Over the years I have devised a number of solo shows for myself and for other performers. Mine are:
SUMMONED BY BELLSSummoned by Bells
is the verse autobiography of the late Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman. A bestseller when first published in 1960, it tells the story of his childhood, boyhood and early adulthood in the years 1906-1926. Described as the 'verse autobiography of the 20th century' it is full of the dramas of family life, terrors of public school and the glories of Oxford between the World Wars.
My solo performance of this epic was seen at the RNT's Betjeman Celebration in 1984 and in the years since has been given over a 100 times at festivals, in theatres large and small and in historic venues.
Running time: 2 hours, 15 mins. including interval. A shorter version of 55 mins. with no interval is also available. It comprises five of the nine chapters of the full-length version and is called Betjeman's Schooldays
LYTTON STRACHEY BY HIMSELF
Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) was the bearded queen of the Bloomsbury Group, friend of Virginia Woolf, Dora Carrington, Maynard Keynes et al and famously portrayed on screen by Jonathan Pryce in the 1995 film Carrington
. Strachey's best-known book is Eminent Victorians
. Lytton Strachey by Himself
is actually a double-bill of two 45-minute solo entertainments devised by Strachey himself for the amusement of his friends. The first is Monday June 26, 1916
and is a day-in-the-life style memoir of a sunny Suffolk idyll in vain pursuit of a handsome young postman. The second, Ermyntrude and Esmeralda
, is a novellette in letters between two Edwardian debutantes to whom no one will tell the facts of life. So they have to find out for themselves...
Each part has been presented singly with great success. The two put together make up a full-length evening. The double-bill was first presented at the Mill Studio of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford in 2001 and has been revived many times since in the UK at festivals, in arts centres and in historic venues.
This is a 45-minute romp through the life, times and plays of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) - brilliant author of The School for Scandal
and The Rivals
, wastrel and politician. It was devised with the help of Linda Kelly, the acclaimed biographer of Sheridan and in whose house the first performance was given in October 1997. Since then it has been seen at a number of festivals and art galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery, and twice at Sheridan's former home Polesden Lacey.