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Byre World

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The School of Modern Languages, in collaboration with The Byre Theatre, offers an exciting programme of events related to the literature, film and cultures of the world. Our Byre World programme showcases some of the research being carried out by the School of Modern Languages and brings together artists, filmmakers, writers and academics. All events are open to university staff and students and the general public.

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Semester 1 programme, 2019-20

Rosa Luxemburg

Wednesday 25 September 2019, 6pm, Byre Studio

Rosa Luxemburg

Charting the life of one of the 20th century’s most iconic political figures, this biopic is a key work in the oeuvre of feminist filmmaker, Margarethe von Trotta. It is emblematic of her enduring interest in strong female protagonists and her belief that the personal is political. Luxemburg is played by Barbara Sukowa in a performance that won her the Palme d’Or for Best Actress. Rosa Luxemburg is part of a retrospective of von Trotta’s work organised by the Independent Cinema Office. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Seán Allan and Dora Osborne from the School of Modern Languages.

Title: Rosa Luxemburg

Dir. Margarethe von Trotta/1986/Germany/2h 12m


Some of My Best Friends…

Wednesday 9 October 2019, 7pm, Byre Studio

Best friends

What does a play set in Chicago in 1959 (Act I) and 2009 (Act II) have to say to audiences in Scotland today?  Although Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park is historically and geographically-informed, the issues that it raises transfer without too much difficulty across the Atlantic.  Above all, Norris’s skewering of our racial and personal prejudices demonstrates how uncomfortable truths can make us squirm at the same time that they make us laugh.  Join theatre historian, Julia Prest, and members of Rapture Theatre for a lively discussion of some of the issues raised by putting on this play in contemporary Scotland.


French Impressions: An Evening with Verlaine, in Song 

Wednesday 23 October 2019, 6pm, Byre Studio

Verlaine Dornac

The impressionist poetry of Paul Verlaine, with its subtle nuances and rich musicality, has long been a favourite with composers. His poem La lune blanche (The white moon) has been set to music by no fewer than 140 composers, from 1870 to the present day. Join French lecturer David Evans, and staff and students of the University Music Centre, for a lecture-recital featuring performances of different settings of this poem by composers as diverse as Massenet, Fauré, Hahn, Delius, Stravinsky, Poldowski, Szulc, Sorabji and Webern as well as Nevin, Loomis and Hennessy (US), John MacEwen (Scotland) and Johanna Bordewijk-Roepman (Netherlands).


Discovering Leonard Cohen’s literary production with Prof Silvia Albertazzi

Wednesday 13 November, 6pm, Byre Studio

Silvia Albertazzi

Leonard Cohen’s writing career began long before he picked up the guitar. After successfully publishing his first collection of poetry, The Spice-Box, in 1961, Cohen was under the impression that he had made a breakthrough in the Canadian literary scene. However, the mixed reviews he received pushed Cohen to relinquish his literary ambitions in favour of song writing.  Join university staff members and Prof Silvia Albertazzi (University of Bologna) – author of the first and only critical monograph on Cohen’s entire literary production – on a journey to discover Cohen’s beautiful writings accompanied by his most famous music.


Bringing a World of Books to New Readers: An Evening with Meike Ziervogel

Wednesday 27 November 2019 at 6pm, Byre Studio

Meike Ziervogel

Meike Ziervogel of Peirene Press is the most innovative publisher of world-class literature in translation working in the UK today. Key to Peirene’s success has been its investment in distinctive literary forms – in collaborative fiction such as the novel Shatila Stories, written by nine refugees, and in the novella. Meike will discuss her pathbreaking approach to literature in translation with Andrew Cusack (Department of German) who has teaching interests in the novella.

Past events archive