As a theatre manager up in Scotland I was often invited to speak to local societies. Obviously I would promote my venue and its programme, but then added some anecdotes about the people, places and adventures encountered on my travels which have taken me to forty-three different countries including three residencies in the Middle East, eight tours of the Indian sub-continent, and two circumnavigations of the globe. I called the talk
AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY PLAYS.
TALKS JUST ME AND A LECTERN
That first Talk was so successful that many groups offered a return booking. To satisfy them I created a sideways look at theatrical productions from the stage manager’s point of view, which I called
THE VIEW FROM THE WINGS
developed from my experiences with everything from variety (Butlin’s Holiday Camps and the London Palladium) to the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Scottish Opera and Sadler’s Wells Ballet. The stage manager’s view from the prompt corner is very different to that from your comfortable seat in the stalls or circle. Reality theatre; no retakes. And as the review indicates - slightly saucy.
A very accomplished performance. Sarum U3A.
Splendid Talk; everyone enjoyed it - including the naughty bits. Bookham U3A.
If we had a cup for Speaker of the Year it would have your name on it. Barnstaple Taw Probus.
Superbly entertaining. Midsomer Norton Probus.
With so many bookings coming in from Womens Groups and from Ladies Lunches it seemed logical to add a Talk of specific interest to the ladies. I have written a dozen stage scripts (nine produced so far, four of them published). Following comments that I didn’t write many good roles for ladies I staged a piece about the British women in India during the second half of the Raj. Called LETTERS FROM THE HEN HOUSE it was compiled mainly from letters, diaries and memoirs of the period. Six excellent roles
for the ladies and only four men. Elements from that script together with some of the original research material form the basis of my talk
WOMEN OF THE RAJ
When the Colonial Administrators arrived to take over from the East India Company they were often accompanied by their wives: wives who spoke only English, who mixed only with other wives, and who couldn’t even communicate with their household staff. Wives who made great demands on their husbands. As one Indian wrote later “I don’t think they realised
what a menace they were. If the memsahibs had stayed in Britain there might never have been a Mutiny”.
“An inspiring and entertaining talk which gave us a fascinating insight into the life and politics of British India and held our members spellbound. A resounding success, leaving us all wanting more”. Manchester Luncheon Club.
FROM JOHN FREELAND TO RUDYARD KIPLING
Long before Kipling bought it for his family home, the National Trust property Batemans was owned by one of my distant ancestors, John Freeland.
John Freeland left money for a Bread Charity. His brother Henry, gamekeeper to the infamous Webster family, apparently fathered a couple of baseborn Henrys on his travels between the Webster estates in Battle, Robertsbridge, Bodiam and East Grinstead. Parson William Levett made cannon; Thomas Brassey built railways; Hilaire Belloc wrote books and poems. Picking up from their stories, this talk attempts a personalised look at life in the County around that time - the period ‘from John Freeland to Rudyard Kipling’.
The above four Talks each last about 45 minutes, and DO NOT REQUIRE projector or screen. The only local requirements are a jug of water and a glass - and whatever amplification your members are used to.
I now have available TWO POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS, and TWO SEMI-STAGED PRESENTATIONS.
For details CLICK on Presentations below.
A Talk plus A Presentation could provide a full evening’s programme for a theatre or arts centre - or perhaps for a festival.
For details CLICK on the Double Bills page below.
“An absolutely fascinating talk. The many wonderful stories and quotations made it so poignant, and really brought it to life.
A most stimulating evening. Thank you”. Rona Musker; Staunton Group W.I.
“witty and informative”.
“a most interesting, informative and appreciated talk, delivered with panache”.
Battle Probus Club.
This Talk has now returned to the repertoire, re-written and re-structured to promote my latest book, SEARCHING FOR MY TAMBOURINE. As before, the Talk includes memories of my many tours abroad, usually with British Council drama and dance companies, but now adds the first sighting - at a Greek village fete - of that elusive ‘tambourine’. Did I eventually find my tambourine? To discover the answer to that you will have to Book the Talk. Or Buy the Book. Or both?