As one of the leading storytellers, Jan Blake has been performing worldwide for over thirty years. Specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia, she has a well-earned reputation for dynamic and generous storytelling. Recent highlights include Hay Festival, where she was storyteller in-residence, the Viljandi Harvest Festival in Estonia and TEDx Warsaw.
As well as performing at all the major storytelling festivals both nationally and internationally, she works regularly with the British Council, leads storytelling workshops for emerging storytellers, and gives masterclasses for teachers, brands, and businesses. She also regularly captivates school children with mesmerising stories.
In 2011, she was the recipient of the biannual Thüringer Märchen Preis, awarded to scholars or performers who have devoted their lives to the service of storytelling. As part of the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012, she was the curator for Shakespeare’s Stories, a landmark exhibition that explored themes of journey and identity, in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
In 2013, The Old Woman, The Buffalo, and The Lion of Manding created and performed with musicians Kouame and Raymond Sereba toured to acclaim winning a British Awards for Storytelling Excellence (BASE).
Ben Haggarty is one of the foremost pioneers of the European storytelling revival. He has been a professional performance storyteller for over 35 years, developing and mastering a dynamic, improvised ‘mantic’ storytelling form. He is the Artistic Director of the legendary Crick Crack Club, Britain’s premier promoter of adult storytelling events, and is the Honorary Professor of Storytelling at the Arts University of Berlin. He is also the author of the acclaimed, MeZolith, series of Stone Age graphic novels.
He has a working repertoire of more than 350 folktales, fairy tales, epic and myths and has made more than 150 International storytelling festival appearances in 34 countries. He has researched epic storytelling traditions in Central Asia and Central India – and is a member of the experimental epic storytelling troupe Pandvani 108. He was a consultant on England’s National Oracy Project (1987 – 1992) piloting strategies for developing ‘speaking and listening’ in both primary and secondary schools. From 2001 – 2011 he was the official storyteller with Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. He is a much sought after teacher and trainer of storytellers specialising in Rasa theory and the physicality of performance. In 2017 he was awarded a British Citizen Award for services to the Arts.
Jackie Oates is synonymous with the reinvigoration of English folk. Her mellifluous voice, plaintive fiddle and tantalizing approach to traditional songs gained her several BBC Folk Awards in a career that’s seen her perform as a member of the nascent Unthanks, collaborate with Alasdair Roberts and Belinda O’Hooley, and release six acclaimed solo albums. An inventive and enthralling artist; who else can say they’ve been immortalised as a Lush cosmetic, featured on Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music show and appeared in Midsomer Murders?
Katy has been working as a storyteller since 1996 creating and performing shows drawn from British and European traditions, including an Arts Council supported tour of The Kingdom of the Heart, in collaboration with cellist Sarah Llewellyn-Jones. She has appeared at six international storytelling festivals and was one of four shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Storytelling Fellowship.
"It was great, it was superb, it was magical, it was enthralling" Ilkley Literature Festival Blog
"…fluent, eloquent, flowing and altogether faultless... she captivates the audience with beautiful, well voiced characters and understated, but incredibly effective, mannerisms... joyous, visceral and visual.” Adrian Johnson, Arts Council England
Hugh Lupton’s interest in traditional music, street theatre, poetry, and myth resulted in him becoming a professional storyteller in 1981. His many collaborations have included work with Chris Wood, Sam Sweeney, Ben Haggarty & Daniel Morden. He tells stories from many cultures, but his particular passion is for the hidden layers of the British landscape and the stories and ballads that give voice to them.
Lisa Luxx is a writer, performer, philosopher and activist of British Syrian heritage. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, VICE, TEDx, BBC Radio Leeds, ITV and heralded as one of the UK’s top four queer poets by Diva magazine.
Winner of the 2018 Outspoken Prize for Performance Poetry, she was also shortlisted for Peace Poetry Prize and Saboteur Awards Best Spoken Word Performer 2017. She’s a regular feature at major literary and arts events across the UK including performances at Royal Albert Hall, Latitude Festival and for UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign.
“This work will be remembered long after we are all gone.” - Salena Godden
Sally Pomme clayton
Sally Pomme Clayton is a pioneering storyteller and writer who brings fairytales, fragments of forgotten myths, folktales and epics to new life. She is an associate artist at Omnibus Theatre. Her current performance is a hybrid collaboration - 'The Frog Princess Punked' - a feisty Russian fairytale with a girl punk band and a crazy collage of live projections. Sally Pomme co-founded The Company of Storytellers with Ben Haggarty and Hugh Lupton in 1985. Together they created ground-breaking performances, especially for adult audiences, spearheading storytelling as a contemporary art form across the UK. Sally Pomme is an experienced and inspiring educator, and has been mentoring Rachel Rose Reid on her latest show 'Silence' . She teaches practical, creative workshops in storytelling and creative writing for all ages. She has published more than ten children’s books, her next is 'The King with Dirty feet' (Otter-Barry Books) coming out in March 2018.
Sika is a multimedia artist and pioneer of sound journeys
His work reflects a lifetime of listening to the rhythms of nature.
Sika’s beloved collection of instruments includes didjeridoo, drums, native flutes, rattles and Taonga Puoro. He is recognised by significant Maori, Native American and Aboriginal elders, including the Yuin tribe of South Australia.
Based in New Zealand, Sika offers sound journeys internationally and tours across the United Kingdom each year. Sika plays at a range of festivals and event venues, from Carnglaze Cavern to Stonehenge. He also takes private bookings.
Nell’s recent work includes stories told in schools in the Netherlands, at the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival, Alden Biesen Storytelling Festival, British Museum, Hampton Court Palace, Royal Opera
House, Newlon Housing Estate, Rich Mix, Blast Storytelling club, Earth House
Cranbourne, Fireside Festival, Highgrove, Hackney Library, Kensington Palace and
for NTS Live, London's coolest digital radio station.
