The Peter Whitehead Archive
2018 Inspired by research in the Whitehead Archive, and the surrounding context of the London counterculture in the long 1960s, Alissa Clarke and Sophia Satchell-Baeza (Kings College, London) co-produced Women of the Counterculture at the Regent Street Cinema. This event was focused around re-evaluating women's artistic contribution to, and the challenges and possibilities experienced by women of, the counterculture. Emphasising the range of women’s voices, practices and perspectives evident within the counterculture, this event involved a panel discussion, performance work by DMU postgraduate students inspired by female performance artists of the period (directed by Alissa Clarke), and the rare screening of a full length feature film (Dope) co-directed and edited by Flame Schon, one of the few then British-based female countercultural filmmakers. The panel discussion featured: key countercultural figure and Whitehead collaborator, Jenny Spires; singer-songwriter, Carol Grimes; artist/ member of the performance art collective, 'The Exploding Galaxy', Julie Felix, who also sang.
2017 Focusing on the relevance of Whitehead’s work to media celebrations and re-imaginings of the mid 1960s and the 50th anniversary of that era, innovative public engagement with this aspect and period of cultural history research was generated though working partnerships with the Royal Albert Hall and the media company, Network Distributing Ltd. This yielded five events and significant press coverage through the Peter Whitehead Residency at the Royal Albert Hall (May-June 2017), which formed the centrepiece of their Summer of Love Revisited Season. Coordinated by myself and Steve Chibnall, the Residency included:
The launch of Network Distributing’s remastered DVD of Whitehead’s seminal documentary, Tonite Let’s all Make Love in London (1967).
Screening the Pink Floyd concerts shot by Whitehead, with associated speakers.
Screening and live performance re-enactment/re-envisaging of Whitehead’s Wholly Communion (1965), which documents the 1965 International Poetry Incantation (held at the Royal Albert Hall). Original performer, Michael Horovitz, was accompanied by performance poets, Steve Larkin (Hammer and Tongue), Lydia Towsey and Angry Sam Berkson, delivering newly commissioned works, responding to Wholly Communion. Directed byAlissa Clarke, immersive performance interventions by DMU Drama students, including readings from Whitehead's LSD diary and novel, Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London (1999), opened the event.
Screening of the short music films (Glenda Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Julie Felix and Led Zeppelin) shot by Whitehead at the RAH, with a panel of respondents, including folk hero, Julie Felix, who also performed live. The Felix concert film had never been seen before in a public setting. Live streaming from the event reached 130,000 people during the event and can be viewed here https://www.facebook.com/dmuleicester/videos/10159427030030377/ and here https://www.facebook.com/dmuleicester/videos/10159426843225377/ .
Screening of previously unseen footage, shot by Whitehead, of Granny Takes a Trip, and discussion of this legendary 60s countercultural boutique by its founders (Nigel Waymouth and John Pearse), English Boy model, Jenny Spires, and renowned fashion archivist, Mark Butterfield. This included a fashion parade of rare Granny pieces from the Cleo and Butterfield collection, modelled by performers, including DMU’s MA Performance Practice students, and choreographed by Alissa Clarke.
2017 Introduced and co-interviewed key countercultural figure, Jenny Spires, who was influential on the making of Tonight Let’s All Make Love in London (1967). This followed a fiftieth-anniversary screening of the film at the Phoenix Cinema in Leicester as part of its advertised public programme.
2016 Working in collaboration with the Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre, Alissa Clarke and Kelly Jordan co-directed an immersive theatre / expanded cinema event re-enacting / re-envisaging a night at the cinema in 1966. Particular focus was placed on ironically highlighting and subverting gendered cultural mores and choreographing foyer promotional stunts rooted in gesture and action. The event was performed first at the Phoenix Cinema, Leicester (3rd March) to a sold out audience, building to the main performance at the Picturehouse Central, Piccadilly, London (29th June). Ticket purchasing, newspaper and radio reports, a YouTube documentary containing a long interview with Jordan and myself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM2WiN94RXc ), a podcast, Twitter and Facebook pages and feedback forms track the social and cultural impact of the event.
Women and Performance
2017 Respondent in public panel discussion following the screening at the Phoenix Cinema, Leicester of the Gloria Grahame biopic, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. Panel discussion focused on the treatment of women in Hollywood and the ageing actress.
2015 Co-interview with British / Hollywood film, television and theatre actor, Claire Bloom, as part of a public Q+A for Cultural Exchanges Week and the Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre’s fifth birthday, De Montfort University, Leicester.
2014 Co-interview with British film, television and theatre actor, Karina Fernandez, as part of a Q+A for a multidisciplinary audience, De Montfort University, Leicester.
2014 Co-interview with British film, television and theatre actor and television writer, Joanna Scanlan, as part of a public Q+A for a multidisciplinary audience, De Montfort University, Leicester.
2014 Invited by The Conversation to write a response to the number of female directors nominated for an Olivier award in contrast to positioning of women in the film industry: ‘What the Film Industry could Learn about Women from Chimerica’s Success,’ The Conversation [online], 14 April. Available from: https://theconversation.com/what-the-film-industry-could-learn-about-women-from-chimericas-success-25521. Republished on Ted Hughes Award-winning playwright, Kaite O’Reilly’s blog. Available from: http://kaiteoreilly.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/what-the-film-industry-could-learn-about-women-from-chimericas-success/
2013 The Dresden based non-profit art platform, CYNAL.de, requested the rights to republish, ‘Exzess, Präzision und Anwesenheit: Dani Ploegers ELECTRODE. Eine Psychophysische Perspektive.’ Available from: http://www.cynal.de/text/exzess-praezision-und-anwesenheit-daniel-ploegers-electrode.html. This essay was first published in the CYNETART 2012 Catalogue, which accompanied the CYNETART international festival for computer-based art.
2012 ‘Mansuetude’, an entry about Alissa’s research on Triarchy Press’s ‘Idioticon’ [online]. Available from: http://triarchypress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/idio-mansuetude.html.
2011 Interviewed by Jonathan Lampon for BBC Radio Leicester. Discussing performer training techniques that could be deployed to deal with nerves and stage fright, 17 March.