Archive for June, 2009

Poster artwork for York Festival of Storytelling (18/10/09)

This is the archetypal storytelling situation: family and friends gathered together around a fire of an evening, and the most natural thing in the world is for someone to give the others a story.  The problem is, there aren’t a lot of outdoor fires these days – and when they happen, most people are too shy to even consider trying to ‘entertain’ the others.

So thanks and praise to my friends Stephan and Tatjana, who invited my family and me round for a midsummer fire last weekend (well alright, to be honest, we invited ourselves), and between grilling sausages and starting on the marshmallows, Stephan just started a story without any pomp.  Just like the man in this poster, he casually conjured up dervishes and bandits and magic coffee cups.  We all listened in that sort of semi-trance state one can get into sometimes, and then I added one of my own afterwards.

For all my efforts to be a ‘real’ storyteller, I still find it very hard to find these ‘natural’ openings in everyday life, as presumably my great-great-grandparents would have been able to do.  I hope I will learn, because I see that as one of the main roles of the new storytelling movement, to reintroduce these moments of real listening and contact and imagination into the everyday.

In the meantime, we have to contrive these situations.  That’s why a bonfire is going to be a major centrepiece of the York Festival of Storytelling on Sun 18th October (see the poster artwork above).  Plus a lot of ‘storyround’ open mic sessions (without a mic) where people will get a few minutes to contribute their own tale.   The plans are coming on rightly – I will keep you posted, and very soon the festival’s own website http://www.yorkstorytelling.co.uk will be up and running.


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