We’ve been delighted to get back to live storytelling projects, events and performances this year. Despite some fantastic online offerings, we’d really missed that vital human connection you can really only get with the live and intimate experience storytelling can bring!
And it’s certainly been a busy year for us and for storytelling, when we look back over the year, it’s wonderful to see how stories can be shared in so many different ways, how they sustain us, and bring us together to enjoy vital shared experiences.
And so, here’s a brief round-up of how 2022 was for Adverse Camber. A year when we had just become a charity, reached over 400 people in Derbyshire Libraries, built an ensemble of 16 young people and 4 storytellers, dived into a significant international climate change project, continued offering networking and professional development opportunities for storytellers, and launched Phil Okwedy’s first national tour of Wales!
We kicked off the year with free online networking sessions for storytellers, directors and dramaturgs, the first of many professional development opportunities we offered in 2022, including masterclasses, workshops and an in-depth storytellers’ survey. Keep checking our channels for more opportunities coming your way in 2023.
In February we were delighted to present a one-off livestream of VÅR: the story of Hervor with our co-hosts Carn to Cove. It was a very special performance that we know resonated with the audience for a long time and was a vital experience for people still shielding. Here’s some of the feedback we received:
“It was beautiful! And sad and enchanting and enthralling and touching and exciting and has changed they way I’ve thought and felt ever since it finished.”
“My mother, 101, loved the prologue and how it reminded her of stories she’s heard throughout her long life.”
“It was such a different experience of storytelling than I have encountered before. A mesmeric immersion into another realm.”
In March Junction Arts asked us to join them again to explore the historic town of Bolsover in new and enchanting ways. Inspired by the town’s Dragonfly Sculpture Trail, Rachel Murray and Pyn Stockman captivated audiences with stories rediscovering the town centre.
The giant artwork created by Carol Harries-Wood as a celebration of the Moments in Time archive went on a tour of Derbyshire libraries. Library visitors were really moved to see this work celebrating the archive of creative work made by looked after children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following on from our 2021 box set series with Gwilym Morus-Baird, 4 Tales to Save the World, in April Gwilym took a 5th tale – The Aberystwyth Wall on a mini tour of Wales. This heart-warming tale of human connection and belonging in the face of climate crisis, proved to be a gentle way to bring live storytelling and music back to audiences after a long break.
April also saw the start of Our Stories, Our Places, Our Futures – a co-creation project led by Adverse Camber in partnership with Junction Arts. An ensemble of 16 young people from North East Derbyshire and 4 professional storytellers came together for weekly storytelling sessions. Plus workshops with visiting artists and a week-long summer residency at Bolsover Castle. Fantastic new stories, poems, illustrated story cards and podcasts, were all showcased by the ensemble at Tapton Lock Festival in September. Find out more about the project and enjoy lots of the resources on our website.
“Telling stories that you created to people that then enjoy them, bringing a smile to people’s faces. It’s fantastic.” Ensemble member
In May, Phil Okwedy kicked off his Welsh national tour of The Gods Are All Here at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli. This was the first date of a 15-date tour that continues into February 2023. It has been so fantastic to be back out on the road with our first large-scale tour since the pandemic. Audiences have been so welcoming, and their reactions and feedback have reminded us why bringing stories to connect with live audiences is so very important!
Alongside arts centres, theatres and storytelling festivals, Phil also performed to 100 students at Pontardawe Arts Centre. Their teacher said:
“Phil Okwedy’s performance gripped the pupils who took away with them the important messages about the need for kindness, tolerance and mutual respect. On our return to school, the yard was buzzing at break time, with happy pupils.”
There are more dates to come in the New Year including dates just confirmed at Memo Arts Centre in Barry, plus three dates with Artsreach in Dorset in Februrary. Find all the forthcoming dates for The Gods Are All Here on our website.
In June we celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with, what else but some Right Royal Stories?! Over 400 people came along to 13 libraries in Derbyshire to enjoy stories superbly spun by Rachel Murray and Tim Ralphs. School groups and families were invited to discover their inner royal and celebrate how we all help make our communities great places to live. The libraries told us the storytellers brought many new and returning families back into the libraries after the pandemic. We couldn’t ask for more!
After many months of planning, in September storytellers Mara Menzies and John Mukeni Namai and several meteorologists embarked on a 10-day field trip to Northern Kenya. A collaboration working on a joint British Council funded project, Storying our Futures: climate resilience through indigenous knowledge. An important investigation into how indigenous and traditional knowledge is helping communities adapt to climate change, we were looking at how storytelling can best serve those experiencing its worst impacts. We’ll share the stories and learning from the project with a podcast and workshop for storytellers, journalists and climate activists in 2023.
In November we were delighted to be asked to be part of the well-loved Bolsover Lantern Parade. Maria Whatton and Tim Ralphs lit up Old Bolsover Yard for the town’s Christmas Festival, sharing stories that glowed with seasonal warmth!
In November and December we began reimagining Greek myths with a trio of visionary creators – storytelling titans, Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton, and outstanding Welsh composer, Sarah Lianne Lewis.
Work on The Stars and Their Consolations began at the CULTVR Lab in Cardiff, and continued at Ffwrnes Theatre as we mapped together three elements that make up this extraordinary piece – ancient stories, beautiful digital projections of the night sky, and a spine-tingling electro-acoustic soundscape. An invited audience told us the experience made them feel relaxed, fully immersed, and inspired. We were thrilled to hear how it offered real consolation, bringing an eternal cosmic perspective to human troubles, through the epic sweep of the night sky.
Next steps for The Stars and Their Consolations will be to take the show out to you on tour, so keep following our channels for news!
So, following a story-packed 2022, the Adverse Camber team are having a well-earned festive break and looking forward to sharing plans for performances, events and projects we have in store for 2023!