MY STORY     Nurturing the seedlings of song

MY STORY Nurturing the seedlings of song

With no conservatoire between Manchester and Glasgow, Samling was founded on Tyneside 22 years ago by Karon Wright, its artistic and executive director, to support young classical singers and their accompanists at the start of their careers. This week it is entering a new phase.

Cerith Wyn Evans wins Hepworth Sculpture Prize

Cerith Wyn Evans wins Hepworth Sculpture Prize

The sculptor who began his artistic career as an experimental film maker has won the £30,000 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture.

Horse sense

Horse sense

In the new year, a museum centre in Cambridgeshire will be offering a new and unique service no other could: horse therapy.

TAITMAIL       What NOW?

TAITMAIL What NOW?

Halfway through her brief tenure as culture secretary, Maria Miller did the only thing she will probably be remembered for, apart from standing down in the face of an expenses complaint. The expectation was for some kind of Westminster Abbey affair with a full set of royals and military on parade, but Mrs Miller had something else in mind.

Leeds to get new BFI operation

Leeds to get new BFI operation

Young Audiences Fund will set up in the Yorkshire city

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM   Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Harrow, London, 8th October 1952, by George Phillips

Lynette Linton to run Bush

Lynette Linton to run Bush

The director Lynette Linton is to succeed Madani Younis as artistic director the Bush Theatre in January.

THE WORD Rapping it up: Royston responds to Azealia Banks' UK rap comments

THE WORD Rapping it up: Royston responds to Azealia Banks' UK rap comments

An explosive American rapper has turned her fire on her British counterparts. Royston takes her on

Composing the future

Composing the future

The first four participants have been announced today in a new Glyndebourne development scheme for female composers, Balancing the Score, devised to help address the under-representation of female composers in classical music.

Boyle’s Remembrance Day beach homage

Boyle’s Remembrance Day beach homage

Ten’s of thousands took to Britain’s beaches on Rememberance Day to mark the centenary of the signing of the Armistice on Sunday.

Sculpture opens Westminster doors

Sculpture opens Westminster doors

The oldest building in the Palace of Westminster is hosting a contemporary sculpture marking the centenary of female franchise.

TAITMAIL   Governing the not so ungovernable

TAITMAIL Governing the not so ungovernable

Governance, the formulation and implementation of policy, has long been the slippery soap of the cultural sectors, arts and heritage.

Governance flagship launched

Governance flagship launched

The arts are coming together to tackle the long-standing issue of board effectiveness with the creation of the Cultural Governance Alliance (CGA).

Ex-ENO chief heads new music theatre company for London

Ex-ENO chief heads new music theatre company for London

A new West End based musical theatre venture has been launched by John Berry, former artistic director of English National Opera. 

Cath James steps up at SE Dance

Cath James steps up at SE Dance

And new chief executive for Art Asia.

Success in fight to save built heritage

Success in fight to save built heritage

Two-thirds of the buildings on the original Heritage at Risk Register of 1998 have been rescued, says Historic England in its annual update published today.

THE WORD   A Brexit doomsday for UK arts?

THE WORD A Brexit doomsday for UK arts?

Olivia Bridge is a content writer and political correspondent for Immigration Advice Service London, the UK’s leading immigration law firm.

20 years of Discerning sponsorship

20 years of Discerning sponsorship

The unique annual exhibition of small works of art, Discerning Eye, opens for the 27th time on November 15, the 20th to be sponsored by the European bank ING in one of the longest standing arts sponsorships.

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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