Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Pictures From Light Night

I didn't have a camera and was hiding behind a Charon mask is Dark Arches anyway, but I'm very glad some other people (people I don't know!) took photos and posted them online. I've collected the images here - if I've not attributed them properly I apologise and will correct if you get in touch with me (e.r.okell at leeds.ac.uk). If anyone would like to send me their photos, please use the same address.

Congratulations to cast members for capturing the public's imagination:
Rachel Meadows - Persephone
Rachel Elderkin - Orpheus and Eurydice
Bob Buxton - Horus
Eleanor OKell - Charon

LIGHT AND DARK: Rachel Meadows on the Town Hall steps as Persephone, Greek goddess of the Underworld.
Persephone, Quen of the Underworld, outside the Palace of Hades on the Town Hall Steps
( (c)Yorkshire Evening Post staff photographer: published 11/10/10, see http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Leeds-Light-Night-2010-City39s.6575041.jp)

    Orpheus, searching the Underworld.
    Does he seek Persephone to ask her to bring Eurydice back to life or Eurydice herself?
    ( (c) Simon Cliff: DSC_9490 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sicliff/5069556320/)


    Eurydice outside the City Museum, waiting by the Gate of Taenarus for Orpheus to join her or to bring her back to life.
    ( (c) parishpics: img-9354 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/parishpics/5063736950/in/photostream/
      Horus, preparing to weigh your soul against the feather of truth and determine whether it is righteous and you can enter the afterlife to enjoy "cakes, ale and crumpet" forevermore.
      ( (c) Rachel Coterill: IMG_6676 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachelcotterill/5071738582/in/set-72157625015880477/)

      Charon stalks the Dark Arches, looking to cross souls over the River Styx (River Aire).
      ( (c) Punk Rock Kicks: Death stalks the Dark Arches at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mighty-southpaw/5063779362/in/pool-lightnight)

      Monday, 25 October 2010

      Another Egyptian Journey

      The British Museum exhibition

      Journey through the afterlife:
      Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

      Opens on 4th November 2010

      4 November 2010 – 6 March 2011 / Reading Room / Admission charge

      The British Museum’s major Autumn exhibition, supported by BP, will present and explore ancient Egyptian beliefs about life after death. Journey through the afterlife: ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead will showcase the rich textual and visual material from the British Museum’s unparalleled collection of Book of the Dead papyri. The ‘Book’, used for over 1500 years between c. 1600 BC and 100 AD, is not a single text, but a compilation of spells thought to equip the dead with knowledge and power which would guide them safely through the dangers of the hereafter and ultimately ensure eternal life.

      The British Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Book of the Dead manuscripts on papyrus in the world, and this exhibition will be the first opportunity to see so many examples displayed together. Due to the fragility of the papyri and their sensitivity to light it is extremely rare for any of these manuscripts to ever be displayed so this is a truly unique opportunity to view them. The exhibition will include the longest Book of the Dead in the world, the Greenfield Papyrus, which measures 37 metres in length and has never been shown publicly in its entirety before. Also on display will be the famous paintings from the papyri of Ani and Hunefer, together with selected masterpieces on loan from major international collections. These treasures will be exhibited alongside a dazzling array of painted coffins, gilded masks, amulets, jewellery, tomb figurines and mummy trappings. State-of-the-art visualisation technology will provide new ways of accessing and understanding this key source in the history of world religions.

      The Book of the Dead opens a window onto the complex belief systems of the ancient Egyptians where death and afterlife were a central focus. Though the name may be familiar today, the wealth of magical images and texts is actually much richer than is generally known. Beautifully coloured illustrations graphically show the fields and rivers of the Netherworld, the gods and demons whom the deceased would meet, and the critical ‘weighing of the heart’ ritual the judgement which would determine whether the soul was admitted into the afterlife or condemned to destruction at the hands of the monstrous ‘Devourer’. Although the earliest texts appeared on the mummy shrouds of royal families and high officials, papyrus became the texts’ main medium and remained so for more than 1,000 years.

      The Ancient Egyptians are covered in Key Stage 2 at schools so this exhibition is particularly relevant for this age group. The exhibition is open exclusively for school visits at certain times and there will be a free teachers’ private view, as well as an introductory film for families and schools at the entrance to the exhibition. A family trail has been created to allow young visitors to get the most out of their visit and for the first time at the Museum, a separate family multi-media exhibition guide has been especially produced in addition to the adult guide.

      See the British Museum webpage for more information and illustrations.

