General Enquiries Tel. 01865 514 830


Bookings Tel. 01872 500 925


the great romantics

James Bolam & Susan Jameson

Accompanied by Clive Conway

– Flute & Christine Croshaw - Piano Devised by Christine Croshaw


Our programme celebrates important anniversaries of four of our greatest Romantic poets, the 250th anniversaries of the births of William Wordsworth in 2020, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 2022, and the bicentenaries of the deaths of John Keats in 2021, and Percy Bysshe Shelley in 2022.


Their work has an extraordinary resonance for us today, as they lived at a time which saw the birth of the ideas, values and dreams of our modern world. The dramatic move from country to urban living, due to increasing industrialisation, led Wordsworth and his close friend, Coleridge, to became concerned with people’s increasing separation from Nature. They sought to present, in their poems, an alternative way of life, in harmony with the natural world. Their works have stood the test of time and are as relevant today as they were two hundred years ago. We include the nation’s favourite poem, Shelly’s Ode to a Nightingale, as a reminder that, despite the great suffering caused by the pandemic, many of us found unexpected joy and solace in hearing, for the first time, birdsong in the middle of our cities.


Availability: Sundays only

Anything Goes!

An affectionate tribute to the Roaring Twenties.

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard


One hundred years ago saw the beginning of the extraordinary decade which became known as ‘The Roaring Twenties.’ The war in Europe was over— it was time to have fun!

It was the age of the Flapper girl, jazz and the cocktail party. The young threw off the conventions of the previous generation. Freedom was in the air, and the winds of change were blowing.

Noel Coward epitomised the spirit of the age with his sophisticated elegance and sardonic wit. The songs said it all! Cole Porter was to be seen in the Ritz Bar, playing his unforgettable songs, while Fred Astaire danced on the London stage with the great George Gershwin himself at the piano. Audiences flocked to the cinema to see Charlie Chaplin, the great Hollywood star of the silent movies.

The Bright Young Things partied the nights away, dancing the latest craze, the Charleston, while the Prince of Wales shimmied his way across Europe. It seemed as if the party would never end......


With flute & piano accompaniment



A Celebration of Charles Dickens


Although a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens'  work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia.


Robert Powell and and Liza Goddard trace the fascinating life of the author through his own writings and letters together with those of his friends and contemporaries,

The script is illuminated by some of the funniest scenes in all literature as well as some of the most moving, embracing the romantic and the grotesque, the satirical and the macabre.


We bring to life Dickens' universally loved characters, from Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Micawber and Mrs. Nickleby, to Mrs. Gamp, Uriah Heep and Scrooge.


And we reveal Dickens the celebrity, the social reformer, the actor, the entrepreneur, and, above all, Dickens the supreme entertainer.


With flute & piano accompaniment



A Celebration of Jane Austen


Robert Powell and actress Elizabeth Garvie (who gave the definitive performance of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice on BBC TV) bring you Jane Austen’s world…


‘For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn.’   (Pride and Prejudice)


No writer, with the exception of Shakespeare, stands higher in public esteem and affection than Jane Austen. This celebration is for those who have always loved her, and for those who would like to know more about the enigmatic and shadowy figure behind the popular image of bonnets, tea and gentility.


Jane Austen continues to fascinate us because she reveals human nature with all its delicious quirks and foibles.   From the rumbustious delights of her juvenile works to the extraordinary explosion of vitality in her last and uncompleted novel, Sanditon, we take you on a colourful and revealing journey through the life and works of this most paradoxical and bewitching author.


With flute & piano accompaniment



A Celebration of Freedom!

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard or Sue Jameson


Our celebration of Freedom takes us from the opinion of Tacitus in the 1st century A.D. that "Britons cannot bear oppression, and, as slaves are known to be surly, unreliable, and of particularly poor quality"


to the famous rallying cry of Martin Luther King, in 1963:

… Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last!


