The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond

Book cover - The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond

ISMC and Edinburgh University Press published a new book, titled The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond, in July 2014. The volume, edited by  Pnina Werbner (Keele University), Martin Webb (Goldsmiths College, University of London),  and Kathryn Spellman-Poots (ISMC), provides an insightful analysis of the role that images, video, drama, poetry and social media played in the Arab spring and the other global protest movements that have taken place since 2010.​

The book explores the central role the aesthetic played in energising the mass mobilisations of young people, the disaffected, the middle classes, the apolitical silent majority, as well as the solidarities and alliances among democrats, workers, trade unions, civil rights activists and opposition parties it enabled It offers diverse perspectives on the subject, from anthropological, sociological, political to economic, linguistic and more.

Click here for news alert on book – The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest from the AKU-ISMC website

Writing for the Internet

Writing for the internet

It’s the new digital age and we don’t depend on newsagents to give us our daily scoop anymore, or the kid on the bike who threw us the daily broadsheet.

Nope! Now we depend on online articles, viral marketing and ubiquitous social media. The meaning of journalism has changed ever since noise went digital.

As a student of journalism, I’ve had to pick up a few tricks and tips of this evolving media age.

Click here for my article on Writing for the Internet from Flock to the Crown

The Hairy Ape at The Old Vic

The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic
The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic

Yank stares at the large round Moon. It is the face of a man that looks down at him – an interior labourer – who shovels coal to keep his grand ocean liner afloat. Yank, then, heads to the zoo to face his inner “filthy beast” which his employer’s well-bred daughter had branded him. He scares and taunts another beast – a wary caged gorilla.

What we have here is a working class man violently rebelling against society and reflecting angrily on his social place in the world. In 1922 , when script writer Eugene O’Neill completed his play The Hairy Ape, it was a turning point for capitalism and socialism.

Click here for my review of The Hairy Ape on the LondonTheatre1 website

Family Resorts: Phuket, Thailand

In a land with some of the world’s finest beaches, it takes a lot to stand out. But Phuket, Thailand’s most famous resort, has found a way to do it.

Whether it’s the crystal-clear water of the Andaman Sea, or the hazy brown sand, or if it’s the fact that film directors fall in love with the scene so much they are constantly raising it on the silver screen. (Check out its starring role in The Man with the Golden Gun.)

If you want a lively beach with lots of things to do – watersports, restaurants, leisure resorts – you should head for Karon or Kata. These big, spectacular stretches of sand have a villagey feel to them. But, if you want somewhere quieter, there’s Mai Khao with its sweep of endless white sand.

Click here for full article on Phuket on Crusader Travel Website

Mauritius: Holiday Destination

Mauritius is a volcanic island of palm-fringed beaches and lagoons sat in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. It has a reputation for stability, tranquillity and harmony given its mix of ethnic populations including Europeans, Africans and Asians that make up the Creole heritage.

Many newlyweds choose Mauritius as their honeymoon destination as it is peaceful and tropical, and has the best sea lagoons and beaches to adore. But it is also a great holiday destination for families as it has the best beach resorts with many inclusive facilities from play centres, gyms and golf and tennis courts. There is a lot of fun to be had for all ages.

Click here for full article of Mauritius on Crusader Travel Website

Art: The Amazing World of M.C. Escher at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

M.C Esher's work at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
M.C Esher’s work at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery unveils Maurits Cornelis Escher’s (1898-1972) curious and mind boggling illustrations, woodcuts and lithographs for this once in a lifetime exhibition. Escher mastered the technique to capture geometric shapes and extraordinary imagery onto stone and wood which sprouted in popular culture from films such as Christopher Nolan’s Inception to advertising and album covers such as Mott The Hoople. 

Click here to read full review at

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OPERA: ENO’s La bohème – Taking heroin in La bohème

ENO, La boheme, Benedict Andrews,
Benedict Andrews’s La bohème at the ENO.

