Tis Tales Show in Cowes — Love and Where It Takes You

Making use of the extra day in the year, Holly and Sue will be telling a set of tales on the theme of luurrrrve, and where it takes you, at Medina Bookshop in Cowes, on Thursday, 29th February, 2024. Doors open at 6.15 for 6.30pm start.

A wife plays a trick on her husband, a soldier holds a secret and a woman has a tough choice selecting a husband. Discover the funny, thoughtful and shocking place that love can take you in these wonderful traditional stories old by island-based storytellers Tis Tales.

Tickets cost £7, including booking fee, available here.


Somewhen Stories on the Isle of Wight, for National Storytelling week, 2024

It’s that time of year when the National Storytelling Week comes around again — Saturday, 27th January – Sunday, 4th February 2024 — and we’re starting things off early with a performance by ‘Tis Tales teller, Monty, alongside harpist Theresa Ellis, at Babushka Books, Shanklin, on the theme of Tradtional Tales from England and Wales.

Poor Sir Orfeo, a King of Winchester whose wife has been taken prisoner by the fairies. A master harper, can he beguile the good people to win her back?

For the sorceress Ceridwen, a year and a day is a price she’ll happy pay to brew a potion of inspiration for her talentless. But when the prize goes elsewhere, a magical chase ensues….

And you’ve maybe heard tales tell of the ravens of the Tower of London, protecting England from invasion, but how did they come to be there? The tale starts in Wales, when the King of Ireland calls on Bendigeidfran, aka Bran the Blessed, or the Blessed Crow, seeking to marry the Welsh King’s sister, Branwen.

Tickets for “Traditional Tales of England and Wales” on Friday, January 26th, 2024, are available in advance from Babushka Books, Shanklin, or via ‭07511 220038‬ / 01983 652880. Advance booking essential.

On Saturday, January 27th, Monty will also be telling a short set of tales at the launch of the Figlet Literary magazine, a new magazine published by Jean G. Owen. The venue is the Community Hall ( CHOYD), in Yarmouth, 2 till 5, admission free but please book in advance to help give an idea of numbers…

On Sunday, 28th January, 2024, there is an invitation only event at Monkton Arts, Ryde, for member of the Island Storytellers and participants of the Somewhen Storytelling supported storytelling workshops, as run by storyteller Nell Phoenix over the last few months.

On Tuesday, January 30th, 2024, as part of the Somewhen Storytelling promoted events, we’re delighted to have Sarah Liisa Wilkinson performing her show Strange Girls, Beautiful Monsters, in what is likely to be a high energy telling of some fantastic tales, featuring, hilarity and adventure, and not a little danger, told from a perspective with a strong female gaze.

Cowes Combined Services & Social Club, Cowes, PO31 7AJ

Tuesday 30th January 2024, 7pm-9.30pm (timed to fit with Red Jet sailings (just around the corner) to/from Southampton…)

Running time: 75 minutes

Tickets: £10 (incl. booking fee).



Strange Girls, Beautiful Monsters

As the new year begins, what better way to start than with a Somewhen Storytelling promoted storytelling event in Cowes as part of National Storytelling Week….

If you haven’t been to a storytelling show before, try this one…

A girl enters the woods clutching a skull with burning eyesAnother tumbles out of a barrel and falls in loveA third erupts into the world riding a goatOne more opens a forbidden door…

If you like long form narrative comedians, you might find you like storytelling too…

Sarah Liisa Wilkinson invites you to meet some very strange girls and some very beguiling monsters from the fairytale forest. This is a world of Baba Yagas and bloodstained dolls, wide-eyed girls and spoon wielding sisters, lovestruck trolls, and lovers who hide monstrous secrets behind their charms.Dark, funny and enchanted – these are stories with iron teeth.

