“Dark Tales” CANCELLED… Xanthe Gresham-Knight’s “Bag of Wonders” Now at Ventnor Fringe

We’re gutted to have had to announce that Daniel Morden has had to withdraw from this week’s Ventnor Fringe Festival show — we hope he makes a speedy recovery to full health — but really excited that Sue Bailey managed to catch up with Xanthe Gresham whilst at Festival at the Edge over the weekend and persuade her to bring her “Bag of Wonders” show in place of Dark Tales.

All tickets for “Dark Tales” will transfer to the replacement “Bag of Wonders” show (refunds also available on request… but you’d be missing a treat!)

Anyone interested in tickets for the replacement show (same time: 5-6pm, Weds 26th July, 2023; same place: Ventnor Arts Club) can get them from the original event page:

Storytelling that’s as sharp as a lemon and as sweet as a nut. Accept it or not, we’re all hooked on our baggage system…

…whether it’s a clutch bag or a holdall. But forget what’s in yours, and come and rummage around in Xanthe’s bottomless bag. Between the kitchen sink and the old tube tickets lies a pick and mix of marvels, fibs and fables.

Featuring audience prompted stories accompanied by great accordion playing, performer Xanthe Gresham-Knight is hot footing it down from international storytelling festival, Festival at the Edge, to Ventnor, to present storytelling in its liveliest and most interactive form. So come and see what you can pull from this lucky dip!

As presented at the Soho Theatre and Literature Festivals throughout the UK, Europe and New Zealand.

“An audible feast!” Gulf News, Waiheke Island New Zealand

“The Island story-loving audience – and anyone story-curious – is going to LOVE Xanthe’s repertoire of stories and her playful, connected style of telling and her verbal ingenuity!” Nell Phoenix, Somewhen Storytelling Festival, 2023, headliner.

We send Daniel our best wishes and hope he makes a speedy recovery. And we’ll hopefully get him onto the island somewhen soon:-)


‘Tis Tales Show at Ventnor Fringe, 2023

Don’t miss out, there’s still time to book your tickets for our new show, Here Be Giants, at the Ventnor Arts Club on Friday, July 28th, 3-4pm. Tickets available here.


“Unforeseen Consequences” at Ventnor Fringe

We’re involved with a whole host of stories at Ventnor Fringe this week, in part under the banner of the Somewhen Storytelling initiative.

First up, ‘Tis Tales Monty is bringing his “Unfortunate Consequences (Verging on Nonsense)” set to Boniface Studios on Sunday 23rd July, 2023, 5-6pm. Tickets: £8, Under 25 £5, Culture / Unlimited Pass 2for1 available here.

Whatever the streaming services try to tell you, the best stories, and the best storytelling, are NOT best told through a screen…

The best stories are the stories that just kept on, and keep on, being told, somewherever, and somewhenever, for generations. And the best way to experience them is the original way – from a storyteller. Traditional stories, traditionally told, but still as colourful and vibrant, and entertaining as ever they were. Every so often, some of them disappear from view, but then they make a return, and re-enter the storytelling tradition they never really left…

So make yourself comfortable, and journey with Island-based traditional performance storyteller Tony Hirst, aka Monty, to the land of once upon a time, where tales are told that aren’t (just) for children. Come and hear tell of how two farmers tried to get the better of their neighbour, whilst a young prince accepted a challenge to win a beautiful princess. A dragon-serpent watches on as a childless old couple suddenly find they have a child to bring up, a blacksmith does a deal with a devil, and a young man certainly knows how to use his head.

What could possibly go wrong…?

Monty will also be doing a free fringe set at the Fringe Square, St Catherine’s Church, 1pm-1.30pm on Tuesday, July 25th, 2023, telling “Folk Tales from Britain and Ireland”.


Promoting Somewhen Storytelling at Ventnor Fringe

Just a fortnight or so to go before Ventnor Fringe — have you started getting your tickets yet? There are 2for1 offers on many shows, if you’re quick, and it’s a real confidence boost be performers knowing in advance that there will be audience there!

A huge treat for us is having Daniel Morden at the Ventnor Fringe. One of the most compelling tellers of dark tales out there, Daniel’s set will feature his own reworked versions of several late 19th century tales from the Woods’, a legendary Welsh gypsy family. A show not to be missed. Tickets available here.

There’s also a whole host of local tellers at the fringe: we’ll be there as `Tis Tales, as well as with the Island Storytellers, and Monty and Sue are also doing solo slots. Tickets now available from the Ventnor Fringe website: just search for somewhen or storytelling.

If you’ve seen us telling around the island, we’d love to see you at the fringe. If the shows are a success, we’re more likely to attract more storytellers to the island in future.

We also appreciate that the cost of tickets can quickly add up, but all our shows offer 2-for-1 discounts if you’re a friend of the fringe or Ventnor Exchange (and you but the tickets in time!). There are also discounts for under-25s. There are also quite a few costs involved in putting on a show (programme entry fee, box office take, minimum venue take/percentage), so we’re not necessarily laughing all the way to the bank! (We also don’t want to undersell ourselves,. but that’s really for you to judge…)


‘Tis Tales and More at Ventnor Fringe 2023

As part of the Island-based Somwhen Storytelling initiative, ‘Tis Tales will be appearing as one of several Somewhen affiliated events at Ventnor Fringe.