Australian director Benedict Andrews has a new production of La bohème  currently showing at the ENO which adds a controversial twist to the original Puccini opera. Oftentimes when the word “contemporary” is slammed together with words like “new production” audiences tremble at the potential for disaster. It may be a chance to see something different and brand new, however, its novelty could be much of a blessing as well as a curse. But for a popular classic, consistently picked for repertory, such as La bohème it doesn’t seem like the type of opera that cries for a revamp or needs something changed.

Read full review here on

How to get cheap Opera Tickets in London, even if they are sold out


There seems to be two misconceptions about opera tickets. Firstly – a point which has been argued to death – that ‘opera tickets are expensive’ and secondly, once a show, or production, has sold out there is no way you can see it, ever!

As a reviewer and blogger, I have the advantage of seeing many operas in London through press tickets, however, this is not ALWAYS the case. With the amount of theatre and opera I see per week (which can range between two to five shows in a week), there are occasions where opera and theatre companies do not provide me with that complimentary ticket. This has encouraged me to seek alternative ways of gaining access to sold out shows and finding the cheapest tickets, which might not always offer the best view but still provides me with a means to view 90% of the opera, and hearing beautiful music and amazing voices.

Opera, theatre, even ballets and classical music concerts, are not only composed and written for the rich and affluent. Keen culture vultures can go and enjoy shows without breaking the bank! Alongside discounted theatre websites and (believe it or not) newspaper, magazine and online publications, actual opera companies offer reduced tickets and special offers as well!

Here are two examples from newspaper, magazine and online publications:

For the 5-Star rated Akhnaten at the ENO, Time Outwere offering 40% off on tickets.

  • Dress Circles tickets on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays were £79 (now £47.40) and Upper Circle tickets were £39 (now £23.40).
  • Dress Circles tickets on Tuesdays were £59 (now £35.40) and Upper Circle tickets were £34 (now £20.40). (Click here to see the offer.)

The Daily Mail also, at times, offer £10 tickets to Sussex Opera House at Glyndebourne. Although they might not be available on ideal dates (or close to the stage), it’s still a massive chunk from the usual £90+ to £200+ tickets, which is the going rate for most Glyndebourne operas. (Click here for article.)

To see the rest of my article, please click here:


Key Marketing Trends for 2016

Key Marketing Trends for 2016

As we approach 2016, people are considering New Year resolutions and New Year goals. This also applies to marketers looking to create fresh and successful digital marketing strategies for the New Year. Yet given the competitive market, it’s hard to know where to start – there’s so much noise online, particularly with the rise of social media and smart technology, that it’s hard to know how to stand out from the crowd.

For any business, understanding your customer and their needs is key. From looking at the the marketing landscape from the past year and speaking to industry leaders, we’ve put together a list of key marketing trends for 2016 that will jump start your business marketing prowess for the New Year.

Click here for the full article on Key Marketing Trends for 2016 in Flock to the Crown

Interview with Stage Director Nina Brazier

Nina Brazier, director of Clapham Opera Festival’s La bohème, has vast experience directing opera at Buxton Festival, Tête-à Tête, Grimeborn and Stockholm Interplay Festivals. She has been called ‘One of Britain’s leading young directors of opera’ by the Observer. Just before La bohème’s opening night, I caught up with her to talk about the art of directing. 

Is it your first time directing la bohème?

Yes. I worked on the opera as an assistant director at Welsh National Opera quite a few years ago. I assisted the main director and supported the in-house side of the team and found it a very different approach when bringing it to life.

I can imagine it’s very exciting right now?

Yes, it is. We have young emerging singers who are establishing themselves so we’re very lucky on that front. 

Alongside La bohème, what other Puccini operas are you dying to direct?

The epic opera Tosca. That’s an incredible one I’d like to get my teeth into. It’s such a great dark tale. There are other beautiful ones like Rondine and the lesser known ones I haven’t worked on that would be interesting too.

Let’s talk about your directing style. Some people like to work alone, utilise the internet or collaborate with others. How do prefer to work?

