New Times and New ways to tell Stories
Times have changed and suddenly we have to change the way we tell stories. Pubs, theatres and small venues where people met and stories were told have closed. Festivals to celebrate storytelling, music, folklore, the arts, fun and having a great time are not happening. So we have gone online, we are Zooming live events every Wednesday. A group of tellers come together on a Wednesday night telling stories in the closest to a live event we can make. The technology might be simple but you can always press the wrong button and loose the storyteller or keep the storyteller but loose the audio! It has been a great learning process and I have met and worked with tellers I have not known before. I can’t wait for the fields and festivals to open so that we can all meet again.
The Mermaids Tale
A storyteller can tell a story in many different places. When I was asked to tell stories about Mermaids next to images and dolls of Mermaids it was a delight. It felt like I had crept into a small corner of the Mermaids world and I was invited to tell stories about them and with them. The story was of the Sea Morgan a very specific type of Mermaid from Somerset. There is something about Mermaids that every culture features. A part human part fish creature that lives beside us and next to us but is not us. Like humans sometimes these creatures are good and sometimes they are bad, just like us. We are jealous of their freedom and there never seems to be old mermaids. Are they a reflection of us?
Wizz Fizz Fest
This has been such a busy summer and there have been so many different audiences. From Aylesbury with the Wizz Fizz Fest to a field and a beautiful Yurt in Kent the storytellers life is many and varied. Storytelling is such a simple artform as it is just the teller the audience and the story. But with this simplicity comes great depth and challenging images. Storytelling can be very supportive to many groups and work with groups with mental health issues have shown what storytelling can do. This is just another part of this busy busy summer and is not over yet.
Words & Music
Saturday 1st December and we have the fundraising event for Action on Homeless in Barnet. It was a lovely evening with many sharing songs, poems and stories in the beautiful surroundings. I started and finished the evening with stories that had a Winter or Christmas theme. For me this was the first Christmas event and it was just in December. The fundraising for the homeless at this time of year is also very important. When many of us are rushing around spending and eating too much it is easy to forget those who get left outside, both truly outside and also outside our thoughts and actions. The old woman walking the lonely path to death, an image often seen in stories, is all to visible in our towns and cities. I have only done a little and must set myself of doing more for the homeless in the future.
What a great day yesterday in the Open House of the Artist Annie Taylor where I was performing amongst the art and especially the dolls. These strange and lively creatures appear at all corners of this artist current work with their intriguing smiles and compelling glances. The stories included dolls which seemed apt in this house of dolls. Being invited into the workroom and exhibition space for this artist was very special and gave a new interpretation to the phrase, “at home with the Artist”. The dolls and I were very at home as we shared stories with members of the public who were visiting artists houses in East Kent but I am not sure who else has a storytelling to extend the magic of their exhibition, but it really worked here. Thank you to Annie …….and the Dolls!
Salon of Storytelling
We, Rokurokubi and I, had a great night in Monken Hadley, with a lovely warm audience. The focus for the night was ‘Walking in the Footsteps’ and there were tales of the Medieval knight Geoffrey de Mandeville, a tale of an Ancient Greek Hunt, the Ebony Horse from 1001 Nights and a Grimm’s Tale of the first Moon. All these linked to Monken Hadley. Geoffrey de Mandeville owned the land in 1141 and it was part of the Enfield Chase where Dukes and Royalty Hunted for many centuries. Lotte Reiniger was a German animator who created the oldest full length animated film, Prince Achmed, and lived for many years in New Barnet. In honour of this I told the story of The Ebony Horse one of the tales used in the film. And finally there was a tale about a Moon or Lamp caught in a tree which just reminded me of walking past the church at night seeing the lamp in the church yard looking like something from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was delighted to be joined by Rokurokubi, with their amazing haunting sound and lyrics which really suited the evening. The music fitted wonderfully between the stories creating a magical space in this old building on the edge of a wood at the far reaches of North London. You can see their new video by Rokurokubi at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70wcCyJVk8
Salon of Storytelling
Storyteller Sarah Lloyd-Winder, and Rokurokubi join together to tell dark stories and play charmingly dark, confessional music for night flowers. These are darkly sinewy tales for adults that reflect our dreams and nightmares and especially all those creatures that may creep in when we close our eyes. This is not reading it is the ancient tradition of storytelling mixing the real, this moment, with the old stories, myths and legends. Sounds and music support the storytelling as you run wild with Atalanta, fly with the Hagrider in Iceland and conquer the Sea Beast Mester Stoorworm or visit the folk stories and myth of Japan. Travel to London’s Great Dark North, High Barnet, for Music and Storytelling in the Magic of Church House, Monken Hadley on the edge of the Ancient Woodland that is Hadley Woods, Friday 28th September at 8.30pm, there will be brilliant music from Rokurobubi who are not to be missed!
