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House of Stories: A Thousand and One Nights for the Digital Age

Friday 27 March 2015

1 Hour


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Journalist Richard Hamilton launches a unique storytelling project at this year’s festival. A chance encounter while a correspondent in Morocco led Hamilton to spend years researching the extraordinary tradition of the few surviving hlaykia or professional storytellers of Marrakech. This culminated in the publication of his first book, The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco. But since then another chance meeting with an old friend sowed the seeds of his latest venture; an ambitious project to record stories from all over the globe on the internet. The idea is that millions of viewers will be able to watch myths, legends and folk tales as they were originally meant to be, not written down but performed by the teller simply using his or her voice, actions and facial expressions. Hamilton sees the project as a type of One Thousand and One Nights for the digital age.

Hamilton has worked for the BBC World Service as a broadcast journalist since 1998, including being a correspondent in Morocco, South Africa and Madagascar. He also reports for BBC TV, radio and online. While living in Morocco, he co-authored the Time Out Guide to Marrakech and has written throughout his career for magazines and newspapers such as Conde Nast Traveller and The Times.

He is joined by traditional storyteller Giles Abbott. Abbott is a storyteller in the ancient oral tradition and tells old English folk tales as well as stories from Norse mythology. He performs at schools and festivals and provides services for businesses and the media.