When most of us think of storytelling, we imagine children tucked up in bed, or possibly a spooky story told around a campfire in the woods. But for David England, the appeal of storytelling is far more universal.
“I tell stories in all sorts of places – festivals, private events, even weddings. In fact, over the last 15 years traditional storytelling has had a bit of a rediscovery; lots of new storytelling circles are springing up, and professional storytellers like me are also on the increase. I think it’s because there’s such a direct connection that forms between audience and storyteller that you just don’t get in theatre, cinema, or even a book. It’s an exciting, immediate relationship – for both storyteller and audience – and it’s always a joy to perform.”
David’s career as a storyteller began officially in 1997, when he discovered the art of traditional storytelling while working in IT consulting and as a psychotherapist. But it actually helped him to fulfil a lifelong dream.
“I’d always told stories, ever since I was a child,” he recalls, “and I’d always been a bit of an entertainer. In fact, I wanted to go into acting, so when I found traditional storytelling it crystallised something that I’d always wanted to do. As a storyteller, part of the art lies in becoming each of the characters in your tale, and putting that into your voice to help the audience lose themselves in the story.”
During the festival, David will be performing at the Pizza Dreams café in Cookham. He will be performing stories for children, and also performing a collection of Berkshire folk tales for adults and older children, with musical accompaniment from his son Ed. David’s first performance for the Cookham Festival took place four years ago, and since then he’s been itching to come back.
As he puts it, “I wouldn’t dream of missing out on the festival! It brings in visitors of all ages and from all walks of life, hence my running two sessions – one for adults and one for kids. Cookham festival is a great place for the public to discover new art forms, and it’s an ideal setting for me to share the beauty and power of traditional storytelling with a whole new audience.”
David England’s performances: