Alice and Svend-Erik are both very tall storytellers. They had shared many conversations about their experience of being unusually big people, but GIANTS storytelling project came about when in 2016 Svend-Erik suddenly became unwell. He collapsed with an aortic dissection and went through life saving surgery to repair his aorta. Luckily he recovered extremely well and is now fighting fit. The doctors suggested that the weakness in his aorta could have been the result of a medical condition which affects very tall people. Discussion about what it means to be tall followed. As storytellers we became passionate about exploring human scale through our art and we began to ask questions about the big people in myth and folklore.
Who were these great beings once said to roam the earth? How did they live? How did they love? Why were they feared? Why did they disappear?
GIANTS storytelling project was born.
We began reading every folktale and myth we could find about giants. Many of which told stories of giants being slain by humans. But we wanted to search deeper than this David and Goliath narrative. After all who was Goliath? What was happening for him? We wanted to find out who these great beings were to themselves and each other. Our research led us deep into Norse and Celtic myth and folktale right back to the beginning of everything.
In January 2017 we went to Mairi Campbell’s studio on the Isle of Lismore to begin our research and development.
In March 2017 we launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the development of the project. We raised nearly £3500 which helped us pay for publicity and marketing, research materials, rehearsal space, costumes, and enabled us to work with great musicians and teachers while developing the piece.
Our storytelling mentor Jan Blake, skilfully guided and supported us through our development process, helping us craft the piece and giving us invaluable coaching with our storytelling.
Together we made a show which maps the rise and demise of the giants. Carrying our audience on chronological journey through stories of the days when giants ruled, right through to the day they disappeared from the earth.
In April 2017 we performed GIANTS for the first time at The Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh Scotland, with local musician Nicky Haire.
In June 2017 we piloted our children’s version of the show along with a workshop at Lawfield Primary School, Mayfield, Midlothian where the children had a fantastic time exploring the stories. Read a testimonial from Avril Roger, Lawfield Primary School.
Later in June 2017 GIANTS visited Kelburn Garden Party, where we told more of the GIANT stories for children.
In September 2017 we were part of TapRoot, Lismore’s Music and Literature Festival, where we performed our full length show for adults and our children’s show for pupils at Lismore Primary School. We also led a full day workshop with the children where we explored the story of Thor and his journey to meet the giants in Utgard.
In October 2017 we took our GIANT stories to the Scottish International Storytelling Festival where we performed them in the Royal Botanic Gardens as part of the Enchanted Garden Event.
We even created a GIANTS birthday party, filled with GIANT stories and GIANT party games.
In January 2018 we launched GIANTS International at Hvalsoe School in Denmark. A specially crafted version of GIANTS for English language learners which includes a performance and storytelling workshop in English.
We performed GIANTS at TradFest in April 2018.
In May 2018 we took GIANTS International to schools in Tenerife, Spain.
In October 2018 an abridged family friendly version of GIANTS storytelling performance debuted at The Scottish International Storytelling Festival featuring musician Neil Sutcliffe with his accordion.
In December 2018 we returned to Denmark and visited Hvalsø School and Trekroner School with performances and workshops.
In February 2019 we returned to Tenerife to perform and deliver workshops at schools and teacher training centres.
In March 2019 we went to Venice in Italy to perform and give workshops at the Steiner School in Oriago.
In May we will return to Trekroner School in Denmark and in June we will be travelling to Sweden to perform at the Ljungby Berättarfestival.