93 episodes

Country & Town House’s culture editor, Ed Vaizey, and associate editor, Charlotte Metcalf discuss the week’s cultural offerings with a brilliant edit of what you should be watching, reading, listening to, booking and visiting each week. Their roster of high profile guests adds illuminating insight to the current cultural landscape.

Break Out Culture With Ed Vaizey by Country and Town House Country & Town House

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 38 Ratings

Country & Town House’s culture editor, Ed Vaizey, and associate editor, Charlotte Metcalf discuss the week’s cultural offerings with a brilliant edit of what you should be watching, reading, listening to, booking and visiting each week. Their roster of high profile guests adds illuminating insight to the current cultural landscape.

    82. From Puppies to Greek Tragedy at Regents Park Open Air Theatre with Timothy Sheader and actress Kate Fleetwood

    82. From Puppies to Greek Tragedy at Regents Park Open Air Theatre with Timothy Sheader and actress Kate Fleetwood

    This summer marks the 90th season of this beautiful theatre in the heart of the park’s Inner Circle. Regents Park is the oldest, professional, permanent outdoor theatre in Britain, and we celebrate by talking to Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Timothy Sheader, about the theatre’s history and its delightfully varied 2022 summer programme, including Legally Blonde, which ended its run this weekend, 101 Dalmatians, just opened, and Antigone, opening in September.

    101 Dalmatians is a newly commissioned musical with music and lyrics by Douglas Hodge and book by Johnny McKnight, based on Dodie Smith’s classic story and adapted for stage by Zinnie Harris. We’re also chatting to Kate Fleetwood, a Tony and Olivier Award Nominee who stars in the Amazon Prime series The Wheel of Time.  Kate tells us about playing the ultimate villainess Cruella de Vil and the impact of being able to see the audience on her performance.  We have a fun, summery, upbeat chat about  the dalmatian puppets and the secrets of staging a really good musical in which every song is earned.

    • 24 min
    81. The Royal College of Art: A Petri Dish of Future Solutions

    81. The Royal College of Art: A Petri Dish of Future Solutions

    With the RCA’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Paul Thompson and Chair of the Governing Body Sir Peter Bazalgette

    This week we’re talking about the RCA’s brand new £135 million Battersea campus.  In a fascinating conversation with Dr. Paul Thompson and Sir Peter Bazalgette, they tell us how the new facilities can give future creative leaders the tools to learn to solve some of the most pressing global issues, from climate crisis and ageing populations to mobility, urbanism, inclusivity and ensuring AI remains a force for good. As Paul Thompson says, ‘We’re trying to introduce some core fundamentals of science into the RCA art petri dish.’ The new development comprises a large scale hangar, robotics centre and an intelligent mobility design centre as well as sculpture and contemporary art practice studios.

    RCA alumni include some of the world’s most innovative designers from Jony Ive to James Dyson and Thomas Heatherwick, alongside artists including David Hockney, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley and Tracey Emin.  Listen in to hear how the RCA is in a better position than ever on the global stage to produce the creative leaders our world needs.

    • 29 min
    80. Britain vs France: Writer and Director John Morton on Tackling Call my Agent For a British Audience

    80. Britain vs France: Writer and Director John Morton on Tackling Call my Agent For a British Audience

    This week we talk to John Morton, the writer famous for classic TV hits like WIA, Twenty Twelve and People Like Us.  He’s been brave enough to take on our favourite show, the much-loved French series Call My Agent and create and direct the British version, Ten Per Cent.

    He talks to us about why agents are so fascinating and the complicated business of writing tightly scripted comedy. With eight episodes available to view on Amazon Prime, John tells us about the lead cast members, how and why he made the main characters so different to suit a British audience.  We explore the gaping differences between British and French culture:  Are we simply much less glamorous? Or, unlike the French, are we just unable to say what we really mean?

    The critics were uncertain and divided to start with but became lured in and are looking forward to Series Two – if it happens. We very much hope so, and John talks openly about the challenges of taking on such a project.  Stars playing cameos of themselves include Dominic West, Helena Bonham Carter, Kelly Macdonald and David Harewood.

    • 30 min
    79. The Historic Episode

    79. The Historic Episode

    This week we’re talking about the Chalke Valley History Festival, the biggest festival in the world devoted entirely to history, which runs from 20th to the 26th of June at its beautiful Wiltshire home near Salisbury.   On the podcast with us is the festival director, Jane Pleydell-Bouverie and two historians who’ll be talking there, Christopher de Bellaigue and Tracy Borman.

