It was the bookshop that started it. Memorised tales told in playgroups, schools and by the till.
Ben Haggerty, Pomme Clayton and Hugh Lupton kicked my storytelling into a whole new world by their insistence on discarding the book and liberating the imagination. It was a Librarians’ Workshop at the first International Festival of Storytelling in Battersea in February 1985 (there wasn’t a booksellers’ workshop, no takers, except me) and when the story that Pomme told burst alive in my head, I knew that something big had changed.
I have been telling stories ever since in theatres, schools, tiny clubs, big halls, muddy fields(and dry ones) and mighty tents, to adults, children and anyone in-between.
I mostly tell folk stories, long, short or miniscule from anywhere across the world but anything engaging, exciting or hilarious is grist to my storytelling mill.
I appear regularly at the brilliant Surrey Storytelling club: Three Heads in a Well in Ewell with tales tall, short, absurd and profound from across the globe.
“The words of the bards come down the centuries to us, warm with living breath.” Pádraig Pearse
Other storytellers constantly excite and inspire me with new possibilities of story, topic, theme and style.
Books, too, offer a rich harvest for telling My favourites include:
English Folk Tales: Joseph Jacob
Norse Myths: Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Italian Folktales: Italo Calvino.
A Thorn in the King's Foot: Folktales of the Scottish Traveller People: Duncan and Linda Williamson.