U50 lecture to offer provocative look at modernism as artistic movement

The third lecture in York’s U50 College Masters Public Lecture Series is designed to provoke thought about some of the major ideologies of the last century when Professor Christopher Innes takes to the stage to discuss “Monumental Passions and Modernism”.

“Modernism is still an important artistic movement and the examples I have chosen to speak about are related to the major ideologies of the 20th century – communism and fascism,” says Innes, Canada Research Chair in Performance & Culture at York. “So the focus should be provocative, as well as interesting.”

This multimedia presentation, offering an overview of modernism in the theatre, will take place Thursday, April 2 from 7 to 9pm in the Winters Senior Common Room, 021 Winters College, Keele campus.

Right: Christopher Innes

Innes will explore the influence of one of the major early-20th-century theorists, Edward Gordon Craig, his relationship with Isadora Duncan, and his plans for staging Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Craig’s influence is traced on artists such as Norman Bel Geddes and Gertrude Stein.

Arguing against the long-held view that theatre is irrelevant or even antithetical to modernism, Innes will illustrate the adoption of Craig’s principles by contemporary theatre, particularly by Robert Wilson and Robert Lepage.

Innes, a distinguished research professor and past Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellow, hopes the audience will come away with a greater appreciation of the political dimensions of art.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts of Manufactures & Commerce (UK), Innes is the author of more than 12 books on modern drama. He is the general editor of the Cambridge University Press Directors in Perspective series as well as co-editor of the Lives of the Theatre series published by Greenwood Publishing Group. He has also served as a co-editor for the quarterly journal Modern Drama.

The college masters have designed this lecture series to highlight a sample of the diverse research in which faculty members at York are involved. Each of York’s nine colleges will host one such talk. The speakers and talks have been selected for the excitement in doing research that each speaker exhibits. The talks will be geared to a general audience, with no technical knowledge of the subject matter or the topic being presupposed.

There is no fee for this lecture, although advance registration is required.

To register for the lecture or for more information, contact Sharon Lance-Murphy at 416-650-8199 or slance@yorku.ca.

For more information about upcoming U50 events, visit the U50 Web site.