Pete Allen

Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
About the Speaker...

Pete is the Director of The RC Sherriff Trust, an arts charity established through terms set down in the will of the playwright and author RC Sherriff. He spent six years as Assistant Head Flyman at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane before training as a theatre director at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and undertaking a master’s degree in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster. Prior to his work with The RC Sherriff Trust he was The Arts Development Officer for Elmbridge Borough Council where he was responsible for The Royston Pike Lecture Series. He was co-founder and artistic director of WhirlygigArts which ran CRYPT (Cranleigh Young People’s Theatre), CMYT (Chequer Mead Youth Theatre) and The Big Picture Young People’s Film Workshop. He also co-founded Storm the Stage Young People’s Theatre for Mole Valley District Council and was the Director of The Together in Waddon Community Project. He works extensively as a professional theatre director and film-maker.

About his Talks...

All Talks are accompanied by visuals and last approx. 50 minutes to 1 hour with time for questions and answers.


Each talk costs £80 (excluding travel).

My Contact Details:


Oh No It Isn’t: A History of Pantomime

What is it about Pantomime that attracts us to this strange concoction of fairy tales, dance, jokes, songs and cross-dressing? And what is it really like to play the back end of a Pantomime Cow? All this, and the answer to whether something really is behind you will be answered in this festive Talk about what has become one of the great British Christmas traditions.

Mr Garrick’s Fireside; A personal History of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane has provided entertainment for every monarch since the Charles II. This talk takes a personal journey through the history of one of the most famous theatres in the world with tales of being the body double for the man who wrote ‘My Fair Lady’ and almost being shot by the Queen Mother’s security detail…all because of Ken Dodd.



To Journey’s End; The Life of RC Sherriff

In 2000 the National Theatre named ‘Journey’s End’ one of the 100 greatest British plays of the 20th Century.  This is the story of how a shy insurance salesman and rowing coach from Hampton wrote one of the most moving and true accounts of life in the trenches of WW1 and went on to become one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood helping create some of cinema’s most memorable films.



A Lasso Around the Moon; The making of Frank Capra’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

Despite being a box office disaster on its release and the film that signalled the demise of the career of one of the pioneers of cinema, how did a film, which one critic called a ‘turkey dinner,’ go on to be named the 7th best film in Channel 4’s poll of the ‘100 Greatest Films Ever Made’? The talk celebrates ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, a film that’s now as much as part of Christmas as mince pies and mistletoe.




On Broadway: The Life and Adventures of Damon Runyan

Although best known for writing the stories that are the source of the classic musical ‘Guys and Dolls’, Damon Runyon’s unique style and use of language, has entered our everyday speech.

If your boss give you the ‘heave-ho’? Your favourite TV stars have charm ‘in spades’? Or your football club, ‘brought in the dream team’? Then they did so talking ‘Runyonese’.

This is the story of the man who turned gambling, gangsters, guys and dolls into the stuff of legend…and is the responsible for Pudsy the Bear!



Not Coming Soon: The Greatest Movies NEVER Made

Ever wondered whether it was the start of a beautiful friendship between Rick and Louis? Whether even James Bond could have saved New York from sharks armed with nuclear warheads? Or what Alfred Hitchcock might have planned for a judge accused of murder? History remembers the great (and often not so great) movies that were made…but what about the ones that never made it past the starting line?

The Road Goes Ever On and On: JRR Tolkien & the Writing of The Lord of the Rings

Over 60 years after its publication The Lord of the Rings remains one of the most popular books ever written. This talk explores the road to its publication and popularity including Tolkien’s time in the trenches of the Somme and the influence that had on his writing.




Watching the Detectives: A History of British Television Crime Fighters

Murder! It’s not big and it’s not clever. But without it our little grey cells would have missed some of the most popular television programmes to ever grace the small screen. This Talk walks the beat through the quiet of St Mary Mead, the golden spires of Oxford, the cliffs of Broadchurch and the killing fields of Midsummer. On the way it unearths the clues that reveal how our fascination with the long arm of the law owes much to the uncertainty, experimentation and innovation of the early days of television.

The Morse Code: Deciphering Britain's Favourite Detective

Has there ever been a more perfect tragic hero than Inspector Morse? Someone who, as his creator Colin Dexter noted, was somewhat of a loner by temperament…though never wholly happy when alone, was usually slightly more miserable when with other people, probably down to the knowledge that he was smarter than everyone else in the room. This Talk, a companion piece to ‘Watching the Detectives’, explores the world of Morse from his first appearance in literature to his investigations on screen, stage and radio.

Lights, Camera, Ho! Ho! Ho! A Surprising Celebration of Christmas Movies

Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, Macauley Culkin in ‘Home Alone’, Michael Caine and the Muppets in ‘A Christmas Carol’. Christmas and movies have gone hand in hand since the early days of Cinema. But do you think you know what makes a great festive film? In this Talk on the classic Seasonal films, there’s always room for a little surprise in the festive movie stocking…like John Wayne on the run from the law…what could be more Christmassy than that?

How Now Spirit? Tingling Tales of Theatre Ghosts

Since the early days of theatre, actors, stagehands and audiences alike have claimed to have witnessed a disturbing amount of strange supernatural activity once the lights have dimmed. This Talk takes a look at ghost stories from some of our most haunted theatres in the world. So, light a candle, grab the hand of the person next to you and be prepared for bloodcurdling cues that will bring on the ghosts.

How The West Was Shot: Hollywood and the Wild, Wild West

Ever since Justus D Barnes drew his revolver in ‘The Great Train Robbery’ in 1903, Hollywood and the Western have been inseparable. For over 70 years it made stars of actors like Marion Morrison, Eldred Peck and Yuliy Borisovich Briner. This Talk forges a trail west to celebrate the men AND women who helped make The Western the most important genre in cinema history and in doing so helped create the legends of Hollywood and America. 


“Peter held us all spell bound. An excellent speaker, certainly hope to book him again”

Eastry Womens Institute


“Pete came to talk to our NHS retirement fellowship meeting this morning. We chose his talk ‘the dramatic history of London Theatres ‘. He was truly amazing his knowledge and presenting skills second to none. Can not recommend enough. Thank you Pete.”

Shirley Kaye


” Pete gave a rousing talk on detectives, full of information. Shall definitely be booking again.”

Pauline – Ladies Club – February 2023

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