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.




NEW FOR 2018


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.


Lumina – Music for Commoners and Courtiers:

Particularly suited for group meetings and special events, Lumina present music from the Tudor period with a talk about the instruments and musical pieces. Lively dance tunes of the Royal Court sit alongside amusing Tavern songs and haunting romantic ballads. Performed in costume for a unique and delightful presentation.


Wedlocked – Know Your Place!

Most women in the past had few choices about life and marriage partners. More usually they found themselves ‘owned’ by, or in positions of dependence, on a man; father, husband, brother, guardian. This is the story of how some came up with drastic and novel solutions when it went wrong, displaying remarkable strength and resilience in a society whose attitudes and laws were weighed against them.



CURRENT TALKS


Poisons for Medicine - Victorian Pharmacists and Quack Doctors:

The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemists, to modern pharmacists. 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, many of whom inspired Dickens.


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; great for Blitz or 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.

*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.



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.


Roman Medicine - Science and Superstition:

The Romans were a very clever society 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.


Before the Zip – Garments of Pre-Modern Fastenings:

This talk uses a practical exercise, samples and images to explain why sleeves and collars were often detachable, why Tudor clothes were so expensive and why Dickens’ pickpockets were so keen on stealing handkerchiefs and clothing.


Bob Brand - The Banker who wanted to blow up Hitler:

This is the story of a man who was involved in almost every major event in the early 20th century. A regular visitor to Cliveden, his friends included Nancy Astor, John Maynard Keynes and Lawrence of Arabia.


Prehistory – One Million Years of Tool Use:

A fascinating look at human ingenuity and invention using our own collection. Recent scientific discoveries have put back the evidence for Human occupation in Britain to almost One Million Years! Changes in tool design and the introduction of new materials like metals can chart social and environmental changes and the migration of people and ideas in the distant past.


Archaeology – Seeing the Past:

History and archaeology are about real people and real lives. Evidence about those lives is clear to see in our collection of real and reproduction objects from the past. This practical introduction to archaeology uses images and artefacts to give insights into how to spot ‘real’ archaeology and estimate how old pieces are.



Fees:

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.


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