Thursday, March 13, 2014

April 2nd - Kelly Kanayama performs, 'If you ever leave me'

In the first half of Tales from the Undercroft in April, one of our regulars, Kelly Kanayama will be performing:

If You Ever Leave Me

A mother.

A daughter.

And a tower.

All in the middle of a forest that could be magic.

Think you've heard it before?

Think again...

If You Ever Leave Me retells Western folktales of murder, passion and betrayal from an Asian-Pacific perspective to present the familiar as you’ve never heard it before. Kelly Kanayama draws on her Japanese-Filipino-Hawaiian upbringing for a visceral exploration of the family ties that bind us (in every sense of the word), the sacrifices we make in pursuit of a happy ending, and the stories we carry with us – whether or not we mean to.

Audience feedback:
"Drew me in!"

Kelly Kanayama

In the second half of the evening it will be tales from the floor. No theme, just what ever takes your fancy. Let me know if you wish to tell as spaces might be limited.

Try to be there by 7.30 for an 8.00 start lest Jim actually comes to the Undercroft for a change and has your guts for garters

Friday, February 28, 2014

Power to the People on March 5th

We were so inspired by Gareth Calway's performance of 'Cromwells Talking Head' last month (Of Civil War and the struggle for democracy) that we decided to focus on tales where the common sort get the better of their 'betters', this month.

Tom Hickathrift  - A working class hero of long ago getting the better of a wealthy farmer

It shouldn't be that hard as many of the folk tales we tell at the Undercroft celebrate working class heros who championed the poor.  From Robin Hood to Tom Hickathrift, they stood up for the rights of the people and cocked a snoop at the none to noble nobilty. Chap book stories and ballads printed and reprinted from the 16th  and 17th century on had to appeal to as wide as possible an audience by presenting heros that the people could relate to. Chivalric stories of Knights and fair Ladies were replaced with tales of clever beggars, wise fools and characters like Joe Millar, a seventeenth century comedienne who would happily mock the pretentions of rich men.

Stories like these would have appealed to men like Robert Costen who was more than happy to speak out against authority. In 1560 he appeared in court in Norwich for that:
At the last Magdelen Fayre [He] did go up and down the fayre with a pair of rams horns* about his neck gathering a great company of lewd people to follow him with clubs and staves and bagpipes, terming himself Mr Mayor and going from booth to booth and getting drunk and shaking his horns saying that they were his ruff (Collar)

* Rams horns were the traditional symbol of the cuckold long ago and so Robert was accusing the Mayor of being a cuckold, whose wife had cheated on him. This is more than just a lewd joke on Costen's part, because in challenging the Mayors ability to control his wife,  he was also challenging his ability to rule over the City!

And so if you want to follow in Robert Costen's footsteps and stick two fingers up at the so called great and the good, then come and join us on March 5th. I could even invite David Cameron. Do you think he would come!

As always we meet from 7.30 to start telling at 8.00 lest Jim has your gust for garters. 
If he turns up that is!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Here be Dragons, but where is Oliver Cromwells Head?

Our first meet at the Undercroft in 2014 will hopefully be dominated by dragons. As part of the bi-annual Norwich Dragon Festival we will be sharing stories of serpents, worms and all manner of winged monsters, non of whom will be sleeping soundly in their caves on February 5th!

Also one or two of our regulars including Dave Tonge and Liam carroll will be telling tales at Norwich Guildhall, libraries and other venues throughout the Dragon Festival and you can find out more about these events by visting the HEART website here....

We also hope to share some three minute gestes to cheer away the dark winter evenings and in the second half the floor will be open to all comers with any story they want to tell. We have already got one new teller lined up, Gareth Calway, who will be sharing 'Cromwells Talking Head'. Gareth says....

Cromwell’s Talking Head is in the horrible history genre and aimed at the naughty kid in all of us. But it's all true - Cromwell the king-killer really was dug up from his 'royal' grave at the Restoration, hung, drawn, quartered and his head stuck on a traitor's pole for 25 years. After centuries of adventures in freaks shows and dodgy museums, ears and other bits nicked by trophy hunters, and carrying a legendary curse, the head was authenticated by cranial detectives and in 1960 secretly buried at his old college in Cambridge University. Secretly in case drunken royalist students dig him up again! In the monologue, the head tells the ghastly story and the story of the Civil War to a young grave robber who has dug up more than he bargained for. It's funny, informative and not that comfortable for royal ears. You’ll laugh your head off!

To find out more about Gareth visit his website at...

As per usual we meet at 7.30 for an 8.00 pm start lest Jim has your guts for garters and anyone wanting to tell Dragon or other stories just let me know.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The many merry gests of Robin Hood at the Undercroft

We are doing different this December at the Undercroft. Not only have we moved from the first wednesday to the second tuesday, but we have two professional tellers coming to share their stories with us...

Wendy and Michael Dacre

This month husband and wife, Wendy and Michael Dacre will be sharing their stories of Robin Hood adapted from the early gestes devoted to the outlaw and his merry band. As the Dacre's say...

These tales give the most vital and authentic account of the English outlaw - violent, earthy, humorous and tragic. This is the original ‘Robyn Hode’,mostly from the early ballads, and still the most exciting - not suitable for young children. Songs of the Greenwood wind in and out of the stories to create a vision in sound of Merrie England.

