Alice through the Ages: The 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2015.

According to the event programme: “Lewis Carroll famously opens his Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with his protagonist ‘burning with curiosity’, which leads Alice to follow the White Rabbit into an alternative reality. That same sense of curiosity has circulated about Wonderland since the book was first published. This conference aims to offer new understandings of the work by re-evaluating long held truisms, subjecting the text to new theoretical approaches and considering the history of adaptation and its uses in popular culture.”

-Hosted by Siddharth Pandey, Professor Maria Nikolajeva and Dr Zoe Jaques, The Cambridge-Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature. Supported by The Lewis Carroll Society.


My role in the three-day international conference:

For this event, I went searching through the archives of the University of Cambridge in search of music inspired by Alice in Wonderland. To my surprise, there are a lot of songs out there, particularly in the domain of British parlour music. I had never heard of the genre of parlour before this project and was interested to learn that it includes a large amount of popular song from the 19th century. In the days before radios or recordings, popular song was spread by sheet music and parlour/ music hall singers. Most of the parlour music that I saw in my research was either based on humour, love or current events. There seems to be an especially large amount that begins by telling you what ‘garden’ the characters of the song are in (i.e. Covent, Vauxhall & Sally).


In the middle of the second day of the conference, the attendees were treated to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and were entertained with the collection of Alice-inpired songs by myself with Chris Magazzeni on piano.


For me, the highlight was getting to have my picture taken with my favourite shisha-smoking caterpillar!


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