2nd July 2025 – A Haaaand-Baaaag?: The Importance of Being Oscar (and Earnest!)

Wednesday 2nd July 2025

A Haaaand-Baaaag?: The Importance of Being Oscar (and Earnest!)

Lecturer: Simon Whitehouse

Oscar Wilde’s great literary and theatrical successes began with The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1890 and was followed by four smash hits in three years. His greatest play, The Importance of Being Earnest, is one of the funniest, most performed and frequently quoted plays in the English-speaking world. Described as “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People”, it was of its time and yet ahead of its time, satirising the shallowness and superficiality of upper-class Victorian society. This lecture will explore some of the hidden elements of which the audience then (and perhaps now) were not aware and discover that, for the
author, this glittering triumph heralded the beginning of his own fatal final act …

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Simon Whitehouse is a (recovering) actor, lecturer, Alexander technique and voice coach and an award-winning London Blue Badge guide. He is on the faculty of Ithaca College and works as a guide at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the BBC and the National Gallery. He specialises in theatre, literature, fashion and art history, but whatever the subject he promises to weave a wonderful story from it.

This lecture, the final one in our 2024/ 25 season, will follow the Annual General Meeting which will start at 10:30am. There will be no afternoon lecture.