Andrew Gant: Christmas Carols
Andrew Gant, composer and former
choirmaster of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, tells
the story of some of the most loved Christmas
Carols. Unravelling a captivating - and often
surprising - tale of great musicians and thinkers,
saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys,
monks and drunks.
He will delve into the history of such favourites
as 'Good King Wenceslas', 'Away in a Manger'
and 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', discovering
along the way how 'Hark, the Herald angels
sing' came to replace 'Hark, how all the welkin
ring' and how Ralph Vaughan Williams bolted
the tune of an English folk song about a dead
ox to a poem by a nineteenth-century American
pilgrim to make 'O little town of Bethlehem'
Join us to celebrate the start of the festive
season – mince pies included!
Anthony King: The Blunders of our Government
Anthony King is the distinguished Millennium
Professor of British Government at the
University of Essex and writes and broadcasts
for the BBC, the Financial Times, the Daily
Mail and the Observer. King’s approach is
strictly non-partisan, with scorching analysis
of the decision-making processes of all recent
governments, why serious blunders were
entered into in spite of the obvious problems
– often because those involved looked at only
part of the project - and how such blatant
errors can be avoided.
Poll tax, child support, the Dome, ERM, IT
disasters, ID cards and many more – the
result of human error, system failure, pursuit
of unthought-through personal projects,
sheer panic. They are all there, and we are
promised not just an entertaining evening but
a disturbing look at how we can and must
improve our decision-making.
Lord Wright of Richmond, former head of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will be in
Anthony Sattin: Young Lawrence
T.E. Lawrence was one of the most charismatic
characters of the First World War; a young
archaeologist who fought with the Arabs and
wrote an epic and very personal account of their
revolt against the Turk in Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Yet this was not the first book to carry that
In 1914 the man who would become Lawrence
of Arabia burnt the first Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a manuscript in which he described his
adventures in the Middles East during the
five years before the war.
Anthony Sattin uncovers the story Lawrence
wanted to conceal; the truth of his birth, his
tortuous relationship with a dominant mother,
his deep affection for an Arab boy, the intimate
details of the extraordinary journeys he took
through the region with which his name is
forever connected and the personal reasons
that drove him from being a student to
becoming an archaeologist and a spy.
Young Lawrence is the first book to focus on the
story of T.E. Lawrence in his twenties, before the
war, during the period he looked back on as his
golden years. Using first-hand sources, museum
records and Foreign-Office documents, Sattin
sets these adventures against the background
of corrosive conflicts in Libya and the Balkans.
He shows the simmering defiance of Arabs,
Armenians and Kurds under Turkish domination,
while uncovering the story of an exceptional
young man searching for happiness, love and
his place in the world until war changed his life
In the year which marks the centenary of
Lawrence burning his first Seven Pillars of
Wisdom, journalist, broadcaster and author
Anthony Sattin will shed a new light on the
legendary figure that has fascinated for a
century by discussing in detail the years that
Christie Dickason & Stephen Wyatt on Writing for Radio and Other Performance
Writing isn’t all about books. It can combine words with music, choreography, poetry, stage drama and performance. In an evening that explores all of these forms and how they come together, renowned radio dramatist Stephen Wyatt and acclaimed author, director and lyricist Christie Dickason will provide trade secrets and insights drawn from their long experience on the stage and air-waves.
Stephen Wyatt is the only radio dramatist in the
country to have twice won the Tinniswood Award
for Best Original Radio Drama. His work is regularly heard on Radio 4, where he has worked
with the country’s leading directors and actors, in both original plays and many adaptations ranging from Raymond Chandler to Dante.
Christie Dickason was Trevor Nunn’s choreographer and Assistant Director in his first
three seasons at Stratford and her work on the
stage was key to the West End’s revolution in the
1970’s. Claiming that making theatre taught her
how to write, Christie went on to publish nine internationally-published novels which have featured on best-seller lists in the UK, Germany and Canada. She is also a widely performed lyricist and librettist.
Dance in Libraries - The Ficitious Truths of Teddington Library. 'Liveness in Libraries' artists talk
Meet the artists involved in the creation of this new work and discuss how they have approached the idea of putting performance in a library. Join our discussion which questions whether libraries are still sites for quiet reading.
