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Alexander Pope: A Search For Perfection Is Back!

After a sold out run at Pope’s Grotto and Twickenham Library, Alexander Pope: A Search For Perfection is back! I will be performing the show at The Old Sorting Office in Barnes on 13th October – tickets are now on sale here.

Pope is a poet I avoided at Uni because his idea of poetry is so different to ours now – despite my father being a fan! Creating this show was intense and I’m so glad I did because he is truly inspirational. Imagine, a chronically and critically disabled man, an outsider to English society (he was Catholic) whose formal education stopped at 12 who nonetheless managed by sheer brilliance to make himself central to English cultural and intellectual life, a midget who remains a giant of English Literature?! It’s all true – come and hear his extraordinary story.

Here’s a little preview to get you in the mood…


1. Alexander Pope: A Search For Perfection clip - Giles Abbott     

But if you can’t make 13th October I’ll be back with the show next year at the National Portrait Gallery on 18th May and at the Twickenham Festival in June. For ticket details and further dates keep an eye out on Facebook, Twitter and of course, this blog (and if you’ve not subscribed there’s a handy box for that…).

Hope to see you there!

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Tickets On Sale for AO Hume – The Unseen Force, at the National Portrait Gallery

Tickets are now on sale for another gig I’m very excited about! At 7pm, on Thursday 11th August I shall be in the National Portrait Gallery on St Martins Lane as part of their Late Shift programme. I performed Tongues Of Flame for them last year and it’s such a fantastic place to tell stories! While I work with the words, all around me the portraits of the great and lofty dead look on patiently. And they are such good listeners… To book tickets visit here.

On this occasion I’ll be telling the story of possibly the greatest Englishman you’ve never heard about – Allan Octavian Hume. A.O Hume – The Unseen Force is the story of a man who, when still young, began his career as a Civil Servant working in India for the Raj. He was tasked with extracting maximum profit for the British Empire from India. But Hume was altogether too good a man to simply do that. He fell in love with India and Indian culture and began to work hard for the interests of Victoria’s Indian subjects. He was not doing this for show, indeed, he had to be discrete, because he began to work directly against the interests of Queen and country. Hume had to be an unseen force. He was, and spectacularly so; he helped change both British and Indian history.

I will be aided in my telling by Nafees Ihrfan, a tabla virtuoso. You will hear him play, but you won’t be able to see his fingers move! I’m really excited about this – I love tabla and it’s going to add so much to the story. For a little taster of his work you can listen here.

We will be performing in Room 20, which is filled with portraits of people connected to British rule in India. But where is A O Hume’s portrait? Ah, come along and I’ll tell you.

Story is a great way of sharing history, and his story is great enough to share – do come! You can hear the beginning of an earlier version of this story, commissioned by the South London Botanical Institute, which Hume founded in his retirement in Norwood, and recorded at Resonance FM,  below.