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Call of the Page (Alan & Karen)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Standing Up For Freedom, Matthew Hammond, the Stand Up Philosopher

Matthew Hammond, the Stand Up Philosopher, presents a unique show, following the course of the over-used concept of freedom. 

From ancient times to modern thinkers, the history of the idea is traced in a sequence of inspirational performances that unpick the concept that we think we know so well, and show it in a new and fascinating light.

Always powerful, sometimes hilarious and at times shocking, philosophies are shaken from their covers and brought vividly to life as Matthew Hammond jumps about, making theatre out of all those books you meant to read but never got around to...

"Dynamic, dangerous and highly original."
performance poet and Wondermentalist Liv Torc.

"When something special comes along, and you might not have the chance to witness it ever again, you've got to get your skates on, and catch it!"
 Alan Summers, With Words (Director)


At the Northcott Theatre Exeter as part of the Laugh Out Loud Festival:
Sun 3 February 2013
8pm in the Theatre Bar

Tickets: £7.50
Concs: £5 
Age: 12 yrs+
Running Time: 2hrs
Box Office: 01392 493493

And at the Bierkeller Theatre in Bristol on Monday 18th February:

Standard Seated      £8.50    
Concession Seated  £7.00
Doors & bar open: 19:30
Show starts: 20:00

Lots of cool quotes and weblinks and YouTube further below!

Matthew Hammond the Stand Up Philosopher is presenting a new show 
called Standing Up for Freedom. Matthew is an exceptional and one-of-a-
kind performer. Original yet historical, profound yet entertaining, he 
has built up an audience for Stand Up Philosophy at Taking the Mike at 
the Exeter Phoenix, has showcased it across the south including at 
Bristol's Acoustic Night, Oxford's Catweazle Club, and Covent Garden's 
Poetry Cafe, and has appeared at many festivals including sets at the 
HowTheLightGetsIn Festival of philosophy and music in Hay-on-Wye, and 
the PowWow LitFest in Birmingham.

This new full length show charts the concept of freedom from Ancient 
Greece to the present day. Ideas are shaken from their covers and 
brought alive. Each piece involves condensing a philosopher's main 
dilemma or a philosophical text's main tenet from the history of the 
philosophy, often with the idea or the philosopher personified with a 
mixture of theatre, storytelling, charismatic lecturing and dramatic 
monologue, all to illuminate the present in a devastating new light or 
sudden beautiful clarity.

Each piece is a unique adaptation / interpretation of an idea / 
original text performed by a professional storyteller (he is also one 
half of Widsith and Deor Storytelling Theatre who have performed at 
numerous festivals including Glastonbury, the Big Chill, Sunrise 
Celebration, Beautiful Days, etc.) inspirational lecturer (LSE Summer 
School, Exeter University, etc.) and writer (his most recent 
publication was a chapter in a Deleuze reader by Palgrave Macmillan) 
from memory as theatre.

Brochure copy reads * Matthew Hammond condenses and adapts ideas and 
books from the whole History of Philosophy, transforming them into 
powerful performance art. Accessible, startling, sometimes hilarious, 
often moving, and always inspirational, he jumps about the stage 
making theatre out of all those books you meant to read but never got 
around to.*

To see the show in action, the following link leads to a trailer on 
the website (and once finished, other videos from the YouTube channel);

The shows are unique, remarkable, theatrical, entertaining and 
powerful. Below are the coming dates with brochure copy, quotes, links 
and a performer bio.


At the Northcott Theatre Exeter as part of the Laugh Out Loud Festival;
Sun 3 February 2013
8pm in the Theatre Bar
Tickets from;

And at the Bierkeller Theatre in Bristol on Monday 18th February;
Tickets from;

Quotes on Matthew Hammond the Stand Up Philosopher:

*Dynamic, dangerous and highly original.* performance poet and 
Wondermentalist Liv Torc.

