Wilde in New York Documentary

John Cooper

Quill Classics has posted a new full-length video documentary written and directed by Erik Ryding: Wilde in New York. The video features author John Cooper, shown above, who writes the Wilde in America blog, and Wilde biographer Matthew Sturgis provides the voice of Oscar.

Although Oscar Wilde is mostly associated with London at his zenith as a playwright, New York City also deserves a special place in his history. It was in New York, in fact, that his first two plays—Vera and The Duchess of Padua—had their world-premiere performances. During his yearlong tour of the United States in 1882, when he was a little-known poet associated with the comic character Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera Patience, he sojourned in New York several times, establishing important social and artistic connections. Prompting newspaper stories wherever he went, he returned to Europe a genuine celebrity.

The film, tracing Wilde through New York and beyond, features new and original recordings of period music by Rodrigo Espina, Étienne Goepp, Christina Kay, Howard Lew, Randall Love, Rebecca Pechefsky, Erik Ryding, Mitchell Vines, John Taylor Ward, and Melanie Williams; the video ends with a segment on the streets of New York City with Cooper visiting some of Oscar’s haunts.

Watch the video on YouTube.

‘House Beautiful’ Launch Event at Tite Street

The latest edition of The Wildean, No. 64, has a focus on Oscar Wilde’s ‘House Beautiful,’ and to celebrate the Oscar Wilde Society held a launch event at two flats in Tite Street that were once Oscar and Constance’s home. Some of the highlights of this event are featured in the video below.

Rob Marland discussed the artwork and other decorations in the Wilde home, including the copper plaque of Isola. Rob Marland’s talk and images can be found on his blog: https://marlandonwilde.blogspot.com/2024/02/the-interior-design-of-oscar-wildes.html 

Ralf Eikelberg, an interior architect with London Atelier, explored the renovations to two flats that were formerly Wilde’s London home. Learn more about London Atelier at https://www.londonatelier.com/

Fr. Liam Quinlan brought a plaque of Isola Wilde by American artist John Donoghue to the event, the first time it has been in Wilde’s house since 1895, and explained how he acquired it.

Gyles Brandreth, the honorary president of the Oscar Wilde Society, gave a moving reading of ‘No. 34 Tite Street: Oct. 16, 1954’, a poem on the installation of a blue plaque outside Wilde’s former home, written by K.W. Gransden, whose daughters were present at the Oscar Wilde Society event. The Wildean 64 includes an in-depth article by Devon Cox on the plaque’s history.

Iain Ross, The Wildean’s books reviews editor, read a poem by Lionel Johnson praising Wilde for The Picture of Dorian Gray, in the very room where Johnson introduced Wilde to his friend, Lord Alfred Douglas. Lionel Johnson’s poem can be found in Nina Antonia’s book Incurable: The Haunted Writings of Lionel Johnson, the Decadent Era’s Dark Angel, published by Strange Attractor Press.

The Oscar Wilde Society is grateful to all the speakers at this event, and especially to Karen Caddick and Jen Elliott-Bennett for hosting the event in their homes.

To purchase a copy of The Wildean 64, visit https://oscarwildesociety.co.uk/publications/the-wildean/

Dominic Dromgoole on Oscar Wilde

Dominic Dromgoole

Acclaimed director and author Dominic Dromgoole discusses Oscar Wilde and theatre in this talk at the Oscar Wilde Society Annual Birthday Dinner in October 2023, in the National Liberal Club. He discusses his year-long Classic Spring Season of Oscar Wilde’s works at the Vaudeville Theatre in London between 2017 and 2018, shares thoughts on Shakespeare and the proscenium arch, and reads excerpts from his new book, Astonish Me!, one chapter of which deals with the first night of The Importance of Being Earnest at the St James’s Theatre on 14 February 1895.

His talk is followed by a note of thanks from the society’s Robert Whelan, an author on theatre history and the editor of The Wildean.

Oscar Wilde: An Irishman in London

Honorary patraon Eleanor Fitzsimons gave an informative and entertaining talk about Oscar Wilde as an Irishman following our AGM in September. You can watch her talk on our YouTube channel.

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A Visit to Tite Street

The Oscar Wilde Society at Tite Street

Committee members and honorary patrons of the Oscar Wilde Society visited Oscar Wilde’s former home on Tite Street on 27 November 2021, as the guests of current occupant Jenny Elliott-Bennett. The committee members and honorary president Gyles Brandreth gave short readings, followed by a moving performance by honorary patron Neil Titley as Oscar, part of his one-man show ‘Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes’.

The readings and Neil’s performance were given in a room that had been Oscar’s study, where he wrote some of his timeless works. The Oscar Wilde Society thanks Jenny, her mother and friends for their hospitality and a wonderful evening. A write-up of the event will appear in one of our forthcoming publications.

In the photo above, front row, from left: Gyles Brandreth, Ceri Thompson, Don Mead, Nadia Montasser, Libby Murphy, Sandra Tyler-Harrison. Back row, from left: Matthew MacLachlan, Veronika Binoeder, Jenny Elliott-Bennett, Vanessa Heron, Amanda Dudman, Lisa Tallis, Neil Titley. Not pictured: Darcy Sullivan (he took the picture).

Recordings of the readings and Neil’s performance are on our YouTube channel and are all in the Tite Street playlist.

Neil Titley on Forty Years with Oscar

Neil Titley, actor, author and honorary patron of the Oscar Wilde Society, has performed a one-man show as Oscar Wilde for forty years. In this speech to the Society at its annual Oscar Wilde Birthday Dinner, Neil describes the highs and hilarious lows of this career playing Oscar around the world – often in the unlikeliest of venues and to the most unusual of audiences!

Der Zwerg – Full Video of Wilde-Based Opera

Der Zwerg image

Based on The Birthday of the Infanta by Oscar Wilde, Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) is perhaps Alexander Zemlinsky’s best-known and most powerful opera. This live performance was recorded in September 2021 by the Dutch National Opera. It will be reviewed by Tine Englebert in the next edition of The Wildean.

Watch the Video

A Chat with Don Mead (Video)

Don Mead, chariman of the Oscar Wilde Society

In this video, Don Mead, chairman of the Oscar Wilde Society, explores the history of the Society and its journal The Wildean. Don also discusses how he discovered Wilde, and why this author was so important to him. He closes the interview with guidance for people just encountering Wilde and wishing to learn more.

The interviewer is Darcy Sullivan, and the videographer is Clayton Hartley. Special thanks to Vanessa Heron for her assistance.