Members from all sections of the Castle Community gathered in the Elizabethan Room Tuesday night to launch Castle Reads, a shared reading experience never previously attempted at the Castle before. Taking the form of a traditional ‘book club’ combined with a series of events, Castle Reads is for everyone at the Castle who enjoys a good book. And the book chosen for this term is Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.
As Shannon Smith notes, “This term’s book was chosen to coincide with the Castle’s observations of the centenary of the end of the First World War. Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting is not a new book, but it is a book that remains both prescient and engaging. Along with the discussion meetings we hope members will take advantage of, there are some other events programmed to tie in with our reading”.
Shannon went on to explain about the production of Lest We Forget by the Stables Theatre in Hastings. “From 8-11 November, at the Stables Theatre in Hastings, a local theatre group is staging a unique production to commemorate the end of the First World War. Lest We Forget is a play that uses local and personal histories from Hastings-area residents to tell the story of East Sussex’s involvement in the First World War. The director, Tim Wormley-Healing, and his team, have been working to collect people’s stories and turn them into an evening of theatre and music that is not to be missed. Details about the play, along with ticket prices and booking links, are available here.
On 14 November, at 7.00 pm, Tim and some of the cast of Lest We Forget will be visiting the Castle for a discussion of their work and to answer questions about the production. This event is open to the community, regardless of whether or not you have seen the play.”
How these two events fit into the tentative schedule is below:
- w/b October 29 —first shared reading
- November 9-10 — Lest We Forget at the Stables Theatre, Hastings
- November 14 — Visit by the cast of Lest We Forget
- w/b November 26—second shared reading
- w/b December 10—third shared reading
The schedule of events is tentative because Sarah Butler, administrator for the endeavour, stressed that Castle Reads was very much ‘organic’ in nature, and its direction would be steered by its members. Looking to the Winter term, she noted that this Fall’s membership would be responsible for shortlisting and ultimately selecting the book for next term. The Castle Reads ‘committee’ (a term used to describe here a group of interested individuals with some collective thoughts, which currently comprises Beth Richan, Sharon Jakeman, Shannon Smith, Peter Lowe, Rob Hyland and Sarah Butler) is looking for additional membership from the student community to help lead and provide impetus to the group.
So, what’s next? In short, grab the book and start reading! If you need a copy of the book, go to the Library where there is a free copy waiting for you. In the next few days, Sarah will be setting up the first shared reading experience. There will be two opportunities to attend, so hopefully everyone who is interested will be able to come to one or the other. And finally, there’s the Castle Reads Forum, which will keep you up-to-date with all that is going on, and gives you a platform to share your thoughts on the book, if you can’t make a meeting.
»Not entirely averse to the odd strange meeting or two since January 2017«