Watch National Theatre Live With Flix

1089Want to watch award-winning theatre live but not willing to pay the full cost of a ticket and a train fare to London? Then Flix, Loughborough Student Union’s own film society, has the answer for you!

The Society have recently installed a LANsat media reciever at the Cope Building which will allow live events from around the world to be broadcast at the Cope Auditorium, beginning this autumn with a season of drama direct from the National Theatre.

First up this September the Young Vic company takes on Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire, which will be broadcasted live from London. The piece tells the story of Blanche DuBois, whose fragile world is crumbling when she turns to her sister Stella for solace. But her downward spiral brings her face to face with Stella’s husband, the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski.

Starring Gillian Anderson (of The X-Files fame) and directed by Critics’ Circle Award winning director Benedict Taylor, A Streetcar Named Desire will be shown at the Cope Auditorium on Tuesday 16th September at 7pm. Tickets cost £10.

For further details of this and the rest of the NT Live programme to be shown over the coming year, visit the LU Arts calendar page here:

Where There’s A Will…

shakespeare by tonynetoneFittingly for World Book Night, today marks the 450th birthday of the world’s most famous writer, William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

His work, which includes 38 plays and 154 sonnets, has been translated into virtually every conceivable language, is studied comprehensively in schools, colleges and universities and is performed daily in theatres around the globe. He’s often considered to be Britain’s greatest cultural export, and his influence on modern drama and literature is beyond description – so I won’t attempt it!

Within our own “quick forge and working-house of thought” we have a wealth of Shakespeare related books and resources, including copies of all his works, along with famous adaptations of work on DVD. We also have access to the British Universities Film & Video Council‘s exemplary online Shakespeare resource, an authoritative  database of Shakespeare-related content in film, television, radio and video recordings which currently holds nearly 8,000 records dating from the 1890s to the present day. To read or to view, that is the question…!

Shakespeare portrait by tonynetone, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Database Trials – Drama Online & Digital Theatre Plus

drama online logo

We’re currently trialling two new electronic resources that should prove of vast interest to students of English & Drama, or indeed anyone with an interest in theatre and the dramatic arts.

The award-winning Drama Online introduces new writers alongside some of the most iconic names in playwriting history, providing contextual and critical background through scholarly works and practical guides. This constantly growing collection meets the full range of teaching needs for theatre studies, literature courses and drama schools. From the epic to the monologue; ensemble to one-person plays; comedy to tragedy; the historical to the contemporary; and from the highly political to the profoundly personal, there is plenty to discover. The databases’ unique Play Tools with Character Grids, Words and Speech graphs and Part Books offer a new way to engage with plays for close study or for performance.

To begin using Drama Online please go to www. – access is via IP address or from off-campus login via the VPN. This trial will end on April 13th 2014.

On a similar theme, we’re also trialling Digital Theatre Plus, which is the home of unique films of leading British theatre productions for schools, colleges and universities and represents a bold new approach to experiencing and learning about theatre online.

To try this database out, visit This trial is active only until 27th January 2014.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – about either or both of these trials, so please contact Steve Corn ( with your comments.

Shakespeare, Globe to Globe

William Shakespeare would have celebrated his 448th birthday on Monday, and doubtless he’d be pleased to know that his work continues to live on into the next millenium. And to further mark this fact, the Royal Shakespeare Company this week launched a new festival celebrating the Bard’s works.

The World Shakespeare Festival is a collaboration between the RSC and over 50 over companies joining together around the world to put together almost 70 productions and a multitude of other special events and exhibitions, including Globe to Globe, a nation-wide touring production during which all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays will be performed in 37 different languages!

But you don’t have to go too far to sample the Bard’s work – the Library has a vast amount of literature by and about Shakespeare, both on our shelves and electronically. Databases such as Literature Online (LION), the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC), the Theatre Archives Project and the Theatre Information Group in particular afford a wealth of information.

To find out more about the festival, visit their website here.

William Shakespeare portrait copyright Books18, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Database in Focus: Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

The Library’s next Database in Focus session takes place next Wednesday 18th May from 10.00AM until 11.00AM in Library Training Room 1, and the database under the microscope on this occasion is the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Described by its publisher as “the definitive record of the English language”, the OED is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world.

