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Cromwell’s Talking Head

Something different for Ely Folk Festival this year – a terrified grave robber comes across the severed mummified head of England’s greatest revolutionary (and part-time Ely resident) – Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell’s head proceeds to tell him his life story – a tale of tyrannical kings, civil war and violent revenge which Gareth Calway will recount in chilling detail.

Written and performed by Gareth Calway in ten chapters, this monologue begins with a grave-robber inadvertently coming across the head of Oliver Cromwell. In a startling act of reincarnation, Cromwell recounts his autobiography, focusing in particular on his reign as Lord Protector from 1649 to 1658. Gareth’s dramatic monologue (on severed head lectern) is a triumph of narration and vocal colour.


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Line Up

Booked so far for the 2015 festival

(subject to contract)

Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band


Steve Tilston

Les Barker


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ely folk festival 2016