We take a look, sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted, at times cynical, at such diverse liberties as sexual liberty, women's liberation, civil rights, freedom of the press, and political freedom, with contributions from John Betjeman, Rudyard Kipling, Tennyson, Winston Churchill, Franklin D.Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Jung Chang, Evelyn Waugh, and many others, interwoven with music by Chopin, Beethoven, Richard Addinsall (Warsaw concerto), Debussy, Vaughn Williams, Cole Porter, and Fritz Kreisler.


With flute & piano accompaniment



Christmas with Dickens

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard or Sue Jameson


Charles Dickens can truly be said to have invented our traditional Christmas. In this seasonal show we reveal Dickens the celebrity, the social reformer, the actor, the entrepreneur, and, above all, Dickens the supreme entertainer. We celebrate his life and times through his writings and scenes from his best-loved novels, with a seasonal twist, tasting the varied delights of winter ice-skating, Pickwick's Christmas party, the magic of the newly-introduced Christmas tree, festive feasting and philanthropy, and goodwill to all men! Not forgetting, of course, that perennial favourite, A Christmas Carol, and all interwoven with seasonal merriment and music.


Although a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens’s work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia.


With flute & piano accompaniment



A Victorian Christmas

Robert Powell & Liza Goddard


We celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, and the birth, during her reign, of Christmas as we know it today.


The Victorian Christmas was a time of magic, hope and goodwill to all people. Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to England in 1846, the first greeting cards were sent in 1861, Charles Dickens revelled in his seasonal stories, culminating in the greatest tale of all, A Christmas Carol. And Mrs Beeton was on hand to give advice on the culinary delights of roast turkey, plum puddings and mince pies!


We invite you to join us in celebrating the delights of Christmas past, in the company of Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Mrs. Beeton, Thomas Hardy, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and, much loved by the Queen, Gilbert and Sullivan. The festive spirit is enhanced by familiar and much-loved music by Handel, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Vivaldi, Bizet, Scott Joplin, Debussy, and traditional tunes and carols.


With flute & piano accompaniment



Claude Debussy – A Passionate Life

Robert Powell & Liza Goddard


Robert Powell brings vividly to life, through the composer’s own words, the fascinating character of one of the most extraordinary superstars in musical history. Charismatic, fascinating, outrageously unconventional, possessed of great charm and wit, he was a true Bohemian, equally at home in the lowlife nightclubs of Montmartre as in the aristocratic salons of Parisian Society.


Liza Goddard joins Robert in presenting the unfortunate women who were bewitched by this strange and complex man. Shootings, attempted suicide, adultery, public scandal - all featured in the passionate life of Debussy!


Throughout all of the drama of his life flowed the inspired music which shocked the establishment by its sensuality and daring harmonic language; and how this quixotic genius loved to shock Parisian Society! His wicked sense of humour, and delight in poking fun, is wonderfully revealed in his own words.


Speaking of a society lady who sang his songs, he remarked: “She sings like a locomotive in distress, but her buttered scones are marvellous!”


Debussy wrote to his wife while on tour in Europe:

Vienna is a raddled old city where one suffers an excess of Brahms and Puccini.  As for Budapest, the river Danube refuses to be as blue as a certain famous waltz maintains it is. The Hungarians are all liars, but charming!  But I brought back some marvellous chocolates......”


With flute & piano accompaniment



JUST SO – A Celebration of Rudyard Kipling

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard or Sue Jameson


Rudyard Kipling is one of the most intriguing and controversial of all our great writers. We explore the many different worlds inhabited by this great storyteller and poet through his autobiographical writings, stories and verse, (all interwoven with music of the period) including his traumatic childhood years at the hands of a cruel foster-mother, seven years hard  in India as a journalist  learning the writer's trade, early years of married life in Vermont, where he observed America and the Americans with an increasingly ironical eye, his time as a war-correspondent in his beloved South Africa, and, finally, settling in his dream house in Sussex, where he became obsessed with English history, taking an enormous pride in our heritage, which he illuminated with poems and verse on themes from Roman times to his own day. At the same time he was becoming increasingly concerned with the fragility of the English way of life, which he, with chilling accuracy, foresaw as being threatened by a terrible Armageddon approaching.


