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Image of To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine

Film & Theatre

To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine

Sat 3 May 2014, 19.00

“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion”

- Thomas Paine

Was he “one of the most brilliant minds in human history” or merely a “filthy little atheist”? He was certainly one of the most misunderstood men in American history. 

Thomas Paine is a man largely forgotten and greatly misunderstood yet his ideas about democracy, equality, slavery, social programs and morality were truly revolutionary. He changed the world, only to have the world he changed turn its back on him. He ignited revolutions but died largely ignored and disdained, yet when he was writing he was at the epicentre of world events and literally transforming nations through his words.

The one-man show “To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine” , leaps from the stage and captures the living essence of America's brilliant, fiery and most radical Founding Father. It brings to life the wit, contradictions and contrariness of a man whose intellect and words shaped the American national character, inspiring Americans always to be their better selves.

His pen sparked the American Revolution,
defined the French Revolution and championed the Age of Reason. He went from hero on the streets of Philadelphia to prisoner in Paris awaiting the guillotine. His books were the biggest best sellers in history and at his funeral… there were six mourners. 

Today there is the Occupy movement, back then there was Thomas Paine.

Tickets Advance: £10 (plus booking fee), Concs. £5

Admission £15/£7 on the door.

Doors 18.30. Start 19.00

Ian Ruskin (writer/actor) trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. He has performed his other one man play From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks about labour leader Harry Bridges well over 200 times. The film version, directed by Haskell Wexler, has aired in America on PBS for the past 4 years. This is the London première of To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine which has been performed just over 30 times in the past two years.

“Ruskin’s Paine provides more than a mere history lesson; it’s a sort of performance art. Not only do we learn of a largely untold slice of the American story, we also get to see an actor in top form. So nuanced and layered is Ruskin’s performance, and so enlightening is his script, it’s as if Paine has been brought to back life just to speak to us”.

Ben Miles,, Los Angeles

“Ian Ruskin’s performance had a profound impact on our students…who are all in their own right struggling to realize their own value and contributions to this world, and the lessons learned as a result of experiencing this brilliant performance are many…for weeks following they commented on such things as: wanting to read more about the extraordinary life of Thomas Paine; wanting to read a particular work mentioned in the play…It is our upmost pleasure to give the highest praise and to recommend this play without reservation”.                                   

Julie Davis, Professor, History and Women’s Studies, Cerritos College

“It is a spectacular way to introduce people to the historical struggles and the ideas of the most important revolutionary thinker of the late eighteenth century. You bring Paine alive and create throughout the play excitement for history and the world of ideas, and deliver important lessons for our own time…to the possibility that democracy can attain great things, and that we have visionaries who can get us back on that virtuous forward path.”         

Elaine Bernard, Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

Image of The Surveillance Society

Special Events

The Surveillance Society

Sat 3 Mar 2014, 10.30

Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall Ethical Society presents
The Surveillance Society
Including Caspar Bowden, Tom Sorell, Judith Rauhofer.
Post Snowden, where do we go now? When is surveillance acceptable, and when is it wrong? Should whole swathes of public policy regarding surveillance now be junked? Three leading experts in the field present accessible and fascinating talks on our emerging surveillance society – and what to do about it.
Organized and chaired by Stephen Law
£10 (£5 students, Members of Conway Hall Ethical Society, and the British Humanist Association). Free to friends of CFI UK.
10.30 registration. 11.00 – 15.45
11.00 Caspar Bowden. Caspar Bowden is an independent advocate for information privacy rights, and public understanding of privacy research in computer science. For nine years he was Chief Privacy Adviser for Microsoft for forty countries.
12.00 Tom Sorell. Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick. Tom will be talking about the relation between the power of an agent of surveillance and the prima facie wrongness of surveillance.
13.45 Judith Rauhofer. Is a lawyer and lecturer in IT law at the University of Edinburgh. She will be speaking about about surveillance and the rule of law, the different understandings of "lawfulness" and the concept of privacy as a common good.
14.45 Plenary.
15.45 END
CFI UK reserves the right to change the programme due to unforeseen circumstances.

