Jim Stebbings

Location: Dereham, Norfolk
About me...

I have had a life-long interest in the theatre and performing, especially the musical theatre, both as an amateur and semi-professional performer and as a producer and director.
After retirement from a professional career in financial management that took me to over thirty countries, I have been able to devote much of my leisure time to my musical and entertainment interests. This has encompassed producing music festivals, directing and participating in various forms of musical and dramatic entertainment and studying the lives and work of the prominent musical theatre contributors to the 20th century musical theatre, and in particular those contributors to what is known as The Great American Songbook.

I am also a keen walker and have successfully completed the four-day Nijmegen Marches in Holland sixteen times.

About my Talks...

My talks are made with Powerpoint presentations using my laptop, projector, screen and ancillary equipment.  This is important because my talks are illustrated with pictures, music and video clips. Ideally these talks require an hour to one hour and a quarter, but they can be shortened to 45 minutes as necessary. I am aiming to develop a range of talks based around the common theme of The Great American Songbook and the great musicals. Currently I can present the talks listed below, so please scroll down…………..


£50 within 15 miles of Dereham, Mid-Norfolk, about 14 miles west of Norwich.  I am happy to travel into adjoining counties though travel costs are required for distances over 15 miles.

Talks on Zoom £40.00.

My talks can also be bought in recorded form. Contact me for details.

My Contact Details:

01362 693277

07786 256032

The Magnificent Seven.

As well as contributing thousands of popular songs that remain ‘standards’ and which comprise much of what if often referred to as The Great American Songbook, the stories behind the lives of our seven American songwriters also reveal extraordinary, fascinating and even shocking facts from their personal lives.  Which songwriter survived almost certain death my oversleeping?  Who survived by earning money as a boxer and even fought a future world champion before eventually finding fame with one of the greatest musicals ever written?   Who married and raised a family before choosing to live with other men – yet retained the loyalty of his wife?  Which household name which we associate with some of the sweetest music ever written was an unpleasant and sour man?  Whose life was touched with sadness and tragedy on more than one occasion and yet remained optimistic and became part of American folklore?  Who married eight times but never found true contentment? These and other fascinating stories will be revealed in this presentation which is illustrated with extracts of music and film from their most famous works.

The Centenarian of Song - The 101-Year Life and Music of Irving Berlin.

From his poverty stricken entry to the USA as young Jewish immigrant named Israel Baline, to his phenomenal song-writing success as Irving Berlin in a life that spanned 101 years, we discover the steps that took Berlin to fame and fortune and made him an American legend.  We learn about the tragedy that touched his life and why his work, music and reputation endure today in the American way of life.  Which song of Berlin’s remains the biggest world-seller of all time?  Why is his name associated with the tragedy of America’s 9/11?  Which American President became a part of Berlin’s performing life before entering US politics?  These and other fascinating facts are revealed in my presentation which is illustrated with rare photographs, film and music.

The Topsy-Turvey World of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Performed still throughout the world, the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas have been part of the fabric of British life for over a century.  Beyond the success of the operas themselves however the lives of these two extraordinary men reveal some extraordinary stories from this Victorian era involving sex, drugs, jealousy, greed and tragedy. In a presentation illustrated with rare images, musical extracts and film we learn about this unique partnership and the enduring legacy of their work and times that remains today.

A Very English Dynasty - Four Generations of the D'Oyly Carte Family

The name D’Oyly Carte is known by many people in relation to the vital role of Richard D’Oyly Carte in the success of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. In a presentation which covers four generations of the family from the mid-19th century until the late 20th century, we learn much more of the background to this remarkable family and its achievements and successes, its failures and tragedies. We also discover the legacy and landmarks that the family left and that remains part of our lives today. Oh, and where did the D’Oyly Carte name originate from

Lusitania - A Story of Loss, Deception and Conspiracy

The loss of Cunard’s RMS Lusitania is a story from WW1 though the victims were innocent civilians, many from what was then a neutral State. We follow the events that led up to its attack in May 1915 and we follow the lives of some of the survivors and victims. We also investigate if a successful attack by a German U-Boat on a civilian ship was a legal act of war and why more wasn’t done to prevent the loss of life that followed. As well as a story of war, and a story of deception and possible conspiracy it reveals some interesting aspects of the lives of those onboard, both famous celebrities and ordinary people and how they are remembered today. This is a presentation with interesting images and pictures that will appeal beyond those who might regard it as merely a part of WW1 history.

Sentiments of Christmas

Though acknowledging, respecting and marking the true meaning of Christmas, ‘Sentiments of Christmas’ is an eclectic collection of aspects of the traditional Christmas season conveyed through music, stories, humour, sentiments, images and pictures presented through over 100 slides. Parts of the presentation provided opportunities for audience vocal participation if desired. This is a Christmas presentation with a difference that may be just the thing to get your group into the Christmas spirit. Approximately 45 minutes.

American Cultural Influences On Post-War Britain: A Personal Perspective.

Anyone growing up during the austere and gloomy years immediately after the end of WW2 and into the second half of the 20th Century will recall the influences that American culture had in brightening up our lives and introducing us to new sounds, images, fashions and foods, themselves promoted by the American servicemen who still remained among us. With images of the era we recall some of these influences and how they remain part of our lives today. This is not so much a study of post-war social history but a celebration of the things we shared with our great ally as part of the ‘special relationship’.

Jim Stebbings Contact Details:

01362 693277

07786 256032

Send a message to Jim Stebbings