When his fears were realised in the outbreak of the First World War, Kipling became one of the great chroniclers of that time, in his moving, often painfully eloquent stories and poems.


He was the great spokesman for his age, a time dominated by a sense of  imperial destiny, which was soon to be destroyed for ever.


With flute & piano accompaniment



English Places – English Faces

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard


Witty and poignant views of England and the English, including the countryside, the people and the English class system, creating a picture of England and the English not found in any guidebook.


From Shakespeare to Purcell to the present day, it includes works by Jane Austen, Graham Greene and WH Auden and music by Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Noel Coward.


"What a lovely collection this is! John Julius Norwich's selections from the wealth of our literature combined with some of our country's most evocative music, make this a portrait of England that celebrates our strengths and laughs at our foibles."

Billie Whitelaw


With flute & piano accompaniment

Saints and Sinners

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard or Sue Jameson


Sin is something that you’re sure you shouldn’t enjoy - but you do!


Saintliness is something you should enjoy - but do you?


Saints and Sinners is a fascinating collection of the really good, the truly wicked, and those torn both ways, from Genesis to Jane Austen, Richard III to Mark Twain, Mother Teresa to Lord Byron, popular ballads to anonymous limericks and from Back to the Blues.


For a guide to all that’s good and wicked - naughty and nice - this is the show for you.


Sources include Dorothy Parker, Thackeray, e.e. cummings, W.H. Auden, Bernard Shaw Brecht, Oscar Wilde, Ogden Nash, Mae West, Somerset Maugham, Jonathan Swift, Byron, Voltaire, James Thurber, and our old friend Anon.


With music by Donizetti, William Walton, Gluck, Bach, and further contributions

from the world of popular music.


With flute & piano accompaniment



English Eccentrics

James Bolam & Susan Jameson


Our celebration of English Eccentrics introduces colourful and remarkable characters who have enlivened and entertained us through the ages, and whose originality and strength of character stands out now more than ever in an age of mass-market conformity.


We bring you Joshua Norton, self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States of America; Hermione Gingold, whose autobiography, The World is Square, more than lives up to its title;  William Buckland, who ate anything and everything from a bluebottle to the heart of King Louis XIV; and many equally odd and endearing characters.


More familiar names include Lewis Carroll, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Sir Thomas Beecham, Lord Byron, Beau Brummell, Mrs Malaprop, and Oscar Wilde.


With flute & piano accompaniment

Silver Screen

With Robert Powell and Liza Goddard or Sue Jameson


 ‘SILVER SCREEN’ is an affectionate and nostalgic romp through the first hundred or so years of cinema. Starting with the Lumiere Brothers in Paris in 1895 and ending with ‘BOND 22’ at Pinewood Studios in 2008, we meet on our way Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Mickey Mouse, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Groucho Marx and many, many others - the journey sweetened with musical interludes from Scott Joplin, George Gershwin through to John Barry’s ‘James Bond’  theme.


With flute & piano accompaniment

Ghosts, Ghouls, & Goblins

With Hannah Gordon


The perfect show for those long autumn nights around Halloween!


A sometimes spooky, sometimes bewitching evening with actress Hannah Gordon, and a well known actor, who weave spells with Tales of the Supernatural, Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, the Spirits of Halloween, Oscar Wilde's Canterville Ghost, Conan Doyle Hound of the Baskervilles, Bram Stokers Dracula, Theatre Ghosts, Friendly Ghosts, and Things That Go Bump in the Night!


Haunting melodies from flautist Clive Conway and Pianist Christine Croshaw complete the witches brew.



With Hannah Gordon


Make this a Christmas to remember by joining Hannah and her musical friends, pianist Christine Croshaw and Clive Conway on flute, as she introduces her personal choice of readings, including well-loved favourites by Joyce Grenfell, Noel Coward, John Betjeman, Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, plus some delightful surprises such as The Politically Correct Santa and The Lament of the Ostrich.


