Shahnameh programme



Shahnameh programme
Special thanks to all of those who have made tonight possible, particularly
Marion Leeper and everyone at Cambridge Storytellers and Daniel Pitt and
everyone at Cambridge Junction. Thanks to Adverse Camber’s funders Arts
Council England and the National Lottery to whom we are exceptionally
grateful for their support of our work.
More about Adverse Camber
Adverse Camber is an independent production company, based amongst the
historic mills of Cromford, Derbyshire. We act as a catalyst, bringing artists,
partners, venues, audiences and funders together to create and enjoy outstanding
works of storytelling and music. We are energised by the feedback of audiences,
so please do get in touch and let us know your responses to the show.
IN 2016…
MARCH 2016
The Old Woman, the Buffalo
and the Lion of Manding
with storyteller Jan Blake and musicians
Kouame Sereba and Raymond Sereba.
Fire in the North Sky:
Epic Tales from Finland
(Saatuja Sanoja)
with storyteller Nick Hennessey and
three virtuoso musicians from Finland
Adverse Camber Team:
Producer Naomi Wilds
Artistic Advisor Paula Crutchlow
Marketing Associate Jenny Babenko
Marketing Associates Palmer Squared
Associate Producer Louisa Davies
Assistant Producer Amy Marsh
Participation Associate Jan Reynolds
Adverse Camber Board Nick Cutts and Amanda Wilde
Xanthe Gresham Knight storyteller Arash Moradi daf, setar, shurangiz
Originally commissioned by the British Museum, with support from
the Smithsonian, Iran Heritage, Asia House and the Magic of Persia
Adverse Camber productions presents
Although I’ve been telling
stories from Shahnameh for
many years, I feel I’m just at
the beginning with this
enormous epic. I’ve learned
so much about the art of
Naqali, Iranian performance
storytelling, from working with
Ferdowsi’s poem. It naturally
lends itself to improvisation,
audience participation and
drama. The unparalleled music
of Arash Moradi captures the
spirit and soul of Ferdowsi.
Arash has inherited a wide
repertoire of songs and
maqams, traditionally used for
key characters in Shahnameh.
As is so often the case with
epics, Shahnameh is full of
battles. I’ve tried to down play
any glorification of war while
attempting to retain the
full-blooded warrior energy that
gives the stories such kick. I’ve
also augmented the feminine
where possible.
The storytelling text is my own
creative adaption. Ferdowsi’s
poetry is exquisite and I’ve
made use of a number of
translations from the Farsi in
an attempt to retain the most
beautiful images and conceits.
The original verses are in rhyme
and as an experiment initially;
I began to retell Sohrab and
Rustam in rhyming iambic
pentameter. It was a revelation
how comfortable that felt.
Over the years, as it’s become
clear where there needs to be an
overlap with prose, the rhymes
have, I hope, settled down.
Anyone looking for a good
current translation would do
well to read Dick Davies’ version
available in Penguin Classics.
After working with the source
material for many years, it’s
been wonderful to invite Kate,
Louisa, Claudine, Gethin
and Naomi to share this next
part of the creative journey.
The destination we’ve all been
working towards is sharing this
epic world with you. We’d love
to hear your feedback, so
please do get in touch.
Xanthe Gresham Knight
Xanthe Gresham Knight
Arash Moradi
Xanthe is a graduate of Oxford University
and the Guildhall School of Music and
Drama. She has been awarded Storytelling
Residencies at Harvard University, The
Chelsea Physic Garden and Stoke and
Staffordshire Libraries. She was Storytelling
Educator for Tate Britain for five years and
Lecturer in Drama and Storytelling at the
University of East London. All eight of
Xanthe’s Goddess Tales have received Arts
Council England funding. Xanthe has toured
extensively to theatres and festivals across
the UK and worldwide.
Arash was born in the Kurdish city of
Kermanshah in Western Iran. He is the
eldest son of Iran’s leading tanbour player
Ali Akbar Moradi. Arash started learning this
ancient artform from an early age from his
father whom he has since accompanied in
numerous concerts and festivals throughout
the world. Arash lives in London where he
teaches tanbour and runs workshops on
Persian music. He has collaborated with the
BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London
Philharmonic. He also actively promotes
Kurdish music.
Kate Higginbottom
Collaborating Director
Kate is a writer, director and performer with a
background in theatre, physical theatre, film,
music and dance. Her principle work as director
has been with Nicole & Martin. As a performer
and devisor she has worked with many
international companies, including Complicite.
Kate studied at Cambridge University, the École
International de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris,
Laban London and the European Dance
Development Centre in Holland.
Gethin Stacey
Creative Technical Manager
Gethin Stacey runs Sound Hire Wales, supplying
high quality sound and lighting for events large
and small across the UK. This is his second
production with Adverse Camber.
Claudine Scheer
Design Assistant
Born in Luxembourg, Claudine studied Theatre
Design at the University of Central England,
Birmingham. She currently works at Vivid Design
Works, an Event Design Company in South East
London as a painter, seamstress and general PA
alongside work in theatre, making props and
Louisa Davies
Associate Producer
Louisa Davies is an independent creative
producer, working on a range of projects
encompassing music, spoken word, theatre
and outdoor arts, alongside a part time role
as Events Manager for the Royal Shakespeare
Company. For ten years, she was the Producer
Performing Arts at mac birmingham, where
she first discovered Adverse Camber. Louisa
has a Masters degree in European Cultural
Policy and Administration from the
University of Warwick.
Photos by Chris Webb.
Illustration: ©The British Library Board Or. 4615, f.3v