Search for somewhen storytelling on the Ventnor Fringe website.

Tickets for all our events are already on sale from the Ventnor Fringe Box Office. Please help spread the word…

If you like storytelling (stories as traditionally told (NOT read), or are just intrigued as to how stories might not just be for children, please try to support these events. Any profits generated will go back into the pot to help us bring more professional storytellers to the Island.


Somewhen Storytelling Festival, June 3-4, 2023


Two Storytelling Shows for May…

Following on from two successful shows in February, at pop up venues The Athanor in Ventnor, and Babushka Books in Shanklin, ‘Tis Tales teller Monty will performing two new back to back shows at the same venues in May.

First up, on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, with doors open at 7pm, at The Athanor, Ventnor, “And the Girl Played On…”. What happens when King’s daughter claims to love him only as much salt? What is the significance of the leaves that hung but never grew? How should a young girl respond when the local lord tells her she can only marry when she had spun her wedding shift, and his death shroud, from nettles? And what price ambition — for love, for fame? — when a bargain with the Devil is part of the story? Tickets, priced £4, are reservable in advance from the venue or by calling 07405 346388.

The following night, Thursday, May 11th, 2023, at Babushka Books in Shanklin, doors open at 7pm for a set of Irish tales and legends based on the Fenian cycle stories of Fionn Mac Cumhail, his son Oísin, and the warriors of the Fianna. How did Oísin get his name (“little fawn”)? How did Fionn get his thumb of knowledge, and how could his favourite hounds also be his cousins? And just how quickly could Cuilthe run? Tickets priced £5, including refreshments, are reservable in advance from the venue or by calling 07511 220038.

As space is limited in each venue, prior booking is required.


‘Tis Tales’ Favourites at Freshwater Library

In the land of story, there are many tales to tell. Of good deeds and bad, of gifts and desires, of tricksters and terrible ends.

So join us for a magical evening of storytelling in which Tis Tales will enchant you with a selection of their favourite traditional tales, hailing from places as near as the Back of the Wight and as far as the mountains of Marrakech.

Through these skilfully told tales, you’ll discover the object more valuable than gold, learn why you should never interrupt a story and meet the woman who terrified death himself.

So come along for an evening of stories you’ll never forget.

Wednesday, 26th April, 2023, 7.30pm, at Freshwater Library.

Tickets available, priced £5 in advance, in advance only from :


Announcing “Spring Stories”, 2023, @ Bar 74

With spring in the air, ‘Tis Tales are pleased to announce a new collection of traditional tales — Spring Stories — presenting for the first time on the Ides of March — Wednesday, March 15th, 2023, 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start — at Bar 74, Ryde.

Look forward to an enchanting evening of traditional spring tales, featuring gods and goddesses, flowers and fog, making it perfectly balanced between the darkness of winter and the lightness of summer.

Tickets are now available priced £6 in advance (includes booking fee), or on the door.

To secure a ticket for purchase on the door, email:


Events for National Storytelling Week, 2023

You may not have heard of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening… Dates vary depending on where you look it up, but National Storytelling Week, 2023, — a celebration of storytelling in all its forms — will be running over the first week of February.

Here on the Island, we’re starting early, with the Island Storytellers promoting what we’re sure will be a believably unbelievable set of Indian tales from internationally renowned professional storyteller Peter Chand.

Peter is making a welcome return to the Island following his appearance at RhythmTree Festival in 2019 and will be appearing at Caffe Isola in Newport on Friday, January 27th, 2023 with his show Jayamala and other Elephant Tales Doors open at 6.30pm with the first story at 7pm. Tickets priced £10 (including booking fee) are available from: More details here.

During National Storytelling week itself, ‘Tis Tales teller, and island folk club regular, Tony “Monty” Hirst will be performing two separate sets in tiny venues on the theme of “unforeseen consequences”.

On Wednesday, February 1st, he’ll be performing at The Athanor “Cabinet of Curiosities” with a set of traveler tales subtitled Travelling the Road, then visiting Babushka Books in Shanklin on Thursday, February 2nd for several more traditional tales that are Verging on Nonsense,. Doors for both events open at 7pm, with the first tale at 7.15pm. Tickets are available direct from each venue:

  • The Athanor, Pier St, Ventnor, Wednesday, February 1st, 2023: tickets £3, advance reservation only, from the venue, or tel. 07405 346388
  • Babushka Books, Regent St, Shanklin, Thursday, February 2nd, 2022, tickets £5 (incl. refreshments)., advance reservation only, from the venue, or tel. 01983 652880 / 07511 220038

We’re also hoping to announce some new ‘Tis Tales events in the near future, along with exciting news from the Island Storytellers… So keep checking back here to find out what and when, for all things story…