Storytelling fest a Baldock hit

Peter Chand wows the crowd with Grimms' Sheesha

Peter Chand wows the crowd with Grimms' Sheesha - Credit: Archant

Baldock is buzzing with visitors this week, thanks to a successful second year of its annual storytelling festival.

Taffy Thomas MBE entertains listeners with his story telling

Taffy Thomas MBE entertains listeners with his story telling - Credit: Archant

Director and founder of the Fireside Festival Joanna Bowen says audiences have flocked from Cambridge and London to see international names tell stories of past and present.

Fireside, which began last year, was originally meant to run as a one off event but proved so popular it gained funding from the Arts Council to continue as an annual festival.

Joanna says none of this success would have been possible without the open- minded attitude of the Baldock people.

She said: “There’s loads happening in Baldock which is completely run by the local people.

Dumbshow adapt John Steinbeck’s classic novella The Pearl for the stage

Dumbshow adapt John Steinbeck’s classic novella The Pearl for the stage - Credit: Archant


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“People are open minded here.Baldock is such an enterprising town, with enterprising ideas.

“It deserves this professional theatre festival coming in, because it’s a place committed to having a go.”

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A host of shows have been put on during the festival, such as Grimms Sheesha, an Indian twist on the Grimm tales by storyteller Peter Chand.

On Tuesday, to mark Armistice Day, Taffy Thomas MBE, the UK’s first Laureate for Storytelling, entertained crowds with folktales from the First World War in The Ghost of The Trenches.

Taffy said the festival is a great way to teach young people about their history.

He said: “There’s something magical about storytelling.

“It’s important for young people to engage with stories. You can’t write a story unless you tell a story, and you can’t tell a story if you haven’t heard one.

Commenting on his show The Ghost of The Trenches, Thomas said: “The stories that they told each other in the trenches have humour.

“I’m sure the only way those veterans survived that war was through humour.

“It was an honour to tell popular folklore stories on Armistice Day.”

The festival continues until Sunday.

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