Patrick Duggan is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance and Director of the Institute of Performance and Urban Living, at the University of Surrey. His research is interested in exploring why we (still) make theatre and performance: what is it for, what does it do culturally, politically, socially, aesthetically? Within this overarching frame, his focus has been on critical approaches to contemporary performance and the relationship between performance and the wider socio-cultural and political contexts in which it is made.
His work is engaged with poststructuralist and political philosophy, is interdisciplinary in nature and particularly focused on questions of spectatorship, witnessing, trauma and ethics and is concerned with exploring the socio-political efficacy of theatre, performance and other cultural practices. As well as having written numerous book chapters and journal articles, he is author of Trauma-Tragedy: Symptoms of Contemporary Performance (Manchester UP, 2012), and co-editor of Reverberations across Small-Scale British Theatre: Politics, Aesthetics and Forms (Intellect, 2013) and Performing (for) Survival: Theatre, Crisis, Extremity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). He is currently working on a new monograph entitled Performance and the Politics of Fear (Palgrave Macmillan), a special issue of Performance Research entitled ‘Staging the Wreckage’ (vol. 24, iss. 5, 2019), and a collaborative, interdisciplinary project Performing City Resilience: The art and culture of city resiliance with Stuart Andrews.
Anna Harpin is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick. Her primary research area is the cultural history of madness and trauma. Recent publications include her monograph Madness, Art, and Society: Beyond Illness with Routledge, Performance, Madness, Psychiatry: Isolated Acts with Juliet Foster (Cambridge), Performance and Participation: Practices, Audiences, Politics with Helen Nicholson (RHUL), and a chapter on Broadmoor Hospital in the Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Alongside her academic work Anna is a theatre maker with her company, Idiot Child. The company recently toured their new work about fear and anxiety entitled, What if the plane falls out of the sky? in May-August 2017.
Trish Reid is Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Kingston University, London. She has published widely in the field of contemporary Scottish theatre and performance and is the author of The Theatre of Anthony Neilson (Bloomsbury, 2017) and Theatre & Scotland (Palgrave 2013). She has contributed to a number of anthologies. Her article ‘Teenage Dreams: Power and Imagination in David Greig’s Yellow Moon and The Monster in the Hall’ appeared in Contemporary Theatre Review, 26:1 (2016), and an essay titled ‘killing joy as a world making project’: Anger in the work of debbie tucker green’ will be published in the same journal in the summer of 2018. Trish is from Glasgow.
Graham Saunders is the Allardyce Nicoll Professor of Drama in the Department of Theatre and Drama Arts at the University of Birmingham. He is author of Love me or Kill me: Sarah Kane and the Theatre of Extremes (Manchester: MUP, 2002), About Kane: the Playwright and the Work (London: Faber 2009), Patrick Marber’s Closer (Continuum, 2008) and British Theatre Companies 1980-1994 (Methuen, 2015). He is co-editor of Cool Britannia: Political Theatre in the 1990s (Palgrave, 2008) and Sarah Kane in Context (MUP, 2010). His latest mongraph, Elizabethan and Jacobean Reappropriation in Contemorary British Drama: ‘Upstart Crows’ was published by Palgrave in 2017. He is currently one of the co-investigators (with Jonathan Bignell, University of Reading) on the three year AHRC funded project Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies, led by Mark Taylor Batty (University of Leeds).
Gareth Somers is a British writer, actor and director, who has lectured and directed internationally. He holds a PhD in Performances Studies and works as a tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He played Woyzeck at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, founded Naked Theatre, the international research theatre in Bristol, and has developed new approaches to acting over a period of 30 years of theatre practice. Together with Lucyna Rossa he co-runs the theatre company Transatlantyk2. His one-man play 1616: The Secrets and Passions of William Shakespeare, directed by Lucyna Rossa and starring Somers himself, premiered in 2015 and toured to various locations in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States in 2015 and 2016. For more information visit Somers’ website: http://www.garethsomers.com/
Laura Wade is one of the most renowned dramatists of her generation and has received an impressive array of awards for her writing. She studied drama at Bristol University and was part of the Young Writers’ Programme at the Royal Court Theatre. After working for the children’s Playbox Theatre in Warwick, she was “writer-in-residence” at the Finborough Theatre and “writer-on-attachment” at the Soho Theatre. In 2005 she won the Critics’Circle Theatre Award as “Most Promising Playwright”. Her plays include, among others, Colder Than Here (Soho Theatre, 2005), Breathing Corpses (Royal Court Theatre, 2005), Other Hands (Soho Theatre 2006), Catch (Royal Court Theatre, 2006), Alice (Sheffield Crucible Theatre, 2010), and Posh (Royal Court Theatre, 2010, updated version 2012). In 2013 she adapted her own play Posh for the film The Riot Club (director: Lone Scherfig). Also to great acclaim, she adapted Sarah Waters’ successful novel Tipping the Velvet for the stage. The play with the same title premiered at the Lyric Hammersmith in October 2015 and was later also shown at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh. In June and July 2018 her new play Home, I’m Darling will premiere in a co-production both at Theatr Clwyd and at the Royal National Theatre. At CDE 2018 she will appear in conversation with Stefani Brusberg-Kiermeier. (Picture by Linda Nylind).
Samuel West has been a household name in British and international film and televison ever since his BAFTA-nominated portrayal of working-class Leonard Bast in the Merchant-Ivory production Howards End (1992) and is currently in cinemas as foreign secretary Anthony Eden to Gary Oldman’s Churchill in Darkest Hour. Parallel to his film and TV work he has been active continuously as a theatre actor and director, in contemporary British drama in particular. He was Valentine in the original cast of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (Royal National Theatre, 1993), played the Master in Edward Kemp’s adaption of Mikhail Bulgakow’s The Master and Marguerita (Chichester Festival Theatre, 2004), the son and the clones in Caryl Churchill’s A Number (Sheffield Crucible Theatre et al., 2006, 2010, 2011) and Jeffrey Skilling in the original cast of Lucy Prebble’s Enron (Chichester Festival Theatre and Royal Court Theatre, 2009-2010), which earned him an Evening Standard Award nomination. West directed, among others, Helen Cooper’s Three Women and a Piano Tuner (Minerva Theatre and Hampstead Theatre, 2005), Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House (Sheffield Crucible Theater, 2006), Patrick Marber’s Dealer’s Choice (Menier Chocolate Factory and Trafalgar Studios, 2007-2008), and April De Angelis’ After Electra (Theatre Royal Plymouth and Tricycle Theatre, 2015). He is currently starring in Ella Hickson’s new play The Writer with Romola Garai and can soon be seen in the film version of Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, due in cinemas in June 2018. His keynote address will offer insights into these productions.