Gilgamesh in Todmorden: Gig photos

We had the pleasure of once again participating in this year’s Pushing up Daisies festival, Todmorden, where we were performing Gilgamesh in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall; an exciting and unusual performance space set out as a functioning court room. Quite an appropriate arena for King Gilgamesh to be tested and judged by the gods, and have his moral courage weighed in the balance, we thought so anyway!

Here are some photos from the night:



Gilgamesh the Trailer…

On Monday 14th May Gilgamesh returns to Tod town hall at 7pm. Come and see the performance of the world’s oldest story that’s been described by Jay Griffiths (Pip Pip – A Sideways Look at Time) as “a tale told with real beauty and care” and Horatio Clare (Orison for a Curlew) as “sublime.” Told by Peter Findlay, with music from Sonja Froebel and Andrew Daley. Last year we had a full house so do come early to avoid disappointment. Very excited to have this out there and many thanks to the brilliant Geoff Brokate for his sterling effort.

Gilgamesh returns! Monday 14th May 2018

Pushing Up Daisies festival, Todmorden

Off By Heart Music and Stories is delighted to be returning with our production of Gilgamesh to perform at the Pushing Up Daisies festival in Todmorden; an exploration of conversations around death, dying and bereavement.  We hope you will join us as we embark once more on the hero’s journey on Monday 14th May 2018 at 7pm, Council Chamber, Todmorden Town Hall. No booking needed. Please be advised that our show is age 16+, as there are some adult themes. Check out their website here for more details, and a soon-to-be-published program, together with details of last year’s event.

Thoughts on Gilgamesh

The terror first kicked in sometime in my teens. I remember being in my room listening to The Doors so you could say it was my own fault but suddenly it hit me.

I was going to die.

Like all good monsters the fear surprises me at the most unexpected of times, often at about 3.30 in the morning. And like all good monsters it has you hiding under the duvet, holding your breath in the hope that it will go away. And like all good monsters it makes you think that it has.

While at University my friend Andy told me about a story so old that it predated the book of Genesis; the tale of a King who had to face up to man’s oldest fear. Years later I saw the arch-druid of storytelling, Ben Haggerty, bring the three-thousand year-old words of Sin-leqi-unninni vividly to life. Much later the tag-team of Tim Ralphs & Simon Heywood brought the relationship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu into sharper focus for me. A friend bought me the Stephen Mitchell translation as a fortieth birthday present and I was transported to a city whose walls gleamed like copper in the sunlight.

Over the years I have spoken to friends, therapists and ministers about my fear of death and some of what they’ve said has been helpful. I have been to some good funerals and many bad ones and, on occasion, been a pallbearer or even stood before the casket as a minister. I have sat at the bed-sides of friends & family and held their hands and wondered if they can hear my tears or my prayers.

A few years after turning forty I became a father. One morning I awoke while my son slept with five words in my head: “It’s time to tell Gilgamesh.” The rest is history, you might say. I won’t lie to you and say performing this tale has finally dispelled my fear of death but I will say this: it has made me a hell of a lot less afraid to live.

The darkness is coming. Hold my hand if you can, I need a friend and I have so much to show you: after all, it’s time to tell Gilgamesh.

Peter Findlay, Hebden Bridge, Autumn 2017.