I work very collaboratively. Normally in a project you would work hand in hand with the designer and together you will brain storm and come up with ideas and visuals. I find this more interesting than looking online. I would also rather go out to an exhibition or go to the zoo where you can really share ideas and come up with a common vision. Having ideas from people and throwing them back and forth at each other is part of the collaborative process with the designer. It’s to ensure you have an idea of the elements in place and what’s out there to play with such as entrances, exits and that sort of thing. It’s also a step-by-step process. 

To read the rest of the interview, please click here:



Interview with music theatre composer Kevin Jones

Composer Kevin Jones of “Your Call”

Kevin Jones is the composer and director of a new opera, Your Call, which premières at Tête-a-Tête opera festival this week. The work stems from a research project Kevin carried out with CreST (Creative Speech Technology) Network in 2013 at the University of York. With his expertise in synthetic voices, recognition technology and sound art, this New-York-based composer has devised an opera that delves into humanity’s indispensable relationship with technology. Rehearsals are in full swing, and Mary Grace Nguyen stops by for a chat with Kevin to find out about this innovative and topical piece.

How are the rehearsals going for Your Call?

It’s been wonderful, and very intense! Working with an incredible group of people makes the rehearsal experience a lot of fun, especially as everybody contributes. We have a new cast member this year, Hai-Ting Chinn, who fits in seamlessly because we have the same sense of humour.

Check out full interview with Kevin Jones on FringeOpera

BFI’s Century of Chinese Cinema: Interview with Curator Noah Cowan

Noah Cowan, Executive Director at the San Francisco Film Society and artistic curator for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) Bell Lightbox, has joined forces with the BFI to curate the Century of Chinese Cinema season. LDN Card met up with Cowan to ask him about the inspiration behind the programme of this innovative showcase of Chinese film from the 1920s to the modern day.

Mr Cowan, where did your interest in film come from?

I was a film lover from a very early age. My favourite thing to do was to open the entertainment pages of the newspaper and look at all the ads and imagine what the film might be. I became a real cinema junkie. My first job was volunteering at the Toronto Film Festival; I was 14-years-old and I began working for them later on. I love the film business – there’s something freewheeling and free …

Click here for full interview with Noah Cowan on LDN Card

Woolf Works

Wolf Works at the Royal Ballet
Woolf Works at the Royal Ballet

Woolf Works is a brand new production conceived out of the works of 20th century novelist Virginia Woolf. It received an outstanding roar of applause and standing ovations at its premier last night. The Royal Ballet’s own resident contemporary choreographer Wayne McGregor was inspired to fulfill Woolf’s dream of combining her stylistic prose which defied the writing rules of her era with the transformative and emotional powers of dance. McGregor worked tirelessly with Uzma Hameed as the production’s dramaturg to unravel ‘the luminosity, sonorousness and poignancy of [Woolf’s] world.’

With an array of the best principal dancers from the Royal Ballet including Natalia Osipova, Federico Bonelli, Edward Watson and former ballet principal Alessandra Ferri (now aged 52, can you believe?), Woolf Works brings together the flair and multiple perspectives of the author’s non-linear writing through three of her best loved novels – Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves. (11th May 2015)

Click here for my review of Woolf Works at the Royal Ballet from TrendFem

The Great Gatsby by Northern Ballet

The Great Gatsby by Northern Ballet

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel has inspired minds. Its delectable language, memories of The Roaring Twenties Jazz Age, and romantic twist, has influenced creatives from film director Baz Luhrmann to choreography director David Nixon. For Nixon, it was “the figure of Gatsby and his obsessive dream that holds me in its grip”. Many who love the story will agree that Gatsby is the emotional hook we pity and grieve for.

Nixon directs Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby, which first premiered in 2013 when it was nominated for several awards and sold out Sadler’s Wells’ first UK tour. Now it is back in full force with its water-coloured Edward Hopper staging, extravagant orchestral score and spectacular dancing style and technique – a mix of 1920s jazz, hints of tango, contemporary dance and, most of all, ballet.

Click here for my review on The Great Gatsby at Sadler’s Well from the LDNCard website