The Global Lab: Episode 43 – The Global Stage

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I have produced the December 2015 episode of the science communication podcast, The Global Lab. The theme of the episode – titled ‘The Global Stage’ – is the connections between the usual Global Lab topics of cities, space and global connections and the world of the theatre.

The original motivation for the episode was that I wanted to meet and talk to writers and the podcast seemed to provide an ideal opportunity to do this, provided that I could find some connection between their work and The Global Lab’s usual themes.

I had met Nick Hennegan on the London Literary Pub Crawl, and he very kindly agreed to be interviewed, both for The Global Lab and separately about his writing, the latter interview ultimately forming the first episode of what became the Little Written Podcast. I was later introduced to Dan Rebellato by Annegret Märten (who also gave a writing interview) and he very generously agreed to a similar pair of interviews, for the Global Lab and for Little Written.

Regular Global Lab contributor, Hannah Sender, of UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity, stepped in to provide a lovely interview with live artist Anna Brownsted, whose discussion of her one-person immersive theatre experiences rather fortuitously formed a serendipitous bridge between Dan’s talk about responses to globalisation and Nick’s own brand of theatre out in the city. It’s almost as if we planned it! (We didn’t…)

There is also a sort of deleted scene from this episode. In the Global Lab conversation with Dan Rebellato, we discuss the rise of the megamusical (e.g. Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, …) and I took issue with comments that he had made about The Lion King in his (otherwise studiously neutral) book ‘Theatre & Globalization’ (see below). Unfortunately, I had to cut this from the finished episode for timing reasons, but the debate lives on in the following clip!

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To be honest, I’m not sure why I leapt quite so eagerly to The Lion King‘s defence. I mean, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King is clearly a great song, but I’m not sure I would really fight that hard for The Circle of Life or Can You Feel the Love Tonight? On balance, I definitely prefer the music of The Little Mermaid.


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As mentioned in the episode, my interview with Dan is based on his book ‘Theatre & Globalisation’ (2009):

What is globalization? What role is there for the theatre in a globalizing world? 
This original and provocative book explores the contribution that theatre has made to our slowly evolving consciousness of our world as a whole. Drawing on sources from Aeschylus to The Lion King, Chekhov to Complicite, tragedy to advertising, the book argues for theatre’s importance as a site of resistance to the ruthless spread of the global market.

Foreword by Mark Ravenhill

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You can also buy Dan’s plays and all sorts of other things from his website.

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Nick Hennegan has written a book discussing his experiences in the world of theatre, entitled ‘How to make a Crisis out of a Drama!’ (2015):

It’s the story of getting a show on. Nick’s plays have attracted rave reviews and if you have ever had a dream to find instant fame on a reality show, or you’ve been working at your regular job and hated it. Or if you have kids. Or if you were a kid, then this will probably appeal to you. The reality of ‘showbizz’, warts an all. 

It’s just an everyday tale of creative folk with a bit too much beer and not enough focus. You won’t get rich reading this, but you might feel some comfort knowing you are not alone in your poverty…!

Click here for the Amazon listing


King’s Theatre, Brooklyn – Alexandra Silversmith – Creative Commons
Lion – Yathin S Krishnappa – Creative Commons

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