Hannah Gordon is perhaps best known on Television for My Wife Next Door with John Alderton and Telford's Change, again with Peter Barkworth but the long list also includes Lady Bellamy in Upstairs, Downstairs, as Mrs Durrell in My Family & Other Animals and the comedy series Joint Account with Peter Egan.


In 1991 she starred at the Duke of York's Theatre in Shirley Valentine followed by Hidden Laughter at the Vaudeville. For several years Hannah presented the highly successful Watercolour Challenge on Channel 4, and gave a memorable appearance in the last ever episode of One Foot in the Grave. Recently she played Mrs Higgins in the Cameron MacKintosh production of My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and subsequently appeared in the national tour.


With flute & piano accompaniment

For All Occasions

With Hannah Gordon


Hannah’s inspiration for this delightful evening has come from her great friend's Peter Barkworth's book of the same name - they performed the show together many times before Peter became too ill to carry on.


The theme is ‘The Year’ from New Year resolutions. through the seasons and on to Christmas, illustrated by poems, anecdotes and play extracts from such diverse sources as Shakespeare, Willy Russell, Joyce Grenfell, Noel Coward and even Wordsworth (not William his sister!)


With flute & piano accompaniment

‘I’m supposed to be Resting’

With Robert Daws


From Outside Edge to Casualty.

From The Royal to Poldark.

From Jeeves & Wooster to Superman

From the East End to the West End.


Over the last forty years, Robert has appeared in many top television series and West End plays. For one night only, he’ll be talking and singing his way through some of his favourite and funniest experiences. The ups and downs, the dangers and occasional madness of an actor’s life.


Join Bob as he heads off down memory lane with an evening full of song, anecdote and legitimate name-dropping – all inspired by surviving forty years as an actor.  With the help of pictures – some moving – and music, he’ll be telling tales of his exploits in drama school, repertory theatre, the West End, radio, television and film. Many have been fun, some have been disastrous and others just plain dangerous. If you have an interest in how actors really work and why they do it, this is the show for you.

Six Degrees of Separation

What do JS Bach & The Prodigy have in common

With Charles Hazelwood


Six Degrees of Separation reflects conductor Charles  Hazlewood's passionate belief that there are only 2 sorts of music: good & bad. The very idea that if you like drum’n’bass you won't like Wagner, if you like Wagner you won't like Renaissance music, or R&B or or... That all music is very connected, NOT a series of mutually exclusive endpoints.


Six Degrees of Separation draws a tangible and hugely enjoyable link between JS Bach & The Prodigy, through 5 other 'degrees' or  tracks along the way.  Through anecdote, illustration and above all some seriously good music, Charles's event speaks equally to the musically literate and the music-shy. This is a lovely, stimulating, diverting and satisfying way to spend an hour or so.


'Charles Hazlewood - BBCTV's pin-up conductor'   Telegraph


'What Heston Blumental is to food, Charles Hazlewood is to music'  Guardian


'Charles Hazlewood is acid-hot' Observer

Musical Mishaps

Join Katie Derham for a musical evening of anecdotes, pitfalls, and mis-adventures from the world of orchestral concerts and the BBC Proms.


Apart from her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing  Katie is best known as a presenter on BBC Radio 3 and she also fronts much of the coverage of the BBC Proms for BBC Two and Radio 3 .


Katie started her journalistic career with the BBC, where she was a researcher on Radio 4's 'Moneybox' before going to ITN as Arts and Media editor, where she became the youngest newscaster on British national television since ITN's creation.


For five years she covered showbiz events around the world and hosted the Classical Brit Awards four times. She then presented ITV Lunchtime News for six years before taking a leading role as an anchor in the coverage of elections, royal weddings and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.


In April 2010, she moved back to the BBC. With an arts brief, including fronting the coverage of the Proms for BBC Two, BBC Four and Radio 3. She is a presenter of Radio 3's Afternoon on 3, Breakfast programmes and also presents the Traveller's Tree series on Radio 4.


