Tom Thumb the Storyteller
I write original stories which are a blend of magical realism and metaphor drawing on 20 years of travels around the world, extensive reading and old-fashioned imagination.
I make storytelling performances at festivals, theatres, clubs and private functions – wherever there’s a quiet, listening atmosphere and an audience ready to travel on a magic carpet woven from narrative.
In many ways it’s like stand-up comedy without the jokes.
I usually tell the stories standing up and perform them in a one-man theatre show with gestures and voices particular to each character in the tale. I’m happiest without a microphone and with a quiet location I’m used to telling to a crowd of 150 without needing to shout!
The audience is an essential part of the act as it’s they who complete the circuit and while the content of the stories remains unchanged, the tempo and tone of their delivery depends entirely on the atmosphere of the night. I relax into the performance until I’m no longer performing, just having a quiet chat with 100 people.
Each story has its own song that I play on the guitar, allowing the audience to relax between tales even as they hear lyrics exploring some of the themes they’ve just heard.
As the evening unfolds I watch the audience relax and let go of their usual firm grip on reality and become like children again, believing in everything.
Inspired by authors as diverse as Vladamir Nabokov, Roald Dahl, Salman Rushdie and Kurt Vonnegut, my stories use elements of naive surrealism and magical realism to communicate perspectives and experiences from my extensive travels.
While I am happy to perform for children, my stories are written for all ages and are without any obvious moral or message; a story becomes art when everyone can discern their own and different meanings from it. The stories have a life of their own and I’m often as surprised as anyone by the direction they take.
The magic of storytelling for me is that we can hitchhike on the tales to places we might never reach by ourselves in an enthralling journey of empathy, understanding and wonder.
You can hear more stories here and also follow works in progress and other commentaries on creativity, anecdotes and storytelling on my blog.
I’m the author of 5 books and I also organise a retreat in the Sahara Desert each year where we meditate, dance, sing and, of course, tell stories aronnd the fire.
For more information about the storytelling or the retreat please contact me.