Nick Hanks, having studied Archaeology at Bristol University and Drama at Warwick University, is ideally suited for scripting and leading heritage guided walks. He also gives training in the Art of Tourguiding.
Nick Hanks currently leads tours on his own and does storytelling events and guided walks as part of Time and Tide Taletellers (use this link for current events) with Dawn McHale. This all began over 25 years ago with guided walks along the Thames Path and Ridgeway performing with ‘The Travelling Talesman’ (Cliff Eastabrook), as Longshanks and Talesman.
Time and Tide Taletellers provide imaginative engagement with the sense of place. Blending myth, legend, history and pure invention, as this is what turns an anonymous public space into a place with meaning. They do Time Walks (which town and country landscape and history explored, with some stories and folk lore), Story Walks (which focus on tales and legends with a bit of history) and site specific events for The National Trust.
His speciality is presenting the material in-situ, “where it happened”. Using the atmosphere of the setting, and putting it, rather than himself, centre stage.
Carefully structured, and paced to keep people interested; contrasting the styles of delivery. But delivered with spontaneity and thus avoiding the stale lecture format.
Unique local material about the actual setting, fill the majority of the scripts, for this is the richness that is discovered during the performance/event.
Context is provided for all material so that it is understood, as well as wondered at. Understood, and so it is remembered. Be it historical, archaeological, social, economic, cultural or religious.
Specific methods of presentation are chosen for each fact/feature that will maximise the clarity, be it:- site diagrams, story telling, handling real artifacts/reconstructions, puppets, quotes from historic sources, comic sketches, period illustrations or audience participation.
The presentation serves the site and the facts, and doesn’t ‘upstage’ or ‘make light’ of them.
- “Performance” – it is obviously modern people wearing hats, using props and explaining things.
- “Archaeology” – it is based on objects and places, that make a probable picture of the people of the past.
It is not historical re-enactment. It does not involve the illusion of ‘pretending to be’ historic figures, which is inaccurate and does not communicate effectively! That method can trivialise the past and turn the historic location into a mere backdrop.