We have had such a busy summer here, we have got very behind on our reviews and updates but here is one from the first phase of the festival back in June.
We chose to provide a mix of different events as part of the festival and our story slams have proven to be some of the most popular. They give developing tellers a chance to perform in a professional venue in front of a supportive audience, a very different experience to telling in your local story circle. Below is a write-up of the Story Slam in the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury on 2 June from Festival Director Sharon Jacksties – this story slam had a slightly different format than others in the festival as performers were allowed to sing or recite an original poem as well as tell a story.
If Glastonians had ventured into the Red Brick Building, Glastonbury’s newest arts venue, on the 2nd June, they would have met with a strange snake/human hybrid – last seen in Glastonbury several years ago and until then, believed to be extinct as a species.
The Snaked Truth was there to MC the evening’s Story Slam and to control, if necessary, the stampede of would -be -slammers with what appeared to be a giant water pistol. There was no need to use this device, however, as the slammers were all so mesmerising in their contributions that not a movement or murmur was to be heard as story after story unfolded. Tellers and listeners were thereby spared the discovery that the pistol was loaded not with water, but with snake venom, a rather quick acting if ultimate Truth Serum.
An illustrious panel of judges included Glastonbury’s mayor who dignified the occasion by bringing his regalia, but was excused from wearing it, as the MC feared a costume drama takeover. Mayor Jon Cousins regaled us in another fashion with a hilarious tale of a runaway coffin. So dynamic was its delivery, that had he been wearing his chain of office he might well have strangled himself and joined the protagonist in the coffin. Fortunately this fate was avoided despite his enthusiasm and he joined with fellow judges Joanna Procter and Tim Bates in awarding Lisa Schneidau first prize.
Lisa Schneidau had come all the way from Devon to tell us a traditional tale of feuding landowners, artfully set in a contemporary context. Autobiographical travel tales, poetry, traditional stories and a tear-pulling blues song written by the singer were the offerings of the evening. In all there was a varied menu of 12 performances, and as it happened each one of these genres was a prize winner.
It was especially pleasing that there were some newcomers to storytelling. Some listeners surprised themselves and delighted others by spontaneously getting up to share a story. There were requests for repeat events and suggestions for Glastonbury having its own regular story circle. This is a development that the festival will consider as a high proportion of Glastonians do not own cars and can’t reach other local story circles.