Giving China’s 21st century performers a place in London’s calendar

Giving China’s 21st century performers a place in London’s calendar

Was Debussy Chinese? No, of course not, but he might have been, thinks An-Ting Chang.

UK’s heritage in danger from cuts, union warns

UK’s heritage in danger from cuts, union warns

Funding cuts are hitting the caret of the UK’s heritage and museums, according to a survey of its members by the public service union Prospect.

Turner’s birthday garden party

Turner’s birthday garden party

As J M W Turner’s 243rdbirthday is celebrated today, the restoration of the garden at the house he designed and built at Twickenham for his father and himself is completed.

TaitMail    Lessons from St John’s Smith Square: that six legs are better than three

TaitMail Lessons from St John’s Smith Square: that six legs are better than three

The shell burst last weekend was the loudest culture bang to go off since ENO lost a large hunk of its subsidy three years ago and threatened to go dark if its new business plan didn’t work. St John’s Smith Square isn’t the Coliseum, but it not being there would leave a large hole in a lot of people’s musical lives.  

Where are our monuments? History and the Windrush fiasco

Where are our monuments? History and the Windrush fiasco

The Black Cultural Archives, the nation’s only repository dedicated to the heritage of African and Caribbean heritage people, opened its centre in Windrush Square, Brixton, in 2014, but why the Windrush documents if no longer thought useful, were they not passed over to the archive?Here its director, Paul Reid, looks at the history behind the unfolding fiasco regarding for the Windrush generation - and sees a shameful lack of appreciation of the Black citizens who have helped create today’s Britain, creating a hostile environment for legal migrants

Lancashire to reopen three museums

Lancashire to reopen three museums

Weekend opening plans revealed after closures

Proms showcase for disabled ensemble

Proms showcase for disabled ensemble

BSO Resound, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s disabled-led ensemble, is to make its Proms debut this summer, and its first major UK performance.

Roundhouse recruits kids’ champion

Roundhouse recruits kids’ champion

Sir Ken Robinson, the pioneer of creativity in education, is to join the Roundhouse arts centre as associate creative curator to boost its work with young people, it was announced today.

Arts education: ‘It’s not enough minister’ say arts chiefs

Arts education: ‘It’s not enough minister’ say arts chiefs

Arts leaders, including the artistic director of English National Ballet and the CEO of the British Fashion Council, have today demanded full creative education for all schoolchildren.

Crossing the Narrow Water

Crossing the Narrow Water

A literary festival aims to bridge the gap between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Youth moving in on Tate

Youth moving in on Tate

Tate has launched with a two-pronged initiative to bring more young visitors, offering £5 exhibition admission and a new youth-dedicated trustee.

St John’s Smith Square may close in funding crisis

St John’s Smith Square may close in funding crisis

One of Europe’s great concert venues will close next year if a funding appeal launched today https://www.sjss.org.uk/savesjss does not succeed.

THE WORD         Art should lead the attack on the gender wall

THE WORD Art should lead the attack on the gender wall

The British Punjabi artist Chila Kumari Burman (main image), who explores Asian femininity in paintings and installations, photography and printmaking, and film, sees art as central to breaking the gender gap and widening the cultural gaze

Arts letting down minorities in workforce

Those working in the creative industries are still predominantly from the middle classes, excluding those from BAME and working class backgrounds.

THE WORD    Own Art - who owns it?

THE WORD Own Art - who owns it?

Gallerist Ann Petherick calls time on her participation in the Own Art scheme, aimed at encouraging artlovers to buy art in easy payments

Gillian Ayres dies at 88

Gillian Ayres dies at 88

One of the leading British abstract colourist artists of the last 50 years, Gillian Ayes, has died aged 88.

ACNI announces round of cuts in funding

ACNI announces round of cuts in funding

But boost for Ulster Orchestra and Belfast MAC

 ‘New’ Grimms tale created by cloning

‘New’ Grimms tale created by cloning

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a new Grimms fairy tale was published - 150 years after the brothers died, thanks to artificial intelligence.

THEATRE Love power of theatre’s sniff factor

New research by neuroscientists at University College London shows that the thrill of drama can literally make the audience share a heartbeat. Simon Tait reports

People enjoy arts events together, rather than alone at home in front of a screen, because of what Professor Gavin Henderson, principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, likes to call “the sniff factor” – the sharing of exhilaration inspired by performance.

Until now that has been a well-informed theory, but the University of London (UCL), in association with Encore Tickets, has made it a fact. People who enjoy watching a live performance together

“Usually, a group of individuals will each have their own heart rates and rhythms, with little relationship to each other” says Dr Joseph Devlin, head of experimental psychology at UCL. “But during experiences with heightened levels of emotion, people’s heart beats can become synchronised, which in itself is astounding.

“Experiencing the live theatre performance was extraordinary enough to overcome group differences and produce a common physiological experience in the audience members.”

Devlin’s team had monitored the heart-rates and skin response of selected members of the audience at a live performance of the Olivier- winning musical Dreamgirls. They found that even the heart beats of strangers at the show were beating at the same time.

They also found that friends continued to react together during the interval, and that such synchronisation can actually cause people to like each other more.

Theatre visits, the team found, can bring families closer together, or help a date go well. The co-ordination of heartbeats has been linked by the research to team performance, trust, empathy and simply people liking each other. Following on, the unified response experienced at a live performance can help break down social differences and bring people closer. The connection, said Devlin, could reach deeper to the subconscious level.

The study found that almost half of people (46%) enjoy the theatre experience because of the atmosphere that comes with being in the audience, and almost two thirds (59 per cent) of people feel emotionally affected by a live performance.

The research programme is the latest in a series looking at heart rate synchronicity, and previous studies of people watching firewalking – walking barefoot over red-hot coals - synchronised their heartbeats in time with the firewalkers themselves – and the synchronicity increased the more closely the walker and watcher were related.

The UCL research found that participants who knew each other continued to synchronise throughout the interval, while the other members of the audience fell out of sync without the performance to connect them.

“This clearly demonstrates that despite the social group differences, the performance was a strong enough influence to cause physiological synchrony, engaging the audience as a whole” says Devlin.

The new research was led by the UCL’s division of psychological and language sciences ( a title that happily reduces to PaLS) and was conducted by Devlin, Dr Daniel C. Richardson and John Hogan of UCL’s department of experimental psychology and Dr Helen Nuttall  of Lancaster University.

They monitored the heart rates and electro dermal activity of 12 audience members at the live Dreamgirls performance.

www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-news/audience-members-hearts-beat-together

 

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