She has told hundreds of stories to thousands of school children, 3-19 years
old, in the UK, India, Colombia, Mexico and China. Nell performed at the Nivesh
Festival, Delhi 2013, and was part of the ICELT (Arts in Education) Conference
in Malaysia 2015. She is Patron of Reading at Belmont Primary School in
Haringey, encouraging the students connect with all things story.
She also creates unique stories for charities and companies; commissions incl.
Hampton Court Palace, V&A, British Museum, 40 Winks Bedtime Stories, World
Wildlife Fund, Arts for Human Rights, After Adoption, Radley Handbags and
Ashely is the founding director of the School of Storytelling, the longest established centre of its kind in the United Kingdom.
He has toured with his remarkable storytelling programmes on all five continents, has appeared at major storytelling festivals in the UK, South Africa, Scandinavia and America.
He is as much at home telling in the Sydney Opera House or alongside the London Symphony Orchestra as he is in your front room.
Ashley’s unique methods of teaching voice and the skills of the storyteller have received international acclaim.
Songs to Nourish the Heart. Dive deep into the heart of acoustic folk soul with the music of UK based artist, Carrie Tree. Her lyricism whispers in the silence between notes, drawing you in close while tucking its quiet secrets into your pocket.
This revered songstress has shared her music on the underground acoustic folk scene all over Europe and beyond, stirring and softening hearts all along the way. She has built a dedicated following around her music with a magnetic gypsy spirit that lingers long after the applause has died away.
Humble, raw and real, Carrie Tree has collaborated live and in the studio with the likes of Damien Rice, Fink, Albert Mazibuko, Martha Tilston, and Lamb’s Andy Barlow. Honestly soulful, and intimately mesmerising, these are songs to carry inside you along the winding roads of life.
Clare Muireann Murphy can’t help but make friends with her audiences…it’s just the way she is. Dublin born and now Bristol based, Clare is a deftly physical performer, playing with her typical wit and verve in the space between audience and story. She has performed around the world from Brazil to Oslo. She has frequented great stages such as The Globe Theatre, The National Theatre and Soho Theatre in London, as well as touring once a year around the US.
'masterly storytelling – all delivered at a pace which meant there was never a dull moment'. Culture Whisper
'Clare Muireann Murphy’s beautiful lilting Irish voice was in stark contrast to the darkly humorous stories she told us, and she her first-rate comic physicality only served to enhance her storytelling.' Everything Theatre
'Truly fantastic’ Everything Theatre
jo blake cave
Jo Blake Cave is a performer and performance maker, working across the disciplines of storytelling, theatre and dance. Her dynamic, poetic performances explore the meeting place between traditional and contemporary practices.
She has collaborated with leading national and international organisations including the National Trust, National Theatre and British Council. In 2009 she was the youngest storyteller to be nominated for an Arts Foundation Fellowship Award for Storytelling and was Resident Storyteller at Royal & Derngate theatre from 2010–2013. She has an MA in Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban and a PhD in emergent storytelling practices from the University of Chichester. She is Associate Lecturer at both Northampton University and Chichester University.
Chris Salisbury, aka 'Spindle Wayfarer'
Through stories, ballads and riddles Chris Salisbury weaves a potent spell of enchantment, that either teaches, heals and/or entertains. He offers spellbinding performances and creative workshops for a diverse range of audiences and client-groups.
He has appeared on television and in the most unlikely venues all over Britain and Europe eg forests and festivals, conference and community halls, castles and colleges, schools and stages, squares and street corners.
He is the founder and Artistic Director for the Westcountry Storytelling Festival and the founder and director of WildWise Events.
James Frost is an alternative singer-songwriter whose work touches on archetypal themes of love, loss, deep nature and the travelling spirit. He has featured on BBC 6Music, performed at Glastonbury Festival and toured extensively in recent years, playing shows with Martha Tilston, James Yorkston, Tiny Ruins and many other folk heroes. His previous EP 'Nameless' is available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and other digital stores, while a new album is currently being recorded after fans contributed over £12,000 during a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign last winter.
“Age old folk tradition with a distinctive English slant. Highly recommended.” – Folk Radio UK
Giles Abbott began telling stories in 1999 after sudden and severe sight loss in 1998. He tells and tours nationally & internationally performing for adults as well as children. He has won commissions from, among others, Festival At The Edge, & has created & toured new narratives from historical sources such as A O Hume, R F Burton & Alexander Pope.
Giles trained as a Voice Teacher (MAVS CSSD) & teaches in Drama Schools, businesses, schools & other centres nationally & internationally.
Giles’s telling is characterised by his poetic flair for language, his rich speaking voice & commanding stage presence.
“There are many Storytellers who talk of emotion and love. Giles is one of a few great Storytellers whose skill creates a space where you feel emotion and love as the story unfolds and the characters live with you in the moment. A most nourishing and enjoyable telling from a master wordsmith and amazing Storyteller.”
Trish, Surrey Storytellers
Andreas Kornevall is a Swedish national and grew up in South America, Sweden and Switzerland. He has worked as a storyteller with Sussex Past and the National Trust, and he lectures in Norse Myths. He is an active member of the ‘Forn Sed’ (Old Customs Association) in Sweden which works closely with ancient Norse culture, traditions, rituals and spirituality, unearthing old legends, forgotten folklore and endangered Norse languages.
Andreas will bring less known Norse myths to the festival - some which have never been translated into English!
Andreas' writings on story, myth and ecology have appeared in books and publications such as the Dark Mountain Books, Resurgence Magazine and Permaculture Magazine.