New COVID-19-inspired theatre performance based on Oxford research

contagion cabaret imagery

A new online performance about COVID-19 by actors from Chipping Norton Theatre and based on Oxford research has been released.

The Contagion Cabaret is a collaboration between the Theatre and the University’s Diseases of Modern Life research project, which is led by Professor Sally Shuttleworth. It received funding from the Social Science Division’s Urgent Response Fund set up in response to COVID-19.

From Tony Kushner’s Angels in America to Mary Shelley, from obscure Victorian Medical Parlour Songs to Fascinating Aida’s Herpes Tango, The Contagion Cabaret is riddled with infectious extracts of plays, poems, journalism and music, past and present. 

The production, which takes a long view of the current pandemic, drew on expertise from across the University. The English Faculty's Professor Shuttleworth, Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr and Dr Emilie Taylor-Pirie, offered historical perspectives on the current pandemic.

John Frater, a Professor of Infectious Diseases at Oxford who has been running a COVID ward, offered advice on the production. As did Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, who has run modelling suggesting an earlier spread of the outbreak; and Dr Nicola Fawcett, who is involved in the vaccine trials.

You can also watch Professor Shuttleworth discussing the production in a live online event facilitated by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

Professor Shuttleworth was in conversation with performer Anna Tolputt, Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Faculty of English) and Professor Sunetra Gupta (Department of Zoology).

The Diseases of Modern Life project ran for five years and was funded by the European Research Council.