Many thanks to all who voted for Return to Lyonesse in the BASE Awards 2013.
To be nominated was a pleasure, to be shortlisted was a delight, to win our category was only possible with a lot of help!
received so many votes and friendly, supportive messages was an honour.
The Drowned Dress:
Storytelling in costume and accessory.
Barbara’s dress for Return to Lyonesse
was specially commissioned for the show. Its design, fabric, colour,
decoration and accessories echo some of the story's striking motifs,
so that as the harpist creates musical images of a lost world, so her
dress reflects those images. Click the thumbnail to learn more.
The BASE Award:
Storytelling in brass and oak.
Mike and Barbara's trophy, awarded on 13 October 2013, met with disaster shortly afterwards, when
a member of the public dropped it and broke the base. Then master
craftsman John Fenn offered to create a new base in the spirit of
multi-arts fostered in the project. What the award represents is, of
course, unchanged. But the new base echoes themes from the tale, and is
a masterpiece in itself. Click on the thumbnail to learn more.
Return to Lyonesse
is a stunning new performance piece from Mike O’Connor, accompanied by
harpist Barbara Griggs. Reviews have been outstanding and occupied over
a page in Facts and Fiction magazine. Some are reproduced at the bottom
of this page. The story has attracted sell-out audiences both locally
and at festivals including the Festival at the Edge, Fowey Festival of
Words and Music, Landulph Festival, Cornwall Folk Festival, and the
Return to Lyonesse is
the tale of the lost Celtic lands of Lyonesse, Ys and Cantre'r Gwaelod,
and the fate of kings, queens, saints, sinners and shape shifters. This
very exciting tale reaches out and touches the heart. The name is
familiar, but the story is almost unknown.
Return to Lyonesse
is a mixture of powerful oral storytelling and achingly beautiful music
and song, both original and traditional. The tale’s themes are echoed
in the specially commissioned ‘dress of the story’ worn by Barbara.
• Words After
a year and a day of original research into Cornish, Breton and Welsh
medieval texts, Mike has recreated an almost ‘lost’ medieval tale. The
result is a fast-moving story in which every word is laden with
meaning. The imagery is stunningly beautiful.
Barbara has woven her music into the story with masterful skill.
Leitmotifs describe the characters, but every leitmotif has variations
that echo the character’s emotions. Every musical phrase is exquisitely
dovetailed with the words. Every cadence echoes the voice.
The design, fabric, colour, decoration and accessories of Barbara’s
specially commissioned dress echo the story's striking motifs, so that
as the harpist creates musical images of a lost world, so her dress
reflects those images.
music and presentation are subtly and seamlessly integrated. Together
they tell the story with no element dominating or seeming out of place.
Performances are atmospheric, magical, and moving. To quote one of the
reviewers: “Hauntingly beautiful, lyrical and mystical… a tour de
Return to Lyonesse requires minimal staging and can be performed in the smallest venue.
However, the words and music have sufficient gravity to command a
theatre. The performance lasts about 70 minutes and is well suited to
storytelling, literary or folk festivals or clubs. It can be preceded
by additional music and storytelling material from Mike and Barbara to
give a full evening of magic.
Return to Lyonesse is
available now. It is performed in English and is suitable for older
children and adults. The first bookings have already been made. A link to the expanding gig list is below.
to Lyonesse is a ‘big story’ that will touch every one. The issues are
serious and relevant, yet the piece is lively, absorbing &
entertaining. It will engage your audience totally. They will sit on
the edge of their seats. They will weep; they will laugh.
are few in the land with the storytelling and musical skills, and also
the knowledge of history, legend and folk tale, to create and perform
such a demanding work. Mike O’Connor and Barbara Griggs have created a
gem, a masterpiece of language and melody. It can only enhance their
already considerable stature.
The storytelling event of the year… A tour
de force from one of Britain’s premier tellers, Mike O’Connor and
Barbara Griggs who plays harp. Carl Merry, Tales at the Fold
Hauntingly beautiful, lyrical and mystical Return to Lyonesse is a
must see. Mike O'Connor and Barbara Griggs make a fantastic
interwoven pairing. The harp, voice and song are as intricate as a
Celtic knot and just as compelling. The premiere of this epic at the
Fowey Festival was well attended, deservedly so. The
audience were blown away and not by just Barbara's stunning dress.Congratulations Mike and Barbara. Liz Berg
Return To Lyonesse is a superbly evoked and ground breaking new weaving
of ancient Cornish, Breton and Welsh folk tales researched and devised
by storyteller Mike O’Connor who also sings and plays violin. Linking
and embellishing the narrative sections, Barbara Griggs plays fluid,
achingly beautiful harp. Liz Crow, Folk Life Magazine A
captivating evening ... powerful storytelling and hauntingly
beautiful music by Mike O'Connor and Barbara Griggs in their
enthralling show, Return to Lyonesse - the tale of lost Celtic lands. ... go to see them if they're appearing anywhere near you! Mary Dickinson
those who love myth and story this is not to be missed. Beautifully
crafted and delivered by Mike O'Connor and Barbara Griggs, spellbinding
and captivating - Return to Lyonesse. Debbie Merritt
I was transfixed and transported to
mythical lands where magic, desire, loss, love & redemption were
played out in the beauty of story, music and song … an amazing
experience. If you get the chance to go & see Return to Lyonesse
then grab the opportunity – it is one you will never regret. The skills
of the storyteller & harpist were truly marvellous … Unmissable. Susan Cooper
Atmospheric & haunting - the tale lives in the memory. Sheila Cooper Utterly exhilarating, ... fiery and inspired ... . Barbara Griggs Fantastic words and vision. Julie Walters
Mike and Barbara receiving their British Award for Storytelling Excellence.
I am listening to it again now, recognising all the links that I half
picked up on yesterday, enjoying it more. Tour de force. Liz Berg