History Riot are historians, educators and live costumed interpreters Lauren Johnson and Rosanna Heverin.
Lauren Johnson is the author of So Great a Prince: England and the Accession of Henry VIII, a history of the first year of Henry VIII’s reign, and The Arrow of Sherwood, an origin story of Robin Hood, rooting his myth in the brutal, complex reality of the twelfth century. She has also written Lady Unknown, a play exploring the philanthropic relationship between Charles Dickens and Angela Burdett Coutts. Her work melds high status characters who are familiar to us with lesser known, or marginalised, figures from other levels of society to create a broad historical landscape.
As Research Manager for the live costumed interpretation company Past Pleasures Ltd. Lauren is committed to incorporating women’s stories into our historical narrative. She has written and directed events that focussed on female characters to tell wider stories, including Punish or Pardon (about prisoners of the Tower of London and Henry VIII’s religious reforms) and The Lion’s Pride at Dover Castle (exploring international courts of music and literature with Eleanor of Aqutaine as patron). She is the co-founder of Untold, a theatre company who bring untold stories from the past and present to wider attention.
Lauren gained a first-class honours degree from Oxford University and her Masters dissertation investigated women’s role in the Wars of the Roses. She has contributed to Castles: Britain’s Fortified History (BBC4), Walking through History (C4) and BBC Radio Bristol and Somerset. She has written for Open Democracy, Labour List, On the Tudor Trail and English Historical Fiction Authors, among others. She also appeared in Stylist magazine‘s work / life balance, looking uncharacteristically glamorous next to the White Tower.
The historical figures who most intrigue her include Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, Katherine Parr and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. They’d make quite a dinner party…
Rosanna Heverin is a creative heritage interpreter. She currently works at the Royal Air Force Museum, and is researching her first fictional book on the life of Anne Herbert in Henry VIII’s court. She is also the co-founder of History Now, which takes costumed interpretation into schools.
Following a brief but glamorous period working in film and media, a chance visit to Hampton Court Palace inspired her to move into the world of creative heritage interpretation. After time spent at The Foundling Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum and the Natural History Museum, she began working at Past Pleasures Ltd as a heritage interpreter. In 2015 she joined the RAF Museum as an education officer, swapping French gowns for a WAAF uniform.
Over the years at Past Pleasures, Rosanna has been privileged to interpret an incredible range of historical women, from medieval princesses to Tudor queens, from conniving Duchesses to fed up scullery maids and campaigning suffragettes. The historical women she’d most like to go for coffee with would be Anne Herbert (Katherine Parr’s younger sister), Sarah Lennox, Duchess of Richmond, the Mitford sisters en masse and Noor Inayat Khan.
Rosanna has a Masters degree in Museums and Galleries in Education from UCL Institute of Education, where she has also lectured on costumed interpretation, and an honours degree from the University of Exeter. For her dissertation, she investigated the role of costumed interpretation at heritage sites. Part of the research involve gathering her fellow Anne Boleyns round a dinner table to spend a long summer’s evening talking about Anne, the Boleyns and the challenges and successes of costumed interpretation. From this, the idea for this blog was born, and the rest, Lauren and Rosanna hope, is a History Riot!
All opinions expressed, in all articles, are those of the authors of those pieces.