Dr Christopher Wiley gives public talk on Ethel Smyth for International Women’s Day 2018

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Dr Christopher Wiley at The LightboxDr Christopher Wiley has delivered a public talk on Dame Ethel Smyth at The Lightbox, Woking for International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) 2018.

Addressing an audience of over 80 members of the public in The Lightbox’s Ambassador Room, Dr Wiley (pictured, left) spoke about Smyth’s life, music, and prose writings, with particular emphasis on her connections to Woking (her town of residence for over 30 years at the end of her life) and the surrounding area.

Dr Wiley also addressed the extent to which Smyth broke new ground for women both within and beyond the field of music composition, discussing her activity as a leading suffragette in the early 1910s as well as her war service, mindful of this year’s centenaries of women’s partial enfranchisement in the UK and of the end of the First World War.

A recognized expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley is frequently invited to give public lectures on the composer and writer, including recent appearances at The Guildford Institute and Frimhurst, Frimley Green (Smyth’s childhood home). This was the first of his several talks in the Surrey area this year, as well as one of a number of events commemorating Smyth for the Celebrate Woking Festival 2018.

Further information on Dr Wiley’s talk may be found here: https://www.thelightbox.org.uk/Event/ethel-smyth-composer-suffragette

The previous day, Dr Wiley had given an interview on Ethel Smyth at Woking Golf Club (pictured, below, with presenter Tim Matthews) for an episode of Pyrford TV Arts due to be released online in April.

Dr Christopher Wiley at Woking Golf Club

Dr Christopher Wiley addresses interdisciplinary Suffragette Symposium at Edge Hill University

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Dr Christopher Wiley - Edge Hill University - Suffragette SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the Suffragette Symposium hosted by the interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Group (GenSex) at Edge Hill University on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

His paper subjected to renewed critical scrutiny the claim that Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, composed following her two years’ service as a suffragette in the 1910s, constitutes a ‘feminist opera’.

The presentation, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, explored the work’s refashioning of pre-existing music including two of Smyth’s suffrage songs used in its Overture, as well as a range of adaptations of traditional music.

Addressing an audience of some 35 delegates comprising both academics and members of the public, Dr Wiley also discussed the opera’s indebtedness to the short story by W.W. Jacobs on which it is based, and made consideration of Smyth’s creative process as documented in contemporaneous correspondence with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Edge Hill University shieldFurther information on the Suffragette Symposium may be viewed online: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/gensex/

The full programme is available here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Symposium-Programme.pdf

Speaker biographies and abstracts may be found at the following link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Panel-Bios.docx.pdf


Dr Christopher Wiley contributes to media discourse on the UK centenary of women’s enfranchisement

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Dr Christopher Wiley - photo from Get SurreyDr Christopher Wiley has given expert comment to the media on the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which granted the vote to over 8 million women in the UK for the first time.

Coverage of Dr Wiley focussed on his research on Ethel Smyth, who, in addition to being an internationally successful composer, was active for two years as a leading suffragette in the early 1910s, developing a close friendship with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Together with a University of Surrey colleague, Dr Lucy Ella Rose, a leading expert on the suffragist Mary Watts and author of Suffrage Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word, and Image, Dr Wiley gave a live interview on BBC Radio Surrey for the ‘Breakfast on BBC Surrey’ show hosted by James Cannon and Lesley McCabe on Tuesday 6 February 2018.

Dr Wiley was also featured alongside Dr Rose in an article in Get Surrey, ‘Suffragette Vote 100 anniversary: University celebrates two Surrey women who were highly influential during the suffrage movement’, by Shona Duthie and Hannah Dodd.

The online Get Surrey article includes a video in which both academics give interviews on their respective research subjects, with Dr Wiley performing Smyth’s famous suffragette anthem, ‘The March of the Women’, on piano.

The full Get Surrey article, including video, may be viewed here: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/suffragette-vote-100-anniversary-university-14249832

The BBC Radio Surrey live interview may be heard here: https://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=7180&DateTime=2%2F6%2F2018+8%3A52%3A52+AM&Term=University+of+Surrey&PlayClip=TRUE

The live interview is also available on BBC iPlayer (listen from 2:52:11): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vm2m4

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2017

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley delivered a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2017, to introduce its production of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking on Tuesday 7 November 2017.

