Our website uses cookies. See our cookies page for information about them and how you can remove or block them. Click here to opt in to our cookies

Tales from the City - the power of storytelling

The Village Storytelling Festival is set to return to the CCA in Glasgow, celebrating and exploring the art and application of storytelling past, present and future. From 4-8 July, audiences can enjoy exhibitions, films, music, performances, and, of course, cutting edge storytelling from some of the most exciting storytellers performing today.

Opening the festival is Tales from the City, a performance that weaves together folk tales and autobiographical experiences of real life projects dealing with homelessness, forced marriage, domestic violence and recovery. We went along to rehearsals at the Royal Conservatoire earlier this week, to get a sneak preview and to chat to the performers about the projects that inspired them.

Tales from the City rehearsals

Storytellers Lauren Bianchi, Joanne Marr, and Dan Serridge, with harpist Ruth Mackay

"Everyone's story is different but connecting them all are the same feelings," says Joanne Marr of working with recovery groups. "Each person feels alone and stuck doing the same old things. Recovery is a journey that never ends but to continue to stay on the right path you need to do things entirely differently. When I found this story it spoke to me on many different levels and drew such parallels with the groups that I knew this was the story to tell.

"Working with the groups was hugely inspirational for creating my section of this piece. I have incorporated much of the discussions into it and the essence of many of their stories has been woven into it."

Dan Serridge spent two months with homeless charity The Simon Community, gaining insight into its 50-year history and the individuals it has helped.

"We had been exploring the connection between the mythical creatures 'Giants' and homelessness," explains Dan, "which led to some incredibly insightful responses from the different groups we worked with.

Stories have the ability to inspire individual thought and response that both brings people together and also celebrates the individual interpretations of the story.- Daniel Serridge, Storyteller

"I came away from the project affected by the journeys people had been on and inspired by the beauty and poetry that lay within the organisation. Participants spoke with warmth and tenderness for the organisation and the people who it has come into contact with.

"The immense transformation that people have experienced over their time at The Simon Community was awe inspiring and inspirational -  I wanted my story to reflect the power of friendship and connection between people and how there are hundreds of organisations making a difference to people and their lives.

"I hope the audience enjoy the story first and foremost but beyond that I'd like them to get lost in the imagery of the story and begin to make their own connections between Giants and homelessness.

"Stories are there to create pictures and provoke individual thought and I hope that people share with me afterwards their reading of the story and sections that most resonated with them."

Tales from the City - Village Storytellers

For Lauren Bianchi, the source of her inspiration was writ large.

"I quite literally found this story on the Glasgow Women's Library.  It's written on the outside of the building and as soon as I saw it I know I had to tell it!

"Then, when I started working the Hemat Gryffe Women's Aid and The Whiteinch Woman's Group it just really resonated with me that it was a really close fit with some of their experiences.  I think it's a brilliant story, I love it's darkness, but also its power and its hope.

"The more I tell this story the more it speak to me of the trauma and hardship this group have been through particularly concerning forced marriage. Many of the women in the group have been sent away by their families thousands of miles away to a place where they don't know the culture, the political or healthcare system and didn't speak much of the language. The work is dedicated to them and I can only hope that the project with Hemat Gryffe made a difference to their lives in some small way.

"I hope that audiences will listen to the experience of the character and of the group. I hope the performance will raise awareness to the issues of forced marriage and domestic violence. But I also hope that the audience will enjoy being sucked into the world of the eponymous Sedna."

Book tickets for Tales from the City, which takes place at 6:30pm on Tuesday 4 July 2017 at CCA Glasgow.

Here's a taster of the rehearsals, featuring Lauren, Joanne, Dan and harpist Ruth Mackay...

More about the Village Storytelling Festival

The Village Storytelling Centre is an arts charity specialising in storytelling and based in the Southwest of Glasgow. Over the past 16 years we have worked with a huge range of people of all ages and backgrounds from across the city and beyond. We empower people to find, shape and share their voices and to build the skills and confidence they need to live the best life they can. Stories shape us. They inform our relationships and how we see the world. We believe that everyone’s story is worth hearing, but no-one’s is written in stone. Stories change lives.

The Village Storytelling Festival was supported by National Lottery Funding through our Open Project Fund.

It celebrates and explores the art and application of storytelling past, present and future. Push at the frontiers of your own narrative with our provocative symposia, revealing the ways stories are embedded with assumptions about gender, sexuality and exoticism. Debate the relevance and evolution of storytelling in today’s modern world, and explore how stories can be shared using more than words. Journey into other lives and fertile imaginative worlds with mesmerizing performances from acclaimed storytellers, including brand new work created for this year’s festival.

The festival runs from 4 - 8 July 2017.

This article was published on 30 Jun 2017