Rook Lane Blog

Nationally acclaimed contemporary storyteller Giles Abbott is set to bring his new show to Frome to launch the new monthly sessions of storytelling club Mr Rook’s Speak Easy.

Tongues of Flame, is a new, Arts Council England commissioned work based on the life of Richard Francis Burton (1821 – 1890), and will be performed by Giles at Rook Lane Chapel on Thursday 26 February for the first Mr Rook’s Speak Easy of 2015

Giles Abbot is one of The UK’s leading storytellers, hailed for changing the face of this traditional art form by creating new stories, often based on significant but lesser-known historical figures. Giles is also renowned for choosing unexpected places to perform; festival hot tubs, on board a railway carriage or amongst the trees in Kew Gardens.

Image (c) Patrick Dodds

Giles Abbott Image (c) Patrick Dodds


Giles’ current story explores why, amongst venerated British explorers such as Scott, Livingstone and Stanley, the no less impressive figure of Richard Frances Burton remains a historical outcast. It is an impressive tale of an irreverent, sensual, driven and daring character who demands recognition. Told in a style that reflects the Arabian Nights, Giles’ story takes us on a voyage that loops back and forth in time and connects with the present.


Richard Francis Burton


Richard Francis Burton was a Victorian explorer who was fluent in over 40 languages. With the support of The Royal Geographical Society he led an expedition to the true source of the Nile; he lived in disguise for a year and completed the Haj from Suez to Mecca, in the face of prudish restrictions he ingeniously published the Karma Sutra in Britain. Burton continually broke away from demurring Victorian attitudes, turning exploration into a practice of human freedom.


“Its picture of a colonial past has immediacy for modern culture and the 21st century legacy ofBritish colonialism…Best of all it held me riveted, laughing, appalled – what more can I ask from a show?” Cambridge Storytellers , Jan 2014.


Giles Abbot will be appearing Thursday 26 February at Mr Rook’s Speak Easy.

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £7/5 in advance, available here.

You can also find Mr Rook’s on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news about future events.


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