A new love for an ancient art: Paradise Bride @ Hamilton House’s Storytelling Sundays

Photo: Barbara Droth. Permission granted by Xanthe Gresham-Knight.

Before I saw Xanthe Gresham-Knight perform her piece ‘Paradise Bride’, I hadn’t given much thought to the art of storytelling – an everyday mechanism that often slips into the background. But Gresham-Knight’s unique blend of performance and storytelling brought our most ancient and deeply engrained form of entertainment to the forefront, showing that it’s impossible not to become completely captivated by the collective energy it creates.

Each month CoResist hosts ‘Storytelling Sunday’, in which storytellers from around the country perform in a relaxed, friendly environment at Hamilton House. Gresham. It was here I ended up having a lovely chat with Gresham-Knight before she walked into the performance space and delivered her golden words. Not only is she a truly unique creative, she is also a humble soul and the friendliest of people. She brings with her a personality that fills the room with positive vibrations (her singing bowl helped) and we were all truly immersed in the vivid imagery she provided.

Set in a rolling-green world of fairies, the fables were heartwarming and hilarious, and had that particular absurdity that the magic of old brings. The last story Gresham-Knight told was one that stuck with me. She flitted easily from descriptions of the beauty of nature to ones of the misery of twenty-first century concrete and pollution in a way that had us focusing on every heartbeat of the world around us.

The language Gresham-Knight used was carefully chosen and articulated, and she contrasted epic poetic form with everyday phrasing perfectly. It was as if she had taken the landscape which she had described and translated it into sound, a flowing river becoming her rippling words. The piece made me feel at one with nature even though I was slap bang in the middle of a roaring city, with sirens going off outside and music being played downstairs. While we listened to Gresham-Knight, the air around us swam with tranquility as we were transported to so many vivid worlds.

Xanthe Gresham-Knight is natural energy come to life. After listening to her speak, I am certain to come back to for more Storytelling Sundays. She has given me a new perspective on the oldest form of art and communication that creates an atmosphere that lives and breathes.