The Wonders: Lifting the Curtain on the Victorian Freak Show

Tuesday 24 November 1:00pm Talks
Free Admission - Booking Required

Venue: Theatre Royal

Important Information

This event will take place at the Theatre Royal Dress Circle bar
Under 14s must be accompanied by an adults aged 18+

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Roll up! Roll up!

Historian and author Dr John Woolf explores the history of the Victorian freak show through the stories of the ‘freak performers’ who graced the boards of this popular form of Victorian entertainment.

Think Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman but without the whitewashing – a talk that traverses the Atlantic to bring you the shocking, triumphant and tragic stories of incredible freak performers.

From the original ‘Siamese Twins’ who wowed the medical world and became slave-owning farmers of the American South to the true story of P.T. Barnum’s exploitation of a slave for entertainment, this talk brings centre stage the stars of the Victorian freak show.

Revealing a monarch in Queen Victoria who loved to frolic with freak performers to a nation enraptured by ‘Deformito-Mania’, Dr Woolf reconfigures our understanding of the Victorian Age where wonders reigned supreme.

Having read history at the University of Cambridge, Dr John Woolf is a historian and researcher. He has recently co-written the bestselling and award-winning audiobook Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets and his first non-fiction book The Wonders: Lifting the Curtain on the Freak Show, Circus and Victorian Age.

Supported by the Heritage Fund