Something for the summer – a downloadable audio walk.

Pole Vault : an 11 minute downloadable audio walk, to listen to whilst walking along a canal towpath [click to download].

The roots of the Olympic sport of the Pole Vault reach back many centuries when obstacles, or more commonly canals or other stretches of water, were traversed using a pole.

Canals have a complex and sometimes dark history as places where desperate people attempted to take their own lives. One such case was that of Elizabeth Barnwell, who was suffering from ‘puerperal mania’, a severe form of postnatal mental illness. This audio walk tells her story.

Professor Hilary Marland from the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick (interviewed by Nick Walker)
Roland Mackie – Canal Ranger for Coventry Council (interviewed by Anne Forgan)
Jake Oldershaw singing the Boatman
Derek Nisbet – Violin

Song lyrics: Nick Walker
Music, Sound Design and editing by Derek Nisbet

[Pole Vault is one of Talking Birds’ Decathlon artworks, marking the company’s 20th year.]

Homer in Space


TROY STORY: An Intergalactic Opera

9th July 2013 at 4.30pm

Birmingham Town Hall

It is the year 3000 and Odysseus is at home with his wife, son, robot and electronic goldfish when he is summoned to the war on Troy, a planet on the other side of the Galaxy. He might be the cleverest of all Earth’s Generals but has he got enough horse sense to defeat the Trojans? And can he get home through hyper space – which is packed with Sirens, nine headed monsters and giant one eyed sheep farmers? And will he get back before his wife gets fed up of knitting duvet covers and marries somebody else?

All these questions and more will be answered in an intergalactic opera made by Orchestra Of the Swan and Talking Birds in collaboration with schools from Stratford Upon Avon (Welcombe Hills, Thomas Jolyffe and Wilmcote schools) and Birmingham (Brays School, St Patrick’s and St Edmund’s RC Primary schools). Featuring loads of singers, a bit of fighting and a few tricks, Troystory takes two epic yarns from ancient Greece, puts them into the future and re-tells them in round about two hours, (including a stop-off for refreshments).

TroyStory includes the Illiad-inspired prequel to, and our acclaimed Space Odyssey in one Homer-tastic double bill.

Tickets available from Town Hall Birmingham

PS As this is our sixth production in six months, we’re planning to take it a bit easier for most of the summer…except for the various planned outings for the Whale, the OakMobile and the Q. Look out for more new stuff in the Autumn.