A North Yorkshire rurally-based storytelling festival with a radical vision to make storytelling accessible for all, is currently on with a line up of artists from around the world.
Yorkshire Festival of Story (YFOS) is once again offering audiences worldwide the opportunity to interact through live performances, get up on their feet in lively masterclasses and discussions and join festival organisers and special guests live on the festival living room sofa.
Artists include Caroline Parker MBE, a deaf actress, comedienne and sign song singer, who uses mime, dance and BSL to sing songs. African storyteller Sola Story will explore the notion of “happy ever after” through his telling of the Epic of Mil Baraka. In panel discussions Dame Marina Warner will investigate how fairytales help us navigate a better future with experts including fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes and Professor Cristina Bacchilega from the University of Hawai’i-Manoa.
The Festival Guest Director is well-known poet and prize-winning children’s author, Kevin Crossley-Holland, best known for the Arthur trilogy, for which he won the Guardian Prize. He was also part of last year’s festival and believes it offers something unique. He explains:
“There really is nothing like this festival. Last year we reached a global audience and built a strong online community. As a small rural arts organisation nestled in the Yorkshire Dales, it’s an honour to bring such a variety of content to audiences who ordinarily may not be able to access the arts. To offer people the space to explore what ‘happy ever after’ could look like in the intimacy of their own homes feels as special as it is timely.”
Settle Stories credits part of last year’s success to the events being live and available for a time limited period. The festival welcomed local Yorkshire audiences, but 79 percent of the audience were new to YFOS. Key to this accomplishment was online community building.
Artistic Director and CEO Sita Brand comments:
“I can’t wait to welcome everyone back! I’m so excited to be looking at how we can use epic, myth and fairytale to explore how we all want the world to look next. What’s more the festival is entirely free again. Given the difficult times we still find ourselves in, it’s important we can do this to ensure it’s as accessible as possible especially to those who wouldn’t have been able to travel to Settle for the festival, whether due to a disability, cost or geography.”
The festival runs until 28th November and will rely on public donations to ensure it can reach those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to attend, as well as rural community groups in the Yorkshire Dales where Settle Stories, the organisation behind YFOS, is based.