Animated Ephemera: Behind the curtains of student dramatic productions at UCL

Panel discussion
Petrie Museum of Egyptian and Sudanese Archaeology, Malet Place, London WC1E 6BT
25th Apr 2024
18:00  - 20:00

Flinderella original programme cover

This panel will discuss the importance of ephemera in archaeology collections giving light to otherwise undocumented historical moments, the place that dramatic productions occupy in UCL history, and give an insight into past UCL student productions.

UCL students past and present have always loved to make a 'song and dance' about the world around them. A case in point is a piece of archival ephemera, discovered by a former member of staff at the Petrie Museum, bearing the intriguing title 'Flinderella: A Revusical Comedy'. This programme leaflet for a 1923 student production offers bitingly funny insight into the world of Egyptology and archaeologist Flinders Petrie following his knighthood "for services to Egypt".

Discussing this satirical production 101 years on will be:

Lisa Randisi, who will discuss the importance of preserving ephemeral material in archaeological collections, and the gap that this very special material can fill in our interpretation of historical moments.

  • Lisa is the Curatorial and Collections Assistant at the Petrie Museum, where she supports research, teaching, curatorial and collections management work. Her research interests include the history of archaeology and the role of women and other diverse voices within it. She is currently embarked on a project to document the museum's archival ephemera, to shed some light on early excavations and university life at the turn of the 20th century. Lisa is also a public archaeologist, whose fieldwork in Inner Asia focuses primarily on public attitudes to heritage in urban and rural communities, as well as a historical dancer and amateur musical performer.

Georgina Brewis, who will share aspects of her research on the history and significance of student dramatic productions at UCL.

  • Georgina is Professor of Social History at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society. She is a social historian of higher education, voluntary action and humanitarianism in Britain and the wider world in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her current research and teaching interests centre on the history of student life and student culture - she revised and updated UCL’s official history The World of UCL in 2018. Georgina is Director of Generation UCL: 200 Years of Student Life in London, a research and engagement project in the run up to UCL's bicentenary in 2026.

John J Johnston, who will consider the nature of theatrical performance in the Museum over the past 10 years.

  • John is a freelance Egyptologist, classicist, and cultural historian. A former Vice-Chair of the Egypt Exploration Society, he is a Chair of By Jove Theatre Company and Ambassador of the International Society for the Study of Egyptomania. His research interests encompass mortuary belief and practice, gender and sexuality, Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, the history of Egyptology, and the reception of ancient Egypt in the modern world. In addition to authoring numerous articles he has co-edited the books, Narratives of Egypt and the Ancient Near East: Literary Linguistic Approaches (Peeters, 2011), A Good Scribe and an Exceedingly Wise Man (Golden House, 2014), and an anthology of classic mummy fiction, Unearthed (Jurassic London, 2013).

The event will be preceded by complementary tours of ‘Generation UCL: 200 Years of Student Life in London’ led by UCL academics and exhibition curators Georgina Brewis and Colin Penman. Book a tour via Eventbrite.

This event is part of the Reimagining Flinderella programme.

Reimagining Flinderella

One century on, the Reimagining Flinderella project critically reimagines the forgotten show Flinderella: A Knight in Egypt, staged by UCL students to mark the knighthood of Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1923. What has become of it? And who else should we be singing about? Read more about the project.


There is step free access to the Petrie Museum via the lift in the UCL Science Library to the left of the Museum's main entrance. Further information about access at the Museum can be found here.

Finding us

The Museum is located in Bloomsbury, in the heart of central London. The nearest tube stations are Euston Square (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City), Goodge Street (Northern Line), Warren Street (Victoria Line), and buses 18, 30, 73, 134 and 205 stop 3-5 minutes away on Euston Road.

Here's the location on Google to help you find your preferred route.

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