Talks and Entertainments by Sun Jester
We offer a range of informal talks for groups of all interests including after dinner entertainments. With a usual duration of 45–60 minutes, they can be adapted to suit requirements.
Arsenic – The Victorian Housewife’s Friend:
How Victorian Britain was poisoned at home, work and play. Arsenic pervaded almost every aspect of life in nineteenth century Britain, leaving a toll of accidental death, illness and murder.
Chloroform – Sense and Insensibility:
Horrifying and hilarious tales of how early doctors and scientists experimented with anaesthesia. The quest to transform surgery from terrifying ordeal to pain free experience resulted in both bravery and recklessness.
Wedlocked – Women, know your place!:
Most women in the past had few choices about their lives. Usually they found themselves ‘owned’ or in positions of dependence. Some found drastic and novel solutions, others displayed remarkable resilience. You will find yourselves amused, bemused and sometimes horrified.
Poisons for Medicine – Victorian Pharmacists and Quack Doctors:
The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemy, to modern pharmacy. Chemists lent their ingenuity to attempting to provide anything their customers wanted. Some made fortunes, some made disastrous mistakes.
Tales from the Elizabethan Underworld – A Warning To Country Folk:
Exploring some of the cons, swindles and outright thievery practised on unwary visitors in 16th Century London. And you thought the city was dangerous now!
Victorian Street Life – A Poor Existence:
In the mid-19th century, many of London’s poorest inhabitants earned their living on the streets of the capital, by both legal and not-so-legal means. From Crossing Sweepers to Costermongers, we introduce some of the more colourful characters of Victorian London, real people, many of whom inspired Dickens.
Honey in History – Sweetness and Light:
Even if you don’t like the taste of honey on your toast, you will be awed and inspired by just how much use humans have made of honey over the last 10,000 years and just how much we still depend on bees today. Can include the opportunity to make a beeswax candle.
Roman Medicine – Science and Superstition:
The Romans were very clever but their ideas on medicine and surgery relied largely on magic and folklore. We present real artefacts and authentic replicas which give insight into how the Romans thought the body worked and what they did to treat disease and injury. Prepare to be surprised!
Before the Zip – The invisible history of textiles and their makers:
Nowadays we take clothing for granted and regard clothes as easily available, cheap and disposable. This talk re-introduces the 'invisible history' of cloth and weaving, using a practical exercise, samples and images to explain why cloth can show us so much about the past and how important it has been to world history.
Bob Brand – The Banker who wanted to blow up Hitler:
Partly the story of what brought this fascinating man to my attention; this is the story of someone, now forgotten, who was involved in almost every major event in the early 20th Century. A regular visitor to Cliveden, his friends included Nancy Astor, Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia.
The Species that Changed the World!
The impact of humans on this planet has literally been world-changing. However, some of our ancestors on the human family tree have only recently been better understood. A light hearted introduction to artists, toolmakers and fire starters exploring the skills and objects they have left behind.
Archaeology is Rubbish!
The past is all around us and can be found in our woods, fields, gardens and under our houses. Is that piece of pot from your garden modern, Victorian or Roman? Archaeology is more than rubbish, it is a fascinating story of our shared past. Learn how to spot archaeology on your own doorstep. Using objects from our own collection, the oldest piece is 100,000 years old!
MUSICAL TALKS AND ENTERTAINMENTS
The Bob and Dot Show – A choice of talks* with musical accompaniment:
Dot sings live and Bob plays original recordings from the golden era of music on a 1933 HMV gramophone.
The Bob and Dot show can also provide a full evening of vintage musical entertainment suitable for private and corporate functions, Blitz/Gangster and Moll Parties, D-Day Dinners, 1950’s Events.
*Jazz Age Greats – stories of some of the most famous artists of the Jazz and Swing Era.
*A Christmas Entertainment – a feast of anecdotes, music and humorous stories on a seasonal theme.
*Hot Jazz, Hoods and Hooch – anecdotes and music from jazz artists in the age of Prohibition.
*Songs of War – featuring popular music and their stories of the Second World War.
*The Fabulous Fifties – songs and stories from the decade that gave birth to Rock & Roll.
*The Swinging Sixties – songs and stories from the decade that put flowers in our hair, invented the modern teenager and took us out of this world.
Lumina – Music for Commoners and Courtiers:
Particularly suited for group meetings and special events. Lumina present a talk with music from the Tudor and Medieval periods, introducing the instruments and musical pieces. Amusing tavern songs and haunting ballads sit alongside lively dance tunes of the Royal Court (which include some composed by Henry VIII himself). Performed in costume for a unique and delightful presentation.
The usual fee for most topics is £75 plus travel.
The fee for The Bob and Dot Show, which involves two performers, is £100 plus travel.
The fee for Lumina, which involves a minimum of three performers, is £160 plus travel.