Dr Christopher Wiley gives public talk on Ethel Smyth for International Women’s Day 2018

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Dr Christopher Wiley at The LightboxDr Christopher Wiley has delivered a public talk on Dame Ethel Smyth at The Lightbox, Woking for International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) 2018.

Addressing an audience of over 80 members of the public in The Lightbox’s Ambassador Room, Dr Wiley (pictured, left) spoke about Smyth’s life, music, and prose writings, with particular emphasis on her connections to Woking (her town of residence for over 30 years at the end of her life) and the surrounding area.

Dr Wiley also addressed the extent to which Smyth broke new ground for women both within and beyond the field of music composition, discussing her activity as a leading suffragette in the early 1910s as well as her war service, mindful of this year’s centenaries of women’s partial enfranchisement in the UK and of the end of the First World War.

A recognized expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley is frequently invited to give public lectures on the composer and writer, including recent appearances at The Guildford Institute and Frimhurst, Frimley Green (Smyth’s childhood home). This was the first of his several talks in the Surrey area this year, as well as one of a number of events commemorating Smyth for the Celebrate Woking Festival 2018.

Further information on Dr Wiley’s talk may be found here: https://www.thelightbox.org.uk/Event/ethel-smyth-composer-suffragette

The previous day, Dr Wiley had given an interview on Ethel Smyth at Woking Golf Club (pictured, below, with presenter Tim Matthews) for an episode of Pyrford TV Arts due to be released online in April.

Dr Christopher Wiley at Woking Golf Club

Dr Christopher Wiley addresses interdisciplinary Suffragette Symposium at Edge Hill University

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Dr Christopher Wiley - Edge Hill University - Suffragette SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the Suffragette Symposium hosted by the interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Group (GenSex) at Edge Hill University on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

His paper subjected to renewed critical scrutiny the claim that Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, composed following her two years’ service as a suffragette in the 1910s, constitutes a ‘feminist opera’.

The presentation, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, explored the work’s refashioning of pre-existing music including two of Smyth’s suffrage songs used in its Overture, as well as a range of adaptations of traditional music.

Addressing an audience of some 35 delegates comprising both academics and members of the public, Dr Wiley also discussed the opera’s indebtedness to the short story by W.W. Jacobs on which it is based, and made consideration of Smyth’s creative process as documented in contemporaneous correspondence with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Edge Hill University shieldFurther information on the Suffragette Symposium may be viewed online: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/gensex/

The full programme is available here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Symposium-Programme.pdf

Speaker biographies and abstracts may be found at the following link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Panel-Bios.docx.pdf


Dr Christopher Wiley leads post-show discussion on the suffragette movement at Cranleigh Arts Centre

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Jacqueline Mulhallen as Sylvia PankhurstDr Christopher Wiley addressed an audience of theatre-goers on Ethel Smyth as part of a post-show discussion following the one-woman play Sylvia, presented by Lynx Theatre and Poetry at Cranleigh Arts Centre, Surrey on the evening of Friday 26 May 2017.

The main performance, a theatrical production based on Sylvia Pankhurst’s life, activity as a painter, and service to the suffragette movement, was performed by professional actress Jacqueline Mulhallen (pictured, as Pankhurst) having been developed from original research.

After a brief interval, the post-show discussion led with Dr Wiley’s talk on Smyth, following which the audience were able to put questions to Dr Wiley and the creators of Sylvia, and to engage in further general conversation on women’s suffrage.

Internationally acknowledged for his substantial contribution to scholarship on Smyth across the past 15 years, Dr Wiley has more recently acquired a reputation as a local historian, many of the audience members already being familiar with his work on the Surrey-based composer, writer, and suffragette.

Further information about the event is available here: http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=CRAN&organ_val=40629&pid=8410211