Dr Wiley’s talk focussed on two principal issues, the portrayal of women in Così fan tutte and the work’s relationship with the genre of opera buffa, illustrated with a slideshow and audio excerpts. Held in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre adjacent to the main auditorium, it was attended by a large audience of some 150 opera-lovers.

A work well-known to Dr Wiley from his undergraduate teaching, he also discussed the opera’s historical background, characters and plot, and the ways in which its reception has changed over time, as well as the specific interpretation taken by Glyndebourne Tour in this revival of the 2006 production directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Dr Wiley has previously given pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne in 20162015, and 2014, mainly on operas by Mozart.

Dr Christopher Wiley co-organizes international multi-disciplinary conference on Writing About Contemporary Artists at the University of Surrey

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Keynote - Annie Yim, Christopher Le Brun, and Christopher WileyDr Christopher Wiley was Chair of the Conference Committee for an international, multi-disciplinary three-day conference entitled Writing About Contemporary Artists: Challenges, Practices, and Complexities’, held at the University of Surrey from 20-22 October 2017.

Hosted and sponsored by the University’s Institute of Advanced Studies, the conference brought together scholars and practitioners in fields including musicology, theatre studies, dance and choreography, literature, film, digital media, and the visual arts. Its 70 participants represented a strongly international delegation drawn from North and South America, Australia, South Africa, and across Europe and the UK.

Dr Wiley compèred and co-authored the event’s central Keynote Concert and Dialogue (pictured above) given by MusicArt London, featuring the distinguished painter Christopher Le Brun (President of the Royal Academy of Arts) and pianist Dr Annie Yim (St John’s Smith Square Young Artist in Residence 2016/17), with additional contributions by composer Richard Birchall.

Dr Wiley also acted as chair and panel member for the final conference session (pictured below), a roundtable on ‘Contemporary artists, contemporary writing: Internet and social media’, at which he spoke about his reviewing activity across the art disciplines for digital magazine Musical Theatre Review as well as his guest-blogging for sites such as the Association of National Teaching Fellows blog and Oxford University Press Blog.

Further information may be found at the conference website: http://www.ias.surrey.ac.uk/workshops/artistswriting/

The full programme (including abstracts) may be downloaded here: http://www.ias.surrey.ac.uk/workshops/artistswriting/papers/Writing%20About%20Contemporary%20Artists%20conference%20_%20Proggramme.pdf

Roundtable - Christopher Wiley, Björn Heile, Katie Beswick, and Ian Pace

Update: Online reports on the conference are available at the following links:




Dr Christopher Wiley leads post-show discussion on the suffragette movement at Cranleigh Arts Centre

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Jacqueline Mulhallen as Sylvia PankhurstDr Christopher Wiley addressed an audience of theatre-goers on Ethel Smyth as part of a post-show discussion following the one-woman play Sylvia, presented by Lynx Theatre and Poetry at Cranleigh Arts Centre, Surrey on the evening of Friday 26 May 2017.

The main performance, a theatrical production based on Sylvia Pankhurst’s life, activity as a painter, and service to the suffragette movement, was performed by professional actress Jacqueline Mulhallen (pictured, as Pankhurst) having been developed from original research.

After a brief interval, the post-show discussion led with Dr Wiley’s talk on Smyth, following which the audience were able to put questions to Dr Wiley and the creators of Sylvia, and to engage in further general conversation on women’s suffrage.

Internationally acknowledged for his substantial contribution to scholarship on Smyth across the past 15 years, Dr Wiley has more recently acquired a reputation as a local historian, many of the audience members already being familiar with his work on the Surrey-based composer, writer, and suffragette.

Further information about the event is available here: http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=CRAN&organ_val=40629&pid=8410211

Dr Christopher Wiley hosts pre-concert talk for Royal Philharmonic Orchestra concert

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Barry WordsworthDr Christopher Wiley acted as host and interviewer for a pre-concert talk for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Glass Room studio theatre at G Live, Guildford on Friday 7 April 2017.

Dr Wiley provided a brief introduction to the programme to be performed that evening, before interviewing the conductor, Barry Wordsworth (pictured), whose many career highlights include long-standing associations with the Royal Ballet and the BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as conducting the Last Night of the Proms in 1993.

Over 100 audience members were present for the half-hour talk, which preceded a concert whose programme included Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor (with soloist Natasha Paremski), and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite, the latter specially compiled from the full ballet by Barry Wordsworth himself.

Dr Wiley has previously hosted pre-concert talks for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at G Live in 2015, 2014, and 2013.

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