england

Simon McBurney in The Encounter
Robbie Jack

The Encounter - conceived of, directed by, and starring, Simon McBurney is currently running at the Golden Theater in New York City. McBurney is a multi-Olivier Award-winning, Tony and SAG Award-nominated actor, writer, director and one of Europe’s most original theater makers. He is co-founder and artistic director of Complicite. The one-man play tells the true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre in 1969 - lost in Brazil as he encounters the Mayoruna - a remote people whose ancient traditions are uninfluenced by the western world. In The Encounter , McBurney also shares the story of the creation of this unique piece of theater. Molding and stretching the classic artform of storytelling, McBurney and The Encounter team use specific and immersive binaural audio technology and sound design. Each member of the audience wears headphones which create an experience that uses their ears to trick their brain into telling their body and comprehension that events are happening that - in reality - aren’t; a voice from over your shoulder, a mosquito in your face, a fire nearby, a warm breath a little too nearby.

In 1961, a thief broke into the National Gallery in London and committed the most sensational art heist in British history. He stole the museum’s much prized painting, The Duke of Wellington by Francisco Goya. Despite unprecedented international attention and an unflagging investigation, the case was not solved for four years, and even then, only because the culprit came forward voluntarily. Alan Hirch's book is T he Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation.

The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice promotes the human voice as an instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression through presenting world class performances in Phoenicia, New York and surrounding areas. This year’s festival - running August 4 th through the 7 th – celebrates Shakespeare and the British Isles. We are joined by world renowned opera singers, Executive Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey.

Brexit - Tina Packer

Jun 24, 2016

One of our favorite Brits, Tina Packer - founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA - joins us to share her thoughts and feelings on the Referendum of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union.

Tim Vercellotti, political science professor and director of the Western New England University Polling Institute , is in London for a university summer program. He has had a front row seat for the so-called “Brexit” referendum campaign.

Peter Frampton

May 31, 2016

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Peter Frampton will be at The Times Union Center in Albany, NY (with special guest Jack Broadbent) on June 3rd. Here, Joe Donahue speak with Frampton about his career; his seminal live album, Frampton Comes Alive! ; and his relationship with David Bowie.

Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and siblings whose astonishing childhood creativity was a closely held secret. Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing, almost novelistic intensity in her new book, Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart .

In the new book, The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero , National Book Award winner Timothy Egan illuminates the dawn of the great Irish-American story -- with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man, Thomas Francis Meagher. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York — the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America.

In June 1983 Margaret Thatcher won the biggest increase in a government’s parliamentary majority in British electoral history. Over the next four years, as Charles Moore relates in this central volume of his uniquely authoritative biography, Britain’s first woman prime minister changed the course of her country’s history and that of the world, often by sheer force of will. Charles Moore has had unprecedented access to all of Mrs. Thatcher’s private and government papers. Margaret Thatcher: At Her Zenith: In London, Washington and Moscow is his second volume on the first - and so far only - female PM of Great Britain.

Tina Packer is one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare and theatre arts and now the actor, director, and master teacher offers an exploration of the women of Shakespeare’s plays in her new book: Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays .

On a hot summer day some twenty years after he was famously converted to kindness, Ebenezer Scrooge still roams the streets of London, spreading Christmas cheer, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit. However, when Scrooge decides to help his old friend and former partner Jacob Marley, as well as other inhabitants of the city, he will need the assistance of the very people he’s annoyed. He’ll also have to call on the three ghosts that visited him two decades earlier. By the time they’re done, they’ve convinced everyone to celebrate Christmas all year long by opening their wallets, arms, and hearts to those around them. Written in uncannily Dickensian prose, Charlie Lovett’s The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is both a loving and winking tribute to the Victorian classic, perfect for readers of A Christmas Carol and other timeless holiday tales.

London in April, 1940, was a place of great fear and conflict. Everyone was on edge; civilization itself seemed imperiled. The Germans are marching. They have taken Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. They now menace Britain. Should Britain negotiate with Germany? The members of the War Cabinet bicker, yell, lose their control, and are divided. Churchill, leading the faction to fight, and Lord Halifax, cautioning that prudence is the way to survive, attempt to usurp one another by any means possible. Their country is on the line. And, in historian John Kelly’s new book: Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940 , he brings us alongside these complex and imperfect men, determining the fate of the British Empire. John Kelly specializes in narrative history. He is the author of several books including: The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People .

