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The ‘16Up’ study conducted at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from January 2014 to December 2018 aimed to examine the physical and mental health of young Australian twins aged 16−18 years (N = 876; 371 twin pairs and 18 triplet sets). Measurements included online questionnaires covering physical and mental health as well as information and communication technology (ICT) use, actigraphy, sleep diaries and hair samples to determine cortisol concentrations. Study participants generally rated themselves as being in good physical (79%) and mental (73%) health and reported lower rates of psychological distress and exposure to alcohol, tobacco products or other substances than previously reported for this age group in the Australian population. Daily or near-daily online activity was almost universal among study participants, with no differences noted between males and females in terms of frequency or duration of internet access. Patterns of ICT use in this sample indicated that the respondents were more likely to use online information sources for researching physical health issues than for mental health or substance use issues, and that they generally reported partial levels of satisfaction with the mental health information they found online. This suggests that internet-based mental health resources can be readily accessed by adolescent Australians, and their computer literacy augurs well for future access to online health resources. In combination with other data collected as part of the ongoing Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study, the 16Up project provides a valuable resource for the longitudinal investigation of genetic and environmental contributions to phenotypic variation in a variety of human traits.
This volume showcases civic theatre and display, with articles on Chester (Gerhardt), York (Twycross), Durham and Newcastle (Chambers and Jakovac), and London (Butterworth). There is a happy emphasis on particularities. In the second part of her article on stage lighting in broad daylight, Meg Twycross discusses, among other things, how the actors in the York Play knew what time it was, and how fast a medieval person was expected to walk. Philip Butterworth lays out the difficulties presented to London pageantry by unauthorised house extensions and horse-droppings. On a more elevated level, Gašper Jakovac, in the Newcastle section mapping James VI & I's tours of the North, talks about theatre and coal; and in his revelations about the Chester Waterleaders and Drawers of Dee, Ernst Gerhardt talks about theatre and fish.
As part of our remit to discuss parallel forms of theatre, we welcome Lucy Deacon's introduction to a living tradition of mystery plays, the Taʿzia khani of present-day Iran, seen and reported on by Western travellers from the seventeenth century AD onwards. Her account of its development has many suggestive parallels with Western pageant-waggon plays. Do not forget to check out the videos she cites (URLs on the METh website). Finally, Elisabeth Dutton and Perry Mills discuss their production of Wit and Science by Edward's Boys, the first, as far as we know, by a company of the right age and sex since the sixteenth century, which some of our readers will have seen at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa during SITM. Discussing the performance of allegory, it reveals some interesting cultural assumptions (ours and theirs): are boys always boys? and what about girls? and how do you ‘get an education’?
The 2019 METh Meeting celebrated our fortieth birthday with a (working) holiday in Switzerland. Elisabeth Dutton, Olivia Robinson, and Aurélie Blanc welcomed us to the University of Fribourg for two days of concentrated colloquium and partying in an unrivalled Alpine setting. The theme was ‘Peoples and Places: Networks, Communities, and Early Theatre’.
This volume celebrates forty years of Medieval English Theatre. For those who were there at the first meeting in Lancaster in 1979 ‘to discuss the pageant waggon’, this thought is both alarming and exhilarating. In the intervening decades we have travelled all over the United Kingdom, from Southampton to Edinburgh; and next year we go to Switzerland to celebrate our fortieth birthday, on what will be, by the quirk of mathematics that means that you have your first birthday a year after you were born, our forty-first meeting.
Our Fortieth Meeting on ‘Performance and its Urban Context’ was in Sheffield, ably hosted at the Humanities Research Institute by Charlotte Steenbrugge and her team. It was a packed day, with an interesting variety of approaches. Starting with York's Corpus Christi Play, Eleanor Bloomfield looked at the Passion sequence and its relation to the Mass; Sian Witherden spoke on the exploitation of the sense of touch, especially the implications of ‘stepping in Christ's footsteps’ for acts of virtual and vicarious pilgrimage; and Meg Twycross looked at ‘The Sun in York’ (see below). The next session considered the relationship between religious establishments and the city: Aurélie Blanc on the efforts made by the Abbess of Barking to instruct and involve the local community through drama; Olivia Robinson on the political implications of changes to the processional route at Huy in Belgium, and how the relationship of the modern nuns to their own theatrical performances casts light on that of their predecessors; and Jason Burg on the dramatic ceremonies of Lincoln (the St Anne's day procession, a possible Ascension play), where the Cathedral and the Guild seem to have worked together. In the afternoon, Daisy Black spoke about the unexpectedly powerful effect of silent characters in the civic plays. Mark Chambers and Gasper Jacovac recounted their discoveries about the theatrical entertainments laid on at Durham and Newcastle for James VI and I in his 1617 tour of the North. Phil Butterworth reminded us of the recalcitrance of material objects by describing the hazards to medieval street theatre from structures which were not supposed to be there.