Magic bears! Gift giving crones! Exploding trolls! Laundry! There is something for everyone in East of the Sun, West of the Moon, coming toBath’s Rondo Theatre this month following a successful debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012.
It is the worst blizzard in history, and a young girl gets lost in the snow. She begins to think she will never see home again when she is rescued by a stranger who offers her shelter – but then the real adventure begins!
‘Go and see this show’ ***** Fest Magazine
‘Top-quality children’s theatre’ **** The Scotsman
‘Imaginative and beautifully told’ The List
‘Saw this today and can’t recommend it highly enough. The children I took ranged in age from 4 - 10 and it was a treat to watch; funny, engaging, magical. Do yourselves a favour and go and see it!’ Libby, via Facebook.
“There’s been a real trend towards exploring the darker side of folklore in recent years with films like Snow White and the Huntsman,” explains director Hannah Drake, “so we wanted to take advantage of that. We also wanted to tell an intelligent story for kids - not too nice and fluffy, but still magical and exciting – and based on the feedback we definitely achieved that!”
The show has undergone a period of redevelopment, and is now back and better than ever – so come to the Rondo to ride the winds with us, and take back what has been stolen…
East of the Sun, West of the Moon
The Rondo Theatre
St Saviour’s Road, Bath, BA1 6RT
24 May at 7.30pm and 25 May at 2.30pm
Tickets: Adult £12, Concession £10
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So, if you have liked our page and actually want to see posts from us in your feed, please can you go on the page, hover your mouse on the ‘Like/Liked’ button below the main cover picture and select ‘add to interest lists’ in the drop down menu as per this helpful diagram. You should do this with other pages you like too!
There was a time, before the Winter Witch came, when no one remembered having seen a snowbird. And for a long time after winter arrived, no one saw them either. But as the winter deepened and glittered ever more cold, and the people of the icy land despaired of ever seeing anything but white again, they came with their quick, fluttering wings and their sky blue eyes.
So begins the Snow Birds, a fairy tale submitted to Homespun Threads by Marianne Yeomans on behalf of Largs Youth Theatre. She introduced herself:
I live in a small cottage on the banks of the Clyde in Ayrshire. The cottage was recently nearly wiped out by a runaway snowplough, but luckily no one was seriously hurt – although the garden has looked better!
I have a husband, three daughters and two cats. When not writing, I am employed as an Early Years Practitioner in schools and also as a drama tutor at Largs Youth Theatre and Beacon Youth Theatre in Greenock, where we specialise in writing scripts and performance pieces devised by the young people themselves. As the youngsters are aged from 3-18years, we use a variety of stimuli to engender their ideas, ranging from items in a story-bag, pieces of music, newspaper articles and song lyrics to name but a few, and develop the ideas through improvisation. This has resulted over the years in the production of literally hundreds of original plays performed by the members of Youth Theatre, with titles such as The Magical Bicycle Pump of Destiny and Desire and Petunia Picklebottom Versus The Zombie Army!
I enjoyed all the stories in Homespun Threads, but especially The Sleeping Giant by Hilary McCormack (as we look out over the Clyde to Arran, where our own Sleeping Warrior lies resplendent) and Local Hero by JA Sutherland because the first line was so intriguing.
Ana Elisa Barros is a writer currently based in Edinburgh, whose contribution to Homespun Threads (A Patchwork of Fairytales) contained music, history and a bit of magic. We asked her to tell us a little more about herself, and A Song of Joy.
When I don’t write stories, I think stories.
I first thought of the Song of Joy as part of something else - an episode in the adventures of another character. However, as I wrote it, the other character, favourite as he was, proved superfluous. Edward and Maud gained strength and I had fun writing about their relationship. The Song of Joy was to be a grand tale of the history of my world. It turned out a cute fairy tale.
It was also supposed to be a sad tale. When I first conceived the idea, the story would end when Maud sings the song at her father’s party, for the first time singing with grief - her last lesson. Then, when I got there, I felt something was amiss. The mournful ending didn’t go with the tone of the story. And I had in my head that sentence: she ruined his music for ever after. You know how words pester you when they get in your head. They won’t leave you alone until you put them down on paper.
