Plaque to the Future

Back at our Young Producer residential in February 2020, we discussed new ideas for the project and what we could create to captivate and interest people in heritage. We thought YouTube would be a great place to explore the twin themes of careers in heritage and ‘what would life have been like for me when…’. It’s the second of these ideas that has been developed into ‘Plaque to the Future’ by Imogen and Yusef, two of our Shout Out Loud Placements.

Now complete, ‘Plaque to the Future’ is a youth-led project bringing together our Placements, Young Producers and young volunteers to create a whole YouTube series, from the research to the voiceover and everything in between, as a fun, new way to share untold stories with young people.

On a college trip to a stately home, Ada discovers an old-fashioned cordless landline phone. After dialling just a single digit, she is put through to The Iconophone Switchboard, an underground network developed to connect the upper echelon of Blue Plaque recipients with everyday people in trouble. Equipped with a vintage awkwardness, Ada has a frequent need for the landline, and so, in each episode she returns to the phone with a new dilemma. Throughout her conversations, she learns to appreciate the intricacies of the world and to take courage in her passions.


The Woolf of Callstreet

Enjoy the first episode of ‘Plaque to the Future – The Woolf of Callstreet’! Meet Ada as she discovers the Iconophone Landline Unit for the first time, on a visit to Callstreet Manor, and speaks to legendary novelist, Virginia Woolf!

How do you name a gender-defying book character? What is a Blueberry Set? And who on Earth is Angel Hackings? Find out the answers to all those questions and more in the first instalment of Shout Out Loud’s new comedy-drama.

The Keene Departure

My oh my – the time has finally come… and today that time is 1852! The second episode of our new YouTube Series!

In ‘The Keene Departure’, Ada speaks to iconic actor, Ira Aldridge – the first black actor to portray Othello on the West End.

The Copycat & Mouse

**ring ring/beep beep/**

It’s time for episode three! Ever wondered how soldiers combated gas attacks in the trenches during the First World War? In ‘The Copycat & Mouse’, you can meet the inventor of the niftiest fan you ever did see – Hertha Ayrton.

The Sheep Predicament

Hear hear! Order order! ☎️

It’s that time once again where we observe the world’s most awkward protagonist in conversation with one of history’s finest figures. In #PttF episode four, ‘The Sheep Predicament’, Ada (who may or may not have committed a crime) is reluctantly put in her place by none other than John Archer, the first black politician to hold senior public office in London!

The Lady Banishes

In ‘The Lady Banishes’, Ada’s growing confidence using the Iconophone is put to good use as she speaks to multi-faceted superstar, Elisabeth Welch! Observe carefully as Ada manipulates her way out of extra-curricular work and INTO a total nightmare of a phone call. What is so nightmare-ish about it?

Could it be the terrible lies she tells? The AUDACITY she has to kick her shoes off? Or could it be the fire extinguisher in the corner that totally kills the vibe of the room??? You know what you’ll have to do to find out…

Light in the Field

OH BLIMEY! It’s the finalé! In #PlaqueToTheFuture episode six, ‘Light in the Field’, Ada assists iconic undercover operative, Noor Inayat Khan, with some camera-related issues – all whilst crouching behind a bush!

Despite being described as ‘clumsy’ by her Armed Forces trainers, Khan went on to be a vital asset in the fight against the Nazi regime in the Second World War. She was a true icon and someone we should all know about. Please do enjoy the final episode of ‘Plaque to the Future’.


As we researched the series and found out more about these super talented, brave and inspirational people, we decided that one episode on each was not enough! So we invited young people and experts to come together with series creator Imogen to discuss the lives of those figures in ‘Plaque Stage Pass’.

All of the Blue Plaque recipients that ‘Plaque to the Future’ focuses on come from different under-represented backgrounds, be that because of race, gender or sexuality, and it’s been a joy lifting these lesser-known histories up on to a higher pedestal.

Virginia Woolf

Join Imogen (Writer & Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’) and Virginia Woolf (AKA Young Producer, Beth) as they speak to historian Rosemary Hill about all things Bloomsbury.

