Brian’s theatre career started in 1959, direct from National Service, and has taken him to
forty-three countries including three residencies in the Middle East;
eight tours of the Indian sub-continent and two circumnavigations of the globe.
He has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Scottish Opera,
Sadler’s Wells and London Festival Ballet Companies, Scottish Opera, Nottingham Playhouse,
Manchester Library Theatre and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop Company.
Approaching retirement he started to ‘branch out’ - directing; writing scripts, and giving Talks. Details of his Talks and Presentations, and of his Scripts, fill the pages of this website.
In 1585, when Armand-Jean du Plessis (later Cardinal de Richelieu) was born,
France existed only as a geographical area: neither language nor law provided any unity.
Loyalties were feudal, religious and/or regional. Richelieu dictated both the military
strategies which provided France with new defensible borders, and inaugurated the
unifying reforms which moulded the state’s own national cultural identity.
In the process Richelieu discovered the power of cultural propaganda, and sought
control of the country’s literary and artistic activities and institutions.
Working closely with the royal architect Lemercier, the Cardinal planned buildings of
enormous extravagance, including the church at the Sorbonne, where he was proviseur,
and the magnificent Chateau and ‘walled town’ on the family estate at Richelieu.
The Palais-Cardinal in Paris (later the Palais Royale) included a theatre, and he collected paintings and sculptures by many of the outstanding artists of the time, now on view in Paris, Orleans and Tours. He also founded the Academie Francaise.
left: the Sorbonne church in Paris.
right: entry to the walled town of Richelieu, ‘cite du Cardinal’
built alongside the huge Chateau (since demolished) on the du Plessis estate in Touraine. Just inside the
arch was my shop, and my home
for five fascinating years.
With Festivals and Meetings cancelled since March 16th, and plans still uncertain for the immediate future, I have - like many speakers and entertainers - looked for other ways to keep in touch. I did my first ‘Zoom Talk’ recently: after years of ‘bouncing it off the back wall of the upper circle’ I found it difficult to focus in on the Skype camera, and am not convinced that 45 minutes of ‘talking head’ is the best way forward. My immediate solution is to record narration over my two Powerpoint Presentations A TRIP DOWN THE RIVER CHARENTE and RICHELIEU: THE CARDINAL AND HIS CITY. Stunning pictures instead of a talking head on the screens; and I can still be available on Zoom to take questions at the end.
First try-out will be with Weston super Mare U3A very soon, and I’ll record the reactions here the following morning.
Hints from the Government suggest that future MEETINGS might be restricted to attendances as low as 50.
If that happens I am totally happy to repeat any TALK or PRESENTATION for a ‘Second House’.
10am and 11.15am, perhaps, or 2.00 and 3.15pm?
And ‘yes, for the same fee’.
SPEAKER, PLAYWRIGHT, and AUTHOR