‘Easily the most interesting cultural event in Teddington for a long time. Accessible, entertaining and suitable for all.’

The atmospheric Carnegie Library in Teddington was the venue last week for a magical evening in the company of musical adventurers and storytellers London Dreamtime.  This was the latest event in Richmond Libraries’ programme for this year’s Cityread London festival that has been running throughout April. In keeping with the ‘riot and rebellion’ theme of the 2016 Cityread, London Dreamtime were performing for us, folktales and songs featuring outlaws and rebels.

Storyteller Vanessa Woolf, garbed in her trademark feathered hat, told the fantastic tale of highwayman Jack Judd and his black hound Lucifer, who roamed the local environs of Ham Common shouting “Stand and deliver your gold!” and terrorising the passing travellers. At various points in the tale I was so immersed in the telling that I actually felt the chill of the freezing Thames and the roar of a crackling inn fire as though I were there with Jack myself. When the tale came to an end I think the outcome shocked us all!


City Read London Teddington event Vanessa Woolf
Vanessa Woolf entrancing the crowd at Teddington Library
‘Gripping story-telling made more delicious by the local setting.’

Musician George Hoyle (formerly known as Nigel of Bermondsey) started and finished the evening with his beautiful folk songs, featuring amorous rebels and unlikely antiheroes from Robin Hood to the more contemporary jewel thief and jilted lover ‘Ruby’ Sparks. We all felt for poor Ruby as he ran for his getaway car, loot in hand, only to find that the driver, his girlfriend, had left him high and dry… George finished up the evening with a song telling the unhappy story of 15th-century Kentish peasant and rebel Jack Cade who came to a sticky end after tangling with Henry VI. His nasty demise served as a warning to other folk not to mess with the King.

City Read London Teddington George Hoyle
George Hoyle serenading the crowd at Teddington Library
‘It was absolutely brilliant storytelling and story singing. It brought history to life. Fascinating and very skilled’

It was an evening to sit back and be immersed, to leave the real world behind for a bit and allow yourself to be carried away on a journey to who knows where. The audience at Teddington Library were unequivocal in their pleasure and delight at listening to two such excellent performers (as you can see by the comments they left us) and I myself haven’t had so much fun listening to stories since London Dreamtime entertained us last year!

‘I enjoyed every minute, I have been to many of the library events and all have been great….I do, and will, recommend to all and everyone.’

You can find out more about Vanessa and George and London Dreamtime at the website https://londondreamtime.com which includes clips you can watch of them performing around London and of Vanessa explaining the origin of fairy tales on BBC news!

The Cityread London 2016 book is Ten Days by Gillian Slovo, a political thriller based on a fictionalised account of the 2011 London riots, seen from the viewpoints of multiple characters. The whole city has been reading it this April and getting involved in the discussions it has sparked – why not borrow a copy and join in the conversation here?

[ Cheney Gardner, Stock & Promotions Manager ]