Annual voyage of fishy tales

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HASTINGS Storytelling Festival, Fishy Tales, is back in November for the third time with both original and traditional tales.

From November 11 to 17, the festival will bring puppeteers, musicians, artists, illustrators, authors, poets, dancers and comedians to venues across town.

Set up by the Hastings Old Town Residents Association in 2011, it is now run by the newly formed Hastings Storytelling Festival Organisation and produced by 18Hours.

Festival chairman Dick Edwards said: “These days we are so used to experiencing stories through a screen, but human beings have evolved to tell stories through speech and performance.

“The idea behind the festival is to celebrate the ancient art of storytelling and bring the magic of the spoken word to diverse audiences across the town.”

There will be plenty on offer for all ages, and highlights include a family-friendly Alice in Wonderland puppet performance at Stade Hall and an adult-only Velvet Curtain evening at the Royal Victoria Hotel, in which four risqué female storytellers regale the audience with naughty tales.

Both of these events are on Saturday, November 16,

On November 13, there will be a spoken word performance from acclaimed poet, performer, and graphic artist Inua Ellams, at new St Leonards venue The Garage, then on November 14, he will present a sea-themed creative writing workshop.

There will also be workshops and stories from Ben Fairlight in the Children’s Library.

World famous illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake, the festival’s patron, will give a talk at the Jerwood on Friday, November 15. Sir Quentin’s illustrations have brought to life the stories of Roald Dahl, and many others.

He has been awarded prizes including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Bologna Ragazzi Prize, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.

In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children’s Laureate and was made CBE in 2005.

Also on the Friday, storyteller musicians The Stowaway Sisters will bring their stories and songs to five Old Town venues.

The week concludes with a free Children’s Day event at The Stade on Sunday, November 17, where visitors can hear stories from a medley of performers and even climb inside a tin whale.

“Wherever possible we have kept prices extremely low, or free, especially for family and children’s events,” said Mandy Curtis, director of 18Hours.

“We’ve got a brilliant list of stories this year from some exciting new storytellers alongside last year’s favourites.”

For the full programme, pick up one of the ‘Fishy Tales’ booklets or visit www.hastingsstoryfest.org.uk.