The Storytelling Choir
Dr Joanna Gilar invited me to perform a radical reweaving of Cinderella as part of an eco-storytelling choir with 12 other storytellers, musicians and artists. Our performance was inspired by each others’ tellings, the international Rewilding Cinderella symposium and by Waterhall Conservation Area, the site of brambles and briars, hills and dells where we weaved our tales.
Over 6 months we worked together on our individual variants of the Cinderella story to offer a radical reweaving of the fairytale. We each brought stories from England, Iran, Haiti and Russia, Japan, Bulgaria and Scotland. Our performance of tales were woven together with poetry and song to explore the global, local and intimate journey of the wild ash child. My story was The Orange Tree, which is a tale originally from Haiti that I adapted and wrote a new version of, just for this concert.
The first three performances were walking concerts where we took the audiences across the Sussex hills on the Waterhall rewilding site. After each story, we gifted members of the audience with a story hazelnut which contained a line from each of our stories. These were intricately handcrafted by artist Hannah Battershell who also created the beautiful animation in response to our stories.
The performance on the ONCA barge created a different atmosphere as the storytellers told tales below and above deck. The boat creaked and rocked as we gripped everyone with modern adaptations, true tales and magical stories.
For those who missed the show, there will be a film recording of each story available soon.
Members of the Storytelling Choir
Our Storytelling Choir consisted of a stellar list of world renowned artists and performers including:
Tunde Balogun, Hannah Battershell, Marina Evans, Sophie Gibson, Joanna Gilar, Kestrel Morton, Nana Tomova, Gauri Raje, Laura Sampson, Fleur Shorthouse Hemmings, Philippa Snell and Heulwen Williams with direction from Sam Chittenden, the Artistic Director of Different Theatre.
You can read stories like Rewilding Cinderella in my new book called ‘Caribbean Folktales’ which is available now.