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Storytellers Development Circle

(thanks to Tim Ralphs for the title ‘Northern Bardic School’)

We are seeking to recruit a group of practising storytellers who will meet on four weekends in 2020, working to develop our storytelling practice from presence to crafting to style to technique. The group will meet for one year initially but may continue with the same or possible new members if it is successful. We aim to nurture a sense of community amongst storytellers and provide support for them to grow in their understanding of the art and traditions of storytelling.


This group is for storytellers with performance/stage/storytelling experience, it is not an introduction to storytelling. You must have a working knowledge of stories. 


Available places: 8-12 storytellers

Dates for 2020                    Tutor: Clare Murphy

Weekend One          29th  – 31st May        

Weekend Two           10th – 12th July

Weekend Three         25th – 27th September

Weekend Four           27th - 29th  November

All weekends will begin with an optional Friday night social gathering, followed by 10am – 4.30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Dates for 2021 are in the process of being arranged. Tutor: Tim Ralphs


Venue & Accommodation

The course is non residential and will be run from two different venues in West Lancashire. Both venues are on ground level and are wheelchair accessible. Both are within easy reach of shops and cafes. Participants will need to find accommodation locally, some guidance will be offered on this and as the group gets to know one another, it may be possible to share travel and accommodation costs. The nearest train station is Parbold, with connections from Manchester via Wigan North Western and from Liverpool.

Course Content

The aim is for as many people as possible to commit to attend all four workshops in a year, to encourage a sense of continuity, trust and peer support. If the year course is not full, we will offer a limited number of places on each weekend for those who might wish to attend just one or two weekends. Homework will be offered as well as the opportunity to develop your story repertoire through the work of the group.


There will be an application process in which participants can offer suggestions for topics to cover. There may be some continuity between each year if the group continues, with a handover between trainers so we can avoid repetition (bearing in mind that sometimes repetition might be exactly what we need!).


2020 Course Content: Clare Murphy - please email for more information

2020 Course fee: please email for more information. There will concessionary places with priority given to young storytellers. 


Application process

If you would like to take part, please email for an application form.


About Clare Murphy

Storyteller Clare Muireann Murphy has been telling stories since 2006 on stages all over the world including The Globe, The National, and The Barbican theatres in London. 


Her work ranges from the political folkloric work such as her Syrian piece “The King of Lies” to playful pieces like UniVerse which explores where quantum physics, philosophy and mythology meet.  She tells the story that is called for in each situation from telling to President Mary Robinson of Ireland to performing at the Writers Room of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  She is a storytelling consultant for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA and a freelance trainer with the National Theatre, The Young Vic and The Drive Project.


She has worked with many wonderful organisations and institutions including BBC Radio 4, Central Saint Martins University, National Museums of Ireland, and the Conference on World Affairs, Boulder, Colorado.  She performs at festivals, art centres, universities, public and private events, conferences and schools. 


About Tim Ralphs

Tim is a storyteller and active exponent of narrative in art. He also works as a public engagement consultant where he focuses on connecting academic researchers with non-specialists.

His storytelling is rooted in the oral tradition: The craft of a speaker weaving language and gesture to entrance an audience and bring a tale to life. Tim Ralphs gained much acclaim at “The Young Storyteller of the Year” competition in 2007, and was a British Award for Storytelling Excellence winner in 2012. He has performed everywhere from majestic Teutonic castle at Alden Biesen in Belgium, to the muddy Shropshire fields of The Festival at the Edge, to the sophisticated theatres of Soho and The Barbican. His audiences find him equally captivating whether they are partaking of some cake in a cafe, sitting spellbound around a fire in the woods, or dancing furiously while he lays down his words over a frenzy of experimental rock.

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