Hay Festival Story Bazaar June 2011













Well, what a great time we had at Hay 2011!

It’s always a tremendous festival to be a part of. It’s so buzzy and inspirational, especially backstage. Highlights for me included watching my friend Debs Newbold tell King Lear to 200 rapt teenagers from the main stage, and meeting Camilla Parker Bowles in the portaloos!! (She was lovely. Surprisingly tiny but very gracious)

And then there was the storytelling in The Moot – four days, three storytellers, twelve shows. And I am thrilled to say it was a HUGE success. The family sessions were packed out every day, despite the sweltering heat, and imaginations were fired with tales of pirates, tigers, dragon-flying princesses, wooden women and pumpkin-headed giants.

For the adults, there were some extraordinary tales. Joshua Muraya, visiting from Nairobi, told harrowing true life tales dating from the Mau Mau rebellion in 1950s Kenya. I don’t think I will ever forget the story of the Kenyan driver who dared to visit a Whites Only toilet, setting off a desperate chain of events that ended with him spending 14 years in jail, frequently being tortured.

Kasper Sorensen, visiting from Denmark, effortlessly evoked 19th century Copenhagen in his wonderful ‘Great Fire of Copenhagen’ show. This was cinematic storytelling at its very best.

And I went Italian, with two sessions featuring full-blooded folk tales from the collection by Italo Calvino. Adultery, toy boy lovers, murder and mermaids – a heady combination!

Thank you to everyone who made it so unforgettable. Let’s do it again next year!