Clive Barker, former Senior Research Fellow of the College and an internationally renowned scholar of contemporary theatre practice, gave his extensive archive to the institution in 2004, reflecting the diversity of his work. He was an actor in Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop; colleague of Brecht’s heirs in the former GDR; leader of celebrated international workshops across Europe and in South America; loyal supporter of the theatrical avant-garde, champion of popular forms, and patron of community based theatre companies; co-founder and co-editor of New Theatre Quarterly; and author of numerous articles and books including the seminal Theatre Games.
The Centre is equally diverse in its research activities, embracing projects both here and abroad on carnival arts, site-specific theatre, urban and rural performative arts, music theatre and opera, puppetry and automata, and other popular forms.
Current projects include: Theatre for Development, in partnership with Pan Intercultural Arts whose artistic director, John Martin, is a College Visiting Professor, involving the testing of methodologies advanced in international workshops and a variety of post-conflict contexts. Theatre Memory, conducted by College researchers and Associate Researcher Carole Woddis, who explore through interviews with distinguished practitioners experiences to ‘pass on’ to future generations; Music on Stage, a biennial international conference organised by Dr Fiona Jane Schopf, with keynotes and papers published by Intellect Press and Cambridge Scholars Publishing; and Rapture, a series of projects that focuses on making feminist, multi-disciplinary practice from the perspective of design, content and management, led by Rebecca Pollock with Rachel Candler and Rachel Nicholson.
Previous now archived projects include: Cabaret Mechanical Theatre involving puppets and automata created by College students, staff and associate researchers with installations, exhibitions and performances at the Horniman Museum, the Prague Quadrennial and the Parque de la Ciencias, Granada, 2007-2009. The Dead Fiddler and The Destruction of Kreshev, two actor musician productions by associate company Sacred and Profane Theatre Company, adapted from short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, performed at the Edinburgh and Camden Festivals and London venues, 2006-2013. Intersex in Performance, a project and conference organised by Colin Ellwood, which explored controversial and topical ideas and cultural issues through performance, focusing on potential engagements between intersex and theatre, 2010. Taste of Memory a project, developed by Pan Intercultural Arts in partnership with RBC and SOAS Food Studies Centre, exploring the changing food heritage of Britain through the eyes of young Londoners from across the world, funded by Heritage Lottery and AB Charitable Trust, 2010-2011. The Festival Adventure developed through three symposia and allied events which explored the purpose of festival and how they celebrate diversity and build communities; involving staff, students and alumni, and College Visiting Professor, Chris Baldwin, a close associate of Clive Barker in his life-time, 2007-2010. The Flow Festival, Stourport on Severn, a water-based performance created by Chris Baldwin with Rachel Candler, Brigitte Lambert, alumni, and postgraduate students, commissioned by British Waterways as part of a rejuvenation project; the work combined large scale processions, giant water puppetry, live music and a weekend festival and artisan market, 2008. Contrebia Luz Movimiento, a four year investigatory performance and archaeology project led by Chris Baldwin with Rachel Candler, Brigitte Lambert and postgraduate students, based at Contrebia Leukade, a 14 hectare Celtic Iberian Settlement, founded approx. 700bc, in the South East of La Rioja, Spain, 1st May 2004 – 31st August 2007, funded by European Union (Leader Plus) and various Spanish agencies. The project was assessed as an example of good practice by the European Festivals Association (Research Unit), Leiden University, under the direction of Professor Dragan Klaic.
Punchdrunk’s three residencies at the College, involving the company’s artists and College staff and students, resulted in a site-specific performance as a response to “The West Wind” by John Masefield in Lamorbey House and grounds, 2009; an R&D project funded by ACE exploring the relationship between digital narratives and live immersive/ interactive performance, resulting in a confidential report to the funding body, 2012; and the facilitation and development of The House Where Winter Lives, performed at the Discover Centre London, 2012/2013.
The Clive Barker Fellowship is held by Dr Susan Croft. She is the director of Unfinished Histories, a major online project and resource that traces the history of Alternative Theatre in the UK between 1968 and 1988.The project’s several exhibitions, Performing Revolutions and Re-Staging Revolutions, Alternative Theatre 1968-88, draws on items in the Clive Barker Archive and other collections held by the College.
The Centre is a home also to three Hubs whose distinct features provide a framing device for a number of discrete projects. The Hubs for New Writing, Multicultural and Intercultural Performance, and Technologies in Performance have their own pages and blogs.
The Centre’s Patrons are Eugenio Barba, founder and artistic director of Odin Teatr, who also opened the Clive Barker Library in 2005 and Yvonne Brewster OBE, the founding Artistic Director of Britain’s pre-eminent Black theatre company – Talawa Theatre Company, and alumna and Fellow of the College.
Clive Barker died in March 2005. The College will mark this tenth anniversary by celebrating his life and work in a number of events in 2015.