Lecture topics include:


Origins: Cave Paintings to the Greeks

Over 30,000 years ago mankind began to make sense of his place in the world through art and myth. In this lecture Giles will explore how stories told in the primitive world can still relate to us all today.


Greeks: Where We Began

In a period of just over 100 years a city state called Athens invented a new form of communal expression called theatre and found that living amongst them happened to be four of the greatest writers the world has ever known; Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes. It all starts here!


Medieval: Escaping from God

Out of the so called Dark Ages emerged a new form of drama designed to save mens souls. Against the background of the black death, the medieval church and the age of chivalry Giles examines what theatre was all about a thousand years ago.


Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy

When men were prepared to murder and be martyred for their religious faith and the Elizabethan security services were zealously gathering intelligence against a militant enemy a Golden Age of Theatre emerged in England. Assassinated at the age of 29 Christopher Marlowe was very much a man of his times.


Shakespeare: The Birth of Modern Show-Business

Poet, playwright and theatre entrepreneur, William Shakespeare became one of the wealthiest celebrities of the Elizabethan age. He also wrote some of the most brilliant plays the world has ever known. Giles examines how theatre moved into the modern era.


Restoration and After: Boobs, Bombast and Gin

Following the trauma of the English Civil War came the Restoration, a period of loucheness and scandal. With the return of a King and the arrival of the first English actresses Giles looks at how the theatre of the day reflected society in this most saucy of eras.


Victorians: Shakespeare and Elephants

Like children in a sweet shop the Victorians delighted in every aspect of their ever changing world. From melodrama to music hall, freak-shows to photography, this was an age of innovation and spectacle and the theatre embraced it all.


Indestructible Theatre: 1900 to Now

In this talk Giles romps through the Edwardian period, the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Cold War, the Space Race and the Information Revolution and shows how, in this age of extremes, the show still went on and continued to tell us our own story.


Pantomime: a very British Feast

Over 2500 years in the making the great British pantomime is a very potent brew indeed. Mix the earliest Greek and Roman drama with commedia dell'arte and medieval morality plays, then stir in a sprig of C17th masque, a dash of C18th harlequinade and a hefty shot of Victorian music hall and, hey presto, you have the modern Christmas pantomime. (Oh no you don't!).


Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov: the Trinity

The end of the C19th saw a revolution in European drama as the theatre began to address new and controversial topics such as sex, class and social-unrest. Out of this age of upheaval emerged three of the greatest playwrights the world has ever known. This lecture looks at the reception their plays had in their own day and the legacy they have left to our own.


Oscar Wilde: Up Close and Personal

"I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works."  I examine the public and private life of one of the world's most original and controversial artists. Born into a moderately respectable Dublin family Oscar Wilde recreated himself as an international celebrity and wrote a series of short stories and plays that charmed the world. In 1890 he also published the last of the great myths - The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ten years later Wilde, devoured by his fame, his demons and his decadence, would be dead.


Terence Rattigan: Passion Restrained

One of the highest paid and most successful writers of his day, Terence Rattigan (along with Noel Coward), was to fall out of favour in the 1950's with the rise of the Angry Young Men. This lecture examines the stark contrast between pre and post-war British theatre and how we, in the C21st, can now reassess which playwrights really stood the test of time.


Osborne, Pinter & Co: Post-war British Theatre

In 1956 British theatre audiences heard a harsh new voice in John Osborne's play "Look Back in Anger". Within two years Pinter's extraordinary play "The Birthday Party" had opened and split the critics and the public alike. Then along came Joe Orton, Edward Bond and Tom Stoppard. A revolution was taking place and it's artistic aftermath can be felt to the present day.


The World of Wolf Hall (1485 - 1649)

This series of talks takes the works of Hilary Mantel as a starting point to explore the background of the late medieval period and the rise of the Tudor state, the psycho-pathology of the main players of the day - Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII - and the influence this period had on the emergence of a modern world and a modern theatre.


All of the above lectures are presented as full Keynote/Powerpoint presentations with still images and film clips.


A USB memory stick containing eight lectures covering the history of the theatre from cave-paintings to the present day is available for purchase at £25.00.

Giles Ramsay is Course Leader in Theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, an accredited Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) lecturer and a former Fellow of St. Chad's College, Durham University.

He regularly lectures on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth and has given numerous talks at institutions ranging from The Foundation for Mexican Literature in Mexico City to The Royal College of Physicians in London. Giles combines academic analysis with hands on experience to bring a unique insight to the world of the theatre.

Lecturing