Part of the Dance in Libraries season
Dance in Libraries: Dog Kennel Hill Project, The Fictitious Truths of Teddington Library
This collection of performance curiosities
celebrates a sense of wonder at human
evolution, from the hunter gatherers in the
primordial forest to the finger tapping media
communicators of now. At a most critical point
in the Victorian era the philanthropic concept
of a public library grew, intellectual knowledge
was pursued and shared for the benefit of all.
Wondering what could have trodden this
ground before us we place an expansive lens
on the site of Teddington Library, imagining the
bears that roamed in earlier times and an
exhumed neolithic Teddington Man that sits
surveying one of the greatest symbols of social
progress and enlightenment that it is today.
Dog Kennel Hill Project is a collectively
run company of artists: Ben Ash, Henrietta
Hale and Rachel Lopez de la Nieta producing
performance work that takes on many forms.
Dance in Libraries: straybird - Artist Talk
Dance in Libraries is a two-year project placing choreographers as artists in residence in the borough libraries of Richmond upon Thames. Dance in Libraries explores the history and identity of the library space through new and innovative works.
Join straybird artists Lucy Cash and Sheila Ghelani in conversation as they discuss some patterns of thought and some elements of research that relate to their project for Hampton Library.
straybird are Lucy Cash and Becky Edmunds with artist Sheila Ghelani. All three artists come from a background in dance and performance and are interested in extending ideas of choreography beyond dance in order to offer haptic ways of exploring the world around us.
Emma Bridgewater: Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories
Since establishing her pottery business 28 years ago, Emma Bridgewater’s cheerfully distinctive kitchenware has found its way onto the dresser shelves and kitchen tables of homes all over Britain and beyond. Known for her quintessentially British designs, Emma’s pottery continues to be manufactured in Britain, with over 200 people now employed at her factory in Staffordshire.
Toast & Marmalade is a patchwork of the personal stories behind Emma’s unique and popular designs, many of them derived from warm memories of childhood, as well as the challenges and inspirations behind setting up the Bridgewater business.
Join Emma for an evening of pottery, family, childhood, work, motorway service stations, holidays, beaches, markets, recipes, dressing-up boxes, patch-working, country & western music, picnics, camping and the lost world of telephone calls costing 2p.
Emma Bridgewater set up her eponymous business in 1985. Today, Emma Bridgewater Ltd continues to be owned and run by Emma and her husband Matthew, committed to British pottery manufacture and continue to contribute designs. The early family life which inspired the Emma Bridgewater business took place round the kitchen table, and that is still the focus of Emma and Matthew’s life with their four children today. Emma received a CBE for services to industry in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2013.
Essie Fox & Lynn Shepherd: A Feast of Blood
Essie Fox and Lynn Shepherd both write novels with a distinctly Gothic flavour. For this year’s Richmond Literature Festival they will discuss the English obsession with Vampires, drawing on their own fictional work and research undertaken, referring to Classic Literature as well as Victorian Penny Dreadfuls and even the ongoing practices of some extreme religious cults! Please join them at Strawberry Hill House, surely the most Gothic of venues, for what promises to be a truly delicious ‘Feast of Blood’.
Essie Fox was born in Herefordshire and now divides her time between Bow in East London and Windsor. She writes Victorian gothic novels published by Orion Books. She was featured on Channel 4’s TV Book Club, and her debut, The Somnambulist, was shortlisted for the National Books Awards. Essie's latest novel, The Goddess and the Thief, explores the Victorian interest in spiritualism and the ‘undead' – along with many references to Penny Dreadful magazines and Indian vampiric cults - both real and imaginary.
After a career in the City and PR, Lynn Shepherd is now a freelance copywriter and award-winning novelist. She has written four ‘literary mysteries’, inspired by Austen, Dickens, the lives of the helleys, and now, Bram Stoker’s gothic classic, Dracula.
