Traditional storytelling is the art of telling a story directly to a live audience without a script. A vibrant and respected art form in many parts of the world for adult as well as children’s audiences, it almost died out in this country until its revival in the 1980s. There is now a thriving network of venues, clubs and festivals across the UK forming a regular touring circuit for professional performers.

Much storytelling celebrates the sharing of traditional oral repertoire, with stories that continue to be shared by countless voices and ears, sometimes for thousands of years. It also embraces the contemporary forms found in spoken word events such as rap, poetry, urban legends, made up and autobiographical stories.

Summerlands Storytelling Festival was created to showcase quality storytelling for children and adults by taking performances to the more rural areas that tours rarely reach. It will promote local tellers who otherwise travel hundreds of miles for urban audiences. We are also creating a network of support between the many storytelling clubs and circles in the region, helping to raise awareness of this performance art amongst all age groups and walks of life.

The programme of events runs primarily from 26 May to 12 June comprising performances and workshops for adult and family audiences at arts venues, storytelling clubs, bookshops, schools, libraries and forest schools. See the events diary page for more information.

Grass roots storytelling clubs and circles will be supported with resources for extra activities such as exchanges between clubs, visits from professional storytellers and a range of storytelling workshops for beginner and improver storytellers.

There will be an extensive programme of storytelling workshops with people from the frail elderly and learning disabled communities. These will run throughout the festival period into December and have been generously funded by Awards for All.

Another cluster of performance storytelling events will take place from 22 Sep to 2 Oct. during which professional storytellers from Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall will be telling in each others’ counties.

The festival is grateful to Story Roots for its support in its successful applications to Arts Council England and Awards for All whose financial assistance has made this project a reality.


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