The Marlowe Society
Old Weavers House in Canterbury next to the River Stour
03 April 2014

ALS Weekend & Marlowe Day in Canterbury

Programme and Booking Details

As part of the celebrations in this year that marks the 450th anniversary of Marlowe's birth, the Society will be hosting the annual Alliance of Literary Societies (ALS) Weekend at the King's School in Canterbury on Saturday 31st May and Sunday 1st June 2014.

The ALS is the umbrella organisation for literary societies and groups in the UK. They were formed in 1973 and currently have around 125 societies as members, from The Jane Austen Society to The Emile Zola Society. Christopher Marlowe is the earliest writer to have a Society as a member of the ALS, and we are very honoured to be welcoming the ALS to Canterbury and hosting their AGM Weekend in this landmark anniversary year for our poet.

As well as providing the opportunity for the ALS to hold their AGM, the weekend enables members from other Societies to learn more about a different literary figure. Recent years have seen the weekend hosted by The (Elizabeth) Gaskell Society in Knutsford, The (Samuel) Johnson Society in Lichfield, The Dickens Fellowship in Nottingham, and last year by The Barbara Pym Society in Oxford.

The School Room,
The King's School,
CT1 2EZ.
[Map & Directions]

This year we will be hoping to shed a little light on our Elizabethan poet and playwright for attendees from a range of other literary societies. Former chairman Valerie Colin-Russ will give a talk on Marlowe's life and mysterious death, whilst the ever-engaging Professor Richard Wilson from Kingston University will introduce the work and genius of Marlowe. Delegates will get the chance to view a range of literary manuscripts from many of the ALS Society authors in the Walpole Collection, courtesy of King's School Archivist Peter Henderson, and there will also be a short performance of Doctor Faustus. On Saturday evening, there is the option to enjoy dinner at The Parrot restaurant, whilst Sunday will give attendees the chance to visit some of the many historical and literary sights of Canterbury, including a service at the Cathedral, the Canterbury Heritage Museum (which includes Joseph Conrad's study as well as a Marlowe Exhibition), and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Experience. You might also like to enjoy the Marlowe Literary Walk around the city at your own pace.

Due to the location and timing of the ALS Weekend, we will be combining these events with our annual Marlowe Day for Marlowe Society members. As such, Saturday's programme will include a short walk to the Marlowe Memorial for those wishing to take part in the traditional wreath-laying ceremony (close to the New Marlowe Theatre on Friars Lane - see map) .

Members of the Society, members of the ALS, and non-members are welcome to attend. Attendance at the day-time events on Saturday, including morning coffee, afternoon tea and lunch will cost £15.00 each. The ALS Dinner at The Parrot on Saturday evening will cost £28 per head (excluding drinks). Places for either or both of these events can be reserved by sending a cheque (payable to "The Marlowe Society") for the appropriate amount together with a completed ALS2014 Registration Form to our Membership & Social Secretary, Frieda Barker by Friday 18th April. Note that the visiting of any attractions on the Sunday is optional, and as such any entrance fees should be paid on the day.

You can also make PayPal payments to , but please supply all the registration information with your payment, including a contact email address.

For further information or queries, please .

ALS Weekend: Saturday 31st May & Sunday 1st June 2014

Programme For Saturday

  • 10:00 - Arrival of Delegates.
  • Coffee and distribution of lapel name packages and information packs.
  • 11:00 - Welcome to the Weekend by The King's School
  • 11:10 - Marlowe Society Welcome
  • Chairman of the Marlowe Society, George Metcalfe, welcomes delegates.
  • 11:20 - The Life and Mysterious Death of Christopher Marlowe
  • Former Chairman of the Marlowe Society, Valerie Colin-Russ, gives a talk on the action-packed life of the Elizabethan poet, playwright and sometime spy, who died in Deptford in highly suspicious circumstances at the age of just 29 in 1593.
  • 11:45 - The Work and Genius of Christopher Marlowe
  • Professor Richard Wilson from Kingston University gives an introduction to the Marlowe canon.
  • 12:15 - A choice of two activities:
  • [A] Wreath-Laying
  • A short 10-minute walk to the Marlowe Memorial for the traditional Marlowe Day wreath-laying ceremony.
  • [B] The History of The Marlowe Society
  • For those who don't wish to walk to the Memorial, long-time Marlowe Society member Frieda Barker will give a short talk on the foundation of the Marlowe Society in 1955, and the discovery of the putative portrait of Marlowe at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1953.
  • 13:00 - Buffet Lunch
  • 14:00 - Alliance of Literary Societies AGM
  • 14:45 - Delegates are split into two groups for two activities (each group doing one activity whilst the other group does the other):
  • [A] The Walpole Collection of Literary Manuscripts
  • A talk and display by Peter Henderson (Archivist at The King's School) of the this wonderful collection of literary manuscripts (many by ALS society authors) donated to the school by Hugh Walpole in 1938.
  • [B] Doctor Faustus
  • Actors will give a shortened performance of Doctor Faustus. Most of Marlowe's work was after all written to be performed.
  • 16:45 approx - Tea & Farewells
  • Tea and biscuits, and delegate departure.
  • 18:30 for 19:00 - ALS Dinner
  • Dinner in a private function room at The Parrot restaurant with traditional ALS entertainment. Note that attendance at the dinner is optional, but those wishing to attend must reserve a place with payment in advance.

Options For Sunday

  • Delegates are free to make their own arrangements, with more information about the city's attractions provided on the weekend. Those wishing to attend the 11am morning service at the Cathedral need to be seated by 10.30am, but are able stay in the Cathedral and afterwards for free. Other attractions include the Canterbury Heritage Museum and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Experience. You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll around Canterbury at your own pace courtesy of the Marlowe Literary Walk.