Anna Birch

Biography

Anna’s Practice Research combines her scholarly research and professional expertise as a theatre and film director. Moving beyond the theatre building she has created a ‘living monuments’ dramaturgical method to both search out and reveal hidden and often neglected feminist biographies and histories. She researched her method through site-specific performance and films about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) to show how this use of multimedia provides an essential link to the performativity of particular feminist achievements through history. She applies this template to her current research focus on women’s suffrage drama with Professor Katharine Cockin (University of Hull). Her large-scale public performance March of Women (2015) and the short film MARCH (37 minutes, link and password on request) both in partnership with Glasgow Women's Library document this public facing and socially engaged work. See the MARCH trailer at www.fragmentsandmonuments.com and March of Women archive collection https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb2607-ab/1ff

 She is co-editor, with Professor Joanne Tompkins, of Performing Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice (2012), where the chapter ‘ Repetition and performativity: site-specific performance and film as living monument’ sets out this practice research case study. She guest-edited an issue of Contemporary Theatre Review; also with Tompkins, on Site-Specificity and Mobility (2012).

As co-convener of the Performance as Research Working Group (International Federation of Theatre Research, 2010-2013) she co-edited with Bruce Barton and Melanie Dreyer-Lude Mediating Practice(s): Performance as Research and/in/through Mediation, Experiments and Intensities Series Volume 3, Winchester University Press, www.experimentsandintensities.com ISBN 978-1-906113-12-4.

In October 2017 she is invited keynote and facilitator for the AHRC Research Network Memory, Music and Movement, Cape Breton University, Canada. Her piece ‘Mary Wollstonecraft Trail Blazer to Parliament ‘ will be published in Women’s Voices and Parliament (eds) John Vice (Hansard, House of Lords) and Maggie Inchley (2018). She was keynote and facilitator for Recovering Women’s Past: New Epistemologies, New Ventures University of Edinburgh, Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH) and Institut Francais Ecosse (2016) and for International Women's Day, March 2017 she presented  ‘The Wollstonecraft Live Experience!’ at Mary Wollstonecraft: Life work and Legacy conference University of Hull and Hull City of Culture.

 For The Food Project she collaborated in running an intensive workshop for the 2nd International Performance Design Symposium at the Danish Institute, Rome and Fara Sabina and a workshop for TESTing 2013 on scenographic practice and scholarship convened by Professor Dorita Hannah and Dr. Joslin McKinney for World Stage Design, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (2013).

Since 2011 she has followed the footsteps of Edith Craig, the lesbian, suffragette and theatre director daughter of Ellen Terry. See A Pageant of Great Women (Hull, 2011), https://vimeo.com/99813842 . The re-presentation of this 100-year-old play has resulted in a new archive to include specially made artefacts eg. banners and sashes, an adapted script and a documentary film for public release. Producing and placing new archives in collections invites a critical dialogue with our feminist past to encourage a relational approach to our histories and traditions.

Her work is found in libraries, museums and specialist archive holdings as evidence of the neglected histories of women’s achievement. The Wollstonecraft Live Experience! (January - March 2010) for Hackney Museum, London featured an original copy of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792) from the Hackney Archive and a specially produced companion volume The Wollstonecraft Live Experience! (ISBN 978-0-9568008-0-0) by Anna Birch and Taey Iohe (2010) funded by Hackney Museum. Awarded Time Out critics choice listing.

Anna’s first productions of plays by April de Angelis and Marina Carr made her early career in developing, directing and producing new writing notable. She trained as a director under Max Stafford-Clark and was the first winner of the Gerald Chapman Award at the Royal Court Theatre, London.

She is a peer reviewer for Journal of Artistic Research (JaR), Palgrave and Contemporary Theatre Research (CTR) and an external examiner for the Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies (TAEDS), BA (Hons) at University of Reading and the MA Costume, London College of Fashion, UK.

 

 

 

Education

  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, UK (Deaf Perspective).

    Level 1 BSL Training (British Sign Language)

    4 Nov 2015 - 20 Apr 2016
  • Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design, University of the Arts, London, UK.

    SEDA accredited qualification: certificate in supervising research degrees for professionals in Art, Design and Communication

    10 Oct 2009 - 10 Nov 2008
  • PhD, University of the Arts London

    PhD ‘Staging and Citing Gendered Meanings: A practice-based study of representational strategies in live and mediated performance.

    10 Oct 1998 - 7 Jun 2004
  • London College of Printing, UK

    1994-1996: MA Independent Film and Video

    5 Oct 1994 - 3 Jun 1996
  • BEd, University of Cambridge

    1978 - 1979: BEd (Hons), (Cantab) Newnham College

    5 Oct 1978 - 25 Jun 1979
  • Homerton College, Cambridge University, UK

    1975 -1978: Drama (Major), Art, Education Cert Ed (Distinction)

    5 Oct 1975 - 5 Jun 1978

Supervisor for

Beyond the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland...