Wednesday 13 November 2019

Moth and Butterfly at Yarn festival

Bray storyteller Catherine Brophy will join members of Galway's 'Moth and Butterfly' for a 'Yarn Festival' event in Mermaid Arts Centre.

The show is happening on Sunday, November 10 at 7 p.m., with hosts Orla McGovern and Niceol Blue, who will also invite audience members to participate if they would like to tell a story.

To request your name in the hat to tell on the night email

Each night of stories has a theme, and for Yarn that theme is 'The Connection'.

'I go there regularly and tell stories,' said Catherine of the Galway collective. 'They have been invited to Mermaid for Yarn to run their story show.'

The first part of the evening will include personal and true stories. 'Then they do a bit of improvisation,' said Catherine. 'Which is always hilarious, because it gets entirely insane!

'The latter part is whatever you're having yourself. Some people tell fairy stories, or myth and legend, or folk stories, or whatever.'

Catherine will tell at least one story. 'And two if they don't stop me!'

She has always been a keen teller of tales. 'I was really fortunat, my mother was a great story teller. She used to tell us lots of stories and she did the voices and so on.

'My mother comes from a huge family and so does my father. They all lived in Dublin, close to us, and we saw them regularly. I had lots of aunts and uncles who could tell a great story. I had an aunt who used to give us the detailed conversations she had with the one legged crow and the dog!

'I think I learned the basics by absorbing them as a child. Then you grow up, television happens and you're thinking, well, storytelling is gone.'

Five or six years ago she found a man in Dublin running workshops and decided to go along. 'What I learned at the workshop was that I knew what I was doing,' she said. 'That I knew how to structure a story and so on.'

Some participants suggested she go along to 'Milk and Cookies'.

'It's no longer happening but it was an event organised by Trinity students. 'I went along expecting to see 25 middle aged people telling stories about Finn McCool. There were about 150 young people under 30 telling all sorts of stories,' she said. 'I told one about confession and I thought they wouldn't know what I was talking about. I told the story anyway. It went down like a dinner and afterwards people came up and told me their experiences of confession.'

People started asking her to do story events and one thing led to another.

'I do a combination of things depending on where I am,' said Catherine. 'Last night I was at the Dublin Story Slam. They just want personal stories. I also tell some stories based on things that happened to me but invented into a story. I tell a lot of the stories my mother used to telI. I pick them up hither and yon. I've travelled all over the world and I like to tell stories that subvert assumptions about groups of people. And I just make some up.'

When telling, she can see the story in her head. 'I'm very visual. I'm always hoping that I'm finding the right words, phrases and descriptions to transfer the image in my head, into your head.'

She also tells stories to children, and gives workshops to groups.

To contact Catherine, email or call 086 3462537.

Admission to Moth & Butterfly is €10 or €8 concession and tickets are available at

Bray People