Festival: Rough sleepers tell their tales


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The Independent Culture

An opportunity to hear homeless people tell their tales has arisen at the unlikely venue of next weekend's Westcountry Storytelling Festival, an annual folk celebration of the narrative arts, complete with yurts, shire horses, archery competitions, bread-making and biodynamic food stalls.

The festival strives to maintain the lost art of oral storytelling and "the old English tradition of wassail", and while this year's theme is "Patterns under the Plough" – paying homage to George Ewart-Evans's book recording the oral and folk traditions of East Anglia – Big Issue sellers will be telling their stories.

Using traditional tales of nomads, wanderers and the homeless, artistic director and professional storyteller Chris Salisbury examined, with participants in Exeter, what made a good story and the basic techniques of storytelling. "It's an exploration to bring out the narrative of their individual stories and build confidence in these stories", he says."

Westcountry Storytelling Festival, Embercombe, Devon (www.weststoryfest.co.uk), 24 to 27 August.