Monday, 25 April 2011

News - New tour of Nottingham set to launch

THE promotional material for David Cross's new Heroes and Villains of Nottingham tour asks a somewhat provocative question: Was Robin Hood gay?

The on-a-postcard answer: er, no.

But the reality of the time was a bit more sexually diverse than later history re-writers, like those priggish Victorians, may have liked to admit.

"That (question) was very tongue-in-cheek," Mr Cross said. "There's absolutely no evidence. But Richard the Lionheart absolutely was, as were many other historical characters."

That said, Mr Cross expects that at some point in the near future, Hollywood will try a Robin Hood tale that uses sexuality as a plot point.

"They've kind of run out of things to say about Robin Hood," he said.

That is not a problem shared by Mr Cross. He's always had a passion for history. Nearly two decades ago, he began translating that passion into something fun – history-laden "ghost tours" of Nottingham.

"We've been doing the Nottingham Ghost Walk since 1993," he said. "I've always wanted to develop a new tour alongside the ghost walk and now that I'm semi-retired, I've got the time to do it."

The new tour took eight or nine months to develop but if the ghost tours are any example, it will be an ever-evolving work in progress.

Storytelling, he finds, is an odd beast. An idea that sounds great on paper can fall flat, while a story thrown into a tour at the last minute can become a winner. One thing he has learned is that you can research a story, write it out, practise it and have it down perfectly, but until you try it out in front of a group of expectant faces, you won't know how it's going to go down.

The new tour won't revolve simply around Robin Hood and that well-known cast of characters from his stories, though they'll loom large.

The tour will start near the castle, wind past Old Market Square to the Lace Market and then double back just about to where it started. Those, Mr Cross said, were the necessary locales to explain a city that developed from a Saxon enclave near what is now the Lace Market and a Norman stronghold near the castle.

While he's at it, Mr Cross will also take the opportunity to take his guests through other eras in Nottingham history. Characters such as Lord Byron will also make appearances. Even more modern heroes, such as DH Lawrence and Torvill and Dean, will warrant a mention.

"There's a lot more walking than in the ghost walk," Mr Cross said.

And during all that walking, he won't shy away from the difficult queries.

"The big question that everybody has is 'Did Robin Hood exist?' And that's a very complicated question to answer."

Modern Robin – the Hollywood Robin who married Marian at the oak and got misty-eyed while reminiscing about Nottingham Castle – no, of course he didn't exist.

But what about the guy from the medieval ballads? "The consensus is probably not."
Still, though, it's a good yarn. Particularly the way Mr Cross tells it.

For more information, visit or phone 07850 145642.

From: ThisisNottingham website

No comments:

Post a Comment