'From Ambridge to Afghanistan': University museum's annual lecture goes international
Release Date 14 November 2011
A star of Radio 4's The Archers will explore how the long-running radio drama has become a model for radio across the world, at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in Reading later this month.
Felicity Finch, who plays Ruth Archer in the series, will present MERL's Annual Lecture on 24 November , with the title ‘From Ambridge to Afghanistan'. Admission is free and open to all.
Felicity, an actress and BBC presenter and reporter of features and documentaries, will be talking about how The Archers has been used as a model for radio dramas across the world.
Such series are now routinely used as a powerful tool in educating audiences through entertainment - as was the case with the origins of The Archers in 1951, when it was established as an educational tool for British farmers. She will also speak about her radio documentaries covering dramas overseas, as well as her work training actors on the Afghan radio show ‘New Home, New Life' in Kabul.
The Museum, which is owned and managed by the University of Reading, is organising this year's Annual Lecture to mark the culmination of an exciting programme of events celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Museum.
MERL has shared these celebrations with BBC Radio 4's The Archers, which is itself celebrating its diamond anniversary in 2011, by hosting a collaborative exhibition, ‘Everyday stories of country folk'. The Museum is therefore delighted that the Annual Lecture will be given by Felicity.
Felicity Finch said: "It's been an amazing journey for me to travel to countries like Rwanda and Afghanistan where they have their very own radio soap operas, using The Archers as their model.
"These programmers provide a lifeline for millions of listeners as they both educate and entertain through their strong storylines and characters. I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences at the MERL lecture."
Kate Arnold-Forster, Director of MERL, said: "The theme of Felicity's lecture is the perfect way to mark the end of our year of 60th anniversary celebrations. It will show that The Archers, while long established, continues to be a model for communicating current thinking about farming and the countryside to people across the world. We are delighted that the public will have the chance to put their questions to Felicity after the lecture."
The lecture is being held on 24 November at 7pm in the University of Reading's historic Great Hall, on the London Road campus. Admission is free, although tickets are required. These can be requested by contacting the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0118 378 8660. Further details are available on the MERL website at www.reading.ac.uk/merl.
Notes for media:
Media are welcome to attend. Please contact Alison Hilton, marketing officer, on 0118 378 8660 or email@example.com
Museum of English Rural Life (MERL)
The Museum of English Rural Life, in Redlands Road, Reading, was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books. Today, it forms part of the University's Museums and Collections Service. The Museum operates as a major resource and research centre for the history of food, farming and the countryside with links into the School of History and other academic departments at the University.
University of Reading
The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise. Visit www.reading.ac.uk for more details.