SOCIETY FOR STORYTELLING Monthly Storytelling Newsletter for February 2017 South and South West

Repeats every week every Friday until Tue Feb 28 2017.
Thursday, 2 February 2017 - 1:55pm to Tuesday, 28 February 2017 - 1:55pm


Monthly Storytelling Newsletter February 2017  

South and South West

From Martin Manasse

Welcome to your monthly storytelling newsletter. 

I send one e-mail per month and the news coverage serves five broad regions: North East and Cumbria, North West and Yorkshire, Midlands, South and South West and Wales. If you have interests in more than one of these regions do please contact me and I will add your name to that list too. For the South East and London see the link list at the end of this newsletter.  If you want to know more about the Society for Storytelling or wish to join, do contact The website at is now running but still being improved.

N.B. When you see the number of public events listed, please do not be fooled into thinking that this is all the storytelling that goes on. There is a lot of non-public activity in schools etc. and I suspect that there may be promoters who have not yet got into the habit of sending in their details to reach me for the newsletters. 

Personal Statement.

I have always made it clear that the newsletter is for anyone, whether or not they are members of the Society for Storytelling but I have decided unilaterally to urge all those who receive this and are not already members to join up.  My message is a personal one, not from the Society's Board, who will, I hope, forgive me.

The Society for Storytelling is not a "thing" but a non- profit company and registered charity run by a tiny group of volunteers with an aim to keep oral storytelling visible and to communicate with and support people involved in any way with storytelling.  Austerity has been no kinder to the Society than to anyone else.  To join this wonderful family is not expensive (full details on the website) but the more members there are, the more storytelling will flourish and the more we can spread the enchantment of this great art. The website  has emerged from its long problems and is now at your disposal and is still improving day by day. This means that it has never been easier to join the Society, find lines of communication to others with the same interest and, once a year, to broaden your knowledge of storytellers and storytelling by attending the annual Gathering, this year in Plymouth (see advance notice below).  The Society flourishes from the input of its members which is why I, a member since 1996, choose to volunteer to compile and send out the monthly newsletters. In these very troubled times, we need stories more than ever to raise our spirits and I have found that the rewards for being involved, whether as as Board member or as a volunteer are worth a great deal to me. National Storytelling Week is upon us.  Seek out your stories, find the enchantment and ice the cake by joining the Society for Storytelling. 

News and general information

The SfS Website is live once more after heroic labours by Paul Jackson to get it back under our control and in a fit state. you are a member and haven’t already been notified of a password change, you may need to request a new password regardless of whether you still remember your old one (this is part of the getting back under control). Use the link on the page.Also:   Anything you are doing for NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK 28 January - 4 February 2017 please email  Del Reid



Sunday 12 February at St George's Bristol. 11.45am. WILD WORDS! BEETHOVEN'S FOUR SEASONSJoin Wild Words with storyteller Michael Loader for a new and original story for families, with live music from the sublime sonatas, concertos and symphonies of the Master Composer to rustic folk tunes of the day.  A Ludwig van Beethoven Rollercoaster of drama and daring, triumph and trauma, from the shadows of his father to the guiding love of his mother, from losing his hearing to the Ode to Joy, all wrapped up in Wild Words’ trademark magical invention (and puppetry!).

Wednesday 1st February  Exeter Phoenix presents :  Fire in the North Sky

told by Nick Hennessey and three virtuoso Finnish musicians


Sunday 26th February: Exeter Phoenix present : The Falcon Bride 

The Icelandic Saga of Njal told by Katy Cawkwell

Farrington Gurney

Friday 3rd February  (part of National Storytelling Week) Doors 7-30pm for STORY SUPPERFarrington Gurney Memorial Hall, Church Lane. BS39 6TY STORY SUPPER. Stories plus hot food and live music.Tickets £12-50 from Colin on 0751 069 9046  see facebook Mendip Story. Advance booking only for this very special night.


Saturday 18 February at Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth 10:30am. SATURDAY MORNING STORIES Come and enjoy the wonder, wit, mystery and magic of stories from around the world with storyteller Fiona Eadie. Stories are for everyone and adults without children as as welcome as children with adults. Suggested minimum age is 5.