My favourite part in the story is when Edward gives Maud the Song, declaring his love but at the same time not quite admitting that already he loves her.
I read about the project on the internet.
I don’t quite remember how (whether I searched for something on Google or received it from someone else). I thought it was a good environment for my little Song of Joy, surrounded by fairy tales and magic.
I haven’t read all stories from the book yet (sorry!), but from those I’ve read, I quite like The Mirror Man of Claver, a very cute story about man’s image and true self.
I also teach English as a foreign language.
I do use stories in my teaching, though I rarely tell them, unless they are very short. When I use storytelling, it is the students who do the telling.
I’m not very sure about what I’m doing when I leave Edinburgh a year from now.
I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, New Zealand and anywhere in Asia, so I might look into possibilities there. Recently I was in Uruguay and I quite liked the country, so that is another possibility. I might choose to spend some time at home with my family as well. Who knows where my heart will be a year from now?
One thing I will do is endeavour to publish the fantasy book I’ve recently finished. Wish me luck!
We thought it was high time we got to know Homespun Threads contributor James Clayton a little better. Now you can too!
I’m James Clayton and I’m 25 - though I figure that I’m actually somewhere around 18 because dark forces outside my control have conspired to keep me in arrested development. I come from Manchester in Northern England though in truth I live on the internet and inside my own mind.
When not writing stories, I’m probably daydreaming and thinking about writing something else.
I write film columns and alternate reality news bulletins, which I push out on the internet. When I read and watch the news, most of the time I end up feeling depressed and sad about the world we’re living in. I don’t want to be an angry person dragged down by misery or unbearable banality but that’s what we’re confronted with constantly and the media amplifies it. As an alternative, I thought I’d check out the current affairs of parallel universes for a change. It turns out it is more stimulating and a nice paradigm shift from our present reality, even if the visions I encounter are sometimes tragic or terrifying. I’ve experienced some hellish, dystopian visions of despair and horror but I’ve also come across some beautiful worlds and scenarios so it generally balances out.
I decided to share the updates online in case others fancy seeing something more extraordinary and atypical on their Twitter feed in the morning than usual. I also find alternate reality news to be a good reminder there’s more to life than our own imminent reality in the right-here-right-now. This is just one timestream and one Universe out of a multitude of infinite possibilities and that notion blows my mind. We get bogged down in unimportant trivial stuff and lose our sense of wide-eyed wonder and awe. ‘Meanwhile, in an alternate reality…’ realigns me with that and keeps me (and I hope others as well) cosmically connected and curious. If I’m not doing that I’m probably being a culture vulture and immersing myself in something creative for enjoyment, inspiration and enlightenment. Otherwise, I’ll be trying to transcend the mundane existence of this particular physical realm.
The Nure-onna tale is an old story adapted from an old story from Japanese folklore.
It’s one of the tales I’ve produced in collaboration with artist Jenna Whyte from what we’ve collectively titled “She of the Supernatural World” - illustrated haiku verse story strands about female folklore figures from Asian legends.
It’s a convergence of lots of things I really like - mythology, monsters and Japanese culture. I used to write haiku verse on a daily basis for a personal poetry blog so setting the story to the conventional rhythm wasn’t a problem. (For a long time I found it impossible not to think in 5-7-5 syllables!)
Re-reading the story and getting in a bit deeper I can see some subconscious stuff underpinning it - themes of feminism, nature and supernatural forces being more powerful than humans, the combination of beauty with violence and darkness - but on a basic level I’d like to think it’s enjoyable as a lyrical little horror shot drawing on wonderful folklore from a distant culture. I hope that readers like it and that it encourages them to search out more tales of yōkai and other Japanese mythical creatures.
