Once Upon a Time – an evening of storytelling at Kings Place
Published 12 September 2010
I have to admit that, above a certain age, to spend a Friday evening listening to a storyteller might not seem very tempting, but I do love tales. Regardless of their origin, a well-told tale is enthralling. They make you feel relaxed and cosy, even after a hectic day spent in the great but exhaustive city that London is.
One of the events on the Kings Place Festival 2010 programme was last Friday afternoon and evening’s storytelling series with three renowned storytellers. I attended the last performance, which featured Taffy Thomas, who became the UK’s first ever storyteller laureate back in 2009. Thomas’ role this year, as storyteller laureate, is to travel around the UK to share the art of storytelling with the public.
As a special treat, and not mentioned in the Festival’s catalogue, Taffy’s daughter Amy sang several beautiful songs, and it is striking how singing and storytelling are quite alike, both trying to tell a story and entertain and enthral an audience at the same time. And it seems that storytelling is no longer just for the little ones anymore; when looking around the room, I only managed to spot one little girl with her dad, otherwise the average age of audience was much, much older. But it shouldn’t really be a surprise to see so many adults enjoying a good story. In many cultures, most tales, sagas, lores and myth traditionally were not for a child’s ears. They might be cheeky, thought provoking, illuminating, funny or sad, but stories always the mirror of the society in which they arose.
Taffy’s repertoire seems to be endless, and he even proved it when asking the little girl to choose an animal from his wonderfully tailored “tale coat”, which was embroidered with little animals and other scenes of tales. You only had to point at an animal on his tale coat and he started to tell one of his stories connected to it.
Let me close the article with Taffy’s words as to why listening to stories is in our nature: “if speaking were more important than listening, we’d have two tongues and one ear.”
Kings Place Festival 2010 takes place from 9 to 12 September, so you still have a chance to attend some of the events it offers. For details please visit the website: www.kingsplace.co.uk/music/kings-place-festival
For details about Taffy’s future storytelling please see his website: www.taffythomas.co.uk