I’m delighted to have been commissionsed to compile a book of Shropshire Folktales for the History Press. I’ve just submitted the manuscript and looking forward to seeing what the proofs look like. The book includes thirty of the region’s stories, some old favourites and plenty that are new material for me. Lynn Rust has created some fabulous illustrations and Katherine Soutar of Dancing Cat Designs at Maws Craft Centre in Coalbrookdale is working on the front cover as I type! The book is due for publication in July 2011.
Newport is a town layered with story and memory. The canal remembers busier days crowded with boatmen, Chocolate Charlie bringing pocketfuls of sweets back from Cadburys for the local children and harsh winters of frozen barges. Three fish swim on gates, walls and flags, heading towards the King, leaving prosperity in their wake. You may still catch a glipse in a window of Elizabeth Parker in her wedding dress, waiting all her life and beyond for her fiancee. When night falls, Madam Pigott haunts the roads and lanes watchful of her chance to take revenge on any young men out alone.
Throughout September and October I worked with dancer Rose Gordon and choreographer Bettina Strickler on a fantastic ‘Find Your Talent’ and DanceXchange collaboration to celebrate the history, folklore and people of Newport.
We collaborated with several schools and community groups in Newport to gather, combine, retell and celebrate stories of Newport. The project culminated in a fantastic Hallowe’en performances with two marvellous young storytelling tour guides leading audiences around the Madam Piggott exhibition and a school haunted by ghostly dancers.
This project was a collaboration between DanceXchange, Telford and Wrekin Libraries, and High Ercall and Crudgington Primary Schools. I worked with dancers Emma Burns and Laura Dredger using Shropshire myths and legends to inspire dance with KS2 children.
Working with dance was a new and inspiring process for me. Our sessions were full of experimentation, using rhythms and patterns of words to evoke different atmospheres and tempos that were then interpreted through movement.
The project culminated in a performance at Charlton Secondary School where students from both schools shared their work with each other and a very big and supportive audience!