Alternative Comedy Now Conference


2nd-3rd May 2019, University of Kent, UK

Organised by the Popular & Comic Performance Research Centre (PCP) and the Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR)

On 19 May 1979, the Comedy Store opened in Soho, London and precipitated the alternative comedy movement, which would revolutionise the style, subject matter and politics of British stand-up. The current UK comedy industry, from the smallest DIY comedy club to the arena tour, can arguably trace its origins back to the alternative comedy movement of the 1980s.

Organised by the Popular & Comic Performance Research Centre (PCP) at the University of Kent and the Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) at Brunel University London, Alternative Comedy Now will be an international interdisciplinary conference taking stock of this crucial cultural movement, forty years on from its inception. In addition to academic papers, the conference will feature involvement from some of the key figures in alternative comedy, a festival of alternative comedy performance, and an exhibition of early alternative comedy material from the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.

We invite proposals for papers exploring such issues as: precursors and influences; the Comedy Store; the Comic Strip; Alternative Cabaret; the effects of alternative comedy on material and/or performance style; the politics of alternative comedy; the comedy club; individual alternative comedians; the cabaret elements e.g. ranting/dub poets, street performers, etc.; the American alternative comedy scene e.g. UnCabaret, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, etc.; alternative comedy in the provinces; alternative comedy on TV; the legacy of alternative comedy; etc.

We would also welcome non-standard presentations (e.g. performance papers, workshops, etc.).

Please send a 300-word proposal and a short 100-word bionote to Oliver Double ( and Sharon Lockyer ( by 28th September 2018.

Screening: Xiaolu Guo’s UFO IN HER EYES

What: Screening and Q&A

When: Tuesday 24th May at 5-8pm

Where: Antonin Artaud 003

As part of next week’s Brunel Festival ( there will be a free screening of  Xialou Guo’s ‘UFO in Her Eyes’, a feature film about a peasant woman in a Chinese village who claims that she has seen a UFO. As a result everything in her life and that of her community undergoes a tremendous transformation. The film explores identity, feminism and globalisation.

Xiaolu Guo has created a vocabulary of her own, both visual and linguistic, that reflects her sense of bXiaolu Guoeing caught between Chinese and English, and her experience growing up during her home country’s wild transition from totalitarian enclave to the new shrine of global capitalism. An “alien” at home and in the global intellectual elite, Guo is an ideal interpreter of the sense of alienation generated by social upheaval and globalization“- Toronto Film Festival, 2011

Xiaolu Guo wrote the novel, script and directed the film and will available for a Q & A session after the screening; a great opportunity to pick an acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter’s brains, as well as see an award winning film. Don’t miss it!

“UFO in her Eyes is surrealist and ironic, but also pierced with melancholy and beau­tiful photography. With startling detail, Guo reshapes reality into a hyper-vivid portrait of chaotic contemporary Chinese society.” – Toronto Film Festival

 To learn more about the author:



Book Adaptations- Is TV The Future?

Emma Challis

The past few months have been full of news when it comes to the world of book adaptations. For Harry Potter fans there’s been plenty to get excited about, with the release of the first wave of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ tickets, which sold out in minutes, and the first glimpses of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’. Both look to be a promising extension of the much-loved series, with Oscar winning Eddie Redmayne taking the lead as Newt Scamander in the spin-off movie ‘Fantastic Beasts’.

Other exciting news has been the announcement of a BBC adaptation of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series by Phillip Pullman for television. After the 2007 film ‘The Golden Compass’ was generally regarded as a disappointment by fans and critics alike this could be another chance for beloved characters Lyra Belacqua and her daemon Pantalaimon to  delight on screen as they did in the books. There’s also potential for the other worlds included in the trilogy to be seen on screen for the first time.

This announcement follows a recent increase in books awaiting to be turned into TV series; another contemporary children’s classic ‘A series of Unfortunate Events’ by Lemony Snicket is in the running to be a Netflix original series by 2017.

It’s possible that this increasing movement to TV adaptations of books is because ongoing series offer more opportunity to stray true to the original stories than films as each episode allows for a chapter to unravel. There is also potential for character development to be shown over a longer period of time, which has proved popular in other TV series adapted from books such as ‘Game of Thrones’ as well as originals like ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and ‘Breaking Bad’. This also opens up the shows beyond fans of the books they’re based on, which could lead them to prove more popular than spin-off films like ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’.

However, TV series can lack the large budget that the film industry offers which has caused other projects, such as the adaptation of Neil Gaimen’s ‘American Gods’, to be put on hold. There is also the threat of a series being cut half-way through if ratings fall which is a particular problem in the American TV industry.

Whichever form proves more popular it’s safe to say that these upcoming projects are ones to watch!

8 MINUTES IDLE In Cinemas Now


8 Minutes Idle is a darkly romantic comedy about the perils and traumas of your first job – when enforced promotion, murderous parents, and homelessness get in the way of true love. Adapted by Brunel’s very own Matt Thorne from his novel, it tells the story of twenty-something Dan Thomas, who finds himself kicked out of the family home and faced with no option but to secretly move into the office where he works. It’s a funny, irreverent and moving UK film that combines a US indie vibe with a very British sense of humour. Watch the trailer here: