Theatre events

The Disappearance of Miss Bebb

A key annual event in The Kalisher Trust’s fundraising calendar is the star-studded play reading in Middle Temple Hall. Each year the Kalisher Players, led by Artistic Director, Joe Harmston, mount a new play presented in ‘radio drama’ format with live music and sound effects. The goal is not only to offer a highly enjoyable and entertaining evening but also to use the play’s material to raise themes pertinent to the work of the Trust.

The Kalisher Players, featuring Patron and Vice President, Martin Shaw, are a pool of professional stage and screen actors who generously give their time and talent to support the work of the Trust and have included Stanley Tucci, Felicity Kendall, Hugh Dennis, Maxine Peake, Simon Russell Beale, Laura Main and Ray Fearon to name but a few.

The 2017 performance was the world premiere of Alex Giles’ new play, The Disappearance of Miss Bebb, about the battle for the first women to be allowed to practice law. In 2018 we hope to present another world premiere this time of a piece exploring historical racial bias in the law.

The Liberty Truck, by Laurie Slade

The Liberty Truck

Date: 4 March 2018

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: Middle Temple Hall

Following the huge success of The Disappearance of Miss Bebb, Alex Gile’s new play about the first women lawyers, the 2018 Kalisher play reading will be another world premiere this time touching on race and the law.

Colonial Kenya, at the tail-end of World War Two. A young European servicewoman is brutally murdered. A young African man stands accused. As the legal proceedings work towards their conclusion – is British justice itself on trial?

In a year which has already seen reports on the effects of racial bias in the law and areas of public life from David Lammy and the government’s Race Audit, The Kalisher Trust Theatre Event hopes to provoke debate about the present by turning its dramatic searchlight on a case from the past.

Laurie Slade was born and brought up in Kenya. He read law at Oxford, was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, and enrolled as an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. His legal career spanned 25 years, starting as a commercial lawyer in Nairobi, moving to London to specialise in consumer dispute resolution, ending up as Insurance Ombudsman. He subsequently qualified as a psychotherapist, and currently practises as a therapist in West London. Meanwhile, theatre has been a central focus throughout his life. Before embarking on his legal career, he worked his Equity ticket as stage manager in monthly rep, continuing with seasons at Chichester, in the West End, and with London Weekend Television.  His writing for theatre includes: new versions of Strindberg’s The Father (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Trafalgar Studios, London) and Gogol’s Marriage (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry); The Specimen (Drill Hall, London); Joe & I (King’s Head, London);  two pieces based on the African writing of Karen Blixen: Out of Africa (Phoenix Theatre, Nairobi) and Tales from Karen (Karen House, Nairobi). Radio: The Father (BBC Radio 3).

The Liberty Truck is his third collaboration with director Joe Harmston, following their successes with The Father and Joe & I.

The Kalisher Players

The links between the legal and acting professions are long established. Equality of access to both professions is a live issue and the actors who support us by performing demonstrate the common ground we share. There is a core of long-term players including Martin Shaw (Kalisher Patron and Vice President), Ray Fearon (Kalisher patron), Maxine Peake, Hugh Dennis, Mark Farelly and Daniel Hill. This is augmented by a range of talented special guests who have included Felicity Kendall, Stanley Tucci, Jessica Raine, Simon Russell-Beale, Laura Maine and Lauren Coe to name but a few of the dozens of talented actors who have generously given of their time and experience. We are indebted to them for their kindness without which we could not create the events. For the full list of Kalisher Players please click here.