Speaking with Shadows
Abstract landscape showing a castle keep and shadows projected onto ground in front of it

Speaking with Shadows Podcast

When you’re wandering about a historic place, what voices do you hear echoing off the walls? Are they the ones you learnt about at school – or do you wonder about the shadowy, quiet voices that may have gone unheard?

Speaking with Shadows is the podcast that listens to the people that history forgot. From castles on the south coast to Hadrian’s Wall in the far north, join presenter Josie Long as she travels across the country to seek out six stories from the hidden corners of England’s history. 

Photograph of comedian Josie Long leaning on wall in front of Portchester Castle keep
Speaking with Shadows presenter Josie Long at Portchester Castle

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Speaking with Shadows brings you a new story every fortnight on a Tuesday. Our first episode invites you into the 1930s world of Gwen Lally, Britain’s first female pageant master. Other figures stepping out of the shadows later in the series will include revolutionary soldiers from the Caribbean, a medieval Jewish community, and imprisoned conscientious objectors from the First World War.

Subscribe on your favourite podcast platform to be notified every time a new episode appears, and listen to the first episode below.

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Gwen Lally directing a pageant
The first episode of Speaking with Shadows features Gwen Lally, Britain’s first female pageant master
© King's College London Archives K/PP251/2/8

Episode 1: A 1930s Pioneer

Our first trip is to Battle Abbey where we discover the story of Gwen Lally, a former actress who directed thousands of performers in Battle’s 1932 pageant. We hear about Lally’s pioneering role as the first female pageant master and her exploration of gender roles both on and off stage. 

Listen to the episode here and follow the link below to read more about Lally, the Battle Abbey pageant, and how women in the early 20th century explored the boundaries of gender.

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