With flute & piano accompaniment

Facing the Music

A Life in Musical Theatre



In Conversation with EDWARD SECKERSON


 It is still one of the best kept secrets in show business that Patricia Routledge trained not only as an actress but also as a singer and had considerable experience and success in musical theatre, both in this country and in the United States of America.


Her many awards include a Tony for her Broadway performance in the Styne-Harburg musical Darling of the Day and a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide


Her one woman show Come for the Ride toured the UK in 1988 and in 1992 she played Nettie Fowler in the highly acclaimed production of Carousel at the National Theatre.


In this fascinating encounter with the writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson she recalls this very special part of her career with access to some rare and treasured recordings.


 Writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson is former Chief Classical Music Critic of The Independent newspaper and a founder member of The


He wrote and presented the long-running BBC Radio3 show Stage and Screen where he interviewed many of the biggest names in the business. During his journalistic career he has written for most major music publications and is on the review panel of Gramophone magazine.

Kit and McConnell


Kit and McConnell are the reincarnation of Kit and the Widow and are an eye-wateringly funny double act in the best tradition of Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer and Flanders & Swann.  Featuring the fantastical Kit Hesketh-Harvey on vocals and the ridiculously talented James McConnel on piano. They really know how work a crowd and their set has lots of audience participation which even includes a personalised song tailored for every venue or festival.


Formerly known as Kit and The Widow, during a forty-year-long career they have seen three Olivier

nominated West End shows and two Channel 4 TV specials, and countless sell out shows.


As well as regular appearances at festivals and theatres up and down the country, they have played all London's five-star hotels, much of the FTSE 100 Share Index,  three prime ministers and (on

various private occasions) all members of the Royal Family.


'I chose you for our company bash because you are by far and away the best in the business'



'You are naughty, delightful and pin-sharp. Your customised birthday song absolutely

made the party. The thank-you letters are just full of praise for you'.

                                                         Countess of Carnarvon, (Highclere Castle)

Lesley Garrett

A Diva and a Piano

Or The Shot in the Arm Tour


Join Britain’s most popular soprano for a delightful evening of favourite songs and arias, reminiscences and chat.

Accompanied by, and in conversation with, Anna Tilbrook, Lesley's behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes will give audiences a unique insight into her life on the stage.


  “A natural effervescent and powerhouse voice.” Financial Times


 “She cares about the people who come to hear her sing .... Through her  records

  and her unstuffy attitude to singing, she has clearly reached out to music lovers

  far beyond the rarefied confines of the opera house.”    Sunday Times


“She's a down-to-earth Northerner...she's incredibly funny and emotional,

 with a glorious voice.”  The Daily Mail

Crossing Borders



The incredible Siân Phillips, in an evening of songs including musical numbers by Leonard Bernstein, Jacques Brel, Kurt Weill, Rogers and Hart and Susan Werner,


Directed by Brendan O' Hea,

Musical director Kevin Amos.


“…… it is a mark of just how exemplary she is in this genre as it genuinely feels like the first time she is telling each anecdote. And boy, what stories she has to tell: lifting the lid on Marlene Dietrich’s diva tantrums and the way she worked audiences; poking fun at the dour Welsh sense of humour with Richard Burton and his brother; ………..and some hilarious backstage stories featuring Beryl Reid and a drunk.


But best of all was the affection with which she recalled Noël Coward and accordingly, he popped up more than once in the set-list, Phillips being equally at home with his playful lyricism as with letting her rich tones glide through the melancholy of If Love Were All.


………There’s a great pleasure in seeing people do things so supremely well. It may sound simple, but too often cabaret shows are just thrown together with any real thought to the flow of the show, the links and anecdotes that pepper the evening and the skill to truly demonstrate the passion for the material. Siân Phillips manages all of this with an effortless grace ……… “


"Sophistication triumphs, vibrant, intelligent, a wicked sense of humour...a voice with the throb of a mandolin. Take the nearest taxi and experience her fast, you will not see anything like her anytime soon".

