Monthly Archives: July 2012

Press Release: Tales from the River Trent

One Nottingham family is hoping for an Indian Summer, as they’ll be spending most of September outside. Sophia Collins and Ross Winter will walk from one end of the Trent to the other, as part of a project celebrating the river through a mixture of stories and music.

Beginning at Biddulph Moor, Staffs on 1st September and ending at Trent Falls, Lincs on 21st Sept, Sophia and Ross will walk ten miles a day, taking in 19 places along the route, including Stoke on Trent, Burton on Trent, Nottingham and Newark. At each stop, the team will put on a performance of music and storytelling, and then invite the audience to share their own stories. “No-one will have to get up on stage unless they want to, they’ll just be talking in small groups.” says Sophia. “But everyone has a story.” They will also receive support from Sophia’s mum Tricia (former mayor of Gedling, Notts) and her dad Dave, a well-regarded local singer-songwriter, who’ll join them for some of the performances.

They still have room in their schedule for more events, and anyone who’d like to host one should get in touch. Sophia says: “We’ll be doing lots of schools, community centres and pubs, but also we’re up for performing in fields, factories, on buses… As long as there’s somewhere for people to sit, and enough quiet for people to talk, we’re happy.”

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What do stories look like?

I asked Ross to draw a picture to illustrate the story about bad judgement in an earlier post. I’d told him this story, not long after we got together. He didn’t remember that, of course. But he’s heard it a few times since, while I’ve been practising for Tales from the River. He drew the following:-

A pencil drawing of a troll-like old woman, smoking a pipe

…which was nothing LIKE how I’d imagined the old woman. Somehow, a part of you thinks that what listeners are seeing in their mind’s eye, is the picture you’ve got in yours. But no.

The interesting thing (to me) was that not long after Ross drew this, I went to Beyond the Border Storytelling festival, where they had life-sized figures made of felt around the place, making it look a bit magical. Here’s my favourite:-

A life-size figure of a troll-like old woman, made out of felt, sitting in a chair.

To me, this old woman looks very reminiscent of Ross’s picture. Maybe Ross and the artist had the same picture books growing up? Who knows? But it’s a nice reminder that the story people make in their heads is only partly down to what you do as a storyteller. Partly it’s down to all the things they’ve got in their heads already, which they bring with them to the story.

Ross will be sketching lots of things as we go, so look forward to his sketches, as well as story recordings, photos and blog posts.

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