Beaconsfield is working in collaboration with the Cathedral Primary School in Southwark and artist Monica Ross, as part of her ongoing performance series Anniversary – an act of memory. Initiated from the solo performance rightsrepeated – an act of memory at Beaconsfield in London in 2005, Monica challenges herself to commit to memory and recite the entire text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a changing cohort of co-recitors. So far the series has taken the performance to places as diverse as The House of Commons and Raven Row Gallery.
Act 47 which will be performed at Southwark Cathedral on 13 November sees Monica working with children for the first time in the series, exploring the rights and responsibilities to which every human is entitled. This project builds on recent activity at the Cathedral Primary School of St Saviour and St Mary Overy, Southwark, who have focused on the importance and relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to achieve a UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award – the first school in Southwark to receive the award.
Act 47 is the first recitation in the series to be delivered by children.The first school in Southwark to achieve a UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award, Cathedral Primary’s participation in Anniversary – an act of memory builds on recent school activities that have focused on the importance and relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.“in working towards [the award]…, it transformed the school and has had a great impact on teaching and learning and children’s attitudes to each other and the other children around the world.”
Drafted in the aftermath of the Second World War, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Anniversary – an act of memory is a performance series in 60 Acts. Monica and her ever- changing co-performers challenge themselves to learn and recite from memory the entire text of the UDHR. To date, solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations with co-recitors from different communities and contexts have take place in venues as diverse as The House of Commons and Brighton Seafront. Ross aims to reach her goal of achieving 60 recitations in 2013.
The UDHR was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10,1948, and has since become part of International Law. Each recitation is uniquely shaped by the co-recitors and communities who commit themselves to recite from memory. The work draws on oral traditions where memory and spoken repetition produce an embodied form of reproduction, which is at once an act of witness and one of taking responsibility for the transmission of knowledge. Monica’s first public recital by memory of the UDHR was staged as a solo performance. Since then Beaconsfield and the artist have nurtured an ambition to take the project into the educational environment of Primary schools.
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Public performance on Tuesday 13 November 2012 at 1.30pm Southwark Cathedral, London, SE1 9DA