Those with a story to tell will be the heroes of festival

The Sea of Life: Hastings storytelling festival
The Sea of Life: Hastings storytelling festival

A NEW month-long festival aims to celebrate the power of the spoken word, and get people talking to one another.

The Sea of Life, the first Hastings storytelling festival, will take place from November 9 to 20, and organisers hope that it will grow to become an annual fixture.

The festival programme has something for all ages, with events taking place across the town, from Hastings Children’s Library, to the University Centre, to the Fishermen’s Museum. All bar one of the events are free.

Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association (HOTRA) is the group behind the festival, which has secured Arts Council funding, while children’s author Quentin Blake is the patron.

HOTRA chairman Dick Edwards, who came up with the original idea around a year and a half ago, said: “It seemed to me, what we needed in Hastings, with a very low literacy rate, was not a literary festival, but a storytelling festival.

“What I hope we will manage to do is attract a broad spectrum of people.”

The festival kicks off with ‘Songstory’ with Ben Fairlight, an experienced storyteller and musician, at Hastings Arts Forum, on Wednesday, November 9, at 5.30pm.

There will also be an opportunity for those with a story inside of them, to hone their craft at the ‘Storylines’ all day workshop, on Saturday, November 12, before performing their stories that evening around The Stade Open Space.

To apply submit a brief outline (max 75 words) of the proposed storyline and an account of what you would like to do with it (max 50 words) along with an introduction to yourself and your experience so far (max 75 words) to margaret@margaretsheehy.com.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm this Sunday, November 30.

Margaret Sheehy, running the Storylines workshop, said: “One of the things we should be doing is looking for a distinctive take on Hastings storytelling.”

For full details visit the festival website at www.hastingsstoryfest.org.uk.