Sometimes fact is indeed stranger than fiction. From the devastation wreaked on the entertainment industry by Covid 19, bright shoots of creativity spring forth. Support from Arts Council England has helped storytellers for Hastings Storytelling Festival to adapt for digital audiences.  And for those hungry for real-world (socially distanced) entertainment, there’s Gareth E Rees at The Pig’s Palace, and Dan The Hat at Stade Hall. The week kicks off on 19th October. 

Anna Mudeka, Story-teller-in-residence

Local school children are enjoying free workshops with Storyteller-in-Residence, Anna Mudeka and Artist-in-Residence, Sarah Evans, who has created free illustration video-workshops available through the Festival website, hastingsstoryfest.org.uk  Schools are busy creating book wagons with Radiator Arts for the online parade at the Children’s Book Carnival on Sunday 25th October, supported by Read Your Way from Hastings Opportunity Area. 

Xanthe Gresham
PICTURE: Kathy Hamad

The week begins with four evenings of culinary stories for adults only with ‘Kitchen Goddess’, storyteller, Xanthe Gresham, telling a different story with some conversation too on Mon-Thurs at 7.30pm online. On Friday 23rd, Hastings psychogeographer, Gareth E Rees enters a familiar yet alien landscape of industrial estates and electricity pylons, motorway service stations and council houses, roundabouts and flyovers, launching his new book of Unofficial Britain at The Pig’s Palace for pre-booked audiences and live-streamed with a Zoom audience. 

Circo Rum Ba Ba

Saturday 24th sees seven short Covid-safe family performances with comedian, juggler, and stupid stuntman, Dan the Hat, at Stade Hall followed by a day of stories online on Sunday 25th for Children’s Book Carnival. Hosts Loulou and Ben welcome storytellers and puppets and hold workshops and the online parade showing the best of schools’ wagon-making. 

“We’re so excited to host a Festival within this year’s pandemic – there really is something for everyone”, said Dick Edwards, Festival Trustee. “We’re working with great partners including 18 Hours, and Isolation Station Hastings to deliver socially-distanced events and online storytelling to reach new audiences, and it’s all free!”


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