      Friday, 1 October 2010

      Classics and the Yorkshire Evening Posts' Light Night Guide

      Yesterday (30/09/10) the YEP  published its Light Night pull-out guide. This focused on "the full spectrum of history and creativity on our doorstep" and features four sets of five highlights from the "100 events showcasing the best the city has to offer - from opera to storytelling, history walks to musical theatre, heritage tours to dance".

      These are sets of highlights for: heritage lovers, young families, groups and culture vultures.

      Two of the 20 highlighted projects are classically based -

      22 Narcissus - George Rodosthenous stages the myth of Narcissus in the University of Leeds' new swimming pool (with photo) under "Culture Vultures"


      56 Underworlds Live in Leeds under "Groups"

      A lovely demonstration that classics is:
      a) alive and well,
      b) considered to have popular appeal with the general public (at whom the pull-out is aimed) as well as "arty" types,
      c) *definitely not* restricted to "heritage lovers",
      d) a key part of "the full spectrum of history and creativity on our doorstep" in Yorkshire
      e) is imaginative, creative and inclusive enough to attract funding not only from an HEI (22) but from the City Council (56).

      These weathered Doric Columns in the former industrial area of Holbeck give a classical base to a friendly welcome.
      The capitals (bits at the top) tell us that these are Doric columns and the bottoms (with no base in sight) tells us these are based on a Greek model rather than a Roman one.

      Monday, 27 September 2010

      Auditions have started!

      So far, so good. We've seen some good people - all castable - but there are roles still available and we're auditioning for another hour. As we're likely to be a couple of people short and don't want to disappoint, we will be holding further auditions by arrangement over the next few days and on Thursday 30th September from 4pm to 6pm in Room 101, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds.

      Unfortunately, using a computer with a really old version of Explorer to upload the last few scripts meant that neither they, nor the previously uploaded scripts actually appeared at all! This was because the updated page (if you're meant to be able to see it, you'll know its address) reverted to an earlier version. My apologies to anyone who couldn't audition for their prefered role because of this. I think everything is now OK, but if the script you want isn't there, please email Eleanor (e.r.okell) at her university (leeds.ac.uk) address and she'll send it you as an attachment.

      For a full list of characters, locations and an indication of the amount of improvisation required, see the original audition poster.

      Friday, 24 September 2010

      Egyptian Stuff...

      Just because material on the Egyptian Underworld isn't up yet doesn't mean that I haven't been researching it!

      In fact its been terribly difficult because 'Egyptian' covers such a broad span of time and wide geographical spread. This means that ideas and worship vary a great deal, so acheiving a degree of consistency is hard. Taking our inspiration from Leeds architecture means that we'd inadvertently picked the Roman period in Egypt, while my knowledge was more of the Pharaohonic period - the pyramids to the Valley of the Kings - which is rather more what people expect. This means that for LightNight there will be some of both...


      In the meantime, if you'd like to see some genuine ancient Egyptian textiles in Leeds, the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive has just finished cataloguing its Egyptian textiles collection and some rare examples of Egyptian costume will be on show during the exhibition: A Catalogue of World Textiles.

      The exhibition runs from 5th October 2010 to 27th May 2011 and is open Tuesday – Friday 09:30 to 16:30 (except for University Closed days). The database of all the collections is searchable online too!

      University of Leeds International Textiles Archive,
      St. Wilfred's Chapel,
      Maurice Keyworth Building,
      University of Leeds,
      Leeds LS2 9JT

      Tel: 0113 343 3919

      Thursday, 16 September 2010

      Psychogeography talk

      I forgot to take the recorder and the PowerPoint slides reformatted themselves when I changed machine *sob*, but it went down well. I'll sort out the formatting and record myself at home and get it up here asap.

      Very many thanks to the audience for being so helpful when discussing the actual map to use in the leaflet we're going to give people on the night. It's great to have a concept validated and it had been causing us real stress - imagine how much information I can't fit on 2 sides of A4 if most of one is taken up with a street map of Leeds from Temple Works to Parkinson Building!

      Other than that the whole Open Media night was really interesting and we saw and heard some cool things - especially a late addition to the programme that involved taking shots of light with a digital camera while walking the same route repeatedly, inverting the colour and layering the shots on top of each other to create really beautiful abstract landscapes. It was a great visualisation of the way that events and stories layer themselves in a space, making it a place.

      Highlights for me were that I've never had a question session when I was praised for my story telling and it's also the first time I've been asked where I teach so that someone could come and learn a subject they'd previously thought was boring from me! So thank you, you lovely people...


      Date and Time now sorted, so thought I'd put the poster (in Classics, PVAC and Fine Arts during Freshers Week) up here too. It gives the character's locations away, but that lets people look out for them a bit more easily. The advertising already refers to some of them anyway...