Sue Blundell

Home Page


 

 

 

 

 

 Sue Blundell is a playwright and lecturer in Classical Studies. Many of her plays have been inspired by ancient myths,  ideas, and objects.

Sue's new play, Feet of Clay: Rodin and his London Friends, was commissioned by the British Museum and staged on 18 May. It complements the Museum's major exhibition 'Rodin and the Art of Antiquity'.  

Your splendid museums … their marvellous collections … have provoked in me an avalanche of sensations

 


 

 

The French sculptor Auguste Rodin loved the British Museum and visited it whenever he could to sketch the Parthenon sculptures. In the play some of the friends he meets in the Museum take him on a journey through time. Past ordeals and future triumphs are conjured up before his - and the audience's - eyes. 

 

 

 Rodin (Lloyd Morris), Will Rothenstein (Matthew Coulton) and Camille Claudel (Lisa   Ronaghan)


Great sculpture … music … ideas … and lots of clay.

 

Presented by the Shipshape Theatre Company and The British Museum. Directed by Rob McIndoe

 

 

 

Sue's last piece, Tell Me The Truth About Love, celebrates the relationship between the composer Benjamin Britten and his long-term partner, the tenor Peter Pears. The first performance was on June 8th 2017 - a month before the 50th anniversary of  The Sexual Offences Act, which finally decriminalised love affairs like the one between Britten and Pears. It was staged again on February 25th at the Clapham Omnibus theatre. Matthew Coulton and Stewart Clegg returned to play the parts of Britten and Pears. Tim Langston was the soloist. 

 

 

 

 


Based on 'My Beloved Man: the Letters of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears' (Aldeburgh Studies in Music), the play opened FitzFest 2017 to great acclaim. 

 

"Two actors, six musicians and one opera singer tell the story of a great British composer who struggled with society's attitude to same-sex relationships, in a fascinating combination of live music and dynamic physical theatre."



 

 

 

2017: Britten and Pears play Happy Families with Rostropovich and Shostakovich 

 

 

 

2017: Andrew Staples sings 'Tell Me The Truth About Love'

 

 Some audience responses: 

It's one of those plays that carries on in the head - those two brilliant people sustaining and nourishing their love through such long separations, having to keep it secret for so long...

 

The actors were lovely, and the musicians brilliant  ... 

 


Sue's play, The Man from the Sleepy Lagoon, was a celebration of the life and music of Fitzrovia composer Eric Coates. A video of a recent performance, before a live audience, can be seen at  https://youtu.be/Kkw3_dtogRE. It was staged again during FitzFest 2017, with David Acton returning to play the part of Coates.


An absolute delight ...

I knew about Desert Island Discs, but Dambusters came as a lovely surprise …

Pure joy!

 

 

 

 


Older News

 

Sue's play about the 1980s GLC, London Democracy, made it into the last 25 (out of over 1000 entries) in the 2016 Nick Darke award


  

Her play Treasure featured Peter Mark Roget,  author of the famous Thesaurus, who started making lists of words as a way of coping with depression. Staged in Manchester in July 2015 during 24:7's Big Festival Weekend, Treasure was performed again in October 2015 in The Museum of Science and Industry, as part of The Manchester Science Festival

 

 

In June 2015 Sue was the keynote speaker at the conference Shoes, Slippers and Sandals: Feet and Footwear in Antiquity held in Newcastle. Her talk One Shoe Off and One Shoe On focussed on the Greek and Roman rite of monosandalism     

 

 

 

In October 2014, Sue's play 189 Pieces was performed at The British Museum and was sold out. It was produced by Maverick Theatre, and directed by Katie Merritt 

Some audience responses: 

 

  • Ten times better than "A night in the Museum" ... The actors were fantastic ...
  • Very cleverly conceived and splendidly performed - I especially liked the scene with the Parthenon sculptures sniggering at the poor Vase. The tricky 'smashing' scene was also done very well ...
  • We went up and had a look at the vase afterwards. It is really amazing, extraordinary and beautiful, seeing the breakage marks and knowing the story behind them made it especially fascinating ...
  • What a smashing afternoon! ...
  • Really fun, lovely, interesting. It had such lively energy and was great to look at. The words, direction and the actors were excellent ...
  • More please! 

 

 

189 Pieces tells the story of the Portland Vase, a Roman glass vessel in the British Museum with a traumatic past. "It can smash in an instant. Look after it, and it could last for 2000 years" 

 

  

To read more, click '189 Pieces' and 'Gallery, 189 Pieces'


189 Pieces was first performed by The Company on June 1st  as part of the Steyning Festival's theatre trail

 

 Sue's first book, The Origins of Civilisation in Greek and Roman Thought, was republished in 2014 by Routledge as part of the Routledge Revivals series

 

Vision and Viewing in Ancient Greece, which Sue co-edited with Douglas Cairns and Nancy Rabinowitz, appeared in 2013 as a special issue of Helios

 

Sue's chapter on 'Greek art and the Grand Tour' (featuring Emma Hamilton's Attitudes) has been published as part of Wiley-Blackwell's Companion to Greek Art

 

Sue has a blog on ideas about happiness: go to http://sueblundellhappiness.wordpress.com