The set includes:
Robin Hood & the Monk
Robin Hood & the Potter
Robin Hood & the Pedlar
Robin Hood & Guy of Gisborne
Robin Hood & Alan a Dale
Robin Hood’s Death

For more info on Wendy and Michael visit their website here...

As usual we start at 8.00 and donations are always welcome. Be there on time lest Jim have your guts for garters!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Folktales from Greece and Wales on November 6th

This month we travel the globe from Wales all the way to Greece!

 First up we have Carl Merry telling:

 The Draenog, The Devil and The Tylwyth Teg

Its a variety of folk tales and myths from Wales together with one or two personal anecdotes about growing up in the Rhondda Valley. 

Although a word of warning, it may contain shape changing fairy folk, clever women, Old Nick and catching sticklebacks.

Carl Merry

Carl is of Welsh and Irish decent, something that has flavoured his performances and given him an interest in the fairy folk! He is now based in Essex and is a founder member of the Essex Storytellers.  He has told all over the county and the rest of East Anglia both as a solo performer and as part of the Essex group.

For more info on Carl visit his website here.. 

Although we regularly have guests like Carl from other clubs and far flung places it's always good to showcase our very own storytelling talent - And in November we are pleased to have our very own laurie Steele telling:

Its all Greek to Me

Its a set of Greek tales. Laurie and his wife Maureen spend a lot of time in Greece and have got to know the country well, hence his interest in their folklore....

Laurie telling at the Undercroft

As Laurie says...

I am busy putting together a mixture of Greek folk tales, blended with some personal observations of Greek people. The basis of the set is a tribute to the people of Cephalonia and their recovery from the destruction of their island home in 1953 when 90% of their homes were destroyed in a massive earthquake. This was only a few years after the people had suffered massively under German and Italian occupation.  

Earth Quake damage on Cephalonia

As per usual we gather from about 7.30pm for a 8.00 pm start lest Jim have your guts for garters. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Barbequed Husbands versus Heros and Lovers at the Undercroft

This September we have two for the price of one at the Undercroft, or rather two for the price of a donation! For this month we will be hosting two guest tellers, both from the midlands...

First we have Ana Lines, a Brazilian teller who be performing 'Barbequed Husbands -Rainforest Tales'. Stories of healing, life, and love as well as cooking husbands!

Ana is a well known teller in the midlands and hosts her own club in Stafford as well as telling at the Birmingham storytelling Cafe. You can find out more about her on her website..

Then we have Tom Philips telling 'Heros and Lovers'. As Tom says, It's a mix of story and music that come together  take the audience around the world on a light hearted journey

Tom Philips telling at the Yard of Tales in Market Harborough

Tom is an up and coming teller who has performed all over the midlands and also at the Sociery for Storytelling Gathering. Just go to his website for more info... 

Please note that although we have two guests this month there will still be time for tales from the floor between their sets

As usual we ask ask that people arrive early for an 8.00pm start lest Jim has yours guts for garters!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dominic Kelly Tells 'Crow'

Thanks to all those who joined us for Jim Kavanagh and Liam Carroll's Tales from the Tain in June. as one member of the audience said:

Fantastic! The contrast in telling style between Liam and Jim worked brilliantly well. Hope you go places with it.

They even got some kisses! Certainly the feeling was that they should develop the Tain into a show and take it on the road.


From Irish tales though to Dominic Kelly telling CROW....

Intelligent, ruthless, stark, graceful... crows haunt both our outer and inner landscapes. Dominic Kelly accompanies these black-feathered tricksters through a northern borderland: here, in the shadows of the saltmarsh channels, neither crows nor people are quite what they seem. Welcome to Crow. In this powerful performance Dominic deftly interweaves myth, fairytale and biography to map the life and death of his grandfather - a man who was moulded by the time and place of his birth - until the boundary between metaphor and reality becomes subtly undefined.

“Magnificent” “If I had to leave tonight, Dominic Kelly’s Crow would have been worth the 3-hour drive”. Cambridge Storytelling Festival

"Absolutely brilliant night. An inspired and intense telling” “Remarkable”
Dreamfired Storynight, Cumbria

Dominic Kelly

Dominic Kelly is a contemporary performance storyteller based in Lancaster, England and Stockholm, Sweden. His dynamic and compelling style has captivated audiences in schools, theatres and festivals around the world. He has established a reputation for powerful, entertaining work that brings together intricate composition with the energy of improvised performance. He has curated the storytelling programme at Litfest, and directed the storytelling programmes at festivals across the UK, including Larmer Tree and Solfest. In 2009 Dominic was awarded the New Directions Commission by Cambridge Storytelling Festival, with funding from the Arts Council, to create a new performance for adults. Crow is the result. It was premiered at the festival in 2009, and has since been performed at venues including The Barbican, the Soho Theatre in London's West End, the Westcountry Storytelling Festival, on tour with the British Council in India and at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.

As usual we meet at 7.30 for an 8.00pm start. lest Jim have your guts for garters. Also we do ask for donations on the night. Whatever you can spare to ensure we can bring more wonderful storytellers like Dominic to Norwich!