Our Tellers in 2018 were:

Andy Jennings - http://www.essexstorytellers.co.uk

Whether as a storyteller or a medieval re-enactor, or at times both, Andy brings enthusiasm and entertainment to his audiences.   An experienced performer Andy has toured with the Albion Shakespeare Company, been involved with Theatre-in Education workshops and living history groups. Before moving to Suffolk, Andy was a key part of Essex Storytellers’ performances contributing to the writing and shaping of major projects.   Andy bounds with the love of the well told tale and his background is that of the professional actor. His colourful performances have enlivened many historical re-enactments and the storytelling tent at Glastonbury.

Baden Princehttp://www.applesandsnakes.org

Baden Prince (Junior) is a London-based writer, poet, performer and storyteller. Over the past ten years, he has established a solid reputation with performances at major venues all over the UK and abroad, the USA and the Netherlands in particular. From 2003 - 2010 he was the curator and host of "Speakeasy," one of London's most popular poetry and spoken word events, enjoyed and respected by audinces and performers alike.    As a performer, Baden entrances audiences with his warm, engaging manner, his mellifluous voice and his irreverent, humorous style.

Barrie de Lara

One of Barrie de Lara’s earliest memories is being rescued, with his family and his Teddy Tail annual, from the great East Anglian floods of 1953 on Canvey Island. From there he has gone on to become a storyteller, singer, songwriter and writer. In 2011, his short story ‘Dinner at Benutti’s’ won the Bridport Third Prize for fiction. His Christmas song ‘The Blue Carol’ had its British premiere in Saint John’s Cathedral, Norwich, sung by the UEA 120-voice choir. He is a member of the East Anglian Fabulation, one half of Singalong Storytime (with Sarah Walker), and helps run Tales From the Undercroft, Norfolk's storytelling gathering.


Carl Merry - http://www.carltales.net 

A past director of The Society for Storytelling, Carl is a storyteller with over 25 years’ experience of sharing his stories with audiences all over East Anglia and beyond. Whether in schools, theatres, festivals or The Royal Academy, Carl has engaged and entertained adults and children alike. He has contributed to courses for teachers in Essex, and workshops for playgroup workers and families as part of reading and literacy projects. Carl's tales cater to all audiences and ages, from educational stories, through to myths, fables and medieval tales. Stories to excite, to comfort and intrigue are contained in his extensive repertoire, tales that explain the world and help us understand others and ourselves. For the past six years Carl has been mentoring on the highly regarded Walking the Wild Woods course.


Chris Richardson

Chris is a relative newcomer to the art of performance storytelling, but stories have been a constant companion through his life. It all began with his father's tales of the days of a boyhood in the Blitz and then a young man making a life lumberjacking in the Canadian wilderness. His interest sparked, Chris has collected and mixed snippets of myth and story from wherever he has found himself, be they the classical tales of ancient mythologies, the eerie moors and spirits of Devon, the rich rural traditions of East Anglia, or even the sneaky shapeshifters of Japan.   Chris’s experience in working with children with special needs has led him to develop a quirky style, mixing story with verse, song, audience participation or sometimes a few little surprises! This will be his first East Anglian Storytelling Festival, but has previously performed at Holywells Apple Day and the Chelmsford Wintertales events. He is also a regular at the Bards Aloud and Cambridge storytelling circles.


Dave Tonge -   http://www.theyarnsmithofnorwich.com

Dave Tonge is a jobbing teller of tales, an itinerant journeyman who performs at museums, heritage sites and schools, from Lindisfarne Holy Island in the north to Arundel Castle in the south. He works regularly for English Heritage and national museums like the Ashmolean and has written two books, ‘Tudor Tales’ and ‘Norfolk Folk Tales for Children.’ He is gleeman - storyteller in residence to the Stonemason Guild in Norwich and specialises in costumed historical storytelling of period rich and often irreverent tales shared by the poorer folk long ago. But of late he’s ditched his costume in favour of normal clothes and a fine trilby hat and has performed at storytelling festivals and clubs all over England, including Settle Stories in Yorkshire, Taffy Thomas’s Tales in Trust at Halsway Manor in Somerset and in 2018 at the Festival at the Edge in Shropshire. That said, many of his performances still have an historical flavour with sets like Tavern Yard Tales and Dame Fortunes Wheel.

Eamonn Keenan

Come away, come away, come away to hear stories of heroes, the fairies, ghosts, witches, death and love. Eamonn invites you to join him as he tells tales to amuse surprise and teach through the tradition of oral storytelling.   Eamonns way of telling stories is engaging, gentle, dramatic, fun, emotive and filled with the values of love, humour and wonder. He has an ability to connect ancient myths and folk stories to the seasons, landscape, places, relationships and modern day realities. Why not listen as he tells stories for all ages young and young at heart to enchant and inspire.   Along with his love of Irish lore and mythology Eamonn has also developed a repertoire of stories for children he learned as a playworker and youth worker.


