Secrets and Silences

The Gwobr Esyllt Prize supports a woman storyteller from Wales in the development of their storytelling work. Announced at the Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival, the prize includes the opportunity to present the results at the following festival usually 2 years later.

Mae’r Wobr Esyllt Prize yn cefnogi chwedlwraig o Gymru i ddatblygu ei chelf. Mae’r wobr, a cheir ei cyhoeddi yng Ngwyl Ryngwladol Adrodd Straeon Tu Hwnt i’f Ffin, yn cynnwys y cyfle i gyflwyno ffrwyth y gwaith yn ystod yr Wyl nesaf fel arfer mewn dwy mlynedd.

The 2023 performance, developed with the award made in 2021 is at 1.30 -2.30 pm Sunday 9th July as part of Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival

Secrets and Silences

Deborah Winter and Ailsa Mair Hughes

A bright full moon sails over the forest, but always there are shadows. Two sisters, separated by a secret; one earth, troubled by crimes. The two storytellers take traditional story tropes and breathe new life into them in this gripping tale. Deb’s bold inventiveness is in full play as she delves into the darkness of the tunnel; Ailsa’s poetic vision and shamanic characters bringjoy, hope and healing.

Two storytellers unafraid to walk on the wild side who reverberate with a sensuous joy in the sounds, smells and feel of the forest and who tell their stories with passion, poetry and power.  Ailsa’s inspired improvisations and songs on voice and cello cloak the whole piece in magic

For 2 years Deb and Ailsa have been working together, dipping and delving into each other’s style of working and gradually weaving a piece of that magic that is storytelling.

Here is what they have to say about the experience:-

“After the initial excitement of being made co-winners, we got started as soon as we could on the challenge of creating a joint show for Beyond the Border. We’d submitted two different ideas to Chwedl, having applied separately, but fortunately we have a lot of shared ground, particularly that we’re both inspired by nature and the wild and both hugely concerned with the climate crisis.  We’re also friends and have worked together many times as storyteller-and-musician – but not as two storytellers, so it’s been a totally different process. Although offered the option of doing two separate stories, we wanted to make something together. Throughout 2022 we exchanged ideas and writing and had zoom chats to see how we could make a coherent whole out of our respective ideas. It was challenging at first but gradually we saw how we could weave our themes together and it became easier once we were in the same physical space, trying things out.

By April 2022 we had a ‘draft’ piece which we shared with three Chwedl friends. Both of us having wildly busy working lives for the rest of that year we could only revisit this in early 2023 but since then have had two days in a roundhouse up a mountain developing the piece and were happy that everything had come alive again. Lots of work to do still getting it ‘stage-ready’ but looking forward to our debut performance as storytellers at Beyond the Border. We’re both grateful for the commission and the opportunity to perform at the festival. We’re very conscious of the honour of being chosen and wanting to do our best for Chwedl and be worthy of the legacy of Esyllt”

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