Tuesday, March 22, 2011

a day of tales around Chelmsford town

Essex Story-telling laureate Mike Dodsworth launched his series of happenings in the Central Library. Among the stories he referenced then was the Norfolk classic The Pedlar of Swaffham. It was told again in the amazing space of the Town Sign Tepee by that celebrated teller of tales Hugh Lupton.

Between these two story spots, the Iliad outside Waterstones, and Footprints Theatre Company dressing the tree in Half Moon Square. Other events were more peripatetic: Movable Feast, John Row's Story Walks ... I loved Phil Drew's Historical Tour, which brilliantly combined stand-up, stories and anecdotal history. I admired the way he introduced other characters into his very personal story – the frog umbrellas, the Lynx effect – and then subverted the effect by arguing over the cash in hand, and tearing a strip off the hapless actress who'd been hired to do the Spontaneous Combustion.

The weather was certainly kind to the scores of al fresco performers. And, as the sun began to set, three ghostly ladies emerged from the churchyard trees round the Cathedral to tell their stories. Caroline of Brunswick, forever grateful to Judge Tindall, Elizabeth Wolton, remembering her philanthropic husband Hyem, both now at rest in one tomb, and Mrs Gepp, gossiping about Income Tax, her husband the Captain [and solicitor] and the Loyal Chelmsford Volunteers.

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