Nick Hennessey is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, playwright, folk singer, song writer and musician. He has told stories for more than 20 years, performing at venues such as the Southbank Centre and the Royal Albert Hall. He is particularly drawn to North European cultural traditions and has been awarded high honours in Finland for his work on their National Epic, Kalevala. He is a sought after artistic collaborator, working with top of the field musicians and storytellers. With a deep appreciation for the key role that stories play in how we learn about and express ourselves and the world, whether in communities, businesses or schools, he works extensively in helping draw out our natural storytelling skills.
He came to storytelling whilst undertaking field research for a PhD in Cultural Geography. At this time he became a professional singer, songwriter and storyteller with a particular interest in the relationship between landscape, communities and stories and the re-invention of tradition. As an artist he has continued to do research and perform internationally. In 2000 he won the World Championship in epic-singing performing the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic in Espoo, near Helsinki. He regularly returns to perform Kalevala in English for Finnish audiences. In 2009 he presented a program on BBC Radio 4 about the relationship between Kalevala and modern Finnish national identity.
He has worked extensively over the last 10 years with the innovative and pioneering storytelling production company Adverse Camber and director Paula Crutchlow with whom he created the epic storytelling and music performance Fire in the North Sky, with the improvisational Finnish band Suunta, which has toured widely in the UK as well as Norway, Lithuania and Finland.
He has devised and produced other many new works, notably “Barbed Wire for Kisses” with Hugh Lupton, a piece set in an imagined rural Lincolnshire village between 1914 and 1918, using actual letters and diary entries from the Lincoln archive facilities.
Along with Jonny Dyer and Vicki Swan he devised and wrote “The Whispering Road”, a storytelling and musical performance based on Swedish folktales, which has enjoyed huge success in rural touring venues throughout the country.
He has been commissioned a number times by Rosa Productions and the Oxford Story Museum to create and deliver performances for outdoor events in Lincoln, and was commissioned in 2007 by the Plymouth Theatre Royal to write “The Crossroads” a short play based on the ballad Tam Lin for the celebrated Playhouse Festival. The play has subsequently been performed at Plymouth, York Theatre Royal, and Polka Children’s Theatre in London.
Nick has performed at venues from the Southbank Centre and the Albert Hall to rural village halls, and extensively at folk, storytelling, and literature festivals throughout the UK and internationally (Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Canada and two national tours of Japan). He has produced three solo albums of his music the most recent of which, “A Rare Hunger” released on Harbourtown Records, received critical acclaim with airtime plays on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and numerous stations in the US.
Over the last decade, in partnership with the LFHE, Nick has developed an approach to exploring stories within organisations and businesses, helping leaders and teams develop Narrative Intelligence to facilitate a healthy organisational culture. Please follow the blue links to find out more.