Image of Cellophony

Sunday Concerts


4 May 2014

Richard Birchall, Matthijs Broersma,
Pau Codina, Ashok Klouda,
Bartholomew LaFollette, John Myerscough,
Brian O'Kane  & Ella Rundle cellos

Pre-concert recital at 5.30pm: ‘Estrada do Sol – Road to the Sun’

Stephanie Oatridge (oboe) and Adam Brown (guitar)

Piazzolla: Cafe 1930
Lauro: Maria Carolina
Silvestrini: Le Ballet Espanol
Barrios: Julia Florida
Falla: Canciones: El Pano Moruno, Nana & Cancion
Machado: Quebra Queixo
Machado: Pe De Moleque
Piazzolla: Bordel 1900

Main recital:

Schubert: Three Songs from Schwanengesang
Mendelssohn: Ave Maria
Birchall: Mirrors
Dvorak: Silent Woods
Wieniawski: Scherzo-Tarantella
Wagner: Prelude to Tristan & Isolde
Bach: Three Preludes & A Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier
Sollima: Violoncelles, Vibrez! 007

£9 tickets, £4 for full-time students (free entry for under-16s)

Doors open at 17.00. Start 17.30

Image of Tippett Quartet

Sunday Concerts

Tippett Quartet

Sun 11 May 2014, 17.30

John Mills violin
Jeremy Isaac violin
Lydia Lowndes-Northcott viola
Bozidar Vukotic cello

Pre-concert talk at 5.30pm by Roderick Swanston

Pierre Rode: Quartet in E flat Op.11/1
Emanuel Aloÿs Förster: Quartet in F minor Op.16/5
Beethoven: String Quartet in F Op.18/1

£9 tickets, £4 for full-time students (free entry for under-16s)

Doors open at 17.00. Start 17.30

Image of Parade

Film & Theatre


Mon 12 May 2014, 19:30

The Conway Collective presents


The elegant main space at Conway Hall echoes with memories of the original Ballet Russes, the lost romance of Alain Fournier's Le Grandes Meaulnes and the melancholic circus of Federico Fellini.

Curated by Luke Dixon and Jane Turner this Parade will be a glorious unfolding display by experienced, individualistic artists, their essential best, flashes of ingenuity and a multiplicity of theatrical forms intertwine in Conway's atmospheric theatre that is emblazoned with the banner

'to thine own self be true....'

Turner & Dixon bring together 25 years of artistic collaborations and mix with the vibrancy of fresh young talent.

Tickets £10 adv.

Image of London Burlesque Festival

Special Events

London Burlesque Festival

15 - 25 May 2014

Chaz Royal presents

The 8th Annual London Burlesque Festival 
Red Carpet Rollout

VIP Opening Gala

Thursday May 15th

The 8th Annual London Burlesque Festival is back in full glory and the Red Carpet Rollout previews some of the finest and most inspiring talent this year. Witness high octane glamour and sheer opulence at this prestigious 5 star VIP Opening Gala.

Crown Jewels - 'Best of British'

Saturday May 17th

LBF has scoured the nation for the most talented and unique British Burlesque & Variety acts. Bringing new, emerging and established performers together, the Crown Jewels creates a magnificent display of the best talent in the UK scene.

Hollywood Revue

Tuesday May 20th

Lights, camera, action! LBF pulls out all the stops for an evening of star-studded glamour, paying tribute to the greatest film stars and most memorable moments from the silver screen.

Burlesque, Gin & Jazz

Wednesday May 21st

Infusing sultry classic Burlesque with a night of sizzling hot, steamy wailing jazz from the 1930′s-60′s. Dust off your dancing shoes and prepare for an evening at LBF like no other with Burlesque, Gin & Jazz, the hottest show around!

Sexy Circus Sideshow

Thursday May 22nd

If you're looking for candy floss this isn't it. If you're after a thrilling boozy freak show, then you've come to the right place! A 'Carnival cavalcade of saucy showgirls, sexy sideshow stunts, neurotic novelty and vaudeville variety', this acclaimed extravaganza is guaranteed to blow your mind!

Big Burlesque Day Out

Saturday May 24th

A fun and informative daytime event for all fans of Burlesque. Whether you're a performer, fan, promoter or complete newbie, if you love Burlesque we can guarantee that this event will have something for you! With seminars, a vendors market, fashion shows, workshops, tea, cakes, cocktails and an afternoon Burlesque show, The Big Burlesque Day Out is the No.1 social event for any Burlesque aficionados calendar.

