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Kafka Centenary Celebrations in Oxford

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A range of spectacular events are set to take place at venues across Oxford during May and June celebrating the literary works and global legacy of the writer, Franz Kafka 100 years after his death.

The Cultural Programme, part of the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford, will be hosting three events encouraging people in and around Oxford to connect with artists, performers and creatives as part of the centenary celebrations organised by the University: #OxfordKafka24.

Following two previous sold-out performances, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective will perform a new concert, ‘Transfigured’, at The Sheldonian Theatre on Friday 24 May. Exploring themes of metamorphosis and transformations in two of the most thrilling works in the repertoire, their richly expressive programme will feature fast-rising star soprano Francesca Chiejina.

From 31 May to 2 June, University Park will be taken over by 'Jitterbug', an incredible and enormous inflatable bug tent from award-winning artists, Trigger. Celebrating Kafka’s work ‘Metamorphosis’, a free programme of day-to-night creative activities will take place inside the insect, with workshops and events for all ages. From talks, yoga and crafting to storytelling hosted by the Story Museum, a drag cabaret extravaganza, and a brand-new collaboration between Oxford-based MC Rawz and aerialist Julia Sparkle. The programme will unfold within the epic Jitterbug structure, designed by the acclaimed Carl Robertshaw (Kylie Minogue, Stranger Things).

The Old Fire Station will host the world premiere of a dance/music theatre adaption of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Hunger Artist’ from 3 to 5 June. Choreographed and directed by celebrated choreographer Arthur Pita, the immersive dance ‘spectacle’ features dance virtuoso, Edward Watson, and the renowned rebel chanteuse, Meow Meow, with music composed and performed by long-standing collaborator, Frank Moon.

John Fulljames, Director of the Humanities Cultural programme, says: “This is the latest in a series of extraordinary public shared experiences we are set to bring to Oxford. We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of art and culture and I’m grateful to the team and our partners for enabling us to bring some truly outstanding performances which I would encourage everyone to attend.”

In collaboration with the AHRC project 'Kafka's Transformative Communities', the #OxfordKafka24 campaign features a new free exhibition at the Bodleian’s Weston Library: ‘Kafka: Making of an Icon’ (30 May-27 October) and a University-wide series of academic and public events taking place across 2024 exploring Kafka’s global appeal. This will include a public reading of Metamorphosis in the Sheldon Theatre on 3 June, with leading literary figures, Oxford civic leaders, and student societies.

The Cultural Programme at the University of Oxford is building a programme of world-class arts and culture from around the globe in preparation for the opening of Oxford’s new Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, a state-of-the-art academic, exhibition, and performance space, due to open in 2025.

For further details about the Cultural Programme, please visit: www.culturalprogramme.org.uk.

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