Sunday 5 February at Museum in the Park, Stroud 11am. INSPIRED TALES: STORYTELLING WORKSHOP Celebrate this year’s National Storytelling Week and try the storyteller’s craft for yourself. Course tutor Chloë of the MidnightStorytellers, who trained in storytelling at Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth, guides participants through a sequence of spoken word exercises. No writing required! Be inspired by the objects in the museum! The day rounds off with the sharing of tea and tales, your moment to try out what you’ve discovered. 7 February at the Health Hydro, Swindon 7:30 pm. WONDERWORDSThe very first Wonderwords, a spoken and sung word event in the heart of Swindon, hosted by Fire Springs own Chantelle Smith! Come bring a story, a song, a poem, an anecdote, a stand-up comedy routine or some non-wordy music to share with others. Or, if you'd prefer, just come along to listen. £2 entry, refreshments.

Regular events   

Please note: Not all regular events send notifications so if in doubt please check that the session is on.


BathBath Storytelling Circle
Monday 20 February at The Raven, Queen Street, Bath 8pm. Supporting the oral tradition through performances of stories, songs and poems (from memory, not read). Organised by David Metcalfe. Free, arrive 8.00pm for 8.15pm start. For further information call 01225-789439.Bodmin, Cornwall"STRONG WORDS" meet on the last Monday of the month at the Mason's Arms, Bodmin at 8pm. We are a friendly, informal gathering for those who enjoy telling or listening. Next session 27 February.  Website  barbara.f.griggs@icloud.comBristolBristol Story Cafe, La Ruca Cafe, Gloucester Road, Bishopston, No information on frequency.  BrutonBruton Folk Tales Third Tuesday – Next session 21 February.  Green Monkey Café, 35 High Street Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AH 

Traditional storytellers and original songwriters.  Doors 7pm for 7.30pm Start, £3 entry  Contact Martin on 0794 6102061 or Tim on 0781 725 8211


Wednesday 22 February at Smokey Joe's, Bennington Street, Cheltenham 7pm. JOE'S YARNSYou’ll find stories galore at Joe’s Yarns. Everyone is welcome whether you just want to listen or fancy sharing a story. We can guarantee there will be laughs, sighs and much much more. The clock’s ticking and that story you have hidden inside you wants to get out... Meets every last Wednesday of the month. MendipThursday 2nd February Stories 8pm till 10pm Chewton Mendip Village Hall BA3 4LL (six miles north of Wells in Somerset)Monthly Story Circle (average attendance 20 plus) Free entry, donation in the hat. No need to book see Facebook Mendip story.DevonSouth Devon Story Sessions, meets monthly on the Second Monday of each month (except August and December, when there is no meet) at 7.30pm at Pie Street in Totnes. Next session: 13 February                                          ExeterEXETER STORYCLUB 
We have a lovely new venue! And the date of Storyclub has been moved back to the first Wednesday of the month.
The next Storyclub will be held on Wednesday 1 February in the Cowick Barton Inn, 121 Cowick Lane, St. Thomas, Exeter, EX2 9HF  and we have the use of the Monk’s Room! So our new venue is the most haunted room in Exeter’s most haunted pub, and is above an underground tunnel… The Cowick Barton is a lovely, ancient and friendly pub, and the Monk’s Room has a huge old fireplace.   Shane & Matthew Isle of WightIsle of Wight Island Storytellers: 7.30 3rd Monday  Next session Monday 20 February. Details at LiskeardLiskeard Storytelling Cafe, Hub Café, Liskerrett Community Centre, Varley Lane, Liskeard, PL14 4AP, Cornwall. Monthly, 4th Thursday, 7.30pm  donation. Next session Thursday 23 February.   Malvern Malvern Storytellers  meet in The Great Malvern Hotel at 8PM on the Second Thursday of the month. Next session Thursday 9 February. Come and tell a story or just come and listen, as you wish. We have suggested themes for each evening, but come and tell your story even if it does not fit the theme. . 


