a curious invitation last tuesday society
a curious invitation robert carlyles house last tuesday society national trust london
Samuel Foote at the Cafe royal


Ian Kelly

Tuesday 8th November 2016
Doors open at 6:30 pm, Talk commences at 7:00 pm

‘Ian is the only acclaimed non fiction writer in the history of the West End ever to have adapted his own work as a hit comedy… and starred in it’
- Sir Jonathan Bate on Mr Foote’s Other Leg.

In 1776 Foote's was the most talked-of name in the English-speaking world. By 1777 it was almost unmentionable. Samuel Foote, friend of David Garrick and Dr Johnson, is the greatest lost figure of the eighteenth century; his story defies belief and has only been forgotten for reasons both laughable and shocking. Foote wrote the first true-crime bestseller, was the first celebrity impressionist and lost his leg after a bet with the Duke of York when a practical joke went disastrously wrong. Out of this was born the most singular career in stage history, the subject of both book and hit West End comedy last year at The Theatre Royal Haymarket.

In this talk award-winning historian and playwright Ian Kelly offers a joyous hop around the mad theatre of London life - high and low - and its representation in both award-winning non fiction and West End play 'Mr Foote’s Other Leg'

Ian Kelly
Ian Kelly is a multi-award winning actor and author, whose previous work includes biographies of Casanova (Sunday Times Biography of the Year) and Beau Brummell. Mr Foote's Other Leg, aligned his unique twin-careers as historian and actor and was then adapted for the stage in last year’s Hampstead/ Richard Eyre production at the Theatre Royal Haymarket starring Simon Russell Beale.

Ian's new ballet based on his bestselling biography of Casanova opens with Northern Ballet in March 2017 en route to Sadlers Wells. Choreography by Ken Tindall, scenario by Ian Kelly and Ken Tindall, music by Kerry Muzzy and designs by Christopher Oram. Ongoing projects include a screenplay about Handel’s Messiah in pre-production and a biopic on Robert Burns for Lionsgate films and a long term commission with Picador Books for a new work concerning the stage career of William Shakespeare.

Tickets £20 including a glass of prosecco. Please click here to buy.


5th April 2016
Geoffrey Marsh on David Bowie

3rd May 2016
Peter Berthoud on London Spectaculars -
the City's Forgotten Circus Shows

14th June 2016
Brian Robinson on Laurence Olivier

12th July 2016
Jude Kelly on Joan Littlewood

19th September 2016
Antonia Fraser on Harold Pinter

11th October 2016
Neil McKenna on Oscar Wilde - the Dramatist

8th November 2016
Ian Kelly on Samuel Foote

In 1863, a French wine merchant called Daniel Nicholas Thévenon and his wife arrived in England in a bid to escape the clutches of creditors in Paris. So began a story that grew out of bankruptcy and culminated in the creation of Regent Street’s Café Royal: a truly remarkable and original establishment with what was considered at one point to have the greatest wine cellar in the world and was reputed for its excellent hospitality, dining and entertainment. 

Frequented by writers and artists such as Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, the conversations, inspirations and discussions at ‘The Café’ were profound. Arthur Conan Doyle, H G Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, W B Yeats, Walter Sickert and James McNeill Whistler were all patrons. Distinguished figures such as Winston Churchill, Augustus John, D H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Noël Coward, Jacob Epstein and Graham Greene were also often seen.