Cowes Combined Services & Social Club, Cowes, PO31 7AJ

Tuesday 30th January 2024, 7pm-9.30pm (timed to fit with Red Jet sailings (just around the corner) to/from Southampton…)

Running time: 75 minutes

Tickets: £10 (incl. booking fee)

Monty says: “I saw Sarah Liisa for the first time last year, performing this show, and was absolutely blown away by the energy and humour of it. A brilliant example of what storytelling can be. I can’t wait to see it again. This show will be a treat not to be missed… DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!”

If you’re not sure what storytelling is, here’s a rare video of Sara Liisa telling a tale…

Sara Liisa Wilkinson tells “The Golden Balls”. See how far she moved the tale on by comparing a traditional version from 1894...
events Island Storytellers

Seasonal Stories, 16-17th December, 2023

For your delight and delectation, the Island Storytellers will be present two storytelling showcases on the theme of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in Ventnor on Saturday, December 16th, 2023:

  • Ventnor Exchange, 11.30-12.30
  • St Catherine’s Hub (in St Catherine’s Church opposite Ventnor Exchange), 1.30-2.30

The Island Storytellers monthly storyround is also in Ventnor this month, Thursday, December 14th, 7-9pm, Ventnor Library. This is an informal, round table telling event, all welcome, tellers, old and new, and listeners alike.

‘Tis Tales are also bringing seasonal Winter tales to Boojum & Snark’s Stoutmas Festival at Boojum & Snark, Sandown, on Sunday, December 17th, 2023. Free entry…

It would be great to see you there… 🙂

events Island Storytellers

“Twelve Days of Christmas” Tales at Ventnor, 2023

As part of the Somewhen Storytelling initiative, the Island Storytellers have been hard at work crafting characters for a window spotting competition in Ventnor based on the Twelve Days of Christmas cumulative song.

The competition runs across participating shop fronts in Ventnor from Saturday to Saturday, the 9th to the 16th of December.

The Island Storytellers will also be performing two shows, telling tales inspired by the gifts referred to in the song, on Saturday, December 16th prior to the Ventor Illuminated Carnival. The first show will be at Ventnor Exchange at 11.30am and the second in St Catherine’s Church Meeting Room at 1.30pm. There will be tales about swans, golden rings, drummers, hens and more. Entry is by donation on the door, of food, or cash, or Christmas supplies, to Ventnor Community Foodbank.

We’re also hoping to bring some pop up storytelling to some of the shops involved in the window spotting competition. We won’t say where, or when but it will be, somewhen that day, somewhere, so if you’re shopping in Ventnor that day, be prepared to be regaled with a tale or two.

The window spotting competition is just one of many things being co-ordinated by Ventnor Carnival Association that are taking place in Ventnor on 16th December; there’ll also be a craft fair, music, Santa’s grotto, and the lantern parade, with the day’s events culminating in a carol concert in Ventnor Park.


2/3 ‘Tis Tales Hallowe’en Stories

Setting the scene for Hallowe’en, Holly and Sue are taking a `Tis Tales set of sinister and strange stories to Babushka Books in Shanklin on Thursday, October 26th, 2023, whilst Monty is gallivanting off on the mainland somewhere…

Tickets priced £5 including refreshments are selling fast, but there’s still a few available from Babushka Books, or on 07511 220038 / 01983 652880.

events Somewhenever

Somewhen Promotes “Tangle of the Commons” at IW Lit Fest

After a summer of otherwise activities, the Somewhen storytelling adventure makes a welcome return as we bring Lisa Schneidau onto the Island from the West Country to with her performance of Tangle of the Commons.

Tales and the land often go together, and Lisa’s tales are often steeped in the landscape and acutely aware of the local ecology. So what are you waiting for? Tickets are available from the Isle of Literary Festival website now…

Lisa Schneidau, Tangle of the Commons, Saturday, October 7th, 2023, 3.20-4.20pm, Isle of Wight Literary Festival, tickets £10 from

As befits a show at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, we’re assured there will be book merch in the form of Lisa’s three collections of folk tales: Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland, Woodland Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland, River Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland, all published by History Press.