Storytelling Families  3rd Monday of the month 7pm,Quaker Meeting House, Nailsworth ,GL6 ORA  Next session Monday 20 February.Facilitator: Josie Felce  01453-889504 RingwoodHeads and tails  Stand Up Storytelling cafeNew Forest Storytelling Club, 'Boston Tea Party', Frampton's Mill, 15 Furlong Centre, Ringwood, BH24 1AT.  Monthly, Third Thursday. Next session Thursday 16 February. 8 p.m.  SidmouthFri 24th Feb:  Katy Cawkwell tells Perseus and Medusa
The king must die… but what if he refuses to accept his fate? The fallen woman must be punished… but what if she turns her punishment into power?  Come and hear a new take on an old tale: as our hero leaps glittering into the sky, we’ll make a leap into our own shadowy mythic past.  Twyford House, Coburg Road, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8NF  £3(includes a cup of tea or coffee And biscuits.)   More details – contact Janet at 07834 194215JanetTells@gmail.comFrome

Mr Rook's Speak Easy  Rook Lane Chapel, Bath Street, Frome, Somerset, BA11 1DN

A performance storytelling club in the heart of Frome, also featuring Mr Rook's Books selling second-hand storytelling, history and mythology books.  All evening performances are £7/£5 on the door or online via, doors at 7pm for 7.30pm start and are suitable for ages 12+ unless otherwise stated.   Accessibility: there are limited parking spaces at the front of the Chapel for Blue Badge holders and the accessible entrance is the front door. There is level access throughout the Chapel and Bar and an accessible toilet.  Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with our events and storytelling events in the area -  Check for February date.

LangportSomerset Story Circle Second Sunday 12 February –  at Eli's (The Rose and Crown), Wincanton Road, Huish Episcopi, TA10 9QT  The Somerset Story Circle meets monthly to share traditional stories. As we gather to celebrate the oral tradition, we tell rather than read. Songs, poems and music are also welcome. Open to all - listeners as well as tellers. Our free drop-in sessions take place on the second Sunday of the month at and we meet from 7pm. For more information contact Sharon or Jem 01458 259553.

SalisburySarum Story Club, second Tuesday in the month, 14 January, 20.00 to 22.00, at The Wyndham Arms, 27 Estcourt Road, SALISBURY SP1 3ASAdmission free


SouthamptonSouthampton Storyclub  At the Arthouse, Above Bar Southampton from 8pm  Regular storyrounds, first Thursday of every month.  ( or "Southampton Story Club" on Facebook) Next session 2 February ( Out LoudSunday 26 February at Little Vic, Gloucester St, Stroud  7:30pm. *Poetry * Storytelling * Song * Stand-up * Monologues * Come and join us in our lovely new venue for Stroud’s monthly spoken word showcase.  Celebrating creative free speech with this entertaining bardic circle for all. Whatever your party piece – a new poem, a comedy routine, a folk tale, a song, a dramatic monologue, your latest artwork – come and share it! Arrive early for a slot (10 mins or less). Celebrate the art of memory and learn your piece by heart. TotnesSouth Devon StorytellersMeetings are on the second Monday of the month, 7.30pm at Pie Street, High Street, Totnes TQ9 5RY. There is no charge; the bar at Pie Street will be open. For storytellers and story lovers - bring a story to share or just come along to listenWe start off with a longer story from a particular story cycle (this year we are working through the Norse Myths) and then there is plenty of opportunity for tellers (stories no longer than about 10 minutes please; no notes or prompts). Next meeting Monday 13 February. WinchesterWykeham Tales: 2nd Wednesday   Next session Wednesday 8 February.  20.00 TO 22.00 at The Hyde Tavern, 57 Hyde Street, WINCHESTER SO23 7DYAdmission free   Details at:

Advance NoticeSociety for Storytelling Annual GatheringSfS GATHERING in Plymouth 5th - 7th MAY 2017
Come and support the only UK storytelling networking organisation. Look on the website for further information. Festivals March 9-12 2017Gŵyl Chwedleua Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival Pumed Gainc The Fifth Branch Tales from the lost book of WalesCanolfan Celfyddydau Aberystwyth Arts Centre Mawrth  Tocynnau Tickets £35 Ffôn Phone 01970 623232 Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival returns in 2017 with a weekend of tales, films, exhibitions, talks, and music inspired by Y Mabinogi Project, as we search for the mythical Fifth Branch; featuring a full performance of Dreaming the Night Field, Adverse Camber's new production of The Fourth Branch, with Michael Harvey, Lynne Denman and Stacey Blythe; Cath Little tells The Lady of the Orchard, the story of Geraint and Enid; Guto Dafis entertains with the tale of Manawydan from the Third Branch; Jez Danks and Dafydd Davies Hughes speak with two tongues to present Dau Dafod; Phil Okwedy and Mikey Price present the Dance of the Stick-Fighting Warriors and other West African Tales of Life, Death and the Unborn; Gwilym Morus weaves new cloth from old thread in search of the Fifth Branch; Fiona Collins and Sian Parry will follow the Dream of Macsen Wledig; Tamar Williams tells The Girl Who Came In From The Sea, and Bethan Mascarenhas delves into dark tales from Wales; there will be a special gathering of the Young Storytellers of Wales who will tell tales to remember tomorrow; Maria Hayes will be drawing live and projecting images throughout the weekend; there will be an exhibition of illustrators' art inspired by contemporary themes in the old tales, in Oriel 2 and around the Arts Centre; linguistic art and wordplay with Naomi Heath; storytelling in the exhibition spaces; a free showing of 'Eldra,' an evocative film about the North Welsh Gypsies, made by Valley Stream using the ideas and art of oral storytelling; a day-long symposium of talks and films blending academia and creativity, with Paula Crutchlow, Mary-Ann Constantine, Michael Freeman, Erin Kavanagh, Sarah Byfield and more; two new History Press book launches in the Arts Centre Bookshop; a book and vinyl art exhibition; if the sun shines, there will be story walks; and in the unlikely event that it rains old women with sticks, there will be conversation, cake and coffee in the cafe. East Anglian Storytelling Festival, 30th June – 2nd JulySave the date for this free, accessible, very East Anglian festival full of fun, laughter, and unexpected treasures.  In 2017 it will happen at The Locks Inn, Geldeston.  Festival at the Edge  28 -30 July 2017Please note: new venue this yearDearnford Lake. Tilstock Road, Whitchurch SY13 3JQNo information on the website as yet but do look at the Festival at the Edge supporters page on Facebook.
 Other advance news:

Touring in 2017: Carol Graham writes:

"Watchers of the Skies" is written and performed by storyteller Carol Florence Graham and musician Simon McCorry. It tells the story of Edna Leigh, Carol's American grandmother, who embarked on a dramatic voyage from New York to Liverpool just before the end of World War Two in order to start a new life. Edna lived in the North West for over forty years and during that time she undertook a very different sort of journey - one that led deep into the heart of ancient cultures and to the discovery of an encyclopaedia of astronomy hidden within Homer's epic poems. In 1991 her daughter and son-in-law inherited her papers and eventually published two books verifying the discoveries.  

The piece spirals around Carol’s childhood memories, details of her grandmother’s life in rural Kansas and the discovery of complex star charts and maps - all interwoven with poetry, myth, and references to the work of Homer and Keats. Simon’s accompaniment on the cello draws the audience deeper into this remarkable story that spans generations, continents and thousands of years of poetry and astronomy.

