I was lucky enough to be invited over to Canterbury for the Wise Words Festival happening over the weekend. As soon as I looked at the programme I was really excited to be part of it and be there to experience it.
For those of you who don't already know, the Wise Words festival takes place around various locations in the city of Canterbury. There are free events for the all, adults and children, as well as tickets for talks, performances and music. Each event showcases local and beyond talent including storytelling, poetry performance, writing workshops, spoken word street slams, alternative city tours and live music. With each one aiming to "reawaken wonder and encourage curiosity". And it certainly did!
On Saturday we awoke to some rain and hoped it wouldn't last all day. But not ones to be deterred by a slight drizzle we packed our bag for the day and headed out into town. Our first stop was at the Three Cities Garden where we stepped into a (slightly damp) Wonderland. We were invited to have a tea party with the white rabbit, who poured us pink tea into tea cups and sipped a little himself straight out of the pot. We celebrated our un-birthday, ate a biscuit or two and listened to strange facts. We then made our own red rose to please the Queen, who made a scary appearance, whilst we had to stand to attention.
After this we took a walk to visit the Yurt in the Fransiscan Garden, where Charles Bennett was just about to start a reading from his new poetry collection. As inviting as being in a dry and cosy yurt listening to poetry was, Theo was a little to fidgety to listen! Instead we walked on to Browns cafe where we booked ourselves onto a punt for story telling later on in the day, and warmed up with a hot drink. On our way back we stopped and listened in on Tristan Gooleys fascinating walk around town to share his knowledge of Natural Navigation.
We stopped on the high street to pay a visit to the Alternative Tourist Information Station and were entertained by the Wind Up Dolls which Theo had great joy in winding up himself, and squealing in delight when they ran off to dance!
By lunchtime the rain had eased up, so we stepped off the busy high street and had our picnic in the quiet calmness of the Fransiscan Garden, before making our way back to the punts in time for our trip with Story teller Emily Parrish. We were treated to blankets and hot water bottles as we got comfy for our trip down the backs of Canterbury. We spotted fish and eels in the water as we made our way under low bridges, hearing some history and then listening to the wonderful story teller Emily. The rain held off and it was a very relaxing way to spend an hour.
After a break and a refresh at home, my sister and I headed back into Canterbury in the evening for a storytelling performance by Xanthe Gresham. I was unsure of what to expect, but I like that about storytelling. You don't need to know anything about the subject, or the story teller, as you are instantly transported into the story and their world. We were told many stories centered around the character BabaYaga, each interlinking with the same theme running throughout. The stories were at times humorous, with the audience invited to help play parts in the story using their voices and props all the while being captivated by the storyteller. I've not been to many story telling performances, but this one really was something great!
After a jam packed day, and being a little soaked through we went to bed exhausted but inspired and happy! Ready to do it all over again!
This post was originally written for the Wise Words blog. But I thought I'd share it here too!