Find out more about the life of Virginia Woolf and the facts alluded to in episode one of ‘Plaque to the Future’.

Rosemary Hill (She/Her) – Writer, Historian & Independent Scholar
Beth Nolan (She/Her) – Actor, Poet & Writer
Imogen Cottrill (She/Her) – Writer & Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’

Ira Aldridge

Hoorah! It’s time for Interview Two (InterTwo? InTwoView?) of ‘Plaque Stage Pass’. This week, writer and director Imogen is speaking with historian S.I Martin about treading the boards in the time of Ira Aldridge.

How did Ira cultivate such a fruitful career? What was it like going on tour? And was Ira’s Swedish wife a cheeky liar? There’s only one place you’ll find all the answers…

S.I Martin (He/Him) – Historian and Heritage Curator
Imogen Cottrill (She/Her) – Writer & Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’

Hertha Ayrton

This week, writer and director Imogen is joined by Shout Out Loud’s Sophie (who just so happened to lend her voice to PttF III). Together, they quiz the Principal Curator of Science at National Museums Scotland (AKA the delightful Dr Rebekah Higgitt) on the myriad achievements of Hertha Ayrton.

Will Imogen make a terrible comparison between the Suffragettes and the Avengers? You bet she will.

Dr Rebekah Higgitt (She/Her) – Principal Curator of Science at National Museums Scotland
Sophie Anstee De Mas (She/Her) – Hertha Ayrton vocal volunteer, SOL Young Producer and Digital Content Creator Placement
Imogen Cottrill (She/Her) – Writer & Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’

John Archer

Order order! I hereby pass the decree encouraging you to observe this mighty interview! In ‘Plaque Stage Pass’ episode four, Imogen (‘Plaque to the Future’ writer and director) and Tatenda (young volunteer who voiced John Archer in PttF IV) chat with Howard Spencer, the senior historian on the Blue Plaques team at English Heritage.

What did the political world look like in 1913? What surprising hobbies did John have and who was his glamorous lodger? All these answers and more are just a click away…

Dr Howard Spencer (He/Him) – Senior Blue Plaques Historian at English Heritage
Tatenda Madamombe (He/Him) – Actor
Imogen Cottrill (She/Her) – Writer & Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’

Elisabeth Welch

Bonjour everyone! You might think that means Elisabeth Welch was French – she wasn’t! Although, did you know that she helped popularise the Edith Piaf song ‘La Vie En Rose’ in the UK? Bet you didn’t! You know who did know? Only friend-to-the-legend-herself, Stephen Bourne!

Join Imogen and young producer, Tatenda, as they quiz Stephen on the lady no one refers to as ‘The Welch Cake’. This is a special one, as Stephen, unlike Ada (who, I’m sorry to break it to you, is a work of FICTION), actually did have many phone calls with Elisabeth.

Stephen Bourne (He/Him) – Writer, film & social historian
Tatenda Matsvai (She/Her) – Actor, spoken word artist, musician
Imogen Cottrill (She/Her) – Writer & Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’

Noor Inayat Khan

It’s the finale! But my goodness, have we got a treat for you. Join Imogen as she chats with voice-of-Noor-in-episode-six, Ashen, and all-round Inayat Khan expert, Shrabani Basu. Prepare for your knowledge of the extraordinary life of Noor to be utterly belittled by the majestic mind of Shrabani, your anxieties to be softened by Ash’s dulcet tones, and your expectations lowered by Imo’s terrible introduction.

Jokes aside, this conversation was a delight to film and we really hope you enjoy this final jewel in the ‘Plaque to the Future’ crown.

Shrabani Basu (She/Her) – Journalist & Historian
Ashen Gupta (They/Them) – Theatre Creative & voice of Noor in PttF VI
Imogen Cottrill (She/Her) – Writer and Director of ‘Plaque to the Future’

Virtually visit our Plaque to the Future Blue Plaque residences here!

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