Storm of Stories (2014)

Our second  festival of storytelling in Aldeburgh and Leiston, Suffolk & other venues in the area.

"I loved doing the Wonderful Beast. It was great experience and I would certainly do it again, because I enjoy singing and acting. Also the people were great to work with!" — Ethan Reade, Alde Valley School

Between 28 March and 6 April local people of all ages came together with professional storytellers, actors, musicians, dancers, singers and visual artists in Wonderful Beast’s second festival of stories. In our pilot, Storm of Stories in 2012, the theme was the sea, this year it was the forest, both highly evocative and inspiring subjects for storytelling.


The celebrations involved more local participants than ever performing alongside professionals and attracting new audiences. A newly commissioned community opera, The Six Swans, by Richard Chew and Jehane Markham, was staged in the beautiful Barn Concert Hall at Leiston Abbey, in partnership with Pro Corda. It was a major success involving two schools, an adult scratch choir, Aldeburgh Young Musicians and a cast of professional performers including singers Robert Murray and Melanie Pappenheim, dancer Anusha Subramanyam and actor Matt Prendergast.


"It was a special opportunity for my daughter to be part of something with great professional opera singers. It was lovely to see different parts of the community come together to create a very enjoyable production. We would recommend something similar being done again." — parent Aldeburgh Primary School


“I enjoyed every minute actually because everyone is so friendly and the music was so lovely and calm but at some points loud and quite scary! I would love to take part again because it’s such an awesome experience and everyone is amazing. Thank You.”

— Angel Fullthorpe, Year 7 Alde Valley School


As well as the many free events involving storytelling for children in libraries and schools, Actability Theatre Company of disabled and abled performers working in a primary school, local residents telling their own tales and people reading from their favourite childhood stories. Wonderful Beast was proud to introduce many more storytellers this year, including TUUP and Ben Haggarty who spun their tales to delighted family audiences, and who joined the troupe of international performers from the Crick Crack Club in the high energy and thrilling show, The Epic Juke Box (details in programme).


"Fantastic! Engaging and atmospheric!"  — The Epic Juke Box - audience member


At the Aldeburgh Pump House, there was an art exhibition of trees by children from Aldeburgh Primary School, whilst workshops were led by artists Heather Hodgson and Jennifer Hall, from which emerged a forest installation of wrapped branches and more paintings. ...... Enter storyteller, Ben Haggarty, into this bosky environment who mesmerised his audience with two magical tales from British folk lore.


"It was phenomenal. Ben was marvellous" — audience member


"Great for 5 year old daughter and 40 year old father!" — workshop participant


The festival concluded with a showing of The Jungle Book at The

Aldeburgh Cinema. Once again we would like to thank our funders, partners and volunteers for making Storm of Stories 2014 such a success.


Click here to download the full programme



The Chivers Trust - supporting youth and the arts

The Bernarr Rainbow Trust

Aldeburgh and Leiston Town Councils

Cochemé Charitable Trust

Leiston and Sizewell Community Benefit Fund

The Scarfe Charitable Trust