Storm of Stories (2012)
A pilot festival of storytelling in Aldeburgh and Leiston, Suffolk
"Totally, totally blown away... magnificent...
I have never seen anything like it!" — Audience Member
The four day celebration of storytelling inspired by the sea, took place between 26 and 29 October. It involved Wonderful Beast's superb cast of performers, international guest storytellers and musicians, Aldeburgh Primary School, Alde Valley School, Aldeburgh and Leiston Libraries, the Aldeburgh Bookshop, the Aldeburgh Cinema and local elderly residents. Wonderful Beast presented events with universal appeal including its new show, Strange Fish, featuring stories from around the world introducing Mikhail Pavlov, young Russian baritone and Cossack dancer extraordinaire, who added breath-taking colour and dash to the tales. A highlight was Concert of Stories by one of the greatest of European storytellers, Abbi Patrix, with his amazing percussionist, Linda Edsjö, transfixing a spell bound audience, many of whom said they had never seen anything like it before.
As well as creating a programme of exciting work by world class artists, our aim was to engage as many people in the community as possible by involving their children and grandchildren in school projects such as Sea Tongue, the performance by Aldeburgh Primary School and Alde Valley School, which launched Storm of Stories.
Life Stories at the Aldeburgh Community Centre attracted a huge crowd to listen to tales of how life once was in Aldeburgh and Sizewell, recounted by six local people born and bred in the area. The free storytelling and music events for the very young in Leiston and Aldeburgh Libraries delighted grannies and little ones alike.
We were also proud to involve young emerging artist, such as Tallulah Brown and Hermione Pilkington who devised Messages from the Marshes, at the Aldeburgh Pumphouse, encouraging participants of all ages to delve into their imagination and create their own stories, in an atmospheric and evocative setting. Delicious hot soup was served to ward off the October chill, whilst Kerri Mclean enacted Memories of Mermaids, a folktale about a mythical Jamaican mermaid or watermama.
Other highlights were Trawling for Tales at the Aldeburgh Bookshop, where people from nine to ninety five read extracts from their favourite stories. The celebrations ended with a special showing of the animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed, from the 1001 Nights, by Lotte Reiniger.