Current track



a varied programme of talks planned at the Sheppey Little Theatre

Written by on 13 February 2016

What’s On at Sheppey Little Theatre

a varied programme of talks planned for 2016 starting with

Adrian Smith, Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Southampton,

“James McCudden VC – Sheppey’s Own Air Ace”

Major James McCudden – like fellow ace and VC ‘Mick’ Mannock – was both Irishman and Man of Kent.  Born in Gillingham and raised in Sheerness, at the commencement of the First World War Private McCudden was a mechanic in the embryonic Royal Flying Corps; but by 1918 he was commanding a front-line squadron, with a final tally of 57 aerial victories.  In the last year of the war British factories were supplying the future RAF with over two thousand aircraft every month, including the deadly SE5a flown by McCudden and Mannock.  McCudden was unique in having completed a memoir, Fighting Fury, before he died in a flying accident on 9th July 1918.   Not only does Sheppey boast one of Britain’s bravest fighter pilots, but the island is also the birthplace of British aviation.  Adrian Smith, Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Southampton, tells the story of ‘Jimmy’ McCudden, and why his success in the skies above the Western Front owed so much to aeronautical advances on the Swale and Medway less than a decade earlier.

5 March 2016 7.30

Uwe Johnson – Sheppey’s reclusive Germany Literary Megastar.

Professor Patrick Wright

Professor of Literature and Visual & Material Culture Kings College London

“I got the nickname ‘the Poet of the Divided Germany’ which I didn’t want to be at all,” the multi award winning writer Uwe Johnson protested in an interview recorded five years before his lonely death in 1984. Yet rather than Berlin, London or New York, Johnson chose Sheerness – in his words, a ‘much maligned’ town to live out his life. Professor Wright tells Johnson’s story accompanied by readings of Johnson’s writings about Sheppey read by  local people.

18 March 2016 7.30

With Dignity and Honour – the reburial of Richard III

A talk by Dr Phil Stone

In August 2012, under a car park in Leicester, human remains were found. Once confirmed to be the skeleton of King Richard III, they were reburied ‘with dignity and honour’ in Leicester Cathedral In March 2015.

This talk will tell about the finding of the king’s remains and the analysis that proved they are those of Richard III and will then tell the story of that week when the remains were taken from Bosworth to the Cathedral and reburied therein.

Dr Stone is Chairman of the Richard III Society and was very much involved in all that took place, both before and during the week of the reinterment.

1 April 2016  7.30

Martin Hawkins talk illustrated with old photos of Leysdown

13 May 2016 7.303

Take a journey back in time and learn just how different theatre was back in the eighteenth-century. Focussing on the smash-hit The Beggar’s Opera (1729) by John Gay, and using a range of visual, aural and textual sources, this talk will reveal what it was like to watch, as well as what it was like to perform in the eighteenth-century theatre. Celebrity culture, acting styles, and audience interaction will be just some of the topics explored.

Dr Helen Brooks is a theatre historian and Senior Lecturer in Drama in the School of Arts at the University of Kent. Her book Actresses, Gender, and the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Playing Women  was published by Palgrave in 2015 and she is Assistant Editor (Drama) of the Wiley Encyclopaedia of British Literature 1660-1789.

3 June 2016 7.30

Dr Sophie Quirk | Lecturer in Drama and Theatre

School of Arts, University of Kent

A Talk about Comedy in the theatre – more info to come