Building Connections

As part of Newham Heritage Month and in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, UEL academic and performance artist Dr Lynne McCarthy contemplated the very foundations of the borough through Brickfield Newham, a mixed-media exploration of the relationship between us and the earth beneath our feet.   

The event combined storytelling and performance arts with brickmaking, shedding light on often-overlooked aspects of the borough's historical brickfield sites. The project asked community participants to consider our contemporary built environment and where and how we dwell through playful interactions with the humble brick. At the heart of the project was the building and lighting of a kiln at the performance site which fired around 500 bricks during a public brick-a-thon.  The project was conceived by Dr Lynne McCarthy (UEL), Dr Georgia Haseldine (V&A) and Rosanna Martin (Brickfield, St. Austell).

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People in car park doing art

Restaging Opera

Opera is often considered a performance art exclusive to a white, wealthy upper-class audience. UEL's Dominic Hingorani has been carving out paths for marginalised performance artists on diverse stages. As co-artistic director of Brolly Productions, a BME-led performance company, Hingorani is trying to bring artists and audiences who have been traditionally excluded from opera and theatre into the mainstream.  

In his ground-breaking production of The Powder Monkey, set aboard a 1788 slave ship, Hingorani explored themes of slavery and the heart-breaking choices enslaved people had to make when navigating a world which often forced them to choose between loyalty to their heritage and survival. The production was designed to be inclusive from rehearsal to stage and blended operatic music traditions with music traditions from West Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the North of England.  

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Powder Monkey drama production