PLEASE NOTE: This event has passed. Click here to visit the current listings.
Tongues of Flame: The Life of Richard Francis Burton By Giles Abbott
Thursday 26th February
Doors at 7pm // Performance from 7:30pm
The Life of Richard Francis Burton (1821 – 1890)
A new story by Giles Abbott
Amongst venerated British explorers such as Scott, Livingstone and Stanley, the no less figure of Richard Frances Burton remains a historical outcast. Why? In his new touring show, storyteller Giles Abbott tells us the tale of an irreverent, sensual, driven and daring character who deserves to known.
Burton was fluent in over forty 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.
Told in a style that reflects the Arabian Nights, this story, which begins at Burton’s Bedouin style mausoleum (in a Catholic church!) takes us on a voyage that loops back and forth in time.
“Its picture of a colonial past has 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? ”
Cambridge Storytellers Programmer, Jan 2014
“Storyteller Giles Abbott brought the extraordinary figure of Sir Richard Francis Burton to life, enthralling the audience at the National Portrait Gallery with highly implausible tales of derring-do – that were all true. Giles’s knowledge of and delight in his subject were very much on display which went to create a highly entertaining and refreshing account.”
Fiona Smith, Adult Programmes Officer
National Portrait Gallery
£7 (full price)
£5 (Unwaged or student concession)
To find out more, please visit our recommendations online: