Histories of the Unexpected | Ropetackle Arts Centre

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Theatre, Seated

Histories of the Unexpected

Friday 17th January 2020 - Starts 8pm




From the presenter of the BBC’s The Silk Road and Invasion! working with one of the country’s leading professors of history comes a new way to think about the past…

‘We challenged ourselves to write the history of things we weren’t necessarily sure even had a history’


Histories of the Unexpected LIVE! is an original, exciting multi-period show that demonstrates how everything has a history, even the most unexpected of subjects, and how those histories link together in unexpected ways.

What links together the Titanic, Pompeii, Neolithic cave painting, perfume, electrical experiments on the human face, Charles I, Mary Queen of Scots, scalping, Nelson, Henry VIII, Hiroshima, the Duke of Wellington, slavery, razor-gangs, Darwin, Shakespeare, mutiny, chimneys and a seventeenth century map of the world?


Dr Sam Willis

Sam is one of the country’s best-known historians. He has made more than ten major TV series for the BBC and National Geographic including The Silk RoadMaritime China RebornRelics of ChinaInvasion!, Castles: Britain’s Fortified HistoryOutlawsWeapons: Britain’s Armed History and Shipwrecks: Britain’s Sunken History. His documentaries have won prizes globally. He has also written more than ten critically acclaimed and award-winning books, most recently three for the new Penguin Ladybird Expert Series: The Spanish ArmadaThe Battle of the Nile and The Battle of Trafalgar. Nonetheless, Sam is at his happiest recording podcasts and writing for Histories of the Unexpected.


Professor James Daybell

James is an Oxford-educated Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of Plymouth, and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  He has produced more than eight books including Tudor Women Letter-Writers (Oxford University Press, 2006; paperback 2018), Women and Politics in Early Modern England (2004), The Material Letter (2012), Gender and Political Culture (2016) and Cultures of Correspondence (2016), and written more than 35 articles and essays on topics ranging from Renaissance letter-writing, Elizabethan politics, and secret codes, to the family, archives and the cultural history of gloves. James is Director of the AHRC-funded project ‘Gender, Power and Materiality in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800’ in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Director of the British Academy/Leverhulme-funded ‘Women’s Early Modern Letters Online’ in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the Bodleian Library.

He is also series editor of two book series: ‘Material Readings of Early Modern Culture’ and Gendering the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds. James has also appeared on numerous historical documentaries.


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