As written and read by Joe Donahue: I was obsessed with books, even as a kid. And my favorites were those by A.A. Milne about a very special bear – Winnie-the Pooh. As an adult, I became obsessed with the place where Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends live and play. The Hundred Acre Wood—the setting for Winnie-the-Pooh’s adventures—was inspired by Ashdown Forest, a wildlife haven that spans more than 6,000 acres in southeast England. I went trekking through the forest last December – one of the most meaningful adventures I have ever been on. So, when I first learned of Kathryn Aalto’s new book - The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh – I felt like it was written just for me. In the pages of the book you can visit the ancient black walnut tree on the edge of the forest that became Pooh’s house, go deep into the pine trees to find Poohsticks Bridge, and climb up to the top of the enchanted Galleons Lap, where Pooh says goodbye to Christopher Robin.

The Solid Sound Festival returns to MASS MoCA this weekend. The Richard Thompson Trio will play in Joe’s Field on Saturday. Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time, Richard Thompson is also one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards for Songwriting on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2011, Thompson was the recipient of the Order of the British Empire - personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Most recently, the Americana Music Honors & Awards nominated him for “Artist of the Year”. Yesterday his new album, Still , was released yesterday on Fantasy Records. The album was recorded in The Wilco Loft in Chicago and is produced by Wilco front-man Jeff Tweedy.

Joan Marcus / AP

The Audience is a play written by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry, and starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth the II. It opened in the West End in 2013 earning Olivier Awards for Mirren and one of her co-stars, Richard McCabe. McCabe portrays Harold Wilson who was a British Labour Party politician and served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. In The Audience , Peter Morgan has written imagined conversations between the Queen and her Prime Ministers during their weekly private meetings in Buckingham Palace. The play floats from year to year and decade to decade making use of theatre and costume quick-change magic and, of course, the skill of tremendous performers. The Audience , now running on Broadway through June 28, is nominated for three Tony Awards - one for Dame Mirren, one for Bob Crowley for his costume design, and one for our guest, Richard McCabe.

When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk.

JOAN MARCUS

Jim Dale started his professional career as a seventeen year old comedian playing the Music Halls of Britain. A little down the road he became a pop singing star during the early days of rock and roll and appeared in fourteen of the legendary Carry On films for the British cinema. At the request of Laurence Olivier he joined the British National Theatre. He starred in the first Musical by Cameron Mackintosh, The Card , and played Fagin in Oliver! at the London Palladium. He first appeared on the American stage in 1973 - in 1980 he won the Tony Award for his work in Barnum .

In January, 1649 -- after seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain's history, Parliament had overpowered King Charles I and now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to do the unthinkable, to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and hold Charles I to account for the appalling suffering and slaughter endured by his people. A tribunal of 135 men was hastily gathered in London, and although Charles refused to acknowledge the power of his subjects to try him, the death sentence was unanimously passed. On an icy winter's day on a scaffold outside Whitehall, in an event unique in English history, the King of England was executed. When the dead king's son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, he set about enacting a deadly wave of retribution against all those - the lawyers, the judges, the officers on the scaffold - responsible for his father's death. Some of the 'regicides' - the killers of the king - pleaded for mercy, while others stoically awaited their sentence. Bestselling historian Charles Spencer explores this violent clash of ideals through the individuals whose fates were determined by that one, momentous decision in his book Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I .

From the immense staff running a lavish Edwardian estate and the lonely maid-of-all-work cooking in a cramped middle-class house to the poor child doing chores in a slightly less poor household, servants were essential to the British way of life. They were hired not only for their skills but also to demonstrate the social standing of their employers—even as they were required to tread softly and blend into the background. More than simply the laboring class serving the upper crust—as popular culture would have us believe—they were a diverse group that shaped and witnessed major changes in the modern home, family, and social order. Lucy Lethbridge explores the servants' stories in her book, Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times .

