Saturday 17 November 2018

Time to spin a yarn in Bray

Storytelling festival returns to venues all over Bray next week. Mary Fogarty reports

Joe Brennan telling ‘Sea Scéals’ at last year’s Yarn Festival
Joe Brennan telling ‘Sea Scéals’ at last year’s Yarn Festival

Yarn Storytelling Festival returns to Bray from November 11 to 19, organised by Mermaid Arts Centre.

Now in its eighth year, Yarn brings together the community to share and hear stories. These storytelling events take place throughout the town in classrooms, community groups, libraries, cafés and bars, in Mermaid itself and at lots of other venues.

This year organisers are delighted to have the use of the Town Hall for events - a wonderful atmospheric space guaranteed to add to the spirit of the tales.

The festival programme includes the crème de la crème of Irish storytellers with Liz Weir, Eddie Lenihan, Jack Lynch, Joe Brennan and Brendan Nolan. International guests will include the legendary Len Cabral and Welsh storytelling master Daniel Morden.

On November 11, Remembrance Day, renowned storyteller Liz Weir is joined by violin player Ciarán Mulholland to tell a poignant tale in words and music of one young Irish soldier's experiences in World War One. Kindly sponsored by Christ Church, this piece, entitled All for the Dead Man's Penny, interweaves an Irish wonder tale with the First World War story, each tale reflecting the themes of loss and betrayal of the other.

Ciarán's specially composed music leads listeners seamlessly between the two worlds. This is suitable for ages 16 and older and takes place in Christ Church at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Colum Sands will travel to Bray for one performance only on Saturday, November 18 and captivate the audience with his songs and stories. 'A poet disguised as a songwriter and a singer disguised as a storyteller,' Colum Sands has been acclaimed on stages from Aughnacloy to Auckland, Belfast to Berlin, Carlingford to Capetown, and countless places in between. The County Down songwriter has won awards for radio and studio production but his real passion lies in live performance.

On Friday, November 17, Daniel Morden and his musicians will transport you to the Land of No Return. His storytelling will be served by the hypnotic string accompaniment of Sarah Moody and Oliver Wilson-Dickson.

The ensemble will take you on an epic journey, through a dreamlike land where you will encounter a king turned to stone, an old woman living in the claw of a giant cockerel and a glass man filled with wasps. The essence of all cinema, theatre and literature is a gripping tale well told. By weaving traditional stories into an epic narrative the Devil's Violin return us to that essence. This is a tale of lost loves, bravery, and above all else, hope. This event takes place upstairs in the town hall. Booking through Mermaid Arts Centre.

Mermaid Arts Centre's storyteller in residence Paul Timoney has been very busy over the past few weeks facilitating a collaborative project with New Court School and Saint Andrew's Primary School in Bray. Together they have been creating something amazing - a story called 'Imagine the Magic Moustaches.' All of the ideas and the title have come from the kids and the story will be presented as an animated movie on the big screen in Mermaid as part of Yarn on Monday, November 13 at 11 a.m. Admission is free.

Family storytelling takes place upstairs in the town hall and in Killruddery. Admission is free. Betelnut Café host their annual fun day, Me and The Moon present kids art workshops, Poetry in the Park takes place in the People's Park, Peter Sheridan performs in Mermaid… there are sessions in libraries, nursing homes, community groups. All in all 39 events will take place during Yarn. Pick up a festival brochure in Mermaid or around the town or go to for more information.

Bray People