The Complete History Of Jersey (in just under 10 minutes)


Today sees the release of a very special film, ‘The Complete History Of Jersey (in just under 10 minutes)’ in celebration of this year’s Liberation Day. The film has been produced by ArtHouse Jersey in collaboration with John Henry Falle AKA The Story Beast with the support of the Government of Jersey as part of the Island Identity Project.

 The poem was originally commissioned as a live performance piece by ArtHouse Jersey in 2019 to help celebrate the organisation’s move to Greve de Lecq Barracks. Now, having been transformed into film format, the production illustrates the poem’s content with stunning scenery from across the array of the Island’s landscapes, from bays, to rock formations, varines to dolmens. It is our hope that this insightful and amusing piece will be enjoyed by thousands of people online in Jersey and further afield over the upcoming Liberation weekend and beyond.

 Director of ArtHouse Jersey, Tom Dingle, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to bring this stunning piece of writing to the screen, thanks to the support of the Government of Jersey. Our Island has a complex identity, one steeped in fascinating history, glorious successes and our fair share of controversy, too. John Henry’s mastery is plain to see in 'The Complete History Of Jersey (in just under 10 minutes). He effortlessly weaves in and out of Jersey’s complex past, not shying away from contention, whilst simultaneously imparting a sense of wonder and pride about this small rock we all call home. As we approach Liberation Day, a time for reflecting and giving thanks for our Island and the liberties it offers us all today, we hope people will take just ten minutes to visit or our social media channels to soak up this stellar piece of local storytelling”.

Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said “I am thrilled by ArtHouse Jersey’s film production of A Complete History of Jersey (in just under ten minutes), as it is something that I have been very keen to see in this format to enable the performance to be shared more readily as it is truly inspirational. I am therefore delighted to have been able to support this wonderful and hugely informative film. The piece begins by posing the question of how to define Jersey, implying that statistics and external perceptions of our Island fall short of capturing the indefinable essence of “Jersey-ness”. This is the central question of the Island Identity project. The ongoing process of attempting to answer it sheds light on how our Island’s distinguishing characteristics can be recognised, protected, and celebrated. For centuries, storytelling has been a valuable and engaging method of passing down history, connecting the past and present and blurring the boundaries between entertainment and education. This particular piece of storytelling paints a picture of the past while also helping us understand the present. The film’s concise verbal animation of Jersey’s history is a highly engaging way of promoting knowledge about our unique history, culture, and identity. I hope that this film appeals to all Islanders and that it speaks to them in some way.”

Poet & performer John Henry Falle said: “I’ve tried to look at Jersey’s History proportionally which is a really stupid way of doing things. As a result I spend a lot of time on the 200,000ish years of habitation of the caves at La Cotte and virtually no time at all on Financial Services or the Oyster Fisheries of the 19th Century. This is obviously a bad way of organising History but Art House Jersey had commissioned a poem no longer than ten minutes so what this forced me to do was “Zoom Out”. When you zoom out, our island’s story stops being about particular historical characters and starts being about geology, technologies, trades, faiths, landscapes and the movements of people. When even the Past refuses to say still all you can really do is admire the scenery and appreciate that it’s constantly eroding beneath your feet. So, the work will never be done, it just stops and if the poem is successful I look forward to the next few years of being told how wrong I was.”