Libby Purves meets playwright Mark Ravenhill; former nun turned midwife Eleanor Stewart; spoon maker Barnaby Carder and photographer Stuart Griffiths
Playwright and writer in residence at the RSC, Mark Ravenhill has written a new version of Voltaire's classic novel Candide. Ravenhill describes his new play as a response to Voltaire's tale rather than a straight adaptation. Featuring a character called the Dramatist, based on himself, Ravenhill asks the question: Is it possible to be an optimist in today's world? Candide is at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Eleanor Stewart is a former novice nun who became a midwife. At 18 she began her religious training in France in the early 1960s, leaving behind family and friends in the grip of Beatlemania. After a brief stint as a teacher, she found her vocation in nursing, eventually leaving the convent to become a midwife. She tells her story in Kicking the Habit - From Convent to Casualty in 1960s Liverpool, published by Lion Hudson.
Barnaby Carder, known as Barn The Spoon, makes wooden spoons which he sells in his East London shop. After being apprenticed to a furniture maker, he spent three years travelling around forests - sleeping among the trees and carving spoons from their wood. A passionate advocate for the beauty of spoons and the craft of wood carving, he named his shop after himself - Barn the Spoon.
Stuart Griffiths is a photographer, writer and lecturer. He began using a camera while serving in the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland during the late 80s and early 90s. With his instamatic camera, he documented the everyday reality of the war he experienced - violent riots, the aftermath of bombings and shootings and the gallows humour among soldiers. His book Pigs' Disco is published by Ditto Press.
Producer: Paula McGinley.