Back from Beyond the Border

When it comes to holiday time, the inclination of an Electrik inkling is to head for the hills – the Welsh hills, to be precise. I’ve had the most enriching, stimulating, surprising and inspirational weekend at St Donat’s in South Wales.

Beyond the Border is Wales’ leading international festival of storytelling, a celebration of world myth, legend and folktale featuring storytellers, musicians, poets, singers, writers and artists from around the globe.”

 Surprises first: Nicole & Martin’s interpretation of Grimm’s tale The Girl Without Hands. Performed in the big White Tent, this was a lively and hauntingly beautiful mix of theatre, circus skills, acrobatics and song. The husband and wife team managed to convey the range of human emotions inherent in the tale with such subtlety and innocence that the audience spontaneously rose to their feet to applaud. Twice. I’ve witnessed plenty of standing ovations in a variety of venues but nothing compared to the enthusiasm of this heart-felt Thank-you from 300 7-70 year-olds. Breathtaking!

My second surprise: the weather. Believe it or not, although the nights were wet and windy (especially for those of us camping), the days were hot and sunny! Sitting around in the sunshine, in gorgeous surroundings, eating fabulous food and listening to stories – what’s not to like?

Along with Nicole & Martin, some other personal favourites at this year’s festival included Megan Lloyd from Carmarthenshire, who told exquisite tales from China, Persia and India – The Love of Silk and The Girl Who Married a Snake; Pam Faro, an engaging storyteller from North America with her autobiographical Looking for Grandpa’s Island; German Suse Weisse’s energetic tellings of dark Grimm fairytales plus performers from Italy, Greece, Poland and Sweden, all part of Mr Grundtvig’s Cabaret. If you enjoy listening to stories as much as writing them, then I recommend that you head Beyond the Border for the next festival in 2014.


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