    Christopher tells us about his book The Lion House, The Coming of a King, which has received rave reviews and depicts the great Ottoman ruler, Suleyman the Magnificent, and his rise to becoming the most feared and powerful man of the 16th Century.  Tracy talks about her book, Crown and Sceptre:  A New History of the British Monarchy from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II, which explores the institution as far back as 1066 and gives us her views on the future of the monarchy. Jane gives us the rundown on all the exciting events happening at the festival this year from The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room, where Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir are rediscovering women in history to Bill Browder on his book Freezing Order: A True Story of Russian Money-Laundering, State-Sponsored Murder and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath.

    • 30 min
    78. An Apology from Hay Festival

    78. An Apology from Hay Festival

    This week we recorded our panel discussion at Hay Festival with three outstanding writers for this podcast. Unfortunately, the Hay Festival Technical Team had a problem with our recording and could not retrieve it for us to broadcast.

    On the panel were Karen Armstrong, former Catholic nun and now prolific writer andcommentator on religion, Jessie Greengrass, the award-winning short story writer and novelist, and Ellen Miles, guerrilla gardener, activist and founder of the campaign Nature is a Human Right. As this was Hay, the world’s best known book festival, they were of course all on the panel to talk about their books, which deal with protecting nature and our planet and fighting climate change in very different way but equally compelling ways. You can hear a very brief description of them by clicking onto the podcast.

    The books are Sacred Nature by Karen Armstrong, The High House by Jessie Greengrass Nature is a Human Right, Why We’re Fighting for Green in a Grey World, edited by Ellen Miles, and we hope listeners will read the books, which we highly recommend.

    We’ll be back on track next week talking to the founder and historians at the Chalke Valley History Festival. Meanwhile, on behalf of Hay Festival, we apologise again.

    • 2 min
    77. Celebrating Women in Fiction with Mary Ann Sieghart and Dorothy Koomson

    77. Celebrating Women in Fiction with Mary Ann Sieghart and Dorothy Koomson

    Today we’re talking about the 27th prestigious 2022 Prize for Women in Fiction, which honours outstanding ambitious original fiction written in English by women from all over the world. The entries are judged by a panel comprising Lorraine Candy, Anita Sethi, Dorothy Koomson and Pandora Sykes. The Chair of the Judges is Mary Ann Sieghart, prolific journalist, broadcaster and author of the bestseller The Authority Gap, Why We Still Take Women Less Seriously than Men and What We Can Do About It. She’s with us alongside her fellow judge Dorothy, herself a globally best-selling author known as ‘Queen of the Reveal’.

    The shortlist incorporates a broad range of themes from ghosts, sisterhood and identity to mental illness, gender violence and the power of nature in global settings from Antarctica to Trinidad. Mary Ann and Dorothy discuss the six shortlisted entries by Lisa Allen-Agostini, Louise Erdich, Meg Mason, Ruth Ozeki, Elif Shafak and Maggie Shipstead.

    We also talk about the role of a judge, the extraordinary stories on the shortlist, why men don’t read books by women and why this prize, founded by novelist Kate Mosse, is so important.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Jennisprudence ,

Gem

Have just found this podcast and it is such a gem! Love that this space exists

Vivien7700 ,

Another excellent episode. #5 + all the rest!

Still enjoying this podcast immensely after a year. So many interesting guests! Charlotte and Ed interview everyone in such a friendly way teasing out all sorts of fascinating information from them. Brilliant! VM

Well done on another excellent episode! You certainly get some good guests to interview and these two didn’t disappoint. They were both extremely interesting and also seemed like very nice people.

Thanks for alerting me to Missan Harriman and his work. What a great person he is. I am also looking forward to visiting Eltham Palace which I’ve only so far seen on Antiques Roadshow and I’ve downloaded the Blue Plaque app - what a great idea to be able to get more information about the individuals commemorated.

Looking forward to the next episode!

Fi dog ,

Such Fun

In the midst of miserable lockdown, I get my weekly injection of interest/amusement/culture to inspire and cheer me along. A walk along the Thames with Charlotte and Ed on my AirPods, making me laugh out loud and scurry home to check out their recommendations on the internet, and a fantastic source of discussion with friends and family when frankly there isn’t much news or interest apart from cases and deaths and vaccines.
Ed and Charlotte add a personal dynamic to the discussions which give you the impression that anything could be said, and interviews fly off on wild tangents -I suspect this is an illusion as the whole show flows professionally and some one (charlotte?) obviously does a lot of research to unearth new and exciting material. I hope they keep going when we do actually break-out!

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