Friday, 17 August 2012


I'm sipping coffee in the my old, tiny bedroom at my parents house in Lincolnshire. The Thin Lizzy posters have gone, not a hint of Ramones or ZZ Top records stashed by the ancient record player. In fact, it's now my mums painting studio, with just enough room for a few stashed blankets and cushions.

In a few hours me and la fam set off for the Dark Mountain Festival in Hampshire. A radical literature lot, i would recommend checking them out on-line and even buying the books of ideas they produce. It's completely sold out this year, but i will report back on anything that may be up our mythic alley.

I am very excited to announce the MYTHTELLER weekend - brand new - October 12th/14th 2012. For the first time at the school we are focusing on the role of the mythteller as well as the story, and enabling participants to take away with them foundational stones towards mythtelling. Wether you are an experienced storyteller or just have a great love of story, then this is for you - it will be deep, focused work.

Cherry picked ideas and challenges from all three of the Mythteller trilogy books will worked through. Both esoteric and practical, expect (alongside the stories) - the inner-ecosytem of the mythteller/ story as being not repertoire/ myths that migrate, myths of the local/ learning by image not by script/ some history: bardic schools/medieval dream poetry/the Cunning Man and Woman of the westcountry and the use of metaphor as a kind of magical practice. The expectation is to take this information and work with it - no passengers please.

This is work i have been building up to for the best part of twenty years - expect more investment required as a participant, more preparatory study and homework. The year course will NOT begin till early summer 2013, so this, and the 'Prophets of Rock and Wave' weekend (scroll down for that), are the ONLY chances to catch the School in the next nine months. The reasons for that i will reveal soon.

Sign up and details, please email Tina at:


“When everyone speaks so rationally,
it is necessary for a kind of enchanter to appear”

Joseph Beuys

A weekend with mythologist and author Martin Shaw
Blytheswood Hostel, Steps Bridges, Dartmoor

We have all have a sense of the storyteller as entertainer, but what do we know of the vocations deeper calling? In many oral cultures, the teller is a kind of cultural historian of place. The teller is a hinge between the pastoral and the prophetic, logos and mythos, village and forest.

How could we re-vision such a figure?

Over this weekend, Dr. Shaw offers stories both nomadic and local;
sagas through to folktale, packed with intelligence. Participants will be encouraged to both learn and explore the stories, whilst developing tools to deepen their own study of myth. The weekend will also involve time in the green tangles of Dartmoor, getting a sense of emergent stories from the living world.

In fireside retreat, we will experience five foundational steps to mythtelling, and a journey through the orality of ancient storytelling, to the bardic schools and medieval dream poetry. This is not a passive experience; each participant will leave will a quiver full of stories, fiery language and clear thinking on how to broaden their experience of both myth and its telling.

If you are in the UK and don't have tickets yet, then get yerself over TO (drumroll...)

## Not camping? Great accommodation available in Ashburton for the festival: ring Francois on 07753 600618


The festival will take place from Friday 24th to Monday 27th August 2012 (Bank Holiday Weekend) at Embercombe near Exeter.

Tickets: £85 (Adult) £35 (Child) Concessions & reductions for family groups.

Free camping & lots of accommodation options to hire.

Welcome to a magical, intimate, sustainable festival in the stunning setting of Embercombe’s fifty acres of broad-leaf woodland and wild-flower meadows overlooking Dartmoor and Haldon Forest. World class storytelling and live music, poetry, puppetry, circus show, giant puppets and entertainment for every age group, including babes in arms and older festival goers. Plus deep, dark, edgy tales and songs that explore our roots in this land and in story.

In the old English tradition of wassail, the festival will sing the land awake with story, song and spoken word and the storytellers will take us to marvellous, mysterious and macabre places we have never been before…

“At their heart myths are psycho-active, they do to a person what a dream usually does….. When you engage with story consciously then you open a door in your waking life for a great torrent of insight to come through.”
Martin Shaw

Visit the Red Tent, the Mythic Tent, the Pirate Platform, the Talk Tent, the Juno Tent, the biodynamic TasteGarden, Centrefire, the Grand Yurt, the Den, the O1, the Dragon’s Circle or spend a day in the Greenwood hearing tales of Sherwood and wild women of the woods around camp-fires under the stars. 100 artists in 20 venues over 4 days. 30 different workshops, 30 music sessions, plus talks and tours.

All outdoor venues have a wet weather contingency so the music and stories will be rocking whatever the weather. The camping field is quiet (but gently sloping!)and everything stops at 11pm. Dogs on leads are welcome. If the festival is not sold out by August (it was last time) – we will offer a limited number of day tickets. Watch the website for details.

See shire horses ploughing, watch threshing & try your hand at scything & bread-baking, take part in crafts, activities, survival skills, archery, film-making and song-writing. Eat wild stew and fabulous organic food from Embercombe’s own land and the Food Groove.

Embercombe’s founder Mac, an international TEDx speaker, will be telling stories and talking about Embercombe and its work and there’s a chance to try out several of the Embercombe programmes from Stone Soup to The Journey.

Top European Storyteller Jan Blake returns by popular demand as do UK masters Ben Haggarty and Nick Hennessey. Holly McNish will perform the poetry that won her the UK Grand Slam. Mythologist Martin Shaw will be there with his pirate crew in the Mythic Tent, Young Storytellers of the Year, Banterous Potential, are featured alongside Frankie Armstrong; Caitlin Matthews; Rachel Rose Reid; Jo Blake Cave; Usifu Jalloh; Clive Fairweather; Spindle Wayfarer and a host of international, UK and local teller, musicians, poets and other artists.

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