Thanks to the internet you can now find loads of material in a matter of clicks but I’d say the best place to start is with Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn. He was a Westerner who lived in Japan, came to love the culture and wrote down the traditional folk tales in English. The stories he retells are brilliant and it’s probably the best place to start to try and appreciate Japanese mythology and culture. I also recommend the Studio Ghibli movie Pom Poko and ukiyo-e woodblock prints by artists such as Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi for visual works that draw on Japanese folklore. Even though I studied ukiyo-e art at university (it formed the basis of my dissertation) I’m an enthusiastic amateur with all this and want to discover so much more about the country’s culture and mythology. Ideally, one day I’ll migrate to Japan and spend the rest of my life searching out supernatural creatures, just like Lafcadio Hearn.
As a fan of fairytales and someone who enjoys sharing stories, Homespun Threads was an appealing project.
Even more so considering that it’s all geared toward raising money for children’s theatre. I’m just humbled that Homespun Threads accepted my offer of a story and that my little piece is included in a tapestry of fantastically diverse tales written by brilliant writers. Having read through all the stories I now want to write more, very different fairytale fables. Any chance of a Homespun Threads Part II?
I genuinely mean it when I say that there are no bad stories in the anthology and it’s not easy to pick a favourite from such a excellent, eclectic collection of treasures. If I’m pushed I’ll give special extra praise to The Tale of the Misguided Birch by Andrew Blair because it made me laugh out loud, The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Rachel Hoover because it’s the kind of courageous coming-of-age fairytale legend I love most of all, and John Steele’s The King’s Champion because King Wælfwulf is the coolest character name in the whole collection.
I’ve got several secret projects and ambitious ideas a-brewin’…
Alongside hopes to have some adventures this year and self-publish some old things that are lying around.
I’m currently pulling together an anthology of Western tales titled Badnasty Horror Horse Opera (details here: http://badnastyhorrorhorseopera.tumblr.com/). It’s currently open for submissions and Homespun Threads gave me impetus to try and get it going so thanks for the inspiration!
What do you do when you’re not writing stories?
Play Angry Birds, read the six-volume Palliser series (I’m nearly halfway through book 3), try to eat enough fruit and vegetables, apply for grants.
What attracted you to the Palliser novels? (For those who haven’t come across them, they are by Anthony Trollope and deal with political and parliamentary life in Victorian England…)
The fact that Oxford World’s Classics awarded me a free set in a Twitter competition back in 2010. *grin* However, as my PhD is in nineteenth-century literature, and as it is impossible to Read All The Victorian Novels when you’re working on such a concentrated project, I’m also enjoying them as another perspective on the sprawling social and political landscape.
How did you hear about Homespun Threads and what made you decide to get involved?
Probably through Twitter. I didn’t have enough time to write a story from scratch, but as I had this one in the submissions folder, I thought I’d send it in and see what happened.
Tell us a bit about your tale…
My inspiration was the Loreena McKennitt song of the same name. I don’t remember much else because I wrote it quite a while ago! I do remember changing the gender of the narrator pretty recently, to try and give it a slightly different spin.
You write poetry as well as prose - would you ever be tempted to add another string to your bow by picking up a lute and wandering around telling stories like the narrator in your tale?
Hmmm, that might be a stretch, but I am definitely trying out performance poetry and learning how it differs from page poetry. Not to sound too precious, but I think different stories need different forms, and a significant part of being a writer is figuring out which one fits best.
What are you working on at the moment?
Poetry is kind of quiet right now, though I’m doing some background reading - my next project is titled _Blood Libel_ and is about the personal, historic, and genetic experiences of Jewish women. And I’m editing a novel that I wrote *mumble* years ago, which is being published by an e-publisher in the states - at least, it will be if I ever finish editing it!
What’s your favourite story (other than your own!) in Homespun Threads and why?
They’re all good. :)
Tracey’s blog is at http://tsrosenberg.wordpress.com. Her debut novel, The Girl in the Bunker, was published by Cargo in 2011, and her chap book Lipstick is Always a Plus is available through Stewed Rhubarb Press. You can find her on Twitter @tsrosenberg.