Day School: Let’s Face the Music…and Dance!



Mechanics Institute Library, Bradford

Saturday 15 September, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Tutor: Roy Stafford


In Mark Kermode’s recent BBC4 series on popular genres he suggests that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were stars of a ‘romcom’ in films like Follow the Fleet(1936). In 2016 the film La La Land was a surprise box office smash that divided critics with its references to the musicals of ‘studio Hollywood’. In 2018 Mamma Mia 2 has again attracted large audiences eager for the joys of the Abba songbook. Each of these three films has been widely discussed as a ‘musical’ – but they are arguably very different kinds of films.

This day school continues our investigation of the concept of genre and explores the relationship between ‘film’ and ‘music’ (and dance). What is a ‘musical’? Why are musicals among the most popular films ever made – but also the most despised? How do we distinguish (and should we distinguish?) between a musical, a film about music and a film that simply uses music in telling another kind of story?

We tend to think only of Hollywood musicals but musicals can be found in many national cinemas and we’ll include several in our discussion. We’ll screen one complete musical and many extracts.

Tea and coffee are available in the Mechanics Institute Library. There are places nearby to buy lunch but you are also welcome to bring your own.

Tickets are £18 and £12 concessions.


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