Helen Baker: Uncovering the stories of Richmond’s World War One Refugees
The substantial community of First World War
Belgian Refugees who were centred around the
Pelabon Munitions Works in East Twickenham
have became almost entirely lost from the
Historian Helen Baker tells the fascinating
journey to re-create the lost stories of this
community, initially from a fleeting oral tradition
and then by research through the internet and
within archives in the UK and Belgium. She will
discuss the frustratingly fragmented nature of
the surviving material and explain how the story
has needed to be pieced together – much like
As well as reflecting on the literary process in
completing current and future publications,
Helen Baker will also illustrate the way of life
of this fascinating community with a collection
of graphic contemporary photographs.
Helen Rappaport: Four Sisters
On 17 July 1918, four young women walked
down twenty–three steps into the cellar of a
house in Ekaterinburg. The eldest was twentytwo,
the youngest only seventeen. Together
with their parents and their thirteen-year old
brother they were all brutally murdered. Their
crime: to be the daughters of the last Tsar and
Tsaritsa of All the Russias.
Much has been written about Nicholas II, his
wife Alexandra and their tragic fate, but little
attention has been paid to the daughters. Now
acclaimed biographer, Helen Rappaport puts
the Romanov princesses centre stage and for
the first time in almost a century the Grand
Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia
are given a voice.
Join award-winning and critically acclaimed
historian Helen Rappaport as she paints a vivid
picture of their journey from sheltered childhood
to young womanhood and reveals the moving
details of their first romantic crushes, their
hopes and dreams and finally, about the trauma
of the revolution and its terrible consequences.
Irving Finkel: The Ark before Noah
An opportunity to hear the astonishing story
which began one day in 2008 when a member
of the public brought in to the British Museum
an ancient cuniform Babylonian tablet, dating
from 1750 BC.
In the extensive investigations to follow the
tablet was revealed to be of extraordinary
importance as it contained part of the ancient
Mesopotamian Flood Story, including
instructions for building the ark itself, which,
for the Babylonians – and completely
unexpectedly - was a round vessel.
In September this year a Channel 4 documentary showed how the instructions on the tablet have
been used to re-build the ark in India and the
tablet is now on display in the British Museum.
This evening Dr Finkel will discuss the enthralling
series of events which took place and how the
implications of this discovery impact upon our
understanding of the flood story today.
Jim Smith: Barry Loser and the Holiday of Doom
TO BOOK TICKETS FOR THIS EVENT PLEASE CONTACT THE ORNAGE TREE THEATRE DIRECTLY ON: 020 8940 3633, OR WWW.ORANGETREETHEATRE.CO.UK
Join Jim Smith, creator of the Roald Dahl Funny
Prize winning Barry Loser series for an extra-keel
hour of stories, belly laughs and burps. Jim will
teach you how to draw Barry and his mates…
and you might even learn how to draw a poo!
Jim Smith is the author and illustrator of the
award winning I Am (Not) a Loser series. Fast
become a humour classic, the books are packed
full of silly humour, quirky plots and doodles.
Jim describes himself as the ‘keelest kids’ book
spellerchecker in the whole wide world’.
Suitable for children aged 7 upwards and
Jonathan Beckman: How to Ruin a Queen
5th September 1785, Paris: A trial begins that
will divide France, captivate Europe and send
the French monarchy tumbling towards the
Cardinal Louis de Rohan, scion of one of the
most distinguished families in France stood
accused of forging Marie Antoinette’s signature
to obtain the most expensive piece of jewellery
in Europe – 1 2,400 carat necklace worth
1.6 million francs. Rohan was imprisoned in
the Bastille while a judicial enquiry took place;
outside, Paris was feverish with the rumour
and speculation. Was Rohan innocent or had
he devised the scheme to pay off his debts?
Was he the victim of someone else’s deceit?
Was the queen involved in any way? And
where were the diamonds?
In How to Ruin a Queen Jonathan Beckman
reveals the astonishing tale of political
machinations and extravagance on an enormous
scale; of kidnappings, assassination attempts,
hapless French police, and a dual fought with
poisoned pigs. Drawing on untapped archival
sources he illuminates this poorly understood
but pivotal moment in French history.
Judith Mackrell: Flappers
For many young women the 1920s felt like a
promise of liberty. It was a period when they
dared to shorten their skirts and shingle their
hair, to smoke, drink, take drugs and to claim
sexual freedoms. In an era of soaring stock
markets, consumer expansion, urbanization and
fast travel, women were reimagining both the
small detail and the large ambitions of their lives.