Gerry Donlon - http://www.facebook.com/bards.aloud 

Gerry Donlon is a Woodbridge based Irish storyteller and poet. He is founder of Storytelling with Bards Aloud, co-founder of The East Anglian Storytelling Festival and is also founder of Poetree Walks with Bards in the Woods, Suffolk. He has performed at many festivals, including: The East Anglian Storytelling Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Folk East, Harlequin Fayre, Ghosts in the Glens Storytelling Festival, Jimmy’s Festival, The Spirit of Beowulf community Festival, for which he wrote a new story entitled “The bravery and battles of Beowulf” He also performs tales from a hammock at Holywells Park! He has an array of original and “hybrid” tales, described as “stories comic and stories quirky”.


Giles Abbotthttp://www.gilesabbott.com

Giles Abbott came to storytelling in 1999 after sudden and severe, though not total, sight loss in 1998. His storytelling, characterised by his poetic flair for language, his commanding stage presence and rich speaking voice has taken him all over England, Scotland & Wales as well as to Europe, North Africa and India, working with child and adult audiences. He loves Iron Age epic, Viking & British and particularly loves creating new interpretations of Classical myth.


Glenys Newton - http://www.glenysnewton.wordpress.com

Award winning storyteller Glenys Newton has spent the last 3 years volunteering with refugees across Europe and has travelled far and wide to tell the stories of people who are making their journeys, seeking sanctuary in these extraordinary times. There is a saying, ‘An enemy is simply someone whose story you have not yet heard’ and it is through our stories that we are able to make that human connection. Glenys is currently the Bard of Cambridge and is making up poetry as she goes along. She is often accompanied by Tom the storytelling dog who has resigned himself to the storytelling world of life on the road. 

Hannah Brailsfordhttp://www.tinytalesstorytellers.co.uk

Hannah is a professional storyteller who tells both traditional and modern tales to young and old alike. Driven by a passion to engage and inspire communities with oral storytelling, she draws on her acting background to take her audiences on playful and poignant journeys into folk tales and myths from around the world. Described as ' Captivating, compelling, high-energy and fun. A storyteller of irresistible and charming tales', she runs Tiny Tales Storytellers for children, schools and families and is the resident storyteller at The Cliffs Pavilion. In 2016 she co-founded Spinning Yarns Theatre to bring storytelling to adult audience's with a collective of tellers through monthly 'Pint of Tales'   and 'Told @ Twenty One' nights in Southend on Sea.


Jan Williamshttp://www.janwilltelll.co.uk

Jan Williams was born in the magic village of Borth in Ceredigion with its submerged forest whose enchanted stories she used in her careers as a teacher, storyteller , and writer. Inspired by Taffy Thomas, she founded the Essex story tellers with Carl Merry and Andy Jennings  and they worked on projects about the Battle of Maldon, Mersea Mound and the witches of Manningtree. Approached by History press, she researched the folk tales of Essex and this year produced a beautifully illustrated version of Essex Folk tales for children.  

Janina Vigurs - http://www.janinavigurs.com 

Janina has worked with primary aged children for over 10 years in Environmental Education, helping to pioneer the Forest School movement across the East of England. She began by telling The Magic Porridge Pot round the fire at a Forest School session to 15 grubby, eager 4 year olds in 2006 They adored it and so did she! Professional training with Emerson College and Ben Haggarty of the Crick Crack Club quickly followed and continues still with Marion Leeper of Cambridge Storytellers and Tom Hirons of Hedgespoken. She tells tales in primary schools, nurseries, at private parties and at festivals across the UK including Cambridge Literary Festival, Bath Children's Literature Festival and The Imagine Children's Festival at the Southbank Centre.


John Row -   http://www.johnrow.com

John Row, poet, storyteller and East Angrian in voluntary exile in Swindon and Romania is a veteran of the British Festival scene, was the first storyteller in residence in a British prison and has told in schools and festivals on four continents. So far this year he has been featured in a documentary on Romanian television, has told at a wedding in Marrakech, completed a project at H.M.P. Leicester, performed at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Swindon Literature Festival as well as a clutch of other festivals and schools across the UK. The East Anglian Storytelling Festival holds a special place in his heart especially as it is just outside Ipswich which he stills calls his home town.