LBF All-Stars

Saturday May 24th

LBF has become renowned for bringing together the most superior acts from around the globe and this year is no exception. The most acclaimed names from past LBF moments and award winning artists from the World Burlesque Games come together for a prestigious evening of show-stopping entertainment. LBF at its very best! 

London's Premiere Burlesque, Cabaret & Variety Festival Since 2007.

*Early bird prices are marked at 50% - 63% OFF (Select Shows) until December 27th.

LBF 2014 All Access Pass: General £109, VIP Pass £199. For Day tickets. Please check website.

Image of Sunday Lecture - The Ethics of Liberation Wars

Talks & Lectures

Sunday Lecture - The Ethics of Liberation Wars

Sun 18 May 2014, 11.00

The Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Sunday Lecture - The Ethics of Liberation Wars
Dan Thea

Largely due to European colonisation and its aftermath, Africa is today the least developed, most marginalised and most misunderstood continent. As free peoples, Africans are increasingly redressing this situation. In this talk Dan Thea aims to make a contribution to raising awareness of this problem worldwide, and making a call for the necessary correction.

The talk will illustrate the justice of, and the will to conduct wars of liberation with particular reference to the Kenyan Mau Mau War, 1952-61; the Algerian National Liberation War, 1954-62, the Angolan Liberation war, the ANC war against Apartheid and the special case of the war for the secession of South Sudan from the Sudan.
The talk will, of course, also acknowledge the internationalist support given by the USSR, the (then) Eastern European socialist states and by Cuba.

Dan Thea was born in colonial Kenya and attended university in Britain. After a brief period of work in private sector his main career is now in local government.

A life-long trade unionist, prominent in equality campaigns; including contributing in the content of the Race Relations Act, an activist in equality struggles, and an initiator of equality monitoring in Britain. He has decades of experience in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and also writes monthly articles for the Chartist and the Liberation Journal. He is a patron of Mau Mau Justice Network.

Thea last spoke at Conway Hall in his capacity as the Deputy Chair of the Anti-Apartheid Movement; and acknowledges Conway Hall’s contribution to that historic struggle. Africa continues to need your support. 

Door 10.30, £5 in advance, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members

(Entry is limited, so please book well in advance)

Tea & Coffee will be available.

Image of Quatuor Tana

Sunday Concerts

Quatuor Tana

Sun 18 May 2014, 18.30

Antoine Maisonhaute violin
Pieter Jansen violin
Maxime Desert viola
Jeanne Maisonhaute cello

Mozart: Quartet in D minor KV421
Nielsen: Quartet No.3 in E flat Op.14
Nimrod Borenstein: Meditation and Burlesque
Debussy: Quartet in G minor Op.10

£9 tickets, £4 for full-time students (free entry for under-16s)

Doors open at 17.30. Start 18.30

Image of Werther Ensemble

Sunday Concerts

Werther Ensemble

Sun 25 May 2014, 18.30

Jamie Campbell violin
Hannah Strijbos viola
James Barralet cello
Simon Callaghan piano 

Brahms Project Concert 4

Pre-concert recital at 5.30pm:

Brahms: Sonata in G Op.78

Main recital:

Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor Op.60
Brahms: Piano Quartet in A Op.26

£9 tickets, £4 for full-time students (free entry for under-16s)

Doors open at 17.30. Start 18.30

Image of NOW Live Events: Do Improvise with Robert Poynton

Courses & Workshops

NOW Live Events: Do Improvise with Robert Poynton

Tue 27 May 2014, 19.00

NOW Live Events presents

Do Improvise

A self-development workshop with Robert Poynton.

In this live interactive workshop, you will learn how to deal with the unplanned and unexpected and to improve your natural ability to act with courage and conviction no matter what life throws at you, with creativity and improvisation coach Robert Poynton, author of Do Improvise (The Do Book Company, £8.99).

In this workshop you will learn:

  • Strategies for overcoming creative blocks
  • How to generate new ideas
  • Effective ways to respond fluently to all circumstances

Watch Robert’s Beyond Control talk on You Tube.

Tickets £15

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