"Every-day" epics retold on stage

Stef O'Driscoll
Stef O'Driscoll
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The Storytelling Army marches again, this time into Brighton Dome’s café-bar on Wednesday, December 6 as one of the big hits of this year’s Brighton Festival returns in new guise.

The show celebrates all our mini-triumphs which potentially can make such a big difference to everything in our lives and those of others.

The event is being masterminded by Stef O’Driscoll, artistic director of nabokov, a cross-artform narrative-led company who use different mediums to tell contemporary and political stories. Building on success earlier this year at the Brighton Festival, they are promising an evening of storytelling, music and camaraderie, working with community partners from all corners of Brighton & Hove.

As Stef explains: “In May, when Kate Tempest was guest artistic director of the Brighton Festival, her ethos was making art more social and less elite.

“That was her main focus in the sense of engaging with members of the community that we have never engaged with before.

“The Storytelling Army was born out of that concept.

“A collection of people popped up around Brighton over one weekend telling their every-day epic stories. My company nabokov supported this, championing these every-day stories which might be things like ‘I kept sober’, looking at and celebrating all the little every-day things, like maybe someone smiling at you in a supermarket. Sometimes these beautiful little moments do happen.

“The idea is to celebrate and share these moments. If you share a beautiful moment of understanding with someone who usually you just walk straight past, then you can build up these beautiful narratives and get to understand that person.”

For the festival, they had about 30 storytellers in various places. It was announced that they would be turning up, but no one said where.

“They all told their stories, some working from a script, some having left the script behind.

“Now we are wanting to build on that experience. It was an incredible weekend which ended up with a massive street performance on the Sunday.

“But we found that people who had music had more ability to stop and draw a crowd than those that didn’t have music.

“We had mics and boards, but it was clearly much easier with the underlying beat of music to attract a crowd.

“The power of music had that ability, and that is what we want to work with.

“We have got some of the army back together, and we are doing some workshops to see what happens when we fuse stories with music, what difference it makes when there is a beat underneath it.

“We have brought back about ten of the storytellers, just as a one-off, and it will be interesting to continue the pathways we set up during the festival. It will be rough and ready.

“We have just pulled together a few people as a group to see what happens.

“And we will be looking at ways to work with the Brighton Festival to see what we can do with it.

“The ideal will be that we do it all again but this time with music.”