But this won’t be your typical book tour reading. It’ll be be a proper storytelling show!;-)

Lisa Schneidau —


Chale Show Saturday Cancelled But Can’t Wait for Sunday…

It was blowing a bit of a hoolie as we were putting the final touches to the Somewhenever Story tent at the Chale Show showground this morning, so much so that with tents lifting the organisers were forced to cancel today’s (Saturday’s) show.

But as the storm passes through, we’re really looking forward to bringing a plethora of short storytelling slots to the show tomorrow, with tales for all ages on the hour, every hour, 11 till 4 inclusive, and with family friendly sets and activities on the half-past…

Stories for all ages, spoken not read….


‘Tis Tales Tellers Appearing Somewhen at Chale Show, 2023

With Ventnor Fringe over for another year, there’s no stopping the stories this summer… Upcoming this weekend, all three ‘Tis Tales tellers will be popping up in the Somewhenever Story Tent at Chale Show.

There’s a full programme of tales and other activities across both days (Saturday and Sunday), with 20 minutes of tales on the hour each day, from 11am to 4pm inclusive.

As part of the Somewhen Storytelling project, we are looking to raise awareness of storytelling as oral culture — tales told, not read — across the island, and across ages. Whilst the Chale Show story tent activities on the half hour are intended as family friendly events, many of the stories told on the hour are likely to be appropriate for all ages…

postevent Somewhenever

Stories Galore at Ventnor Fringe 

Giants,  green dragons, wonder tales, sock hunts…. The Island Storyteller’s Somewhen team  brought a myriad of stories  to Ventnor Fringe last week in a multitude of events.  Internationally renowned storyteller Xanthe Gresham Knight enthralled the audience with her tales chosen by the audience;  Xanthe had stepped in at the last moment as well-known storyteller, Daniel Morden, had been taken ill. Sue Bailey said “ It was great that Xanthe was able to come.  We were looking for someone of a similar calibre to Daniel, and Xanthe pulled the stops out to fill the void with mesmerising stories and accordion playing”.

On Wednesday,  seven regulars people, from the Island Storytellers’ monthly story round, took to the floor to tell tales linked by the word green.   Sue continued  “I loved the diversity of voices and styles at our ‘Green’ storytelling at Ventnor library. It really showed that stories come in many forms whether they are based on anecdotes, traditional folk tales  or even on impossibly probable animal stories.  We rocked with laughter when local storyteller Sue Clark related  her story of how their caravanning group  converted a car into a green dragon.”

Stories continued on Friday, when TisTales, a trio of local storytellers, regaled a packed audience at Ventnor Arts Club with tales of giants.  Holly Medland’s tales of the origin of Britain gave a possible insight into the assertive nature of women on these islands today, as the heroine, Albina, encouraged the daughters of a  Syrian king to rise up against the mundane and devaluing requirements of being  obedient and subservient wives.

Welsh hero, Bendigeidfran (“Bran the Blessed”), Irish giant, Fionn mac Cumhail and Norse god, Thor, all featured in this excellent hour of stories.

On Saturday and Sunday Sue Bailey led one of her infamous and highly engaging storywalks. “One sock – a riddle  and story filled sock hunt, is such fun”  said Sue.  “The children are very sharp eyed and always manage to follow the clues and find all my missing socks.  I love the way they work  together and even though they are keen to be the finders,  they make sure all the children taking part have a chance to find something”

Tony ‘Monty’ Hirst added to the wealth of storytelling at the Fringe with his set ‘Unforeseen Consequences’. He said “The fringe is a fantastic opportunity for bringing traditional stories to new audiences. Storytelling was the standup of its day, and many of the tales work as well today as ever they did.”

Sue Bailey continued “It has been great being part of Ventnor Fringe.  We are very grateful to the organisers  for providing a platform for all the performances,  whether they be local, national or international.  Our storytelling events this week have been part of a year long lottery supported project called ‘Somewhen Storytelling’.

And in the press at