We’re pleased to announce that ‘Tis Tales will be performing at the Medina Bookshop, Cowes, on Saturday, October 8th, 2022, 7.30pm-8.30pm, as part of the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, with another outing of our Island Tales set.
We may not have books to sell, but we certainly have tales to tell…
If you ever pass by the village of Cranborne in Dorset, make sure to pay a visit to the Ancient Technology Centre, an outdoor living history centre with recreations of several ancient buildings, including an iron age roundhouse, a Viking Longhouse (eat your heart out, other museum cafés!), and a spectacular recreation of an iron age Earthouse.
The earthouse itself provides a 250 seat capacity in-the-round indoor theatre (although you might want to take a cushion to sit on).
The venue is regularly used by the Crick-Crack Club for storytelling performances. This week, it hosted a performance by Pandvani 108, a performance storytelling telling troupe combining stories, music, and movement/dance in the retelling of ancient myths and legends. The current line-up included tales by Emily Hennessey, Ben Haggerty, and island-based Steph Brittain, with musical accompaniment in the form of sitar and drums, by Sheema Mukherjee & Rav Neiyyer.
The troupe’s name is based on an Indian storytelling performance genre, Pandvani (Pandavani) that also drives the ‘epic shorts” performance style: a series of movement rich, 15 minute tales based on traditional myths, accompanied by music, performed by the storyteller (the “teller”) but in partial dialogue with another (a “Ragi”), who adds interjections that variously acknowledge, drive, clarify and even mock the teller.
The 150 minute set (two one-hour long sets with a twenty minute interval, with 3 main stories, one per performer, each set) was a completely new style of performance to me, but a great fit for the Earthouse (also a first visit for me). If you ever get a chance to see Pandvani 108 — particularly if we can find a venue on the Island that would suit such a performance — I encourage you to take it.
Tellers at Oxford included Shonaleigh, Jan Blake, Emily Hennessy & Sheema Mukhurjee, Nick Hennessey, Tom Hirons, Riika Palonen, Lisa Schneidau, and David Heathfield. Shonaleigh also featured at East Anglia, along with other half Simon Heywood, Clare Murphy, Xanthe Gresham, Dave Tonge, Taffy Thomas, and more…
From the ‘Tis Tales camp, Monty took a trip (as a punter and story-round teller on the final night) to the Oxford event at Waterperry Gardens, in search not just of telling tips and new tales to tell, but also ideas we might be able to bring back to the island in terms of performance spaces and event programming.
The venue was split between two indoor venues and several outdoor venues.
The headline venue was an amphiteatre…
Do we have a venue like that anywhere on the Island?
The outdoor tented venues were in a single grassed area, along with stalls, a food stand and a bar, and came in a variety of styles: a large tipi, a smaller event shelter, and a small but beautifully decorated tented venue.
Viewed from the side, The Little Tent of Wonders showed what could be achieved with some imagination (note the floor was actually carpeted and cushioned over plastic sheet).
There was also a fire pit, with fire point, and a pond…
The small camping field was just a couple of minutes walk away, on the flat, with an adjacent car parking field. The only quibble, perhaps, was that there were no guiding lights (simple solar charged ones would have been fine) to signal the gateway out of the field, so with a moonless night, torches were advisable.
I’m not sure how well the outside venues would have worked with larger numbers, or inclement weather, but for the event as it was over the weekend, it all seemed to work really well.