17th June is the date for south Londoners determined to have a good day out at the FREE Crystal Palace Overground Festival.
In Crystal Palace Park, the Festival gates open at eleven in the morning and the music goes on until nine o’clock at night. But Overground is about much, much more than music. There’s the Vintage Zone, stalls, music and dancing ( lindy hop or twist anyone ), the Family Zone with a Performance tent, Arts and Crafts and, for the first time this year, tents celebrating The Spoken Word and Storytelling ( and there’s a book tent with book signings by authors who speak at the Festival ).
Julie Anderson, author of Reconquista, is organising the Storytelling tent. This is very much performance based. So we have Twice Shy Theatre, winners of the Best Alternative Act, London Cabaret Awards 2015, who create impromptu stories using suggestions from and the experiences of members of the audience. Zoie weaves her wordy magic, while Des creates an underpinning sound scape.At midday Twice Shy take over the tent ( I’m hoping for a real Mongolian yurt, if it’s owner will lend it to us ) to develop some tales with the audience (they will be back to develop some more at 2.30).
Jo Clayton, the StoryCycler, formerly Practitioner in Residence at the Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside, begins in Storytelling at 1.15 in the afternoon, with her South London Fairy Tales, suitable for ages from 9 to 90.
Then we have Story Places, the stories devised by local story tellers specifically set in or about Crystal Palace Park ( working with folk from Southampton University ). The Uni has developed a special app for mobile phones which allows users to be ‘in’ a story set in a specific place. A specially commissioned story from writer and actress Katie Lyons ( who, it is hoped, will perform it ) will start things off. Listeners can leave the tent and load the app on to their phones in order to ‘walk the stories’ in the park.
At some point in the afternoon we hope to be starting another walk from the tent, the Adventure Maze procession, for any younger folk who will enter the Maze with their story books in hand, to meet magical characters, the spirits of the trees and places in the Park, as well as people who have lived there or been associated with it. An analogue version of the Story Places app, but with ‘real’ characters within the maze.
Then, at five o’clock it’s Reconquista time. I am hopeful of acquiring a set and some props as well as a few helpers, rather better readers than yours truly, to re-create scenes from the story. I will, however, be signing copies of the book in the Book Tent earlier in the day.
Storytelling closes with the Beckenham Storytellers at 6.15 p.m. creating their Story Circle, telling tales about south London life.
So, if you enjoyed reading Reconquista and live in London come along to the Storytelling tent at the Crystal Palace Overground Festival on 17th June to meet the author and listen to some fabulous tales. See you there!