In Flappers, author and The Guardian Dance
Critic Judith Mackrell follows six women who
between them exemplified the range and daring
of that generation’s spirit.
Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah
Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker
and Tamara de Lempicka were far from typical
flappers. For them, the pursuit of experience
was not just about dancing the Charleston and
wearing fashionable clothes. Talented, reckless
and wilful, with personalities that transcended
their class and background, they re-wrote their
destinies in remarkable, entertaining and tragic
ways. And between them they blazed the trail
of the ‘new woman’ around the world. Ticket price includes a cocktail on arrival
Kate Adie: Fighting on the Home Front
Award winning journalist and best selling author, Kate Adie tells the story of the First World War years through the eyes of women and unearths in the telling fascinating and eye-watering detail of just how hard the up-hill struggle for admission into the world of men was. There was work desperately needing to be done on the railways, in munitions, in the post office, and every other area of life now that the men had gone to war. For some it was a bitter and unusual pill to swallow but to win the war, the nation needed to turn to its women. Attitudes were slowly changed – as they had to be. Step by tiny step, women were included in all aspects of life.
The advances made in those war years were enormous. Women showed themselves and others that not only could they do the work, but they should be doing the work. They were found on the front line of war, they performed surgery, they policed, they drove trams and ambulances, delivered the mail, they proved beyond doubt their bravery and fortitude; they also proved they could survive and thrive outside the confines of the protective family home.
No longer was it possible to keep them at home, separated and segregated, without rights. They had proved what they could do.
Liam Fox: Rising Tides
We may finally have reached a time in which
the world is no longer dominated by two
superpowers, but by any number of rising local
discontents and global problems. In his new
book Rising Tides, former Secretary of State
for Defence Liam Fox explores the stress points
for international stability today and shares his
insights into the many urgent global issues
which now face us.
Beginning by questioning what decisionmakers
fear as the threats to world stability and
peace, Liam Fox draws on his own experience
to illuminate world events, past and present.
A man in conversation with those responsible
for keeping the world afloat - Tony Blair,
Condoleezza Rice, Malcolm Rifkind and Donald
Rumsfeld – Liam Fox examines both triumph
and disaster and explains how to meet the
challenge of the new global reality.
Marc Allum: Allum’s Antiques Almanac 2015
BBC Antiques Roadshow specialist Marc Allum
introduces his annual almanac that keeps you
up-to-date with the stories, facts and amusing
idiosyncrasies of the ever-changing global art
and antiques market. Discover the objects that
fired the imagination of the world’s collectors,
what they were prepared to pay for them - and
why they wanted them in the first place!
Allum’s anecdotal and irreverent style gives a
unique insider’s insight into a world fuelled
by history, avarice and passion. This year and
in many more, Allum’s Antiques Almanac is a
must-read for the collector in all of us.
Marc Allum has been a miscellaneous specialist
on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow since 1998
and has appeared on numerous TV and radio
programmes. As a freelance writer, and art and
antiques consultant he contributes regularly to
various lifestyle and interior design magazines.
Marc lives in Wiltshire where he is currently
restoring a medieval house.
Mary Evans: Story Stew
‘Story Stew’ is a fun, anarchic and interactive
children's creative writing workshop run by
Mary Evans, author of the Amazon bestselling
comedy fantasy adventure, Who Let the Gods
Mary will help you create tasty stories
using her own delicious recipe in a fun and
energetic workshop that will leave you with an
overflowing pot of story ideas.
Story Stew teaches children
(even grown-up ones):
a simple structure that helps even the most
reluctant writer create a story
how to write a story with five basic ingredients
there are no wrong answers in creativity the
only constraint is the limit of your imagination
writing is actually really super double
precisely why Dad smells so bad.
Children will learn how to cook up brilliant story
ideas and whip up some tasty tales.
Suitable for ages 5 - 10.
Meet Jacqueline Wilson
Jacqueline Wilson is not only a local legend,
having spent most of her childhood in Kingston,
but also an International literary icon, with over 35 million copies of her books now sold in the
UK alone; making her one of the UK’s best-
selling authors of the past decade.
