The Burney brothers from Hay-on-Wye fought extraordinary wars against Nazism that have been forgotten. Christopher was a secret agent, captured, tortured and incarcerated for 18 months alone, followed by 15 months in Buchenwald concentration camp. Afterwards he wrote Solitary Confinement, which became a classic. What does it tell us about the human character? Roger drowned in a mysterious submarine disaster and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem is dedicated to him, but that is another story…
Meet Derek Landy and plunge into the magically macabre world of Skulduggery Pleasant. In this unmissable event, you’ll meet an electric cast of characters, discover the inner workings of a creative genius and have the chance to get your questions answered. With the series now in its 15th year, and headed to a jaw-dropping crescendo, the question must be asked: are you ready?
Aneesa Marufu’s workshop event focuses on fantasy world-building. Learn about the inspiration and mythology which inspired the novel, and use Aneesa’s tips to create your own fantasy world as an audience. You’ll also get the chance to hear Aneesa read from The Balloon Thief.
From his early days as a young session musician, through his years on the world stage with Led Zeppelin, to his solo work and collaborations, Jimmy Page has lived a spectacular life in music. Throughout it all, he has amassed an extensive private archive of iconic guitars, stage costumes and personal memorabilia. In Jimmy Page: The Anthology he grants exclusive access to his archive for the first time. He tells the inside story of his phenomenal career to journalist and author Dylan Jones.
People have always sought to reduce suffering, eliminate disease or enhance desirable qualities in their children. But this goes hand-in-hand with the urge to impose control over who can procreate and ultimately who is permitted to live.
In the Victorian era, in the shadow of Darwin’s ideas about evolution, a new full-blooded attempt to impose control over unruly biology developed and was enshrined in a political movement that bastardised science: eugenics. It was a cornerstone of the policies of the Third Reich and led directly to the gates of Auschwitz. Adam Rutherford’s Control tells the story of attempts by the powerful throughout history to dictate and dominate reproduction and regulate the interface of breeding and society. He talks to geneticist Veronica van Heyningen.
Beard’s Sad Little Men addresses debates about privilege and the problem with putting men from boarding schools into positions of influence, including No.10. This is not a jolly story about japes at university. It’s a story of a group of Tory politicians – overwhelmingly men – who took an ancient route through Oxford to power, and how they reshaped the country in their image. Eleven of the 15 post-war British prime ministers went to Oxford. In Chums, Simon Kuper traces how the rarefied and privileged atmosphere of this narrowest of talent pools has influenced modern Britain.
Richard Beard is author of Acts of the Assassins. Simon Kuper is a Financial Times journalist, author of The Happy Traitor.
Ea has always felt like an outsider. She suffers from a type of deafness that means she cannot master the spinning rituals that unite her pod of spinner dolphins. When tragedy strikes her family and Ea feels she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave. A transformative new novel by a foremost writer of climate fiction, of an ocean world – its extraordinary creatures, mysteries, and mythologies – that is increasingly haunted by the cruelty and ignorance of the human race. Paull talks to broadcast journalist Georgina Godwin.
What’s the link between extreme politics and apology? The painter and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957) was central to interwar British culture but his so-called ‘flirtation’ with fascism tarnished his reputation, and he became victim of what we now call cancel culture. Yet his penitent anti-fascist writings of the 1940s and 1950s are almost unknown, and he remains unappreciated as a radical critic of authority. Nathan Waddell is Associate Professor in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Birmingham.
An accessible and practical look at how to step away from a full-time career to create and transition to a new pattern of life and work. In a world in which we are all living longer, Jan Hall helps us to think deeply about how best to use this extra time. Coping with transition can be hard at every stage of life, but it presents unique challenges as we come to the time of our lives when we are facing the end of full-on, full-time work. She looks at why work is such an important part of a person’s identity, and how challenging it can be when it’s time to change gear.
Offering insight, advice and a practical eight-step transition plan to help you make the right decisions to move from a full-on career to a full-on life, this workshop provides the tools to identify what’s most important and develop the skills needed to cope with change, and create a road map for the future. Jan looks at case studies of people who have transitioned from one career to another and shines a light on the underlying, and sometimes unconscious, psychological and social dynamics involved.
Now, due to the pandemic more than ever, our working lives have changed and we are all getting used to a new way of doing business. Coping with transition is hard and this workshop will help you navigate new ways of working.
Jan Hall is a successful entrepreneur and business leader. She is now an adviser to FTSE 100 CEOs and chairmen. She was a leading global headhunter for over 20 years, has sat as a Non-Executive Director on multiple boards, and coaches top leaders.
The historian talks about the attacks on history taking place across the world, both in totalitarian states and in democracies as stable (or once as stable) as the USA and the UK. The idea that history exists to perpetuate national myths – and spread what President Trump called ‘patriotic education’ – is a feature of culture wars in the UK and elsewhere. He discusses how statues have become the lightning rods for these new history wars.
David Olusoga is a British historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and Bafta-winning film-maker.
