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Lichfield celebrates anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s novel

Samuel Johnson. Pic: Stacey Shintani

Samuel Johnson. Pic: Stacey Shintani

As well as marking the 300th birthday of Samuel Johnson, 2009 also marks the 250th anniversary of his only novel.

The Prince of Abyssinia, a Tale  is usually known just as Rasselas – and the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum will be celebrating the anniversary with a unique night of entertainment at the Birthplace Museum and Lichfield Guildhall.

Local favourites Intimate Theatre will perform at the Birthplace Museum at 6pm on August 1, giving a flavour of Johnson’s tale of escape, self discovery and morality. The evening will continue with a fascinating look at Ethiopia (modern-day Abyssinia) in a talk at the Guildhall by John and Jean Broadbent at 8pm.

The Broadbents will share their experiences of their extensive travels in Ethiopia, and show some of their own photographs of the breath taking landscapes.

Joanne Wilson, Museums and Heritage Officer for Lichfield City Council, said:

“This will be a very entertaining evening and you certainly don’t have to be familiar with Rasselas to be able to enjoy it. Johnson was fascinated by the idea of distant lands and our events on August 1st will appeal to anyone who is interested in travel, literature or just wants to see some great performances from Intimate Theatre.”

Tickets for Intimate Theatre at the Birthplace cost £4.50, and the Guildhall talk costs £2.50. Tickets can be reserved in advance by telephone on 01543 264 972, by email to or can be bought in person from the Birthplace Museum. Reduced price joint tickets are available for both events.

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