Charles Parker Day 2005

Documentary and Contemporary Culture:
Charles Parker, Philip Donnellan, Banner Theatre and the traditions of documentary film, radio and theatre
Two days of debate, discussion, exhibition and performance featuring the 2005 Charles Parker Day and Banner Theatre, 1974-2004: A Celebration of 30 Years

Friday 8 & Saturday 9 April 2005
University of Central England, Margaret Street, Birmingham
and the Library Theatre, Birmingham

Day 1: Friday 8 April – Charles Parker and the Documentary Tradition in Europe and America

The first Charles Parker Day, in April 2004, focused on Parker himself.  This year the aim is to consider broadcasting in much wider terms, past, present and future and to feature invited speakers from international academic and broadcasting communities, bringing together practitioners, researchers and media teachers.  Contributors will consider developments in radio and television that maintain the spirit of Parker’s work in a UK and international context.

Last year’s Parker Day saw the launch of a prize for student work in radio and the shortlist will be featured throughout the day and the winner announced.  There will also be a presentation from the Radio Studies Network.

Evening: Charles Parker and Documentary Theatre

Banner Theatre will present a “work-in-progress” performance of Wild Geese, a new documentary theatre production for 2005, exploring stories of exile, asylum and migration, and combining video interviews, photography, graphics, archive film, live music and song in a “video ballad” for the twenty-first century.

This “show and tell” presentation will allow a unique insight into the creative process of a company committed to documentary theatre and working with communities whose stories are rarely heard.  It will provide audience members with the opportunity to contribute to the creative process and the production will be revised in the light of audience feedback.

Day 2: Saturday 9 April – Banner Theatre and the Political Theatre Tradition

Guest speakers including trade unionist Paul Mackney of NATFHE, Australian academic Dave Watt (co-author of Workers’ Playtime: Theatre and the labour movement since 1970) and Canadian film-maker Don Bouzek of Ground Zero Productions will give a range of different perspectives on Banner’s work over 30 years.  Banner members past and present will lead a debate and discussion about the role of documentary theatre now and in the future.

Afternoon – Charles Parker and Documentary Film

Starting with a screening of films by Parker collaborator Philip Donnellan, the afternoon session will explore the impact of Parker on documentary film and the representation of ordinary people in political culture.  This will be followed by a panel-led discussion featuring Dave Rogers of Banner Theatre, Birmingham film-maker and theatre worker Pervaiz Khan, Don Bouzek, Dave Watt and others.

Evening: 8.00pm onwards – Banner Theatre and Political Song

Banner’s 1st of May Band will form the core of an evening of entertainment with songs from its many documentary theatre productions, created in collaborations and struggles with mining communities, steel communities, Asian clothing workers, asylum seekers and refugees, health service workers, black firefighters, trade unionists and others.  Other invited guests, including representatives from the Fire Brigades Union, the Iraqi Kurdish Women’s Centre, Women Against Pit Closures and Women on the Waterfront, will also participate.

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