Stunning… truly a transport of delight

Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

Matthew Crampton

Matthew Crampton is a storyteller, writer and folk singer who lives in London. Aside from adapting and touring The Transports, he also performs a show based on his latest book HUMAN CARGO: Stories and Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation. He'll next tour Human Cargo in May/June 2018 with the American folk music legend Jeff Warner.

Human Cargo gives voice to emigrants, slaves, convicts and people trafficked or transported during the 18th and 19th centuries. Its striking mix of story and folk song sets these past voices beside testimony from today – so shedding new light on a defining disaster of our time.

While researching the book, Matthew looked widely into the transportation of British convicts to America and Australia, exploring personal diaries and accounts, new historical analysis and the many folksongs from the time. This research underpins his work in creating new narrative sections for The Transports.

Matthew is known in folk clubs for performing traditional songs, monologues and music hall. Very occasionally, you can endure his comic double-act with David Eagle of The Young’uns, called Muddling Through. He also performs music hall and singalong in care homes – and has recently started storytelling in schools.

His political activities include work with No Glory, a campaign dedicated to ensuring the centenary of World War One does not glorify that needless conflict. Matthew’s links with refugee and migrant organisations – forged with Human Cargo – have helped develop the Parallel Lives project.

Here’s Matthew talking to Cerys Matthews about Human Cargo on BBC 6 Music. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03tj3tz

His previous books include The Trebor Story, a history of the sweet firm, and Tales from the Angler’s Retreat, a book about trout fishing in the Outer Hebrides. Among previous careers, Matthew worked as a speechwriter in London and Hong Kong, administrator of an association of film producers, dramaturg at The Old Vic theatre, masseur and finance director. His awards include Hebridean Fish of the Year 2008.

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