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Byre World: Casting Race on Stage and Screen

Wednesday 4 October, 7pm
Free (Ticketed)
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Casting Race on Stage and Screen with Dr Julia Prest (University of St Andrews) exploring casting in relation to race and ethnicity, the opportunities and challenges through interviews with actor Satya Bhabha and Mezzo Soprano Andrea Baker, who sings a short a cappella excerpt from Sing Sistah Sing!

Andrea Baker: British-American mezzo soprano, Andrea Baker is renowned for her distinctive voice, intense artistry, and passion. She has recently written and conceived Sing Sistah Sing!, a show that is both a celebration of the sound and extraordinary breadth of the African American female voice, and a heartfelt retelling of some of their most incredible life stories. Andrea Baker is herself an artistic trailblazer, she is the first African American to sing in all four operas of Wagner’s great Ring Cycle in its Chinese premiere, the first African American Carmen in Australia, and the first African American to sing the role of Ortrud in the South Korean premier of Wagner’s Lohengrin. Sing Sistah Sing! gives her a chance to both tell her own deeply personal story and to pay musical homage to some of the women who courageously paved the way.

Satya Bhabha: Satya Bhabha is an actor and director living in Los Angeles. He has appeared on stage in New York at The Public Theatre, The Signature Theatre, The New Group, St. Anne’s Warehouse, and Ars Nova, among others others, and is an associated artist of Target Margin Theatre Company. In London he has performed at Shakespeare’s Globe. His film credits include Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Midnight’s Children, Fair Game, and the upcoming films Dude and A Change In The Air. He has been seen on TV in New Girl, Key & Peele, The Good Wife, Sense8, and NCIS, among others. His directing work includes the short films Meteor Night and Cover Up (starring Alison Pill & Jason Ritter) both of which have played to acclaim at multiple festivals. He holds a BA in theatre from Yale University where he was awarded the Sudler Prize for the Arts.

Julia Prest: A graduate in Music and French, Julia Prest is Reader in French at the University of St Andrews. She is a specialist in early-modern drama, ballet and opera in France and its Caribbean colonies. Her first book was on casting and gender across theatrical genres: Theatre under Louis XIV: Cross-casting and the Performance of Gender in Drama, Ballet and Opera (2006, 2013). Her second book was Controversy in French Drama: Molière’s Tartuffe and the Struggle for Influence (2014, 2016). Julia is currently working on a book project entitled Master, Slave and Free: Theatre and Citizenship from Colonial Saint-Domingue to the Founding of Haiti (1764-1804). To complement this, she is putting together a database of all known performances in the public theatres of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Julia runs the only university course on translating opera in the UK, for which she was shortlisted for the Times Higher’s Most Innovative Teacher of the Year award 2016.

Byre World is an annual series of cultural events organized by the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews. It is open to university staff and students and to the general public. Byre World aims to offer a window into other cultures and also to bring new perspectives on our own culture(s) through discussion, reflection and exposure to new materials and ideas.