Talks & Performances

Listen to a podcast of my lecture "The Tempest: A Visual Artist's Perspective" Shakespeare Institute 2011 here

I have given art and literature themed talks at many important venues including Compton Verney, Oxford University, The Shakespeare Institute, the British Shakespeare Association Conference 2012, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute and The Wallace Collection. During residencies in 2012-2013 and 2015-2016 I delivered a number of talks at Durham University, and presented other events involving poetry, music, conversation and discussion. I continue to develop events in collaboration with the university. Since 2014 I have also specialized in lecturing (and running art and poetry workshops) aboard cruise ships and have travelled throughout Europe, the Caribbean, South America and beyond. I speak without notes and my mission is to provoke thought, inspire and entertain. I also give performance poetry readings and compere public events.

My specialist lecturing topics include Art from 1850 onwards, the lives of great modern artists and poets, particularly Egon Schiele, Edvard Munch, Picasso, Matisse, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, the influence of Shakespeare and classical mythology on Art and topics from the History of Science and Philosophy.

Please email if you would like to book me as a speaker, MC or performance poet.

"Alan is the most enthusiastic lecturer I know. He is a sensation." Richard Sykes, Senior Cruise Director, Voyages to Antiquity

"On the second of the 'Sea days' I attended and enjoyed the lecture 'Myth into Art' by the brilliant, idiosyncratic and entertaining artist/guest-speaker Alan O'Cain." John Wilkes, reviews 2015


My mantra is that every person on the planet has the capacity to be creative. The missing ingredient is often simply self-belief. For several years I have been delivering workshops in art, poetry, book-making and photography, usually accompanied my wife Juliet (who is also a freelance web designer and built this site). I am a qualified teacher with an MA in Education and Juliet and I are both Education Associates of the Saatchi Gallery, London. We have delivered workshops in many diverse and interesting locations, with participants ranging from age three to ninety-three.

If you would like to gather a group for a fun and inspirational workshop in which your own powers of creativity are nurtured please get in touch to discuss the many activities on offer.

There are thousands of people out here "trying to be artists". But one cannot "try" to be an artist. One simply is. And the only thing true artists are "trying" to do is avoid starvation.
Alan O'Cain, 11 July 2024 [SITE: A Plain Fish]