Last night’s Word Spun event was superbly hosted by Hannah Brailsford from Spinning Yarns Theatre. I was thrilled to be asked to take part and join 4 other marvelous female storytellers sharing stories of bold ladies and brave girls. Hannah Need, Pyn Stockman, Su Squire, and Suzanne Arnold told stories with bloody endings, brave acts, bold women, twists on classics, and traditional tales. It was a fabulous night which had me gripped as a listener – all performed on Zoom to a mixed audience of people who were new to and familiar with storytelling. They were all a warm and generous crowd who even took part in a bit of calypso clapping from their homes when I asked them to join in!
Storytelling online is vastly different from having a live audience with you in the room but I found it quite exciting being able to follow a story up close with the hypnotic voice and actions of these Storytellers. Su vividly told her version of the Red Shoes. My mind is still in the forest with the she-wolf who jumped upon her at the end. I won’t easily forget Suzanne’s ‘Mr Fox’ and his feathery tale, stroking his new wife after murdering the previous ones. Pyn’s tales took us close to her home in Warwickshire where the women’s deaths were all too real and Hannah’s Rapunzel brought us close to our own isolation stories, but thankfully she did not leave us there!
I debuted my Caribbean folktale ‘The Shape-shifting Hog.’ I’ve also written this for my new book of Caribbean Folktales that will be published by the History Press in 2021. My story was inspired by a folktale from the Republic of Congo ‘Shansa Mutongo Shima’ which may have been inspired by folktales collected by the Nigerian writer Tutuola Amos. My version of the tale is set in Trinidad as I wanted to feature a Calypso song and food from the island. In my version, the main character who is a beautiful, intelligent young woman, finds out that her future husband is really a shape-shifter and not human; but she does not lie down and accept her fate. I’d been gifted a wonderful version of this story from the Poet and Storyteller Baden Prince which set me on the road to writing my version with a bold, brave woman.
Thank you to everyone who came, listened and supported the night. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. There have been some lovely comments on Twitter.
Fantastic lineup of stories & tellers #wordspun this eve – thank you so much @pynstory @WCShearer @Hannah_Need vibrant, funny, chilling, bold tales told with energy & humour…AND @HanBStories is perfect host 👏
— Vickie Holden-Swinton (@vickie_holden) June 11, 2020
— John Kirk (@jkstorytelling) June 11, 2020