American comedian Ruby Wax will be coming to a town which is holding its first festival of storytelling.

The Comet: Traditional storyteller Ben HaggartyTraditional storyteller Ben Haggarty (Image: Archant)

The Fireside Festival started in Baldock yesterday (Friday) and continues until October 27.

It is intended it will become an annual event, and the line-up includes a wide variety of artists, many of whom have an international following.

The festival – which includes events in the town hall, community centre and The Orange Tree pub – will open with 5x15, which will bring together five individuals to tell of their lives, passions and inspirations. There are only two rules – no scripts and only 15 minutes each.

The event will include traditional storytellers like Ben Haggarty, who is described by organiser Joanna Bowen as “the Godfather of storytelling”.

There will also be a ghost train, which will travel from London to Baldock on Friday, October 25, with Tim Ralphs and Giles Abbott spinning spooky tales on the way to haunted pub The Orange Tree.

Ms Bowen said: “We have a really interesting line-up. As this is a new event and not something that is big in this area, we have taken storytelling in its widest interpretation and included work from Touched Theatre and Rachel Blackman, whose work involves physical theatre.

“There will be anecdotal stories, some comic, like Peter Searles, some serious and inspiring, like Philippa Rees and Mercury Award nominee Sam Lee, who tells stories through folk ballads.”

David Bramwell and American comedian Wax will provide the grand finale on Sunday, October 27.

The festival will include events for both children and adults. Tickets are priced from £4, with some events free.

For further details and tickets go to or call Ms Bowen on 07792 023211.