Rex Reed, the New York Observer.



Rohan McCullough

My Darling Clemmie


By Hugh Whitemore

 With grateful acknowledgments to Lady Soames

Directed by Gareth Armstrong


“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” Winston Churchill.


My Darling Clemmie is the remarkable, moving and highly entertaining story of the woman who married one of the truly great figures of the 20th century: Sir Winston Churchill. “The Guardian Angel of our country’s guardian.” said  Lord Halifax.


In 2009 My Darling Clemmie was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the Assembly Rooms.


Fascinating … highly convincing … a moving production of a complex marriage told with skillful lucidity   The Telegraph


... an entertaining and compelling performance... delivered as skilfully as it is written, Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Testament of Youth


Based on Vera Brittain’s haunting autobiography.

Having battled her way to Somerville College in the face of parental opposition, Vera Brittain abandoned her studies at the outbreak of the First World War to serve as a volunteer nurse witnessing the horrors of trench warfare. In 1918, with all those closest to her dead, she returned to Oxford and later devoted her energies to the causes of pacifism and feminism, writing and lecturing world-wide.

In 1933 she published Testament of Youth. This haunting autobiography conveyed to an entire generation the essence of their common experience of war. It was a best seller in both Britain and America.


Superlatives here!…a remarkable performance of a remarkable woman’s early Life.

The Scotsman.


Rohan McCullough’s performance brings my mother’s famous book on the First World War… alive bringing out the poignancy and profundity of the narrative. She has a sensitive understanding of my mother’s writing, and sometimes seems almost to become the young nurse who wrote the diary… I strongly commend her presentation.

Shirley Williams in the House of Lords 16th July 2001


This one woman tour-de-force… Rohan McCullough’s stunning solo performance

Time Out


Informative and moving… a model of elegance and economy

The Times

The Tale of Beatrix Potter

Scripted by Hannah Kynaston


Beatrix Potter’s life began in the high Summer of Victorian England and ended as Hitler’s bombs rained down on London. She escaped into her imagination in order to flee from the constraints of a well-to-do family home, only finding true happiness in love in her middle years. This story of an extraordinary woman is highlighted by extracts from some of her best loved tales.


Based on Beatrix Potter’s diaries, Rohan McCullough takes us on an enchanting journey through the storyteller’s life, from her solitary childhood and conflicts with her parents, to the success of Peter Rabbit and an unlikely but happy marriage.


Magical, spellbinding ...Ms McCullough has a rare talent of being able to touch the heart of her chosen subject. The Scotsman


Lyrical and captivating portrayal of the famous storyteller.

The Independent


A memorable portrait that resonates in the mind for days afterwards.

Australian Press, Melbourne



Rohan McCullough

“A fantastically talented and moving actress” (The Scotsman)  – Rohan McCullough began her career in the original cast of the legendary musical Hair and Jean-Louis Barrault's Rabelais. She has also been seen as Antigone in Oedipus at Colonnus (Manchester Royal Exchange) and in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (RSC). Her film appearances include Derek Jarman's War Requiem and David Hare's Strapless. She has given poetry and music recitals in London and at Arts Festivals nationwide. She has performed as narrator with leading American symphony orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and The Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall...


Hugh Whitemore

Hugh has written for the stage, films and television. His TV film, The Gathering Storm, which was about Churchill in the 1930’s, won an Emmy, the Writers’ Guild of America Award, and the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the best television drama of 2002.


Gareth Armstrong

An actor, writer and director with a special knowledge of one-man shows, having toured internationally with Shylock, his own one-man show about the character in The Merchant of Venice. Gareth is probably best known for having played three recurring roles in The Archers on Radio 4, including Sean Myerson, the publican of the Cat and Fiddle.

General Enquiries Tel. 01865 514 830


Bookings Tel. 01872 500 925