Talk: Son of Newcastle-under-Lyme, father of the modern day circus

Philip Astley was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme on 8th January 1742, the son of a cabinet maker who went on to become a war hero, a pioneer and a showman. He is written about in the works of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, and his influence has shaped not only the world of entertainment, but his legacy is still popular in art and literature worldwide. This talk by the Philip Astley Project focuses on Astley’s relationship with Newcastle-under-Lyme and celebrates the 250th anniversary of the circus.

Since 2015, staff and volunteers at the Brampton Museum have been researching Philip Astley’s early life and his family’s link to North Staffordshire. The dedicated research team have followed in Astley’s footsteps, travelling to London and Paris to uncover the man behind the myth.

In conversation with Andrew Van Buren, Teresa Mason (Manager at the Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Brampton Museum) and Beryl Carter (Volunteer at the Brampton Museum) will share the latest research on Philip Astley’s connection to Newcastle-under-Lyme. Van Buren, an expert on Philip Astley and internationally acclaimed illusionist and showman, will place this research into the broader context of circus and performing arts history.

This lively talk, hosted by the Friends of Keele, will give audience members the opportunity to find out more about Philip Astley in advance of the Brampton Museum’s upcoming exhibition, “Philip Astley – His Life and Legacy”. The exhibition will open in May 2018 and will include objects on loan from the V&A Museum and on view for the first time in Staffordshire.

Tickets: £5 for Members; £10 for Guests. Light refreshments provided.

For more information, refer to the Keele University website or call 01782 733587.

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