Connecting communities, landscapes and myths

Storyteller Ian Douglas telling tales
The Magic Lantern

Telling Tales : OUTSIDE Stories exchange project

Travelling around 12 villages over 12 months, telling tales from the Moorlands, creating new tales from this special place… this is the OUTSIDE Stories exchange project!

Telling Tales storyteller Ian Douglas and shadow puppeteer Jo Douglas will research the myths and legends of the Staffordshire Moorlands, and travel to a dozen village halls over the coming year with a selection of local tales to tell. Over the course of three days in each village, they will perform and facilitate workshops encouraging local people to tell their own tales about their community. Ian and Jo will then weave these narrative threads into a new tale to perform back to the village residents in a storytelling finale.   

OUTSIDE Advisory Group member Emma Chester

Intergenerational, inclusive and accessible 

We’re excited to offer this high quality cultural event to village halls across the Staffordshire Moorlands. At our very first OUTSIDE Advisory Group meeting made up of local residents, a number of people from various villages said they wanted to see more activity in their village halls. The result is Telling Tales, an intergenerational, inclusive and accessible event specially created for the village communities of the Moorlands. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share new stories and work with new voices. Local residents will have the chance to co-create a collaborative story, to be seen and heard, and understand more about others in their community.

The first Telling Tales event took place in Flash on 22nd/23rd/24th May 2023. Emma Chester from Flash Village Hall commented:

“It is a privilege to pilot the Telling Tales: OUTSIDE Stories exchange project at Flash Village Hall. I saw Ian perform earlier in the year and was immediately hooked – I knew I had to get him up to Flash. Not only are Ian and Jo performing for us once, but they are going to perform a second time within their three-day residency weaving together a performance built on our community myths, legends and stories. Flash and the surrounding areas are steeped in history and myth, and I cannot wait to see what Ian and Jo come up with!”

Telling Tales has now travelled to Flash (May 2023), Biddulph Moor (July 2023), Tean (Sep/Oct 2023), Ipstones (March 2024). The next Telling Tales is taking place in Alton on 28-30 June 2024.

If you’re interested in bringing Telling Tales to your village hall, please contact us at