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TAL Festival Ltd

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Thame Arts & Literature Festival

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11th to 15th October 2017

Click Here to Book Tickets


Meet Rachel Crowther,    Every Secret Thing

10.30am : Library : £6.00

Meet Rachel, a doctor who worked for the NHS for 20 years. In conversation with Nicole Russell, she will talk about the writing of her second book, Every Secret Thing

"After two decades in which she’d barely allowed herself a taste of love, the remembrance of what they had almost had was still hoarded away, treasured, like a glimpse of immortality."

Young, ambitious and ready to take on the future, Marmion Hayter and her friends share an idyllic weekend in the Lake District to celebrate their graduation, little suspecting that the events of that summer will change their lives forever.

How long does it take for our sins to be forgiven? And can the things we destroy ever be recovered?

Dr Robert Owen and the Veterans of Bomber Command

12.30pm : Christchurch : £9.00 (Concessions £8.00)

In a unique and moving event last year Steve Darlow took us through the traumas of flying over Germany in World War 2 with eye-witness accounts from some of the actual pilots and flyers. This year we are privileged to be able to look at a different aspect of Bomber Command

This year in the company of renowned historian Dr.Robert Owen, his fellow contributing author of Bomber Command Battle of Berlin: Failed to Return, Nicole Russell, and No.101 Squadron Lancaster pilot Russell 'Rusty' Waughman, DFC, AFC, LD'H, RAF (RTD), we are privileged to look at a different but highly controversial aspect of Britain’s air campaign.

Tonight you are going to the Big City. You will have the opportunity to light a fire in the belly of the enemy that will burn his black heart out.' The message from Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command Sir Arthur Harris was clear. As the Second World War continued into a fifth year, the airmen of Bomber Command were to fly deep into hostile airspace and bring the war direct to the German Nazi capital Berlin.’

The Rumsey’s Tea Concert is now an institution.

4.00pm : Rumseys Chocolaterie : £12 to include tea & cake

Join the Abbey Wind Trio for a thoroughly enjoyable hour of tea, cake and blissfullly

delightful music - What more need we say!

Programme :

Mozart ‘Cinq Divertissements’, arr Oubradous

Ibert ‘Cinq Pieces en trio’

Milhaud ‘Suite d’apres Corrette’

Jacob ‘Trio’

Beethoven ‘Variations on La ci darem by Mozart’

The Book House Founder’s Lecture          

6.00pm : The Town Hall : £9.00 (Concessions £8)

Professor Fiona Stafford Professor of English Language and Literature, Fellow of Somerville College

Fiona is a gifted speaker and we are privileged to welcome her to Thame to give the 2017 Founder’s Lecture

Her most recent book, the acclaimed The Long, Long Life of Trees (2016), is a tribute to the diversity of trees in 17 chapters – each of which is dedicated to a common British tree – drawing on material from fields including folklore, natural science, literature, cultural history, European art, ancient mythology and modern medicine to illuminate each tree’s central place in western civilisation.

Professor Stafford is a regular contributor to BBC Radio. She has presented a series for BBC Radio 3 on the symbolism, importance and meaning of trees and flowers.

Samantha Ellis,  Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life.

2.00pm : Library : £6.00

Anne Brontë is the forgotten Brontë sister, overshadowed by her older siblings - virtuous, successful Charlotte, free-spirited Emily and dissolute Branwell. Tragic, virginal, sweet, stoic, selfless, Anne. The less talented Bronte, the other Brontë.   

Or that's what Samantha Ellis, a life-long Emily and Wuthering Heights devotee, had always thought. Until, that is, she started questioning that devotion and, in looking more closely at Emily and Charlotte, found herself confronted by Anne instead.

  Take Courage is Samantha's personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time - and her more celebrated siblings - and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world

'The best kind of book: one that I gobbled up, wanting to go slow to savour it but unable to stop reading until it was all gone' Observer

And Now For Something Completely Different…

9.00pm ‘til Midnight : The Stables, James Figg : £3.00  

Join ace DJ Mark Fellowes and his friends in an evening of reminiscence and sheer fun!!  Break out your platforms, flares and Simon Shirts (if you don’t know what these were then ask your parents) and come to the very first and original 70s disco.

Featuring some very ‘special guests’ making surprise appearances, the disco will finish our Friday night with the music of our youth and is a chance to let your hair down (if you have any left!!)

9.00pm until Midnight : The Stables, James Figg :


Prizes for the Best Dressed!

Jane Austen as you’ve never (never!) seen or heard her before! Fresh from their triumph at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Austentatious team bring to life an improvised Jane Austen novel that we absolutely guarantee you have not read - for it is not yet rediscovered.

It will come to life before your very eyes in the most dramatic way!!

We saw them at Edinburgh last year and they are nothing short of hilarious. This is amazing theatre with startlingly accurate characters that make you weep with laughter. Quite what Jane Austen would make of it - we’ll never know!!

Austentatious is an improvised comedy play starring a cast of the country’s quickest comic performers. Every single show the cast conjure up a brand new ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on nothing more than a title suggested by the audience.

 Austentatious are fresh from six sellout runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, a monthly residency in London’s Leicester Square and a BBC Radio 4 special to mark the bicentenary of Austen’s death. Now their show will be appearing at two dozen theatres across the country to entertain and astonish audiences in equal measure.

 Previous ‘lost’ masterpieces have included Sixth Sense & SensibilityDouble 0 Darcy and Mansfield Shark, and no two shows are ever the same. Performed in period costume with live musical accompaniment, this is a Regency treat guaranteed to delight Austen novices and die-hard fans alike.

 ★★★★★ “Ridiculously silly…wickedly funny” –The Times

 ★★★★ “A joy to behold” The Guardian

 ★★★★ “Supersmart and terrifically funny” The Scotsman

  “A bravura slab of improvisation” – Independent

7.30pm : The Spread Eagle Hotel :

£12.00 (£10 Concessions)

Patricia Scobie  : A Baboon in the Bedroom          

4.00pm : Town Hall: £6.00

Imagine driving off into freedom and camping under the star-filled sky of the Sahara.

In Stan, their trusty Land Rover, kitted out like a home away from home, Tony and Patricia Scobie do exactly that. On the eve of the Gulf War, the 50 year-old English couple leave their London life for an extraordinary journey across Africa. Relying on maps and a compass, not mobile phones and satnav, they are determined to realise their dream. But when faced with the world’s worst roads, will Stan be up to the challenge? After navigating the desert’s shifting sands, the pair face gun-toting militias, have a rare glimpse of a black rhino and watch in awe as wild herds thunder across the Serengeti.

Patricia Scobie was born in England in 1939 and educated at Surbiton High School for Girls. Patricia went on to teach Catering and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. She obtained a PhD in Nutrition and moved to the University of Surrey as a lecturer in the Department of Catering Management, where she worked for six years before leaving for Africa. She has been a keen gardener, traveller and journal-writer all her life. A Baboon in the Bedroom is her second book

Photo by Tristram Kenton

Click here to book Tickets

Photo by Nick Tucker

Alison Street (Oboe)

Barbara Stuart (Clarinet)

Simon Payne (Bassoon)

Sorry - Sold Out

Sorry - Sold Out

Sorry - Sold Out