Knowing that she wanted to be a writer
since childhood, Jacqueline wrote her first
“novel” when she was nine, filling countless
Woolworths’ exercise books as she grew up.
Working as an author the whole of her adult
life, she was awarded an OBE for services to
Literacy in School in 2002 and in 2005 was
given the tremendous accolade of becoming
Children’s Laureate; campaigning for parents to
read to their children long after they can read
Renowned for such popular books as The Story
of Tracy Beaker (which also became a
major children’s series on CBBC) and her Hetty Feather trilogy (recently adapted for the stage
to huge critical acclaim), astonishingly Opel
Plumstead, Jacqueline’s 100th book, was
published this autumn!
We are delighted that Jacqueline joins us this
afternoon to discuss her incredible journey and
share with us some of the characters we know
and love so well.
Paintings in Prose: Panel discussion with Imogen Robertson, Vanora Bennett and Elizabeth Fremantle
Three acclaimed writers of historical fiction discuss the art and artists who feature in their work; from Holbein to Christine de Pizan's establishment of female miniaturists; from Levina Teerlinc, miniaturist to the Tudor monarchs, to the all-female ateliers of Belle Époque Paris and the art-collecting Americans of the Thirties.
How do we write about the visual arts and capture the process and passions of one art form in another? How did female artists across the centuries compete with their male contemporaries and how were they regarded? What does the art of a period tell us about the people who created it and their own visions of their times? How does art work in historical fiction and what do we find so attractive about it as novelists?
Vanora Bennett has written six historical novels on subjects ranging from Hans Holbein painting portraits at the court of Henry VIII to the Russian Revolution. She has also worked as a journalist for The Times, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters, reporting from around the world - including seven years in Russia - and winning prizes on both sides of the Atlantic for her writing. Her current novel, The White Russian, is set in jazz-age Paris and features White Russian emigres.
Elizabeth Fremantle writes historical fiction based in the Tudor period. Queen's Gambit tells the story of Katherine Parr the woman who survived marriage to a notorious tyrant and Sisters of Treason is about the tragic sisters of Lady Jane Grey, two girls caught at the heart of the Tudor succession. She has contributed to many publications including Vogue, The Sunday Times and The Wall Street Journal and reviews fiction for the Sunday Express. She lives in London.
Imogen Robertson is the author of five historical novels. Her series featuring the amateur detectives Gabriel Crowther and Mrs Westerman are set in the late 18th century. Her latest, The Paris Winter, is set in the artistic world of the Belle Époque and was recently shortlisted for the CWA Ellis
Peter Dazeley: Unseen London
Living for many years in an apartment
overlooking the river Thames, born and bred
Londoner Peter Dazeley witnessed the sad
state of decline of architectural icon Battersea
PowerStation as it passed through the hands
of a succession of property developers.
In 2010 after long negotiations, Dazeley and
his assistants were given access to the site.
Having donned hard hats, protective boots
and fluorescent jackets, they spent a day
photographing the interior. As Dazeley found
taking these shots such a stimulating experience
and the reception of the pictures so astounding,
this became the starting point for his mission
to record hidden London as it stands in the
Gaining access to the hidden interiors of some
of London’s most iconic buildings, Unseen
London is a collection of images of some 50
extraordinary locations for the future generation. ‘Many photographs in this book Unseen London
will be the last record of a disappearing world,’
Peter Jones: Eureka!
The Ancient Greeks gave us our alphabet and
much of our scientific, medical and cultural
language; they invented democracy, atomic
theory and the rules of logic and geometry;
established artistic and architectural canons
visible to this day on all our high streets; laid
the foundations of philosophy, history, tragedy
and comedy and debated everything from the
good life and the role of women, to making
sense of foreigners and the best form of
government, all in the most sophisticated terms.
In Eureka! Peter Jones, author of Veni, Vedi, Vici,
tackles the gamut of Ancient Greece from the
Trojan War to the advent of the Romans. Along
the way he introduces the major figures of the
age, including Homer, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Euclid and Archimedes.
Exploring Greek myths he provides a glimpse of everyday life in ancient times and shows us the
very foundations of Western culture.
