In a rare happening local storyteller, Daniel Morden will be making his second Borough Theatre performance in a single season on Friday March, 24.
In January, Daniel made a successful comeback to the Borough Theatre to an audience of 150 people of different generations. The evening sparked laughter and song, as people enjoyed a show not dissimilar to a panto.
When asked about his first experience in the newly refurbished theatre, Daniel said: “It was absolutely delightful, seeing a full auditorium and such a range of people... in the audience there was a group of three generations of family – it was wonderful to see!
“And to perform in the new space... It was a surprise to see how it had changed, it was fantastic.”
However, Daniel’s next show ‘The Beast in Me’ promises a darker spin, suited for a more adult audience. “This is not a show that the audience can join in on,” Daniel explained “it is suitable for people aged ten and up; there is no violent or taboo topics but for the stories to have an impact, a bit of life needs to have already been lived.”
The four stories will revolve around the theme of transformation and how changing from one form to another can morph an individual’s psyche. It explores a world where the lines separating humanity and animals have blurred.
“I have always been interested in these types of stories, you can be swept along with them and the characters” Daniel said “if one changed into an animal, how would this change their mind? How would this mould someone’s view on life? You surely wouldn’t be the same person afterward?”
Daniel’s favourite of the tales is about Taliesin, a renowned Welsh bard, who is believed to have sung at the courts of at least three kings between 534 and 599. In the mid sixteenth century, the life of Taliesin was mythologised. The poems about the bard draw from Celtic folklore, magic and fairy tales.
What makes this story even more special is how it brings everything full circle.
The group, The Devil’s Violin (Daniel as the storyteller, Oliver Wilson-Dickson on violin and celloist Sarah Moody) have been touring with ‘The Beast in Me’ over the course of the year and this will be their final show as a trio in Abergavenny – bringing their 17-year partnership to an end.
“We will be finishing the night telling the story about the bard, which is essentially what we are.
“We’ve aspired to honour the fundamental bardic tradition of Wales in the last seventeen years. It feels wonderful to be end ‘The Devil’s Violin’ project on this story,” Daniel commented.
“It was difficult to hold it together in the face of funding, illness and the pandemic - I am so proud that we kept the project going, especially in the current arts climate.
“Now each core member has something that they want to pursue, and it is the right time to end.”
To complete this chapter in the Borough Theatre, is what Daniel described as “delightful.”
“We have performed this show in various venues – churches, open air, but the Borough has the infrastructure perfect for this type of performance... the lights, the sound. The music is intrinsic to the story as it evokes mood, and the theatre really lends itself to this. It is perfect.”
Although The Devil’s Violin will be concluding their adventure together, Daniel assures fans that he is not retiring. Looking towards the future, he confided about a plan in the works, which involved stories of constellations, projections and a newly composed soundtrack - a magical display that he hopes to take on tour next year. “I am excited to share this new story with audiences, I want people to leave the show and be able to look into the sky and know something.”
Tickets for the ‘Beast in Me’ are available via The Borough Theatre website.