When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill's country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the soon-to-be American ambassador to Great Britain and the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates – soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK's sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr. By the 1960s and JFK's presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the “greatness” in each other. Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons – and the remarkable women in their lives – providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage and ambition that shaped them.

Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the king to stay out of action on D-Day; he pioneered aerial bombing and few could match his experience in organizing violence on a colossal scale, yet he hated war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was the most famous journalist of his time and perhaps the greatest orator of all time, despite a lisp and chronic depression he kept at bay by painting. On the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death, Boris Johnson celebrates the brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century in the book, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History .

If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land's Man , Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart .

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You . Now, with One Plus One , she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story. One Plus One tells the tale of Jess Thomas, a single mother and housecleaner in a southern England seaside town, and the thrown-together relationship she develops with one of her clients, the wealthy, hopelessly geeky Ed Nicholls.

A dark tale of greed, corruption, and unquenchable ambition, House of Cards reveals that no matter the country, politics, intrigue and passion reign in the corridors of power. More than twenty years since its first publication it is still considered to be the definitive political thriller. Michael Dobbs' novel - both its 1989 and 2014 incarnations - is a delicious wallow in British bad behavior, both public and private. Michael Dobbs is also Lord Dobbs of Wylye, a member of the British House of Lords. He is Britain's leading political novelist and has been a senior adviser to Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron. House of Cards was made into an award winning TV series in the UK and for Netflix in the USA, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and directed by David Fincher.

In his comprehensive history, The Rise of the Tudors , Chris Skidmore chronicles the early story of the Tudors, beginning with the birth of the future Henry VII and following his life through the tumultuous Wars of the Roses, which ended with Henry’s coronation.

A strong willed and device of figure in British and International politics- Margaret Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, and the first woman to hold the office. She oversaw Britain’s biggest social and political revolution in its post war history. Jonathan Aitken, Cabinet administer under Thatcher, and a close family friend of 40 years- had a unique vantage point, and brings new light to many crucial episodes of the Thatcher era. He writes about it in his new book, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality . He speaks about the source of the boundless ambition, and what gave root to her astonishing force of personality.

Largely forgotten today, Sydney and Violet Schiff were ubiquitous, almost Zelig-like figures in the most important literary movement of the twentieth century. Their friendships among the elite of the Modernist writers were remarkable, and their extensive correspondence with T. S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, Proust, and many others strongly suggests both intimacy and intellectual equality. In Sydney and Violet , Stephen Klaidman examines what divides the literary survivors from the victims of taste and time.

Yad Jaura

Formed in the late 19 70s in Coventry, England - The Selecter was one of the early acts to sign to 2 Tone Records, home to Madness, The Beat and The Specials. They became an integral part of the emerging ska scene, setting themselves apart from the pack by being one of the only female fronted ska bands. Led by the fashionable and talented Pauline Black, The Selecter released a number of seminal singles on 2 Tone including “On My Radio,” “Three Minute Hero,” and “Missing Words.” A couple of these songs made it on their 1980 debut LP, Too Much Pressure , which charted in the Top 5 in the UK. On Halloween in 2010, Pauline Black and Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson celebrated the 30th anniversary of Too Much Pressure with The Selecter performing the album live at the Sinners Day Festival in Belgium. This event kicked off the current revitalized incarnation of the legendary band who has continued to write and release new music. Their latest record, String Theory , came out earlier this year. Pauline Black was born to an Anglo-Jewish teenage mother and Nigerian father and was adopted and raised by a white middle-aged couple. She wrote about her life and experience discovering her roots in Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir .

Philippa Gregory's latest Cousins' War book is The White Princess (Cousins' War) . In it, Henry Tudor is king, snatching the crown from Richard III in a surprise victory at the Battle of Bosworth. Raised in exile in Brittany and having taken the throne with a French and Scottish force, Henry had neither the easy popularity nor the longstanding political allegiances of the House of York. As a result, he has had to face repeated rebellions and threats to his throne. In an attempt to unify the...

Clare Balding is an award-winning BBC broadcaster and writer. At the London Olympics of 2012 she was proclaimed a “national treasure.'” She became the face of the BBC’s horse racing coverage in 1998, and now works across a wide range of sports. She will join us to tell tales from her new memoir, My Animals and Other Family .

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