“… I was enchanted and immersed in a journey of the imagination which drew together story, myth, music and the heavens which left me utterly transformed.”  Phillippa Slinger  - Manager Ledbury Poetry Festival

Watchers of the Skies - Tour Dates March 2017

March 2nd  - Hay on Wye       

March 4th - Cheltenham         

March 23rd - Henley on Thames

March 26th - Birmingham        

For more information see for Health ConferenceFriday 16th and Saturday 17th June 2017 in Swansea, South Wales

 Booking is now open for the Storytelling for Health conference, which takes place inSwansea on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th June 2017.  We would be delighted if you could join us, you can book your tickets at


We have a really exciting range of speakers lined up with invited papers, presentations and performances from Daniel Morden and the Devil’s Violin (one of the UK’s leading storytelling companies),  Prof Mike Wilson (author of ‘Storytelling and Theatre’), Dr Jac Saorsa (visual artist, writer and researcher ), Baroness Eluned Morgan AM (Assembly Member, and initiator of the Wales Government cross party Group on Arts and Health), and Phil George (chair of Arts Council Wales).  Don’t forget, the call for proposals is still open until Monday 3rd November 2016.  We would be pleased to hear about projects which facilitate communication and build shared language across different cultures (eg: patients and clinicians, artists and commissioners), projects which embed storytelling in training of health professionals, projects which have influenced policy, examples of project evaluations, examples of methodologies or projects which utilise different methodological approaches, case studies from any stage of the life of a project from origination to completion, inter-disciplinary evidence, and explorations of gaps in the existing research.

For more information visit


News from Helen East:

Forget  dark winter, book ahead for a glorious summer storytelling workshop in southern France with well-known " leading light" Helen East.  23-30th Aug 2017. Only 6 places available.

In warm sunshine, by clear morning light or on starry nights, we’ll be in mountain country of stunning variety, from huge open granite slopes to dramatic limestone gorges and magical forests of chestnut, beech and birch. The rivers that start their journey to the ocean here have many guises, cascading over rocks and waterfalls, whispering over a bed of pebbles or winding serenely past intimate wooded beaches and through deep clear pools. Our host, a qualified walking guide, will help plan and lead our walks to seek out stories in this special landscape. You might be drawn to tales of trees, hills, ancient stones, but with all that water to swim, paddle and dream in, Helen will also be offering a particular focus on water spirits of all kinds- from the Arabic S'iluwa to Melusine, to the Blue men of the Minch... and beyond. Musician and drummer Rick Wilson will join our group to help with rhythm and music for an end of workshop public performance (advised but nor compulsory).

You will be staying in a splendid 18th century house in Florac, the little town at the heart of the Cevennes national park.  All prices are based on two sharing in spacious rooms each with ensuite shower room + WC.  Total cost 685 pounds per person for 7 nights, including breakfasts, picnic lunches and 5 evening meals, leaving two evenings free for your choice of the local restaurants. We’ll pick you up from  Nimes airport or railway station on the morning of Aug 23 and return you there on Aug 30.

(Flights not included, but workshop dates are determined by cheapest options on UK flights to Nimes, which are operated by Ryanair from Luton. Other travelling options also available; Nimes is just 3 hours from Paris by high speed train.)

To book your place, contact Helen on

From Settle Stories:

The Storytellers Art    Storytelling Training for AdultsWe’re driven to tell stories. But, how do we harness their power to develop engaging performance?  Across 5 workshops in 2017, we’ll show you how with training from Playful Being, Olivia Armstrong teacher at Central School of Speech & Drama and Sita Brand, Settle Stories Director. The course will give you all the critical skills you need to stand up in front of a crowd and tell a story. With workshops spread out across the year, this course will give you the time to breathe and reflect across the year.The Storyteller's Art is for people who want to invest in themselves, in the art of storytelling, for those who want to find themselves with the skills to stand up in front of a crowd and tell a story. Workshop outline: 1: What’s a Story - understanding the principles of good storytelling. 4th Feb 2: A Vocal Toolkit - voice and movement. 1st Apr 3: Find the Story - choosing your material. 3rd Jun 4: Comedy Improv - Improvisation with Playful Being. 2nd Sep 5: Preparing for Performance - getting feedback. 4th Nov  

To view each workshop click on the workshop title above. £35 per workshop, full course £135 (Save £40)  Participants on the full course will also be invited to participate in a Settle Stories public performance.  Full course info and booking via:

Thanks and, again, welcome.

Martin Manasse.

Society for Storytelling 

If you want information from other regions:

London and South East England:

East Anglia: