Nineteenth Circle are a group made up of 19th Century-specialist performers of who aim to include the voices of communities previously ignored by historic “western” canon in their work.

The 19th Century and Covid-19

Commissioned by The Space, one of the Nineteenth Circle’s latest projects – The Sick Room – is a series of 7 short videos which reflect on the issues of this Covid-19 period, via 19th Century voices that faced similar challenges. The Sick Room invokes the space where all illness was manipulated in response to social, often gender/class-related, conflict and inconvenience.

Reflections Across Time

The modern-day voices who read directly to camera in these short pieces include poet and writer Rachel Long reading excerpts from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. A critically-important work of early-American feminism, the story explores imposed isolation due to 19th century attitudes about ‘hysterical’ women and the ensuing decline in mental health.

Another piece is performed by poet and actor Gabriel Akamo who reads an excerpt from Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, which documents the work of famed Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole. Written in 1857, Mary bears witness to sickness and death in the Crimean War, despite the racism and refusal she was met with.

You can see the whole collection here.

About this artist

The Nineteenth Circle is a group of Classical & Romantic-specialists and performers who are committed to diversifying the voice within classical music programming and representing a fuller spectrum of coetaneous experience in order to enhance the canon. They seek to represent a new generation of Historically Informed Performance (HIP) specialising in the Classical and Early Romantic periods.