The Storytelling tent at Crystal Palace Overground Festival will be open for business tomorrow at 11:00. You can find it on the edge of the Family Zone, just behind the Youth Takeover sound stage.  There will be improvised stories, from Twice Shy Theatre, South London Tales from Jo Clayton, Story Cycler and a Story Circle from the Beckenham Storytellers.

Reconquista is in the tent at 5 o’clock in the afternoon ( 17:00 ) when J. J.Anderson, the author, will be telling ‘The Story Behind the Story’ of Reconquista and reading dramatised extracts from the novel. Be sure to get there in plenty of time for a seat.

Having a Bedouin tent does lend itself to Reconquista, set in Al Andalus, though it’s also very appropriate for Storytelling in general. Think of The Arabian Nights, One Thousand and One Nights, Sheherazade and Omar Khayam. The tent will be laid out in Arabian style, with floor matting, wall hangings, lanterns and little tables. There will also be a special Storytelling Chair – no one knows what it looks like but one is going to be delivered, by a local antique shop, on the day.

‘Performing’ a story is different from reading from it, or discussing it with an interviewer. There is only the storyteller ( and her sound effects ) and she has to catch and retain everyone’s attention, so it can’t just be a reading – people would either be asleep or walk out!  So the author has taken lots of advice from experienced and professional storytellers and she’ll be watching closely on the day those people who precede her.

The weather forecast is good – sun with some clouds and dry and warm – there’ll be plenty to enjoy in the sunshine.  As well as Storytelling, there’s The Spoken Word tent and two sound stages, with Morcheeba headlining on the main stage in the afternoon. There’s the Vintage Zone, for all things old and nearly new, including dance lessons ( if you want to learn the Lindy Hop ) and the Arts and Crafts Zone, if you want to learn how to make things. Also, check out the Urban Farm and the biggest dog show in South London. You can find all these listed in the Festival Programme, for sale on the day in the Park.

It all happens tomorrow! And it’s all FREE!

But there’s lots to do before then for the people running the Festival, starting at 9.30 on Saturday morning when we all put on our hi-vis jackets ( and headsets for those running tents ) and add the finishing touches to the tents. Storytelling has bunting for outside as well as hangings and lanterns inside.

Check that the sound system is working, test the mics and make sure that there’s plenty of bottled water for the performers ( plus fresh fruit ).  And we’ll have to find out where the ‘back-stage’ area is ( close by ) so there’s somewhere to escape to if needed. Then it’s everyone to the main stage for a final briefing before the gates open.

Eleven o’clock – here we go!

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to read more about Storytelling try    The Story Behind the Story                     At Crystal Palace Overground               Local & Exotic Magic