Storytelling Sundays returns to Hamilton House

With the first winter edition of Storytelling Sundays coming up this Sunday, I caught up with with Debs from Coexist, who is also a theatre practitioner and facilitator, to talk about the power of storytelling.

CoResist are launching a new series of Storytelling Sundays this month. Could you give us an overview of some of the stories we can expect to hear over the coming months?

Yes indeed, the ever magical Storytelling Sundays will start again this Sunday Nov 5th, with Wild Man from Martin Maudsley and over the next few months we have Jan Blake, Emily Hennesey and Tuup, taking us into the New Year. Look out for more info on Facebook and the CoResist website.

You’re also going to be running your own storytelling course focusing on mythologies of the underworld. What was it that inspired you to put this course on and what do you think students can gain from it?

Good question! I started working on a performance of the story of Inanna’s Descent to The Underworld. I found the symbols so rich and it pointed me directly to reflect on my own subconscious and my inner underworld. I really enjoyed imagining the underworld as not only a mythological place but a place inside us all: each person, with their own unique demons and goddesses lurking there.

The course will each participant an opportunity to reflect on their own personal underworld and identify some of their own personal drives and limitations. They will also be able to see which myths reflect a theme present in themselves. And of course it will equip them with physical performance tools to support their unique performances of their chosen story.

Deb at work with a group of students

When you say students will be able to reflect on their own ‘personal inner underworlds’, could you go into a bit more detail?

So we will do some visualisations and reflections on any themes surfacing in our own lives currently so that we are conscious of our drives. From there, we will be choosing a myth about the underworld which has the theme of jealousy, self-doubt or betrayal. It will be a theme the storyteller has owned as a theme in their own life, making the telling all the more powerful.

Do you have a particular mythical figure, from the underworld or elsewhere, that you particularly relate to?

Inanna & her sister Ereskigal. Inanna is queen of Heaven & Earth… need I say more? And she descends to the underworld to meet her sister, Queen of the Underworld, Ereskigal, who is a passionate, amoral, ruthless goddess…

Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms we have. Why do you think it’s important to keep storytelling alive?

Mostly because as a form, unlike a lot of theatre (though not all) it is about responsiveness to the audience. It is about the present moment, it is not about line learning. To me it is about allowing characters and landscapes to inhabit you, and then allowing that to paint pictures for audiences. It is thrilling because it is unknown every time.


Wild Man is coming to Hamilton House on 5 November. Storytelling The Underworld starts on 15 November.

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