A Weekend at Oxford Storytelling Festival, 2022

Last weekend seems to have been a busy one in the world of UK storytelling festivals, with both the Oxford Storytelling Festival and the East Anglian Storytelling Festival taking place.

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.