As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from those of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find these in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to films scripts and cookery books.

English & Drama students should find this session of particular interest, as should anyone with an interest in the history of the English language in general.

To book to attend this session:

Staff – either through Staff Development’s booking system, or turn up on the day.

Students – no need to book, just turn up on the day.

See you there!

Training days at the British Library


British Library

If you are a researcher in Art and Design, English, History or Social Sciences you might want to be aware of some of the services offered by the British Library. The BL offer is a series of training days, aims of which are:

  • To introduce you to the range of research materials available in the British Library
  • To offer special curator sessions and workshops in a range of topics
  • To show you how to access the catalogues, and carry out bibliographic research on your topic
  • To introduce you to specialist curators at the Library
  • To give you an opportunity to network with postgraduate students from other universities across the UK
  • The day will contribute to national subject-specific and generic research skills training

The BL’s training days start in October. A limited number of travel bursaries may be available too.

Forty Years of Festivals

The Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival, probably the most famous pop music festival in the world, ended yesterday evening, marking its fortieth birthday in the process.

Based on the site of a dairy farm six miles east of the normally sleepy Somerset town of Glastonbury,  it’s the largest open-air music and performing arts festival in the world, with a record (sorry!) 178,000 people turning up for the three-day event this year.  It encompasses not just music but also a broad spectrum of performing arts including comedy, drama and dance (and a wide variety of mud-themed entertainment when it rains!)

This year’s headline acts included Muse, Scissor Sisters, Orbital (with a guest appearence from  Dr Who star Matt Smith) and Stevie Wonder, and the last forty years have seen bands and performers from the very pinnacle of the music world, including Oasis, Paul McCartney, The Smiths, David Bowie, and… Rolf Harris.

To find out more about the Festival and its history, why not visit its website. Alternately, you can find out more via some of the databases in Metalib, including Nexis, BHI, and the music journalism resource Rock’s Backpages.

And if you want tickets for next year’s festival, you’ll have to be quick off the mark – this years’ all sold out within an hour when they went on sale earlier in April!

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

The Bristol Old Vic theatre

The Bristol Old Vic theatre has just embarked upon a novel interpretation of William Shakespeare’s classic play of doomed romance, Romeo and Juliet.

Twelve years in the making, the production cleverly stands the original play on its head  by using Shakespeare’s original text but cleverly re-casting its lovers as octogenarians, with their anxious children, not their parents, seeking to prevent bloodshed on account of the star-crossed if silver-haired lovers!

The cast includes a glittering array from a truly vintage generation of classical thespians, including Sian Phillips (I ClaudiusDune) as Juliet, Michael Byrne (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Coronation Street) as Romeo and Dudley Sutton (Lovejoy, The Beiderbecke Affair) as Mercutio.

Shakespeare remains a tremendous influence on contemporary drama worldwide, and this is reflected in many of our online resources on Metalib, where you can find a wealth of information about the Bard and his works in the databases contained in our English & Drama section.

The play runs at the Bristol Old Vic from 10th March to 24th April. Further details can be found on their website here.

Catch this sweet-smelling rose if you can!

La Mort du duc de Guise

Music notes

Alhambra Theatre , London

‘At a “private exhibition” yesterday afternoon, Messers. Pathe Freres, in conjunction with the management, showed on the cinematograph  three wordless plays from Paris.’

‘On the cinematograph we saw not only the murder …but glimpses of the life of cafes , grand and humble …and all sorts of thrilling things, including a  danse d’Apache by Mlle. Mistenguette and a man.’

‘All these, of course,  not in the flesh, but on the films , while the orchestra played….next came a version of  L’Arlesienne… and finally the Murder of the Duke of Guise, a play specially composed for  this kind of performance , by M. Lavenden, and acted by no lesser people than M. le Bargey, M. Albert Lambert, and Mlle. Gabrielle Robbinne.’  The Times, Saturday, Nov 21, 1908; pg. 13; Issue 38810; col

Camille Saint-Saens wrote in 1908 the first modern film score for the cinema, for the silent film Murder of the Duke of Guise [sometimes refered to as  L'Assassinat du duc de Guise].    The film only ran for about 18 minutes, but has become of great historical importance in the development of silent films, film scores, and sound of  the ‘talkies’.  Silent films were still popular in France up to the 1930s.

