The Thekla is a cargo ship moored in the Mud Dock area of Bristol's Floating Harbour. German-built in 1959, she spent her working life transporting timber around the ports of the Baltic Sea. After twenty years of service, she ran aground at Gravesend, Kent, and was left to rust at Sunderland Docks, where she was purchased by the novelist, playwright and theatrical producer Ki (real name Pamela) Longfellow-Stanshaw, wife of the late Vivian Stanshaw, former frontman of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
Longfellow-Stanshaw brought the boat to Bristol as 'The Old Profanity Showboat' in 1982, it's the idea to run a theatre and restaurant on board. Longfellow hoped that the boat would provide refuge for fear Valium-addicted husband. The restaurant failed, but the boat functioned successfully as a theatre, arts space and live music venue , while also serving as the Longfellow's /Stanshaw's living space. A few key personnel also lived there.
In 1985 the Stanshaw's staged Stinkfoot, a comic opera they had written and produced, on board, where it received excellent reviews.
Since the 1990s she has been ran, under new management, as a nightclub and live music venue under her original working name 'Thekla'.
'Ki' Longfellow wrote her first two novels as Pamela Longfellow. Stinkfoot was about 3 hours long, inventive for the times and a bit surreal; It featured a giant singing prawn a bit like in Alice-I-W's lobster quadrille. At the end Viv Stanshall came out and took a bow.
The Bonzo Lounge in Keynsham (the latest in the lounge chain) is named after Stanshaw's band as they had an album called Keynsham, having liked staying there while on tour.