Beyond the Border – Wales’ International Storytelling Festival has teamed up with storytellers, Festival at the Edge (FatE) and the National Eisteddfod of Wales to create a series of online co-commissioned stories and events for audiences to engage with this March.
In a first co-commission, Beyond the Border and the National Eisteddfod’s famous Tŷ Gwerin will bring a brand new concept to the traditional Eisteddfod Stomp – the Stomp Stori – a storytelling extravaganza, where the audience get to choose the worthy winner at the end of a hard-fought competition.
Stori Stomp will have three rounds of stories, each with three competitors spinning a yarn for up to five minutes. Each round will have its own theme, with a happy or funny story, sad story and a musical round of ballads. At the end of each round, the audience will vote for their favourite and the winner will go on to the final round.
There will be a mix of storytellers, some experienced and well known faces, and others who may be getting involved for the first time – an eclectic and exciting line-up of people, representing the voices of Wales today.
Stomp Stori will bring some of Wales’ top storytelling talent together for this unique Welsh language online ticketed event on Thursday 11 March at 8pm, and both organisations hope this is the first of many joint storytelling events and activities.
Eisteddfod Chief Executive, Betsan Moses said, “We’re delighted to be working with Beyond the Border on the very first Stomp Stori, which combines the traditional Welsh Stomp with the ancient art of storytelling to create a brand new concept, which is sure to appeal to the Eisteddfod audience.”
Beyond the Border’s Artistic Director, Naomi Wilds said, “There’s a wealth of contemporary storytelling flourishing across the length and breadth of Wales right now, with new and diverse voices emerging in the Welsh language. We’re thrilled to join forces with Eisteddfod, to nurture these artists, bring audiences together and celebrate shared cultural riches in a fun and friendly event. We’re excited about the potential for more collaborations in digital and physical form for the future.”
Beyond the Border and Festival at the Edge (FatE) will also be joining forces for their first interactive, internationally exchanging online event, with Dovie Thomason & Peter Chand who will be sharing a revealing storytelling journey as part of Two Indians – Striking the Empire Back on 18 March at 8pm.
Over the course of the evening, Indian born, England based storyteller, Peter Chand will be exchanging stories and experiencers across the Atlantic with Dovie Thomason, a Storyteller of Indigenous ancestry whose family comes from Western Plains and Scot Traveller homelands. Audiences may hear a familiar tale in a new way, or new tales which may unsettle and may want to ask more questions than answers.
The storytellers said, “In our experience, the world of storytelling can often freeze Indigenous tales through a fixed Western lens, narrowly focused on cultural assumptions – by collectors, folklorists, anthropologists, and occasionally by storytellers too.
By combining deep-rooted stories with open conversation and a mix of healthy humour, we will explore the dangers of this single narrative, along with what is often unseen in the post-colonial fog.”
Alongside sharing stunning stories, the Two Indians will explore insights into the grounding of visiting within their communities, and its relationship to the modern craft of storytelling. Looking beyond performance, these storytellers will reflect on ways in which stories offer so much more than just a moment of escape.
Two Indians – Striking the Empire Back is a ticketed event supported with BSL and English captions. Ticket information for Stori Stomp and Two Indians – Striking the Empire Back on beyondtheborder.com or through EventBrite.
As well as the two ticketed events, Beyond the Border will also be sharing short five-minute bitesize stories on its website and social media channels that will transport audiences into landscapes and worlds from across Wales told by Cath Little and Angharad Wynne.
At the start of March, a pre-cinematic form of storytelling called a crankie will be shared by Cardiff based storyteller Cath Little and artist Bronia Evers.
Cold Blows the Wind is an ancient ballad of loss and emergence from winter which will be sung by Cath Little Wind and presented through a crankie, a beautiful, illustrated moving panorama inside a traditional storytelling theatre box, designed and made by Bronia Evers.
Later in March, Welsh storyteller Angharad Wynne will be transporting audiences to Beyond the Border’s festival home, National Trust Dinefwr, to share myths and legends told from some of the extraordinary spaces and breath-taking views in West Wales. Angharad will be sharing short stories to easily digest and connect with on social media as well as watch on Beyond the Border’s website.
Naomi Wilds said, “As we approach the time when nights start getting lighter, we get strength from connecting with each other, so we’re delighted to team up with partners, incorporate everything we’ve all learned in our last year of digital innovation and keep nurturing new ideas and artists’ creative instincts which never stop moving. While we’re all desperate to return to live events, these activities help us pilot new ideas and approaches which will inform our festival programme in 2021 and beyond. Whether we’re connecting online or appreciating the beauty of Dinefwr and artists’ work on film, there’s so much richness to celebrate – and we look forward to hearing from our audiences which elements they most enjoy in the range of work being made and shared.”