Art Around the World
I have been so busy for the last few months that writing about all the things I see and do is difficult. The above picture is a picture of an art work by a young person in Brunei where I visited a school and saw some amazing work. Then back home again it is time for Brighton Fringe and a new show for children. In between there has been some new work on stories of Japanese gods, the research has been great fun for that, plus some Scottish Folk Tales based on a book from my mothers childhood. I have also been to Uganda recently and this is a first time to this beautiful country where everyone was so helpful and supportive. Then I come back home and walk through the fields near my home learning new stories and shouting at myself when I time the story and they are far too long! I am still working on the new version of ‘Into the Woods’ and that will be touring in the Autumn with music from the wonderful Rokurokubi and those dates will be confirmed soon. Now off I go again to walk through the field telling tales…..to myself.
Just before the winter ends the Medieval family would cook all the fat, cream, cheese and other wonderful food, in a final binge before the season of fasting for Lent. This last day of feast is called Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. This is a feast day a celebration and also a time of misrule and bad behaviour, before the grim 40 days of Lent. It was also that period of the winter when fresh fruit and vegetables were the most difficult to find, the chickens were not laying and there was no milk from the cow. We are all waiting for Spring, hanging in there with hope and loving each new spark of life. So we eat the Pancake and tell the stories in the darkest time of Winter.
Telling Many Stories
November has been such a busy month and there has been no time to stop and review what I have been doing and the stories I have been telling. I have another 2 weeks before I can start to wind down and prepare for Christmas, and that means there are another 2 new stories to be worked on and refined. There have been lots of school visits and these are always great. You can never guess what questions you will be asked and how a story you tell will bring forward ideas, thoughts and discussions you have never thought about. I am also doing lots of planning for next year. I am planning something for National Storytelling week in a new venue, not used for storytelling, as I thought it would be good to take storytelling to new places. I also hope to travel further away with my storytelling with a journey north in February. I must also not forget all the wonderful stories I have seen by other people. Storytelling is a joy, both as a giver or receiver, and there are great stories and storytellers out there.
Apple Day or days to celebrate the apple are also great days to remember stories about apples. It has been great to tell old stories and learn some new apple stories this year. Stories are as varied as the apples themselves. There are gentle sweet stories like a lovely Cox’s Orange Pippin or they can be quite tart or sour like a large cooking apple. Apple stories also come from all around the world as we exchange apple stories from places you might not expect. An Ethiopian story about an apple orchard was the most unexpected. This was about a farmer who looked at the best apple in his orchard and decided it was an apple fit for a king. Now the stories will be all wrapped up and stored in a cool dry place until next year.
Sarah and the Blue Man invite you to an evening of stortelling and music, live from the Blue Man Cafe celebrating the traditional night of the mangelwurzel latern.
On Punkie night in the village of Hinton St George in Somerset the men of the village would return from the county fair to be greeted by women and childeren carrying manglewurzel lanterns to guide them back home.
Sarah Lloyd-Winder is a contemporary storyteller, part of a long line of storytellers, keeping the ancient tradition alive.
Rokurokubi are a dreamscape rock and roll band. Gathering influence from the corners of a chest made of rabbit bones, playing songs to bring the weary home.
Plus guests, TBA.
Into the Woods
Earlier this year I took the show ‘Into the Woods’ to the Brighton Fringe. This was a mixture of stories that take place in the wood, near the wood or using the trees. The Woods or Forest are a great place for stories. Are they the dark places of our nightmares or the place of quite where we go to think? Are they dark and gloomy or are they green and beautiful and a hub of wildlife and activity. Have we replaced the woods and forests of traditional stories with the city centres and estates of out 21 century landscapes?