Justine de Mierre -   http://www.sowhatsthestory.co.uk 

Justine is Artistic Director of The East Anglian Storytelling Festival which she instigated in 2015 in order to put her passion for making storytelling relevant and exciting for new audiences into action. She has been a professional performer for over 20 years – from a background in community and street theatre she moved to storytelling ten years ago and has been loving it! Her multi-faceted storytelling practice So… what’s the story? ranges from the Storyplaytime and Adventure Tots sessions she creates for under 5s, to adults-only pub story nights and the rock ‘n’ roll and storytelling duo Darklove, to her Business Narrative consultancy work. She tells regularly at pubs, festivals, schools, libraries and parties and runs the Tapas and Tales Storytelling Night at the King’s Head, Woodbridge.   


Liam Carroll - http://www.fairyfolkandfable.co.uk

Liam has spent his life travelling around the British Isles, often with horse drawn vehicles, travellers, and entertainers. He has also spent a lot of time as a political campaigner. His latest adventure involves exploring history through storytelling, to which end he has produced the show Rebel Queen, the wild tale of Boudicca, as his first exhibit.  


Liz Weir -   www.lizweir.net

Liz Weir is a storyteller and writer from Northern Ireland who has told her stories to people of all ages on five continents. She has performed in pubs and prisons and hospital rooms. She worked on stages in the mighty Vanderbilt Hall of New York’s Grand Central Station and in the Royal Albert Hall.   It was as Children’s Librarian for the City of Belfast that she first learnt about the healing power of storytelling.   Liz  was the first winner of the International Story Bridge Award from the National Storytelling Network, USA, which cited her “exemplary work promoting the art of storytelling”


Marion Leeper - http://www.marionleeperstoryteller.co.uk

Marion collects stories wherever she can find them:  from dusty corners of libraries (her latest adult show, Women and Power) caves, pine forests, and the bottom of biscuit jars (her early years show, Stories in the Dark)  and most recently from the toy boxes and playgrounds of local schools and nurseries for a set of articles on superheroes.   She brings her sparkly, multi-sensory storytelling to schools, clubs, museums - even, once, a nuclear bunker.  She has toured clubs and festivals including Womad, Beyond the Border and Festival at the Edge and also loves to spin yarns with her local group, Cambridge Storytellers


Mark Scott-Ison - http://www.facebook.com/MarkScottIson 

Mark has been telling stories for about fifteen years, in the fields of Somerset, Norfolk and Suffolk to tiny toddlers, old codgers and all ages in   between. All his stories are funny and are made up in his head. Have you ever thought about monsters under your bed? What if one day your shadow ran off and was replaced by another one? If bees make honey do wasps make marmite? These and similar questions about the pointless things in life Mark will be exploring - seek him out!


Paul Jackson


Details to come soon!


Peter Optical -   http://www.circusoptical.co.uk 

Peter's first public performance was when, in 1953 aged six, he was a penguin in a nativity play. Since the early seventies Peter has had a long and varied professional career in theatre and associated arts   including Writer/Director, Storyteller, Actor, Mime artist, musician, tumbler, juggler, Fire-Eater, Stilt and Wire-walker. Peter has performed in one guise or another at British festivals too numerous to mention, plus a mini tour of Israel. The more energetic performance days are now over and although an animated storyteller he says "It's reassuring to know there is normally a chair on which to catch my breath"   


Rose Croft -   www.rose-croft.co.uk

Founder and host of the shiny new Peterborough Storytellers Guild, Rose is an Artist, Teller and Teacher, working to engage people with stories, art and nature in exciting ways.   Rose began her storyteller's journey when she was very young; often telling tall tales of fantastical biscuit robberies and hosting princess training camps for friends,  but only in the past couple of years she has managed to fool her way into actually calling herself a Teller and recreating some of the myths and legends, folktales and fairy stories she loved herself, today in Schools, Festivals, Local Woodlands Groups and many other events.    Her storytelling is lively, colourful and honest, aiming to capture the wonder of our world around, and appealing to the child in us all.


Sarah Brady   - http://www.performanceandpen.wordpress.com 

Sarah Brady is an award-winning storyteller who recently moved to England. She tells stories ranging from traditional to historical, humorous to serious (and everything in between) to adults and children in educational, concert, and festival settings. One listener said, "Sarah Brady brings stories to life. She chooses stories with fun words and bright images, a delight for kids' ears and imaginations." She’s happy to share these stories at this year’s festival.


Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker – SarahSpinsStories - has lived in nine countries and collected tales in all nine and elsewhere. She tells stories from around the world for adults and children as well as original tales of her own. Sarah also tells with Barrie de Lara, and in the Big Stripey Story Tent at festivals and celebrations. In 2014, while being successfully treated for cancer, she completed the challenge of telling 26 tales for the first time: this year her challenge is telling a new tale every week.   Her book of original tales is Ghosts International: Troll and Other Stories, published by Oxford University Press Bookworms Library. She runs Norfolk’s storytelling gathering Tales from the Undercroft in Norwich and Singalong Storytime for under 6s and their families".

Shane Ibbs

Shane is quite new to the Oral Storytelling scene. Although he is not new to oral stories, as a child he was told stories and nursery rhymes by his father and at Infant school. He has been a collector of folk stories, nursery rhymes and short stories for several years and told these to his children for many years. Shane first became interested in ‘performing’ stories in the mid 1990’s, when he saw John Row telling stories, in a wood. Shane also an occasional poet, has in recent years attended, The International School of Storytelling, to learn about performing Oral Stories, he took to it very quickly, realising that in is full time job he has been working therapeutically with stories for over 20 years. Shane has also had additional training with Hugh Lupton, Ben Haggerty and some coaching from Paul Jackson. In the last 2 year’s Shane has significantly increased his exposure to live audiences, telling stories every week and has performed at places such as; The Estuary Fringe Festival, ArtsSeaMusic Festival, Barking Folk Festival, Winterfest, Harlequin Fayre, Folk East, Into The Wild Festival, Beltane Festival and The East Anglian Storytelling Festival. Shane has worked with children for many years and has designed and led therapeutic Storytelling workshop programmes for schools and an Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Essex. As well as telling stories on several Outdoor Education programs for Teenagers, in Essex and Surrey. Shane tells regularly to MENCAP users and has recently started telling stories to visually impaired groups, in Braintree and Chelmsford. He often practices his stories with his 87 year old visually impaired father-in-law. Shane also tells weekly to an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ childminding group. In late 2016 Shane started the first regular bi-monthly Oral Storytelling event in Chelmsford. It has become very successful and attracts some wonderful storytellers.


Su Squirehttp://www.tillythetalespinner.co.uk

Su spent her early storytelling years in the West Country where she also worked as a community theatre facilitator, street performer, solo theatre performer and member of a children's theatre company.  Now based in East Anglia Su performs regularly at festivals and events across the region and beyond as both a solo performer and in collaboration with other artists. A mistress of multiple personas, Su also performs as Suki SilverTongue (lusciously lyrical and sublimely subversive story-poetry) for grown ups and Tilly the Talespinner (complete with magical story catcher) for children and families.    www.sukisilvertongue.co.uk


Suzanne Arnold -   https://www.facebook.com/suzannethestoryweaver 

Suzanne has a rich and varied past as community artist, street theatre performer and puppeteer with over 30 years of story-making. Storytelling was a natural progression when in 2009, Suzanne the Storyweaver came into being. A co-founder of the East Anglian Storytelling Festival, Suzanne has a  warm, wise and inclusive style of telling and has told at festivals across the region and beyond. She is happy telling to any age audience but specialises in stories with strong female protagonists. She is currently booking a tour of her show and workshop, “The Crone, the Wolf and the Girl who strayed from the path”, to women’s groups across the UK and France.   

Taffy Thomas -  www.taffythomas.co.uk

First laureate for storytelling Taffy Thomas MBE, our patron, is proud to be back at the East Anglian Storytelling Festival. This time he is accompanied by the multi-talented Geordie Paul Knox who weaves tasty tunes around Taffy’s tales, on either fiddle or Northumbrian small pipes. Paul is a polymath having hand crafted both instruments over a number of years. Until Taffy wrote this copy, Paul thought that a polymath was a parrot that could do sums! – so expect fun and magical words.   On Friday and Saturday, Taffy and Paul will draw on their programme ‘Fairy Gold’ – stories of the little people from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. On Sunday, expect stories from ‘Two for Joy’ – folk tales of our feathered friends, possibly the first ever ‘tweets’!   Taffy and Paul’s appearance at this festival, is part-sponsored by Babs and Mike Surridge, a pair of East Anglian enthusiasts of the traditional arts. At this time of austerity, Taffy, Paul and the Fabulation Committee are grateful for this help, from a couple who we hope will themselves enjoy the weekend."


Veronica Chambers

Hailing all the way from the wilds of Wicklow in Ireland, Ipswich based storyteller Veronica Chambers, has an array of stories told with her animated style from traditional Irish to Anatolian and some she has even written herself. She is co-host of Storytelling with Bards Aloud, Ipswich’s storytelling group and is this year’s chair of the East Anglian Fabulation.

Please note, if due to circumstances beyond our control named tellers are not available, we will provide alternatives, but unfortunately there can be no refunds. Thank you for understanding.