10-24 Jan 2018 | Nationwide | The Transports: a words-and-music look at exile and migration


Mass migration is a defining dilemma of today, and there’s seldom been a more vital moment to bring back The Transports.

The Transports: National Tour January 2018. CLICK TO SEE VENUES …

Join some of Britain’s leading folk musicians for a timely re-telling of Peter Bellamy’s legendary The Transports. Here is a rare chance to see BBC Award Winners The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr and members of Bellowhead together on stage.

This new production of The Transports combines incredible music with spell-binding story-telling.

At a time when migration makes headlines daily, this tale of past migration shows how little has changed in the global movement of desperate people. The accompanying project Parallel Lives charts – town by town – those who once left Britain with those who have recently arrived.

The Transports tells the tale of a family destroyed by poverty and crime, but resurrected by exile to the new colony of Australia. With fresh script and musical arrangement, this famous show re-emerges within a modern context of mass migration.

Peter Bellamy’s record of The Transports was released in 1977, and featured The Watersons, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, AL Lloyd, June Tabor, Cyril Tawney, Dave Swarbrick and others. Several times since, further generations of folk musicians have gathered to re-create the piece.

This new production features musical arrangements by Paul Sartin of Bellowhead and Faustus. Storyteller Matthew Crampton has created fresh narration for the show, amplifying its central tale into a broader exploration of exile and migration.

For the Parallel Lives project, the creative team behind The Transports is working with refugee and migrant organisations in each town the show visits. The project will contrast the lives of those forced to leave Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries with those who have recently arrived. By telling stories, Parallel Lives aims to avoid didactic discourse and promote awareness among those either disinterested or hostile to refugees and migrants.

Mass migration is a defining dilemma of today. There’s seldom been a more vital moment to bring back The Transports – not just a great music experience, but a sharp reminder of folk music’s power in portraying the way the world actually works.

  • More information about The Transports
  • The Transports: 5-star review in The Guardian: ‘Without a single weak link or sub-standard number, this truly is a transport of delight’.

The Transports: On tour January 2018

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