lois Weaver, Julia Bardsley, and Dominic Johnson, to name just a few – and maintaining close ties with other internationally-renown practitioners, Drama at QM is somewhat of a haven for the unconventional, and an obvious choice for fledgling performance artists looking to spread their wings. But the final test comes in the form of the transition from university to professional arts practice: the leap from the nest, if you will. Historically, QM alumni have always done well at the Edinburgh Fringe, scooping up award nominations and positive reviews.
But what about those of us who remain London-bound this summer? Look no further than REVELATIONS Festival of the Sacred and Profane, an evening of performance, visual art, and film taking place on 29th August at Oxford House, a mere stone’s throw from our Mile End campus. The creative brain-child of QM alumna Aniela Czajewska and current student Olga Kravchenko, REVELATIONS seeks to unite established and emerging artists working across disciplines to explore themes of ritual and taboo. There is a marked focus on the gendered body, for instance in XXXora’s Mutilation of my Silver Bo(X), a piece which campaigns for fairer treatment of intersex individuals by the medical community, or in The Matriarch, a drag personification of Lady Macbeth performed by QM’s very own Rodent DeCay.
For others, the inspiration is mediaeval: Ginger Farbrother and her choir pay homage to saint nun and composer Hildegard, while LCF Footwear alumna Sofie Birkin presents two pairs of shoes inspired by the Witch Hunt mania of the 17th century. Collage artist Susan Plover juxtaposes religious iconography with the contemporary in Light of My World (pictured) and five more pieces. Others go even further back in time: artists and academics Gen Doy and Lynn Dennison will be presenting Sea Change, inspired by the Biblical Book of Revelations, while film-maker Adam Daniels’ Choni the Circle-Maker adapts a two thousand year old Semitic folk tale. The producer’s own performance, Gift, draws influence both from Ancient Greek sacrifice and the folk-Catholic ritual of Eastern Europe.
In short, if you have a taste for the transgressive, the historical, or the queer, mark August 29th in your diaries, for a night we pray you’ll remember.
REVELATIONS: Festival of the Sacred and Profane will take place on August 29th 2014, at Oxford House, Derbyshire St, London E2 6HG. Tickets (£8 / £5 concessions) can be bought from http://oxfordhouse.org.uk/ai1ec_event/revelations/?instance_id=. You’ll find the most up-to-date information on our Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/1535142673372331/?fref=ts.