Epic Tales from Finland told on stage at Derby

All Four TogetherAn adverse camber is the unexpected aspect of a journey that makes the road more exciting – more dangerous even.

An apt name then for a production company that brings new life to epic stories which have been told by countless voices for hundreds of years.

Adverse Camber Productions is the brainchild of Naomi Wilds, pictured right, who has been spearheading its development for the past nine years with a passion unsurpassed by few others in the arts world.

She has had help from a variety of associates and funders, not least Arts Council England, but essentially the production company, which is based at Cromford Mill, was created and is run by Naomi.

She has produced seven national tours, each time bringing together creative teams to research and develop new work with storytellers and musicians.

The latest is Fire in the North Sky: Epic Tales from Finland, which is launching its new tour at the Derby Folk Festival in the Guildhall Theatre on October 2.

It will be a rare opportunity to hear one of the UK’s leading storytellers Nick Hennessey perform tales from Kalevala, which is Finland’s national epic – equal to Homer’s Iliad or the Old English Beowulf.

From the mythic creation of the sky and earth, to the forging of the Sampo – a mystical object which brings infinite bounty – to seduction spells and a mother’s love for her son; Fire in the North Sky combines epic feats of heroes like Väinämöinen and Lemminkäinen with very human stories of love, loss and longing.

You will also experience the pinnacle of Finnish contemporary folk music from three virtuoso musicians.

Naomi studied English Literature at Leeds and studied narrative strategies for her MA. She has worked for various arts organisations and specialised in literature development in the East Midlands until she devoted herself to Adverse Camber.

It was around that time that she experienced storytelling as an art form and decided that she wanted to be part of it.

“I was gobsmacked that there were people who were telling stories with no script. I was intrigued and started going to festivals. The more I heard and saw the more I realised that this was something I would like to work with,” explained Naomi.

“But there wasn’t an obvious role or job. I knew I didn’t want to tell the stories but I was convinced there must be a way I could contribute.

“The storytellers all said that they needed more agents to get them work but I wanted to do more than that and I wanted to somehow develop storytelling it and raise awareness of it as an art form.

“That’s when I applied to Arts Council England and a small pot of funding helped me develop ideas. None of this would have been possible without them – they have supported me throughout,” she added.

Her company is now committed to growing new audiences for storytelling by commissioning new work, producing tours, marketing and carrying out thorough audience research.

Effectively Naomi and her small team of associates work with artists to develop the shows and then make sure they get seen.

“The road sign that inspired our name flags up that something different to what you expect is about to happen and I am excited to think that is what we are doing.

“We take artistic risks to forge new ground and invite audiences to embrace the risks and rewards with us,” she said.

To book tickets for the show on October 2 go to http://www.derbylive.co.uk To find out about the rest of the UK tour go to http://www.adversecamber.org