In this thoroughly entertaining romp through
the world of the Ancient Greeks, Peter will
demonstrate just how much of our world finds
its origins in theirs.
Peter Snow: When Britain Burned the White House
In 1814 the US president and his wife had just
enough time pack their belongings and escape
the White House before the enemy entered.
The invaders tucked into the dinner they found
still sitting on the dining-room table and then
set fire to the place.
In When Britain Burned the White House: The
1814 Invasion of Washington highly acclaimed
journalist, author and broadcaster Peter Snow
recounts the extraordinary confrontation
between England and America in which Britain
– now America’s close friend, then it’s bitterest
enemy – set Washington ablaze. Join Peter as
he brings the conflict to life, presenting this
unparalleled moment in American history and
its far-reaching consequences for both sides in
a fascinating illustrated talk.
Piano Man: A Life of John Ogdon
Charles Beauclerk explores the life of England’s greatest pianist, John Ogdon (1937-89), whose victory in the 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow placed him at the summit of his profession for over a decade.
Famed for his impossible exploits at the keyboard and his ‘primeval hunger for notes,’ Ogdon was the ultimate piano man. A severe mental breakdown however, drove a coach and horses through his success, destroying his family life and leading to his early death at the age of 52.
Drawing on interviews with Ogdon’s family, friends and colleagues, Charles Beauclerk pieces together the story of this tragic genius.
Richard Skinner & Naomi Wood: Mrs Hemingway and Eric Satie, When Real Lives Become Fiction
Join authors Naomi Woods and Richard Skinner
beneath the chandeliers of the Waldegrave
drawing room at St Mary’s University, for a
biographical journey into the lives of two of
most original artists of the early twentieth
In Mrs Hemingway, Naomi Wood has provided
a fictional portrait of Ernest Hemingway
described by The Guardian as “enticing,
maddening and haunting”. In his novel The
Mirror, Richard Skinner placed the mercurial
composer Eric Satie in purgatory.
In novels which travel from Montmartre in its
artistic hey day to Hemingway’s Spain, Wood
and Skinner explore the fascinating stories
behind the icons. What was it like to live with
and love Ernest Hemingway? How did a man
who bridged the gap between classical music
and modernism, become a footnote in the
career of Debussy? What was it like to drink
with Man Ray or have a romance with Martha
Richard and Naomi will discuss some of the wider
implication for genre and when real lives
become fiction. How does the novelist become
an historical expert in a subject?
What is the novelist’s responsibility to reality and
can fiction actually bring us closer to the truth of
the biographical subject, than biography itself?
Naomi Wood is the author of The Godless Boys
and Mrs. Hemingway. Educated at Cambridge
and at UEA, her work is published in more than
ten languages. Naomi grew up in Yorkshire and
Hong Kong and now lives in London, teaching
Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of
Richard Skinner is the author of three novels
all published by Faber & Faber. The Red Dancer
has been translated into seven languages. The
Mirror consists of two short novels, The Mirror
and The Velvet Gentleman. A translation of The
Velvet Gentleman was shortlisted in France for
the Prix Livres & Musiques. He is Director of the
Fiction Programme at Faber Academy.
The event will be hosted by St Mary’s lecturer,
David Savill, whose novel They Are Trying To
Richmond Shakespeare Society present Love's Fool: 2pm performance
Join the Richmond Shakespeare Society for
a joyous celebration of the life of one of our
greatest dramatists through the everlasting
theme of love. Enjoy some of his most loved
and enduring characters accompanied by
Elizabethan music and song.
The RSS, based at The Mary Wallace Theatre
in Twickenham will be taking Love’s Fool to
various venues around the south east as the
company’s first touring production.
Richmond Shakespeare Society present Love's Fool; 5pm performance
Join the Richmond Shakespeare Society for a joyous celebration of the life of one of our greatest dramatists through the everlasting theme of love. Enjoy some of his most loved and enduring characters accompanied by Elizabethan music and song. The RSS, based at The Mary Wallace Theatre in Twickenham will be taking Love’s Fool to various venues around the south east as the company’s first touring production.
