Storyteller and musician team up to tell tales of migration at Bedford venue

Matthew Crampton and Jeff Warner
Matthew Crampton and Jeff Warner

Acclaimed storyteller Matthew Crampton teams up  with American folk music legend Jeff Warner in a new show looking at migration.


Human Cargo gives voice to past exiles - emigrants, slaves, transportees - to shed fresh light on today’s migrations.
Through an accompanying project called Parallel Lives, it includeslocal stories of migration and partnership with local refugee and migrant support groups.
Crampton tells true tales of individuals forced into exile in the 18th and 19th centuries. He weaves these stories through a tapestry of traditional folk song from the time performed by Warner.
Crampton said: “Mass migration is a defining dilemma for the world. Giving it an historic perspective can detoxify the debate. Adding local stories helps people find their own place in the story.”
Jeff Warner is one of America’s foremost interpreters of traditional music, known for connecting 21st century audiences with the everyday lives of people from past centuries. Born to one of America’s most eminent families of folk song collectors, Jeff grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their collecting trips through rural America.
Crampton will also tell local stories. Among those mentioned are Salvatore and Elisabetta Garganese, who migrated from southern Italy to Bedford in the early 1960s. They were joining their father, who had made the journey ten years before, one of 7,500 men from rural southern Italy recruited by the Marston Valley Brick Company in Bedford.
The performance is part of Bedford Refugee Week and is staged at The Place in Bedford on Sunday June 17.
Visit www.theplacebedford.org.uk or call 01234 354321 to book.