This weekend at Leeds Lit Fest, ADVERSE CAMBER curates Leeds Storytelling Takeover at Carriageworks. The company creates and tours storytelling performances and events gathering an impressive line-up of performers to bring the ancient art of storytelling into the 21st century. We invited NAOMI WILDS of ADVERSE CAMBER to take over the culture vulture and explain how performance and oral storytelling is still thriving in today’s modern, hyperconnected world…
Storytelling has deep roots across all human cultures – humans are hard wired for narrative, just look at the growth in drama streaming services and our appetite for box sets, the continued reinventions of film, narrative gaming and massively successful publishing stories like Harry Potter for a start.
Leeds Storytelling Takeover shines a spotlight on story forms which have successfully flown under the radar for decades, in communities, through families and across culture – that is, traditional and new stories told orally, without being written down, stories which aren’t subject to the same layers of gatekeeping and financial constraints of other story forms.
We all tell stories, all the time – what did you get up to yesterday, what are the key moments from your life that you want to pass on to a new person you meet? But when you meet storytellers who have spent decades honing the craft of making stories sing, finding hooks that keep listeners engaged, opening doors to other realms, imaginary, or very real – it’s a richly entertaining and thrilling experience which tells us something powerful about what’s made humans tick across age, culture and time.
Stories are political too – what shared narrative are we buying into, what stories do we consider important and can we think differently about the power stories can have, for good and ill…?
Stories are the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals. We all possess a narrative instinct: an innate disposition to listen for an account of who we are and where we stand. A string of facts, however well attested, will not correct or dislodge a powerful story. The only thing that can displace a story is a story. Those who tell the stories run the world.
George Monbiot, The Guardian, Nov 2017
In our contemporary life of message overload and connectivity, which stories do people gravitate towards and can we stay open to stories which might present a different perspective?
There is a theory that the narrative art is an evolved adaptation… because those who had it had a much greater survival edge on those that did not… If I can tell you that right over there, in that river, is where the crocodile ate Uncle George, you do not have to test that out in your own life, by going over there and getting eaten by the crocodile… people learn and assimilate information much more through stories than they do through charts and graphs and statistics… what really hits people is the story.
Margaret Atwood, The Big Think
Bringing the Storytelling Takeover to Leeds and being part of the very first Leeds Lit Fest adds to Leeds thriving spoken word and live literature scene, and is a great reflection of a healthy and diverse storytelling scene in Yorkshire – with Settle Stories, Hebden Bridge’s Shaggy Dog Storytellers, Sheffield’s Story Forge and Off the Shelf Festival which always has storytelling as a part of its vibrant programme.
Leeds Storytelling Takeover presents a fresh, contemporary and exciting programme featuring some of the best storytellers from the UK and Europe, drawing on stories from all over the world.
Adverse Camber’s Leeds Storytelling Takeover is at Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds from Friday 8th – Sun 10th March 2019 Find out more, including the full line up and how to book tickets here.