Ruth Scott: The Power of Imperfection
Being honest about the nature of human
experience isn’t easy. Acceptable human
behaviour is seen publicly in much more black
and white, not to say, judgmental terms, than
the more messy and complicated private reality
with which many of us wrestle. The gap
between public pronouncements and personal
reality can leave us feeling abnormal and
isolated, unable to discuss the complexities of
life for fear of condemnation and rejection.
In her latest book The Power of Imperfection
Ruth Scott explores different aspects of human
experience and highlights the conflicts and
contradictions; using personal experience,
national and international news stories and the
insights gained from over thirty years of working
professionally with people struggling to keep
their heads above water to tease out some of
This evening Ruth will discuss the creative
potential of coming to terms with the messiness
of being human and how, in the process, our
respect and compassion both for ourselves and
for others increases. Using images and words to
raise questions about human perception, Ruth will share some of the stories that have shaped
her belief in the positive power of imperfection.
Ruth Scott is a facilitator/mediator, writer and
broadcaster who works in the field of conflict
transformation. She is a well-known
broadcaster, having written material for BBC
Radios 2, 4 and World Service. She presented
Pause for Thought on Radio 2's Wake up to
Wogan show for 15 years and continues with
his successor, Chris Evans. She was among the
first women ordained as priests in the Church
of England in 1994 and is involved in facilitation
and mediation work in the Church, nationally
Scandal and Temptation in the Medieval Courts of Europe: Panel Discussion with Joanna Hickson, Anne O'Brien & Gabrielle Kimm
A medieval courtier's position hung by a thread; reputations could be made and broken in the blink of an eye and happy endings were rare indeed. In a world where men and women
dressed to impress and castles and palaces abounded with opportunities for love trysts,
the lure of advancement beckoned both sexes into affairs; with women especially vulnerable
to exploitation and abuse.
Anne O'Brien, Gabrielle Kimm and Joanna Hickson all write novels which expose the rich underbelly of medieval court life, as seen from both above and below stairs. To them a closed door is an open invitation and they invite you to join them in the wonderful surroundings of Hampton Court Palace as they discuss their novels and expose secrets of court life.
Joanna Hickson writes novels set in the 15th century. The Agincourt Bride was shortlisted this
year for the Romantic Novelists Association ‘Historical Novel of the Year Award’. A sequel, The Tudor Bride, was published in January of this year.
Anne O’Brien was born in the West Riding
area of Yorkshire and spent many years as a teacher of history before her first historical romance novel was published in 2005. Ten historical novels and a novella later, Anne decided to write about ‘history that actually happened’ and was particularly drawn to
give a voice to some of the dynamic but often silent women of the Middle Ages.
Gabrielle Kimm is the author of three historical novels, all published by Little Brown. She lives and works in West Sussex, where, as well as
writing, she teaches part time in a small performing arts school and is one of two new Royal Literary Fund Fellows at the University of Chichester. Gabrielle Kimm's books have been published in translation in nine countries.
Sheila Hancock in conversation with Anne Sebba: Miss Carter’s War
TO BOOK THIS EVENT PLEASE CONTACT THE ORANGE TREE THEATRE DIRECTLY ON: 020 8940 3633 OR WWW.ORANGETREETHEATRE.CO.UK
From the bestselling author of The Two of Us comes Sheila Hancock’s debut novel Miss Carter’s War.
It is 1948 and Britain is struggling to recover from the Second World War. Half French, half English, Marguerite Carter has lost both her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. After returning to England, leaving her partisan lover Andre behind, she becomes one of the first women ever to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Setting out as an English teacher in a South London girls’ grammar school, Miss Carter has a mission – to fight social injustice,
to prevent war and to educate her girls.
From the first Aldermaston march in the 1950s, through the rise of the Labour Party and the Swinging Sixties to the AIDS epidemic of the
80s and the spectre of a new war – in Iraq, through deep friendships and love lost and found, in telling the life of one woman Sheila Hancock has created a powerful, panoramic portrait of post-war Britain and a remarkable chronicle of our life and times.
As well as being one of the nation’s favourite actors and female icon, Sheila Hancock has sold more than a million copies of her books worldwide to date and this evening she returns to Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre to share her journey with us and celebrate the publication of her first novel.
