I started thinking about this project almost a year ago. I’ve always been a lover of stories, fairytales and folklore, and for me folklore is not a thing of the past. It’s very much alive and well in the jokes, urban legends, and stories about everyday life that we tell each other. I began to think about the travelling story tellers of yore, the people who where often keepers of local knowledge and history as well as stories, with a fascinating insight into the day to day lives of a community. They also brought stories from the outside world, bringing far flung places to life in a small dark corner of a room, or in front of a big fire.
For me the pub is one place where it’s obvious that storytelling and folklore are still with us. Listen to your average conversation at the pub and it’s full of gossip, rumour, shame stories, adventure stories, tragic, and funny stories. This got me thinking, ‘who are our travelling storytellers of today?’ and then I thought about bar staff and all the things they overhear, and all the things that people tell them, perhaps taking comfort from a stranger or with tongues loosened by alcohol, and with that I knew what I wanted to make my show about!
This summer I’m hugely excited to finally be making A Stranger Walks into a Bar. It’s a celebration of the sheer enjoyment of telling and listening to stories. I hope you’ll join us on our travels, as a listener or a sharer of your own stories, and hopefully both. -Shilpa T-Hyland (director)