APAC Study Day 2014: Performance on Film

This one-day APAC Study Day looks at the relationship between performance and film, especially in the early years of the UK film industry. Our expert speaker, Bryony Dixon of the British Film Institute, will screen a wealth of excerpts from the National Film Archive, illustrating early 20th-century theatrical performances captured on film. Other speakers will focus on case studies describing preservation and digitisation projects, and on recent developments in the live broadcasting of theatre.

The venue is the Cinema Museum in Kennington, only 10 minutes from Central London, housed in what was the Lambeth Workhouse (where Charlie Chaplin spent time as a child). The building is wonderfully atmospheric. The conference room was originally the chapel of the Superintendent’s house, built in 1871. A short guided tour of the museum will be included in the day’s programme.


10.15–10.30: Arrival and Registration
10.30: Introduction to the day

10.35–12.00 (with break for coffee): Bryony Dixon (BFI) – The Stage and Early Film
Drawing heavily on rare film excerpts, Bryony’s presentation will explore how the new film industry developed in the UK and what crossovers there were between those working in both industries (directors, producers, performers). Delegates will have the opportunity to see rare examples of stage performance preserved via the new medium of film.

12.00–12.30: Jane Pritchard (Curator of Dance, V&A) – Dance on Film in the Silent Era
Jane’s presentation will look at the importance of dance on screen in its earliest years and how screen appearances by dancers could enhance their careers. Initially dance was a useful medium for film as it focused on movement, but quickly pioneers including Lars Elfelt in Denmark, Alexander Shiraev in Russia and Luca Comerio in Italy recognised its importance for recording dance, thereby preserving choreography which has been rediscovered a century later.

12.30–13.30: Lunch – A buffet lunch will be provided.

13.30–14.00: Brief tour of the Cinema Museum by its curator, Martin Humphries

14.00–15.00: Lynne Wake & Christopher Bird – Bringing the Archive to Life
Experienced film-makers Lynne Wake and Christopher Bird will demonstrate how they have used rare film footage combined with material from the archives to create major dance documentaries.

15.00: Tea

15.20–15.40: Arike Oke (Archivist, Rambert Dance Company) – Digitising the Archive
Arike’s presentation will describe Rambert’s HLF-funded project to digitise the company’s extensive film collection and make it available to company members and scholars.

15.40–16.10: Anna Landreth-Strong (Curator, Modern & Contemporary Performance, V&A) – The Archive of Tomorrow
Anna will provide an overview of current practice in the recording and broadcasting of live theatre, looking at the work of Digital Theatre, the NT, the Royal Opera House, RSC, V&A and others.

16.10: Final questions, comments, summing up
16.30: Event closes


This event is free for APAC members. Institutional members may claim up to two free places, and ask for further staff to be added to a waiting list. APAC members will have priority booking until August 13th. Waiting list places will be confirmed on August 16th. After this date, bookings will be open to non-members.

To book, please email Claire Hudson, Officer Without Portfolio, at c.hudson@vam.ac.uk.

Please do not claim places unless you are sure that you will use them. Late cancellations and no-shows will affect your attendance at future APAC events.

Travel Grants

Travel grants are available for members travelling over 50 miles to attend the event. Applications should reflect only the cost of travel tickets. In special cases, grants can also be used towards covering the costs of an overnight stay (maximum total grant is £150).

The deadline for grant applications is August 16th. Grants will be paid only on the production of receipts.

To apply, please send an e-mail with the subject line ‘APAC Travel Grant’ to Claire Hudson, Officer Without Portfolio, at c.hudson@vam.ac.uk. Please state the amount to be claimed and how it will be used. Applications will be assessed by the APAC Executive Committee.

This event has been funded by Arts Council England as part of its support for Subject Specialist Networks.