UWS teams up with the arts community to celebrate an Australian first

Date: 22/03/2002

The University of Western Sydney will join Company B Belvoir and Sydney Theatre Company to celebrate the lifetime achievements of writer and playwright Samuel Beckett as part of the Sydney Festival 2003.

UWS will host a major international symposium to be called after Beckett d'après Beckett, at the Sydney Theatre Company's Wharf Theatre from 6-10 January 2003.

In conjunction with the Symposium, Beckett's two greatest plays Endgame and Waiting for Godot will be staged by Sydney Theatre Company and Company B Belvoir.

The Symposium, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Beckett's Waiting for Godot, will feature keynote addresses by celebrated French philosopher, Luce Irigaray, South African novelist and two-time Booker Prize winner, J.M. Coetzee, and American performance theorist, Herbert Blau.

According to convenor Dr Anthony Uhlmann, a UWS academic and noted international Beckett scholar, the Symposium promises to bring together some of the world's most influential academics, artists and theatre practitioners to celebrate the artistic legacy of Samuel Beckett.

"Samuel Beckett is one of the 20th century's most important writers and dramatists," says Dr Uhlmann.

"Beckett's prose and dramatic works continue to appeal to artists both within and beyond the realm of literature and theatre, eliciting creative responses across the arts and humanities.

"We are thrilled to be taking part in this project. It is a unique cultural event rarely seen before in Australia and UWS is proud to be involved in such an important collaboration between academic humanities and major artistic organisations."

The Symposium, will be opened and attended by Beckett's literary executor and nephew Edward Beckett and is endorsed by the Beckett International Foundation (UK) and the Samuel Beckett Society (USA).

The Symposium will run over five days and be open to conference subscribers. UWS is now calling for papers.

Background information

Dr Anthony Uhlmann, Symposium convenor

Dr Anthony Uhlmann is a Beckett scholar of international reputation having published a well-received book on Beckett and philosophy with Cambridge University Press in 1999 and currently holding a large Australian Research Council Grant for a new study concerning Beckett and the 17th century Belgian philosopher Arnold Geulincx. He had been working with the Sydney Festival, STC and Company B Belvoir to develop this project since 2000.

Waiting for Godot - Sydney Festival 2003

Sydney Festival has secured the exclusive world rights for the 50th anniversary production of Waiting for Godot, which opened at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris on January 5, 1953. Accordingly the Festival and Company B Belvoir will present this landmark work featuring Geoffrey Rush and Bille Brown, to be directed by Neil Armfield, at Belvoir Street Theatre.

Endgame - Sydney Festival 2003

Endgame, completed in 1958, followed the huge success of Waiting for Godot and once again placed Beckett in the spotlight for its extreme subject matter.

STC Resident Director Benedict Andrews will stage Beckett's Endgame during the 2003 Sydney Festival, as part of STC's Wharf 2 Blueprints season. The Wharf 2 venue will be dramatically refigured specifically for this production, restricting the audience to a smaller, more intimate capacity.

Media contact:
Lynda McKewen, (02) 9678 7424, email l.mckewen@uws.edu.au
Dr Anthony Uhlmann, (02) 9852 4419, email a.uhlmann@uws.edu.au