Stories by Giles Abbott
accompanied by Nawroz Oramari
My story is based on the extraordinary life of Richard
Burton; it is a story that runs to the heart of Empire and travel. Beginning at the foot of his peculiar mausoleum in the form of a Bedouin tent in a Catholic church, my tale of the great and enigmatical explorer becomes a journey to the edge of the known world.
Burton was an Englishman fluent in over 40 languages, with the support of the The Royal Geographical Society he led an expedition to the true source of the Nile; he was the first non-Muslim to enter the holy city of Harar and he completed the Haj from Suez to Mecca.
……..Burton turned exploration into a practice of human freedom.
These stories are complemented by the soaring, melancholic, and yearning vocals of the Iraqi Kurdish singer Nawroz Oramari.
‘Tongues of Flame’ was one of the highlights of a great storytelling year in Cambridge….
They [the audience] were enthralled by the vibrant colours of the piece, and the masterly crafting of the material….. Its picture of a colonial past has an immediacy for modern culture and the 21st century legacy of British colonialism…Best of all it held me riveted,
laughing, appalled – what more can I ask from a storytelling show?
2014, Marion Leeper, Cambridge Storytellers Programmer
Giles Abbott started storytelling in 1999 in response to sudden and serious, but not total, sight loss in 1998. Now registered blind, he says; “Through loss of something I’d taken for granted I found something I didn’t know I’d lost – the joy of story!”
Giles performs regularly at major storytelling festivals (Festival at the Edge, Beyond the Border, West Country Storytelling Festival, Whitby International Folk Week).
Giles was awarded the solo commission (adult) for Edge 2007, for which he composed a new telling of the Irish epic “Deirdre”. He continues to perform in clubs all over England.
Giles was resident storyteller at the Chelsea Community Hospital Schools from 2005-12 and works every week in primary and secondary schools, mostly, but not exclusively, in London. In 2007 he was awarded a British Telecom “Speaking & Listening” Award for a project undertaken for Dubasha Foundation, using storytelling as a mechanism by which children of 3rd generation Guajarati descent were enabled to dramatically increase their confidence, pride and attainment in their bilingual ability.
Giles qualified as a Voice Teacher (MA Voice Studies, CSSD) in 2005 and was Lecturer in Voice for Birkbeck College, University of London, from 2006-12 and has also taught at Arts Ed. and has run both voice and storytelling workshops at CSSD, ALRA, Drama Centre, Birmingham Book Week, Warwick Words and more.
Giles co-founded the Academy Of Oratory with Leon Conrad and together they teach a wide range of clients how to communicate at their best, with training drawn from storytelling, from Voice teaching, from Rhetoric.
A writer, Giles’ poetry has been published in “Dream Catcher” and “The Spectator” as well as many small press publications. In 2012, for composer Lloyd Coleman, Giles conceived the narrative and wrote text for “Breaking The Wall”, a work for full orchestra and spoken word. It was recorded by the BBC Wales Symphonia under Nicholas Collen and performed, as part of the Disability Arts Olympiad, Cymru, in Cardiff and in other locations in Wales.
In 2014, with director and writer Fred Casella, Giles co-wrote and acted in ‘The King’, a short film which features live action, animation and Greek myth in an East London laundrette!