UCL European Institute


Performance Lab: watch two new productions at the Bloomsbury Theatre

3 May 2019


Watch two exciting new productions at the Bloomsbury Theatre, as part of UCL Culture's Performance Lab series. Eleven experiments in science and the arts at UCL, where artists, researchers and students explore how live performance can animate research, and how research can inspire art. 

Performance Lab: The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken

Saturday 4 May 2019
Tickets: £10 (£5 for UCL students)

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Presented by UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies
By Kurt Weill and Georg Kaiser, translated by Leo Doulton

A group of anarchists plot to assassinate the Tsar in a photography studio. In early 20th century Paris, the Tsar of Russia calls a photography studio to confirm an appointment that the owner, Madame Angele, knew nothing about. Then five anarchist assassins stroll in, saying that they organised the meeting so they could impersonate Madame Angele and kill the Tsar. The Tsar enters, and the sport begins… Once a hugely popular comedy, The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken draws on the latest research to bring new life to this long-ignored work. 

In collaboration with UCL's Professor Michael Berkowitz, it draws on his research into the cosmopolitan Jews who dominated photography at the time – the reason the opera was later suppressed by the Nazi regime. Filled with Weill’s distinctive music, absurd and hilarious characters, and presented by young artists from across London, The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken draws on the success of last year’s Theatre in the Theresienstadt Ghetto to continue the collaboration between rising stars and leading academics. 

READ: Kurt Weill opera silenced by Nazis to be heard again after 80 years (Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer)

Performance Lab: Man & God

Saturday 18 May 2019
Tickets: £10 (£5 for UCL students)

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Man & God—the inventors of Kodachrome, Mannes and Godowsky—is a musical about the birth of colour photography. A tale enfolding Gershwin, Einstein, and Hitler, this incredible story of classical and jazz giants, movie stars, and science, is nearly unknown—until being set to music in this original production.