As well as telling one of stories or selections to fit an event, I’ve created and performed full-length shows and tours tackling specific themes or bodies of myth, or to fit specific sites. Below are just a few of them – available for further performances or adaptions, or as an idea of what I can offer. If you’d like to ask about an event, please get in touch!
Chasing the Sun
Walk the green earth. Scour the sky above the chalk hills. Your troubles will follow you, whatever the age. But did a hero once walk among us? Did a mother raise her son? Did he grow to face our fears – and will that sun rise again?
Inspired by the White Horse at Uffington, Oxfordshire, this collection of myths and folktales considers the traces left in the soil of that place, and the hopes and dreams of those who walked there before us. Combining tantalising archaeological evidence, and echoes of ancient legend, I weave together stories from Wales to Yorkshire to Iceland and more, and imagine the myth that might have been.
This cycle of stories was created after a visit to the White Horse at Easter 2018, and has been told at summer festivals every year since, at storytelling clubs, and sold out three times online in 2020.
“Thank you Jon for a really wonderful performance tonight. You really brought those stories to life and it made me wonder why we don’t all know these stories of this beautiful land better. I want to go and visit those places now!” – Umi Sinha, Guesthouse Storytellers, Newhaven
The Saga of the Ring
A hero. A promise. A dragon. A treasure. If only it were so simple…
Sigurd, exiled prince, seeks his destiny in slaying the dragon Fafnir – but there are deeds afoot that he can only guess at. Soon he and those he loves – the valkyrie Brunhild, the princess Gudrun, her brothers Gunnar and Hogni – find themselves caught by mysterious forces as a cursed treasure threatens to consume them all.
This may be a tale of magic and monsters, but sometimes the greatest challenges are within ourselves…
Drawn from medieval manuscripts and ancient poetry, the story of the Ring is one of the oldest and most acclaimed in the Norse and Germanic-speaking world. It has inspired masterworks by Tolkien, Wagner and others, and echoes through modern culture. I’ve loved telling this most archetypal and most human of myths at schools and for grownups, in person and online. All ages welcome, typically runs 90mins including interval but, like some of the oldest and best stories, can easily be reshaped to suit.
Gender and equality. Partner and foe. Lover and beloved, loneliness and compassion, power and control.
A show for teenagers and adults, exploring the tangled roads of gender relations in ancient tales from the British Isles and further afield. Through romance, loss, misunderstanding, and – perhaps – hope, we consider how expectations and stereotypes affect people of all genders; and ask: where do we go from here?
“All’s Fair” was conceived and developed for International Women’s Day 2017, and incorporates some of my favourite myths, from the Mabinogion to the Greek myths to Genesis and beyond. It was first performed to a packed house at the Dukebox Theatre, Brighton, in two sets of 45mins with an interval – but it can be adapted to fit a variety of occasions. See here for a taste of one of the stories.
Taliesin: A Tale of Power, Class and Environmental Catastrophe
Embark into the world of legendary Welsh bard Taliesin. Tread the line between history and myth, magic and wonder, courage and cruelty, where a very special boy would defy a king… But, as a land tries to heal, refugees flee disaster, and the rising sea waits beyond the walls, can rulers be trusted? Are heroes any better? Is this world really that different from our own?
I’ve loved the Taliesin story since childhood. This set combines the tale of his mythical beginnings with that of Cantrae’r Gwaelod, the Welsh Atlantis; but also looks at the early medieval world of the real-life poet, and draws out socio-political resonance for the modern day. I first created it for Brighton Storytellers in about 2010, and redeveloped it for two nights in the Brighton Festival Fringe in 2017; I’ve since told it online to great success. For people 14 years and up, in two 40min halves with an interval, but can be adapted to fit different occasions and audiences.
Time Travel Treasure Hunt
Help foil a villainous scheme to control Brighton’s past, present and future!
Search the streets for the missing pieces of a time machine created by Victorian inventor Magnus Volk – but the soul of the City hangs in the balance… Can you find the clues in time? Or will malevolent forces get there first? Who gets to decide the City’s fate?
A treasure hunt for kids and their grownups, through a strangely familiar world of mods and rockers, princes and Blackshirts, science, magic and adventure.
Brighton Open Market commissioned me to create and lead a treasure hunt in Oct 2016 – and the result was this quest through Brighton’s history, stories and Time Itself. It returned in May 2018 in a collaboration with students from the University of Sussex Department of History, whom I helped supervise as they researched and contributed content for a final year undergraduate project; and together we took it to Hollingdean as part of Brighton Festival’s Our Place programme in 2019 and 2021, including an online choose-your-own-adventure game! Watch this space for further adventures!