Theatre & Entertainment Histories


Art and Illusion - Stage Scenery from Sophocles to Spiderman

Ian Gledhill was a professional stage designer, and in this talk we look at the history of both set design and theatre itself, from the ancient Greeks to the present day.  The talk concludes with a look at different methods of modern set design, and a practical demonstration of simple stage illusion.

The Magic of Pantomime

Pantomime is an enduring and peculiarly British institution, yet its beginnings go back a very long way and are in fact anything but British!  We look at the origins of panto and examine many of the traditions (and superstitions) that have become attached to it over the years, interspersed with personal anecdotes from years of working and appearing in pantomime. 

Oh, We Do Like to be Beside the Seaside!

A lighthearted look at seaside entertainment over the years, from bathing machines to end of the pier shows.  English seaside towns began to be popular with the gentry in the 18th century with the fashion for sea bathing, and soon developed into fashionable resorts to rival traditional spa towns like Bath and Harrogate.  On the way they acquired many traditions of their own, including "What the Butler Saw" machines and the dreaded seaside landlady!