Non-members are welcome. A donation of $10 per person includes entry in the lucky door prize and afternoon tea.
The Orkney Islands, or The Orcades as they were called by Tacitus in the first century AD, contain quite a number of the most ancient megalithic sites in Britain and some say in the world. At around 6,000 years old they predate the Pyramids of Egypt by 500 years and Stonehenge by 1000.
Mary Stocks' 1933 play, Hail Nero!: A Reinterpretation of History in Three Acts, offers a very different portrait of the emperor Nero from that of the ancient sources. He is not, Stocks posits, a tyrannical murderer and arsonist, but a kind, dedicated emperor, and a champion of the urban poor. Taking the growth of revisionist historiography in the late-nineteenth century as a cue to spread an alternative vision of Nero to a wider audience, Stocks' Nero mirrors her own desire to champion the underdog and achieve progressive change in society. As Stocks campaigned for the rights of women and helped to establish the first birth control clinic outside of London in the UK (1926), her Nero too wished to promote the role of women in his own society, and made it his life's work to improve the living conditions of the urban poor with schemes including a holiday camp in Antium and state-funded vaccinations against disease. Given the fairly recent resurrection of Nero's association with the Antichrist in literature and popular culture (e.g. F.W. Farrar's Darkness and Dawn or Scenes in the Days of Nero (1891), which inspired Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis (1895) and Barrett's The Sign of the Cross (1895)), Dr Malik will consider what Stocks hoped to achieve from her vindication of Nero, and how its interbellum context facilitated its creation and moderate success.