Pyn Stockman – Tell It To The Bees (April)

What is the project

Tell It To The Bees is a performance and a project that explores loss, grief and remembrance. It’s inspired by the folk tradition of telling the beehive of a death or an important life event. The performance integrates story, music and a Hive of Memories Installation with an invitation to the audience to celebrate a memory of someone.

It’s all currently under development with Virtual events planned for Dying Matters Week (10-16 May 2021) This will be a taster of the whole piece that we plan to tour live in Autumn 2021 or whenever it becomes possible to do so.

Tell It To The Bees is an expansion of my work with Dying Matters Awareness Week ( which began in 2018 one month after my Mum died when I was invited to tell stories at Death Over Dinner for BrumYODO . I’ve presented work for each Dying Matters Week since and scratched the Tell It To The Bees idea at Pilot Night (Birmingham REP in February 2020)

I am grateful for funding from ACE Project Grants and National Lottery, Birmingham City Council and Active Arts Erdington to take this project forward and I’m surrounded by brilliant individuals and collaborators:
Titania Krimpas (Director) Kate Luxmoore (Musician and Composer) Marc Reck (sound design) Michael Harvey (Mentor, Provocateur) Gilly Adams (Dead Good Guides – creative ceremony making) Hipkiss and Graney (Visual Artists Hive of Memories Installation) Claire Cotterill (Bee image design and development) Kay Wilton (costume) Mandy Ross (artistic co-director of Secret City Arts) Synthia Oenga (workshop assistant and early career creative) Dr Hannah MacDowall (audience development, Provocateur and bee keeper) Naomi Wilds (Provocateur)

And Secret Arts Space Studio in Erdington for space, technical support and much more!

How can people get involved?

Working with communities in a co creative way is a big part of what I do. I’ve been working closely with wonderful library and community partners in Burton Upon Trent, Stoke on Trent, Warwickshire and Birmingham.

There’s been virtual story making workshops, some for particular groups (with participants trying both story telling and zoom for the first time) and other open sessions with people from all across the country and the world! Together we’ve developed aspects of a story called “The Bee Charmer” it’s inspired by a traditional tale and research into bee folk lore and myth. The Bee Charmer will be recorded by multiple voices as an audio piece.

There’s still time to get directly involved with the project, I would be delighted if you did.
Right Now:
You can listen to the opening of The Bee Charmer and imagine a version of the character and where the story might go next.
You can respond to the creative prompt sheet that accompanies it and share a memory inspired by nature. If you do. I’ll add it to The Hive of Memories.

Coming Soon:
Book a ticket for “Tell It To The Bees” virtual event Dying Matters Week (10-16 May 2021) This will include access to an audio recording of “The Bee Charmer” and ways to share a memory in advance of the performance.
Get in touch: – I’ll send links and let you know when tickets are available. You might like to follow the project blog

Tell us a little bit more about you? Tell us more about yourself in a short biog.How did you start storytelling? How long have you been doing this? Where are you based etc? How do you work with story?

I live on a boat on The Grand Union Canal in the West Midlands. I perform stories and also work with story as an applied art form. I love it. I am artistic co-director of Secret City Arts where I work with story to engage communities and explore the secret wild green spaces in the urban landscape.
I’ve got a background in drama and theatre and once upon a time I trained as a mask maker. I’ve always loved listening to stories – My Dad used to tell me stories “about the olden days


” when I was little. I had a tape of fairy tales spoken by him and my Mum and further tapes of me telling stories. I think that that these experiences are one of the reasons that I like to work with groups to record stories.

Working with traditional material and pursuing it as performance art form was prompted by a project with a Coventry School through Warwick Arts Centre’s education department. I was resident in school one day a week for a year leading dramatic storytelling sessions across KS1 telling and retelling traditional material. I was hooked. I wanted more. And I wanted to perform. I’ve taken courses with Ben Haggarty, Nell Phoenix and Michael Harvey; they’re all awesome. If you can, go and learn from these people.
It’s 10 years since that story telling residency in a school and I’ve delighted in every step of the way from there to here.

What has been your lockdown watch online? Anything you have seen you think others should be watching?


Rubs hands together with glee. Here’s some highlights:
The Encounter by Simon Mcburney

The wide range of online storytelling events and nights zooming in from across the country and world. Too many to list them them all, I really enjoy Hannah Brailsford’s Word Spun Events – well worth a visit. They feature a range of storytellers and provides a welcoming and chilled atmosphere.
And StoryVibes (a shameless plug as I co host this with Sharon Carr) we have just re launched online with Story Scratch a scratch night for storytellers. The quality and risk taking by the performers at our first event was fabulous.
Erdington Arts Evening of Creativity – a quality programme of Erdington Creatives live streamed once a month on Facebook.
Casglu beautifully hosted by Tamar Williams.
Artists Standing Strong Together. Great events. Rich variety of voices. Holds a special place for me as the amazing Sheila Arnold invited me to tell way back last April when I wasn’t even sure what Zoom was…
Podcasts too many to list so I’ll pick one Bluirini Bealoidis / Folklore Fragments
The Last Tuesday Society Lectures.
And finally audio books – I discovered Borrow Box (all you need is a library card and a way of listening) I use my phone. My current listen to is Mrs Death Misses Death written and read by Selena Godden. It works beautifully.
Happy listening, watching, participating.


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English (UK)