*Just wanted to say a big thank you for coming up and performing at LitFest. Your performance went down really well, and was a real  talking point.* Andy Killeen, novelist and organizer of the PowWow 

*…a very dangerous man…loads of ideas kept popping into my head…* 
James Turner, Poet and Author of the poetry collection ‘Forgeries’

*Incredible intensity.* Audience member at Poetry Unplugged at the 
Poetry Café Covent Garden,

*Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant!!!* Dan Stratford, viewer of Deleuze 
for Beginners video on YouTube

*It's the second time I've seen you perform and I probably understand about 5% or less, but it's FANTASTIC! It's not like anything else, but so entertaining.* Audience member, Taking the Mic, Exeter Phoenix


Stand-up Philosophy Facebook group;

Performer's Blog;

YouTube Channel - Stand Up Philosopher Playlist;

Matthew Hammond – the Stand Up Philosopher
Matthew Hammond studied Anthropology at Cambridge and after graduating realized that philosophy was what he actually wanted to do. Perplexed as to how to proceed, he then trained as a maths teacher at Keele University and became a certified mathematician, working as a maths tutor so that he could study philosophy from 5am until 12pm most days, and be full time carer for the partner he met as a student, an ME sufferer. At 27 he inherited a crumbling C15th rectory, and started running an artistic community with an environmental / recycling emphasis, where visual artists, musicians and thinkers could live and work in the same place more sustainably. This led to being effectively foster parents/siblings to some very disturbed folks and having a heap of bizarre experiences, some of them pretty unpleasant. Eventually some positive-minded artists who used the space as it was intended to be used turned up, and the recycling and environmentally-minded arts collective the Cartwheels Collective was born, named after the decaying agricultural artefacts surrounding the property.

   As well as teaching maths and making a difference to the lives of hundreds of school pupils giving them confidence in maths and better grades, Matthew collaborated on art projects, did historical cookery for heritage and arts events, held workshops in willow and leather, and ended up teaching philosophy at Exeter University and LSE Summer School, being called an inspirational lecturer by his students. Such was his popularity, he even ended up teaching informal classes in philosophy in café bars at the weekends! - but was never going to fit tidily into academia because no one could ever make up their minds about his work, as nothing he did could ever be neatly likened to anything or fitted into a box; before becoming one half of Widsith and Deor Storytelling Theatre when his partner finally recovered, and performing at all kinds of festivals and events such as Glastonbury, the Big Chill and the Festival of History, for which he has made huge bodymasks and figures. Two years ago he started performing solo as well, and combined at last his two passions of philosophy and theatre as the Stand Up Philosopher, and has been performing as festivals and venues large and small from the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival of Philosophy and Music at Hay and the PowWow LitFest in Birmingham to the Hatherleigh Festival in Devon and the Poetry Café in Covent Garden.

   He has delivered papers at conferences in philosophy and literature at venues such as Warwick University, Greenwich University and the University of London. His publications include a chapter in ‘Deleuze and the Fold – a Critical Reader’, (edited by Sjoerd van Tuinen and Niamh McDonnell) and published by Palgrave Macmillan, a number of chapbooks, and his book of essays ‘Not What One Was - A Brief History of the Concept of Justice’. He has written over half a million words of philosophy and philosophical literary criticism, some of it on the web, but much of it still undrafted, as he is profoundly dyslexic which has hampered the drafting his writings considerably, but which has also ensured a phenomenal memory and a startlingly rhetorical style in the traditions of the Ancient Greek philosophers and the C16th Ranters. There is a theory that he was dropped on his head as a baby as his shirts often unbutton themselves and he is on his fifth copy of Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’ as the pages always mysteriously fall out…but his mother claims it was the drugs she was on while pregnant! His other interests include history, cooking and making monsters ‘as it’s better for you than alcoholism’…and possibly slightly cheaper. He calls himself ‘Philosophy’s only tribute act’.

Radio Shows:

Matthew Hammond co-presents a fortnightly programme on Phonic FM 106.8 and online, covering poetry, philosophy, history, legend, culture and curiosities called ‘Widsith and Deor presents…’. Shows have included the History of Philosophy, the Origins of the Idea of Democracy, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Dark Age Britain, The English Civil War, the Histories of the Saxon and the Norman Kings, Theatre, Cabaret and Circus, the novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, history through the lens of art at Kensington Palace, etc.. Currently the programmes are charting the Kings and Queens of England from 800AD onward, and forthcoming is a performance of Geoffrey Hill’s poetry sequence ‘Clavics’ for which Enitharmon Press have given permission.

He is also the host of the weekly ‘Phonic Drama Show’ which has included plays from playwrights all over the UK and his own solo dramatic interpretations of Euripedes’ ‘The Bacchae’, the ‘Oresteia’ trilogy and other Greek tragedies. He has also presented startlingly original and powerful tellings of tales from many sources including the 1,000 Arabian Nights to Viking Gods, often to techno beats and classical music. His most recent show was an adaptation of a part of the C12th Njal’s Saga.


Featured Video from the Stand Up Philosophy Playlist - Deleuze for Beginners; 

Stand-up Philosophy Facebook group;

Performer's Blog; 


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