For over 25 years, Beyond the Border has been Wales’ leading International Storytelling Festival bringing stories and people together, from Wales and the World, through an inspirational biennial festival.
The 2020 programme theme looks to the future with a host of new voices, including Gwobr Esyllt Harker award winner Siân Miriam, Phil Okwedy and Mickey Price from Wales alongside major figures from across the UK and European storytelling communities, plus special international guests including four first-time visitors from Canada.
Ivan Coyote, born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon recently celebrated 25 years of international touring as a storyteller, musician, performer and writer, and joins Marta Singh, born in Argentinia, now a Canadian citizen are both sharing their stories at Beyond the Border International Festival for the very first time. Singer and flamenco dancer Tamar Llana, from Toronto and musician Demetri Petsalakis draw on an incredible array of cultural inspirations, including Tamar’s childhood, gathering songs in remote villages of Spain and Portugal with her ethnomusicologist mother, and her own Jewish-Indigenous-Romanian-Scottish heritage.
Exciting international explorations of multiple cultural influences include one of Europe’s most formidable storytellers, Norway’s Mimesis Heidi Dahlsveen, powerfully blending Norse mythology with autobiographical material and one of the acknowledged masters of European storytelling Abbi Patrix (Norway/France) who fuses together storytelling with music, theatre, dance and mime with percussionist, composer and improviser Linda Edsjö, from Sweden.
As well as bringing some of the best storytellers from across the world to Wales, Beyond the Border is passionate about showcasing leading British talent. Jan Blake has a world-wide reputation for the generosity, dynamism and the immediacy of her storytelling, specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia. Many longtime festival favourites coming to Camarthenshire, all bringing new and fresh stories, as well as much loved classics drawing on epic, legend and myth include legendary founder of the Crick Crack Club Ben Haggarty, Hay Festival Medal winner Daniel Morden, dynamic wordsmith extraordinaire Clare Murphy and Creative Wales Major Award winner Michael Harvey.
Popular Welsh storytellers include North Wales favourite Dafydd Davies-Hughes, Cardiff’s Cath Little and Tamar Eluned Williams, who also spearheads the festival’s extensive community engagement programme, including work with four local schools which will be leading into the festival’s Opening Ceremony. With bilingual and Welsh storytelling featuring across the three day programme, the festival is especially delighted to welcome Mair Tomos Ifans to Beyond the Border. Mair will be telling stories with harpist Sioned Webb and outdoor explorer Nuala Dunn, sharing river tales from across Wales as well as traditional folklore and dark Welsh fairytales to sell the pulse racing for festivalgoers camping with hooting owls and woodland creatures for company.
While there are plenty of late night shows with a PG/15+ certificate, this isn’t a festival just for adults. Beyond the Border has a reputation for being one of the most family friendly events in Wales, programming stories for families as well as outdoor arts and events to keep energetic youngsters inspired all weekend.
Pontypridd’s award-winning youth circus company, Citrus Arts, will be performing a festival version of their award-winning show ‘Savage Hart’ as well as aerial, knot tying and circus skill workshops throughout the weekend. Marion Leeper hosts Love Stories for the Earth for the very young, plus Cardiff based Triptych, storyteller Cath Little, kindergarten specialist Anna Podesta, and artist/author Farah Morley share dream-inspiring relaxing stories of the Earth, Moon and Stars for under 5s. Plus Milly Jackdaw, Bedtime Stories and Hand to Mouth Theatre’s famous puppet shows, and their new walkabout Box of Delights, there’s so much for all the family to enjoy.
Musicians confirmed to play at the festival include Wales’ Folk Awards Best solo artist Gwilym Bowen Rhys and three-times nominated BBC Radio 2 ‘Folk Musician of the Year,’ Will Pound, plus duo Gwilym Morus-Baird and Owen Shiers with Welsh and English versions of their guide to the history of land rights and protest in Wales Gadael Tir/Leave Land. More will be confirmed in the coming months.
Artistic Director, Naomi Wilds said, “We are really excited about this beautiful new location and the range of artists confirmed so far for our Reimagining Our Futures programme. With many different flavours of stories and music, outdoor arts, nature and well being to enjoy, it’s an opportunity to spend three days inviting our imaginations as well as our bodies to breathe! The beauty and history of Dinefwr is really inspiring and we’re all looking forward to hearing how audiences enjoy this new space as well as the wonderful textures of history, story, music and adventure blending together over the festival.”
Further details about the Beyond the Border International Storytelling Programme can be found at beyondtheborder.com. Second tier tickets are now on sale and finish on 31 March before full price tickets go on sale from 1 April. National Trust Members can access discounted tickets. Tickets are only available through Beyond the Border at now at the National Trust property.
Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival is supported by Arts Council of Wales, The Major Events Unit, Creative Europe and the Federation of European Storytelling