“It’s my theory that only the unhappy, the uncomfortable, the gauche, the badly put together, aspire to make art. Why would you seek to reshape the world unless you were ill-at-ease in it? And I came out of the womb in every sense the wrong way round.” In the year of his 80th birthday the writer explores belonging and not-belonging, being an insider and an outsider, both English and Jewish, with Toby Lichtig, Fiction and Politics Editor at the Times Literary Supplement.
Howard Jacobson has written 16 novels and five works of non-fiction. In 2010 he won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question.
Excess of power and absence of mechanisms of control often lead to abuse, monopoly or corruption. Cori Crider and Rosa Curling are co-directors of Foxglove, a British platform that fights against the power of algorithmic systems managed by giants such as Facebook or the CIA. They are working with Mercy Mutemi (who joins the event via video link) in a claim against Meta/Facebook and Sama for the appalling conditions in which content moderators are forced to work in Nairobi. Zelda Perkins is co-creator of Can’t Buy My Silence, a campaign that raises awareness of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) used to threaten people with legal consequences, to cover up abuse and in some cases criminal acts. They discuss how speaking the truth has helped them fight oppressive power, with Emma Graham-Harrison, International Affairs Correspondent for the Observer.
Jane Pearson is camping with her husband Leo and their son Benjamin in the California woods when suddenly every single person with a Y chromosome vanishes from the world. After the disappearance, Jane enters a reality she barely recognises, where those who remain must create new ways of living while coping with devastating grief. Meanwhile, strange video footage called The Men is being broadcast online showing images of the vanished marching through barren, otherworldly landscapes. From the author of The Heavens, this is a gripping and disquieting novel of political utopias and impossible sacrifices that interrogates the dream of a perfect society. Newman talks to journalist Julia Wheeler.
This book is a history of the people of Wales during some of the country’s most seismic and traumatic events: the disasters of Aberfan and Tryweryn; the rise of the Welsh language movement; the Miners’ Strike and its aftermath; and the narrow vote in favour of partial devolution. Featuring the voices of Neil Kinnock, Rowan Williams, Leanne Wood, Gruff Rhys, Michael Sheen, Nicky Wire, Sian James, Welsh language activists and members of former mining communities, King lets Welsh voices tell their own story, that of a nation determined to survive, while maintaining the hope that Wales will one day thrive on its own terms. He talks to Kirsti Bohata, Professor of English Literature at Swansea University and herself one of the voices featured in the book.
The fashion industry is the third most polluting industry in the world after oil and agriculture. Did you know that at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, dozens of global fashion brands refused to pay for an estimated $40 billion worth of finished goods, leaving millions of garment workers and their families without payment, savings or support of any kind? Did you know it can take 2,700 litres of water to make a T-shirt? And that in the UK an estimated £140m worth of clothes is sent to landfill each year? It's an industry that encourages consumers to buy poor-quality clothes, worn an average of seven times before being discarded. Find out why the current business model is broken and what each of us can do about it. Aja Barber is the author of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change – Colonialism, Climate Change and Consumerism, Sara Vaughan is an Innovator and Global Chief Purpose & Sustainability Advisor to Marie Claire and Dilys Williams is Founder and Director at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion.
Join the art historian and BBC broadcaster for a global history of civilisation through the lens of colour. He explores our relationship with colour, from the black nothing that preceded existence to the gilded gods of antiquity, the blue horizons of the age of discovery and the defining colour of our current fight against climate change. Examining the work of artists, scientists, writers, philosophers, explorers, and inventors, he shows that colour is more than surface decoration. He demonstrates that it is a symbol, a metaphor – and as fundamental to who we are as language – to art historian, presenter and curator Katy Hessel.
Raymond Antrobus introduces All The Names Given, a stunning new collection of poems that mines themes such as history, ancestry, place and memory with passion and urgency. It has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and the TS Eliot Prize.
In 2019 the Jamaican-British writer was the first poet ever to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre, for The Perseverance, which also won the Ted Hughes award, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award, and was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and Forward Prize. His poem Sound Machine was added to the GCSE syllabus in 2019.
Imagine a world where the lines separating humanity and animals have blurred, in which dark forests contain refuge as well as danger. The Devil’s Violin is Daniel Morden (story), Oliver Wilson-Dickson (violin) and Sarah Moody (cello). Their new show is a masterfully woven tapestry of stories about our perception of beauty and the value of kindness.
“A scintillating combination of music, sound and story” – The Times.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men – with a history stretching back to Shakespeare himself – invite you to join them for a sparkling comedy. One of the UK’s finest touring theatre companies, they present this great play as Shakespeare first saw it performed: in the open air, by an all male cast and with Elizabethan costumes, music and dance.
Banished to the Forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia, Orlando and the Duke are freed from the constraints of their former lives – lovers tussle, wits and fools spar, familial bonds are challenged, and everyone wrestles with what it really means to be yourself. A rustic romp packed with music, laughs, cross-dressing confusion and a dash of wrestling!
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” – William Shakespeare.
There are five performances As You Like It, on Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June. Seating at all performances is unallocated. These are outdoor performances, come rain or shine, so please dress warmly and according to the weather.
You can enjoy a tipple, soft drink or ice cream from the licensed bar and ice cream stand before the performance and during the interval.
Click here to pre-book a delicious picnic box to enjoy during the performance.
Toilet facilities are available on site.