Lecture 171 - Christmas: the Victorian reinvention
The festive season during the Georgian period was a relatively muted affair, but with the accession of Victoria and the subsequent Victorian era, we observe the revival and reinvention of Christmas as a festival.
In this lecture with WEA tutor Stephen Smith, we will discover how a revival of religious faith in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries collided with religious doubt post-Darwin, and how this affected the interpretation of the meanings of Christmas, shifting the celebration towards an increasingly secular and consumer-driven holiday. We will explore how these trends culminate in the literary reinvention of Christmas, principally achieved through the imagination of Charles Dickens.
Lecture 173 - The stage is a world: principles and practice in theatre design
Theatre design has the ability to make or break a production. With imaginative design, the audience will remain engaged throughout the play, but the wrong design can distract or even interrupt the action of the piece. Serving a variety of purposes, not only can theatre design teach the audience about the play that they are watching, but it can reveal things about the characters on stage. From creative and quirky, to almost unimaginably real, there is a variety to get inspiration from.
In this talk with WEA tutor Alison Warren, we’ll be introduced to the art form that is scenic design, explore some basic principles, take a look at some recent examples of successful theatre design, and hope to come away with a new insight for the next time we watch a live theatre performance.
Lecture 174 - The literature of the Harlem Renaissance: an introduction
The Harlem Renaissance was a flowering of Black American culture running from around the period 1919-1939 in Harlem and other Black communities. Its influence continues today and is global.
Whilst all aspects of the arts and intellectual activity flourished during this period, we’ll focus on its literature and the debates that arose from it. How were Black people to portray themselves after centuries of misrepresentation? What purpose was literature to fulfil for Black communities? Join WEA tutor Clare Jackson who will offer some opening comments on this fascinating and radical movement.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines and idiom as ‘a group of words in a fixed order that has a particular meaning that is different from the meaning of each word on its own' - 'it's raining cats and dogs' or 'he's feeling under the weather'. According to estimates, there are approximately 25,000 idiomatic sayings in the English language but many have become so entrenched in our everyday speech that we hardly know we use them.
In this talk with WEA tutor Janet Wilson, we’ll explore the origins of some popular idioms of English to uncover their fascinating links to older customs, practices and beliefs, including the uncomfortable origins of 'biting the bullet', 'kicking the bucket' and 'having one for the road'.