Community, Creativity, Storied

From Birth to Apocalypse: Reflecting on Storied this year

Let’s picture the Storied scene: A bookshop café fills up with people – they sip wine, nibble cake, and feel good, cosy, anticipatory feelings of an evening of entertainment ahead. They’re welcomed by a pizazzy MC, they settle bums into sofas… And then the evening’s storyteller takes to the mic. The room hushes. The stories begin…

Looking back on the first term of Storied events, my brain conjures a neat montage of images which, week by week, each wandered across my mind-canvas:

Joseph pounds, desperate, on an inn door

Teeth break the skin of a piece of fruit

Noah closes the door of a laden ark; rainwater lifts the hull from the ground

A trail of wanderers spans over miles of orange desert

A prophet is lowered, slow, blistering, into a vat of boiling oil

A lone man kneels, shakes with fear, on the evening before his execution

Storytelling in the UK is in the midst of a revival. It’s a rich, simple and staggeringly old art form. To understand its history, think of Old Tjikko, a tree in Sweden, whose trunk, branches, needles have generated dozens of times from roots over 9,500 years old. What we’re seeing right now, is new growth out of the old.

But why now? The twenty-tens have seen a move in the UK arts scene towards authenticity, ground-roots and spoken word. (I could suggest political, sociological, philosophical reasons for this, but that would lead fast us to the Brexit-word… and I reckon we’re all tired of that.) For whatever reason, people are increasingly leaving their living rooms of an evening, looking for others to meet with, discuss and explore what it means to be a human being in our times.

Seeking these Big Human Questions, Storied set each event’s theme from the Bible. So far, we’ve had Birth, Eden, Exodus, Passion, Flood, and Apocalypse. A single thematic story straddled the evening and, in between, attendees engage with and brought their own interpretations of the theme – contributions ranging from story and song, to poetry, dance, comedy and art. It was a unique event, harnessing the transportive nature of live storytelling, with the interactive culture of open mic.

And thus, Storied has just concluded its successful, intimate pilot scheme at The Big Comfy Bookshop in Fargo Village. ‘Aw shucks, I missed it!’ I hear you cry. But fear not compadre, there are new plans afoot, whispers between the organisers, blue-sky dreaming… and we can all anticipate an exciting Storied-future of bigger, brighter events in Autumn 2018. I sense a blossoming!

Follow Storied Coventry on Facebook or Twitter @StoriedCoventry to get all the up-to-date event information.

Tanya Pengelly

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