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Photo of our BASE award

Mike O’Connor, Lyngham House, PL27 7RT uk. 01841 540042  07774257545  mb@lyngham.co.uk

"Return to Lyonesse" banner

Magical storytelling in words, music and costume.
BASE logo
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!
To have received so many votes and friendly, supportive messages was an honour.
Our BASE Award

Watch our brief promo, hear the opening words ...

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.
A small image of Barbara's Dress, linking to its description.
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.

Our BASE Award

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 Cornish Eisteddfod.

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.

•    Music 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.

•    Costume 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.

Words, 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 force.”

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.

Return 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.

There 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.  

Image of St Michael's Mount and approaching waves

Downloads:              R2L Press Release               R2L Flier (front page)             R2L Flier (back page)
          Gig List            R2L Tech Brief         Contract

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

For 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
Picture of Mike and Barbara receiving their BASE Award

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