Writer and performer Rose Collis will be giving two talks about her book Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment and the new stage play she is writing, based on the book, supported by Arts Council England.

At these special events, she will be talking about the research and creative processes involved in producing both works, and shedding light on the extraordinary, complex story of someone who veered from tragedy to farce to fame to obscurity, but who always strove to remain ‘a perfect gentleman’.

‘The story of Col Victor Barker, aka Valerie Arkell-Smith, is one of identity: gender identity, hidden identities, class identities and the conflict between private and public identities’, says Rose Collis. 

Virago published Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment in 2001, and was greeted with enormous critical acclaim:

The events are:

Tuesday 28 February, 12.10pm, Free. Worthing Library, Richmond Rd, Worthing, BN11 1HD (fully accessible).

Sunday 5 March, 2pm. Jubilee Library, Conference Room 3, Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE (fully accessible). Tickets £5, advance booking recommended: www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/165580

Both events will have Q&A sessions, and copies of Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment will be on sale.

Rose Collis writer

Rose Collis

The Trials of Colonel Barker will have its first rehearsed reading at the Purple Playhouse, Brighton (date tbc) during the second Hove Grown Festival of new writing taking place from March 24 to April 2. 

Rose Collis is a writer, performer and alternative historian who has lived and worked in Sussex since 1997. Her books include Death and the City (Hanover Press 2013), The New Encyclopaedia of Brighton (2010), ‘This Effing Lady’: Coral Browne (Oberon Books 2007), Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment: A Tale of Female Husbandry (Virago 2000 & 2001); and A Trouser-Wearing Character: The Life and Times of Nancy Spain (Cassell 1997 & 1999). 

Her latest ACE-funded solo play, Wanting The Moon, was successfully previewed in January 2016 at the Marlborough Theatre and Arundel Jailhouse, and as part of the first Hove Grown new writing festival.

It made its successful London debut with a run at Bread and Roses Theatre in September 2016. Plans are now underway for it to tour in the UK and internationally.