Hastings Storytelling Festival is back in the physical world this October with stories for all ages: it will be popping up in libraries, parks, cinemas, theatres, schools, pubs, halls and fishing clubs across Hastings and St Leonards, kicking off on 16th October. A festival of joy to warm our hearts and lift our spirits as winter approaches – and many of the events are FREE!

Highlights of the festival include Anna Mudeka’s engrossing and moving immigration journey, Kure Kure, Far Away at The Sussex Hall, White Rock Theatre, on Monday 18th October at 7pm. Then there’s a rollicking good singalong with the Old Time Sailors at the Hastings and St Leonards Sea Angling Association on Friday 22nd October at 7.30pm.

Helen Epega

Or dive into the mystical feminine at the Goddess Day at the Stade on Saturday 23rd October with female storytellers, singers, activists and performance artists, including Helen Epega and the Venus Bushfires, Juliet Russell, Extinction Rebellion’s Red Rebel Brigade, Xanthe Gresham, Emily Hennessey and Sheema Mukherjee, concluding with dazzling Brazilian performance artist, Livia Gaudencio, directed by Violeta Luma in Urucum – Oracle of Demarcated Bodies.

On Saturday 16th October, you’ll find Padmacandra at Hastings Library with The Tale of the Whale.
On Sunday 17th October wrap up warm, gaze at the sky and dream with Cloudscapes, an immersive audio experience by Gobbledegook Theatre in Warrior Square Gardens. Get inspired by poets AFLO. the Poet at the Electric Palace Cinema on Tuesday 19th October and Luke Wright at the Royal Standard (also available to join live on Zoom) on Wednesday 20th October and hear Letters to my Little Queer Self at the Cactus Hound on Thursday 21st October.

And of course there are oodles of fabulous storytellers for children, including storyteller-in-residence, Thomas Taylor, who’ll bring his fantastical, Hastings-inspired, world of Eerie by Sea into classrooms and Hastings Library, just months before it is made into a movie by Sony Pictures. An illustrator as well as an author, Thomas illustrated the cover for the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The Old Time Sailors

Schools will also take part in the Caribbean Storytelling Cafewith Guyanese storyteller Tuup and Seven Sisters Spices, and costume and wagon making with artist-in-residence, Sarah Evans and Radiator Arts, in preparation for the Roald Dahl-inspired Parade at the free Children’s Storytelling Day at the Stade on Sunday 24th October (12noon-4pm).

“Children’s Day at the Stade is a fabulous opportunity for families to enjoy top quality free puppet shows, storytelling, performances, workshops and a fun parade,” says Mandy Curtis, Festival Director. “This year there are so many treats for everyone to enjoy including Long Nose Puppets, Out of the Bag Theatre, Bambolina and Dodo, Richard Storybeard, Idolrich Theatre, Tuup, Ed Boxall, Loulou Cousins and Sheema Mukherjee.”

Festival Chair, Dick Edwards added: “Thanks, as ever, to our Patron Sir Quentin Blake, for his much-valued support – and for enchanting us every time we see his drawings.’

For the full programme, see www.hastingsstoryfest.org.uk

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.