It is interesting to note that as the film achieved critical acclaim, going some way of launching the fledgeling film industry into popular culture, Saint-Saëns did not himself seek the notariety associated with later film-stars and film score composers.   Saint-Saëns wrote to the German journalist M. Levin in 1901  “I take very little notice of either praise or censure, not because I have an exalted idea of my own merits (which would be foolish), but because in doing my work, and fulfilling the function of my nature, as an apple-tree grows apples, I have no need to trouble myself with other people’s views.”

The Union of Film Music Composers [UFMC] is celebrating the centenary of film music, in association with the Federation of Film and Audiovisual Composers of Europe [FFACE].  UFMC writes that   ‘Le film marque un tournant dans l’histoire du cinéma en édifiant d’une première pierre l’histoire de la musique originale : la composition de Saint-Saëns suit très précisément chaque scène, n’autorisant au chef aucune désynchronisation avec l’image. D’autres extraits de musiques de films ainsi qu’une masterclass suivront la projection.’

 If you would like to lean more about Saint-Saëns and early film music, please see the links below….

Musical memories by Camille Saint-Saëns

French cinema : from its beginnings to the present by Rémi Fournier Lanzoni  shelved on L evel 2 at 791.430944/LAN

The sounds of early cinema /edited by Richard Abel and Rick Altman  shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/SOU

Spellbound in darkness :a history of the silent film by George C. Pratt shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/PRA

The ciné goes to town :French cinema, 1896-1914 /Richard Abel shelved on Level 2 at 791.430944/ABE

Musicians of To-Day, by Romain Rolland [1915]

Film and Sound Online - a set of collections of film and video. Login via UK Federation, choose Loughborough University (ATHENS) from the drop-down list then login with your Athens username and password.   Available via MetaLib.

Different significations



 Samuel Johnson Tercentenary 2009 

‘This Month will be publifhed, in Two large VOLUMES in FOLIO (Price bound Four Pounds Ten Shillings) A DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE ; In which the Words are deducted from their Originals and illuftrated in their different Significations, by Examples from the beft Writers.  To which are prefixed, a GRAMMAR and a HISTORY of the LANGUAGE by SAMUEL JOHNSON A.M. ‘

Public Advertiser (London, England), Saturday, March 1, 1755; Issue 6346

Creating and publishing dictionaries had been popular by Johnson’s time,  when previously the idea of looking up information in a book, using the front and middle and end of a book, A-Z , had been a relative novelty.

Johnson was an extraordinary writer, always strapped for cash, and the dictionary became a great challege for him to compile over many years, sifting out words and descriptions suitable for his readers from those he felt were not suitable  [every language has ... its improprieties and absurdities, which it is the duty of the lexicographer to correct or proscribe..  ' Preface to the Dictionary]

It is interesting to note that Johnson was well aware that despite the publishing of a list of words and their meanings, the English language would still grow and develop.  In the preface of the the Dictionary he tells his reader that ‘sounds are too volatile and subtile for legal restraints….Those who have much leisure to think, will always be enlarging the stock of ideas, and every increase of knowledge, whether real or fancied, will produce new words, or combinations of words.’

Johnson’s friends were perhaps rightly aggreived to see the poor send off the author received at Westminster Abbey when Johnson died in 1784.    Wax candles had been ordered, along with the playing of the organ, however one person observed  that ‘not a key of the organ was ftruck, or a fingle taper was lighted up on the occaifon.  The fervice, the mutilated fervice, was mumbled over …in the moft unfkilful and unfeeling manner….’ Public Advertiser (London, England), Tuesday, December 28, 1784; Issue 15785


If you would like to learn more about Dr Samuel John and his time, please see the resources below.

Domestick privacies :Samuel Johnson and the art of biography /edited by David Wheeler  shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/DOM

The political writings of Dr. Johnson /edited by J.P. Hardy shelved on Level 2 at 942.07/JOH

The life of Samuel Johnson /James Boswell ; edited, abridged and annotated by John Canning shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/BOS

BBC Stoke and Stafforshire

Icons – a portrait of England

Johnson Collection

Dr Johnson’s House

Samuel Johnson Tercentenary

Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum