Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


New Creative Fellowship Programme 2019/20: New Old English - Performance, Poetry, Practice

Fellows Rowan Evans and Maisie Newman, and Dr Fran Brooks are researching this theme.

‘New Old English: Performance, Poetry, Practice’ brings the innovative and interdisciplinary performance company Fen to UCL as part of the Creative Fellowships programme for 2019-20. Fen is a collaboration between director/choreographer/3D animator Maisie Newman and Eric Gregory Award-winning poet/composer/sound artist Rowan Evans. Combining anarchic choreography, hybrid text and rich sound environments, Fen create exciting and challenging work for a range of audiences.

As Creative Fellows, Rowan and Maisie will develop WULF, their dark, feminist adaptation of the anonymous Old English poem ‘Wulf and Eadwacer’, in dialogue with staff and students at UCL. WULF is based on one of only two surviving Old English poems written from a female perspective and combines dance, multilingual poetic text and an original score, enacting a formal and linguistic transgression of the male-dominated poetics of Old English. Through interactive workshops, creative-research-practice seminars and scratch performance rehearsals, amongst other things, the project hopes to involve a broad spectrum of the UCL community in exploring the rich interconnections between scholarship and arts practice.

Workshop themes will range from poetry and translation to performance and movement. Topics may include: ‘Women's Songs – defining a feminist poetics in Old English literature’; ‘Experimental Translation’; ‘Translating Old English poetics into choreography and performance’; and ‘Ritual, Ecology, Wilderness’. Responding to both the historical and recent and ongoing weaponization of the medieval past, ‘New Old English’ also seeks to activate and enrich wider conversations about the continued resonance of the early Middle Ages in contemporary culture, society and politics. The Fellowship will culminate in a new performance of WULF for the UCL Festival of Culture 2020.

For more information, or to find out how you and your students might get involved in the project, please email the Project Lead, Francesca Brooks.

Images of previous works by Rowan Evans and Maisie Newman: