When a debilitating stroke forced him to switch from singing to storytelling in 1984, Taffy Thomas had no idea that he would grow into one of the most respected traditional tale spinners in England. According to http://www.parklife.co.uk, Thomas is "popular as a source for other storytellers, teaching aides, or just as entertainment, particularly in cars to shorten the road." A native of Yeovil, a small city in southwest England, Thomas was introduced to folk music and dance at a local folk club. Although he sang at the club, he was more influenced by a West County comedian, from whose act he acquired several bits that he performed at talent competitions. This led to performances at community events, where he performed folk tunes and told humorous stories. Thomas' storytelling was inherited from his paternal grandfather, Teddy Thomas, who, although not a formal storyteller, had a unique way of commenting on daily events. He was later influenced by master storytellers Betsy Whyte and Ruth Tongue, whose cottage he visited often to hear traditional songs and stories. A former literature/drama teacher at Dudley College, Thomas has worked extensively in the schools of England, sharing his songs and stories with youngsters. He served as storyteller in residence of the South Lake District Council. Thomas has appeared in two folk-operas -- Bob Pegg's The Shipbuilder and Peter Bellamy's The Transports. His latest project, Dance Tales, co-produced with his wife Chrissie, features dances choreographed to the words of Thomas' stories.
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