Anne Sebba is a biographer, journalist and lecturer. Her latest biography, THAT WOMAN the life of Wallis Simpson, was a bestseller in Britain, Australia and in the US. Anne’s discovery of a new archive of letters and diaries shedding dramatic new light on this important story was the subject of a Chanel 4 TV documentary, The Secret Letters, based on her work. She is currently working on a book about Paris from 1939-49 seen through women’s eyes.
Simon Barnes: Ten Million Aliens
Life on Planet Earth is not weirder than we
imagine. It’s weirder than we are capable
of imagining. And we’re all in it together:
humans, blue whales, rats, birds of paradise,
ridiculous numbers of beetles, bdelloid rotifers
who haven’t had sex for millions of years and
creatures called water bears: you can boil
them, freeze them and fire them off into space
without killing them.
In this breathtaking new book, Simon Barnes
brings us all together, seeking not what
separates us but what unites us. Allow Simon
to take you on a humorous and enlightening
journey through the entire animal kingdom,
opening your eyes to the real marvels of the
planet we live on.
Simon Barnes is the multi-award-winning chief
sportswriter for the Times. He is also a novelist,
nature writer and horseman and the author of
a dozen books, including the bestselling How to
be a Bad Birdwatcher.
St Mary’s SHORT STORY WORKSHOP
As part of National Short Story week, St Mary’s
University Creative Writing department will
open its doors to a public workshop examining
the first principles of short story writing.
What is the state of the art today? And
what traditions inform the craft?
Scott Bradfield is a novelist and short story
writer whose work has been published with
Picador and Bloomsbury. The great American
short story writer, Tobias Wolff, described
Bradfield as a ‘wizardly writer’ and his work
has appeared in the Vintage Book of
Contemporary American Short Stories. He is
the author of Confessions of an Unrepentant
Short Story Writer, an idiosyncratic guide to
This workshop is suitable for the merely curious,
as well as the furiously ambitious.
St Mary's Workshop: WRITING GENRE FICTION
At St Mary’s University, Creative Writing
embraces the practice and study of all fiction.
The debate over the merits (or limitations) of
genre fiction never seems to end. But what, if
anything, makes genre stories different from
In this workshop, Genre novelist and Writing
teacher Russell Schechter will begin to look at
some of the specific issues facing writers who
prefer to work in popular publishing genres.
Workshop participants will discuss general
issues of genre writing with a specific focus on
science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime. The
workshop will also address some of the special
challenges and problems writers who love
and want to succeed in these genres must
Russell Schechter (aka Jay Russell) has written
horror and crime fiction. His novels have been
published by St Martin’s Press and include
Celestial Dogs, Brown Harvest and Blood.
Tracy Borman: Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell is known to millions as the leading character in Hilary Mantel's bestselling Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. But who
was the real Cromwell?
Born a lowly tavern keeper's son, Cromwell rose swiftly through the ranks to become Henry VIII's right hand man and one of the most powerful figures in Tudor history. The architect of England's break with the Roman Catholic Church and the dissolution of the monasteries, he oversaw seismic changes in our country's history. Influential in securing Henry's controversial divorce from Catherine of Aragon, many believe he was also the ruthless force behind Anne Boleyn's downfall and subsequent execution.
Although for years he has been reviled as a Machiavellian schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power, Thomas Cromwell was also a loving husband, father and guardian, a witty and generous host and a loyal and devoted servant. With new insights into Cromwell’s character, his family life and his
close relationships with both Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII, joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces Tracy Borman reveals the life,
loves and legacy of the man who changed the shape of England forever.
WW1 Animals in Action: Exhibition tour and Family Workshop
Over 16 million animals served in the First
World War. They were used for transport,
communication and companionship. Other
animals went to war too, but not to work.
They went as mascots and became symbols
for the regiment, raising morale and providing
comfort amidst the war’s hardships.
Take inspiration from the amazing animals that
participated in the First World War through a
guided tour of In Their Footsteps, the current
Orleans House Gallery exhibition to then create
your own narrative comic strip with artist
As a family learn how to develop imaginative
stories into punchy designs through a range
of creative techniques.
Suitable for families, children aged 4