Drawing from folklore and storytelling traditions in the UK and Ireland, we will combine older folk stories with contemporary anecdotes, jokes, and urban myths. Semi-scripted, the show will alter slightly as it travels from venue to venue gathering new material as it goes. The aim of the show is to promote the idea that folklore is not merely a thing of the past and to celebrate both contemporary storytelling and the tales which have been passed down to us. Our show mimics the travelling storyteller, bringing stories to one location, and taking new ones on to the next location. In order to do this, at the end of each performance the actors will have a drink with the audience, who will then be invited to share anecdotes or stories with us either verbally or written. People may also send them into our online blog if they would prefer. Parts of the show will then change to incorporate this new collected material in the next performance.
Through the actors interactions with our audiences and by documenting the process we hope to provoke a conversation around storytelling. This online blog and archive will accompany the production which will include material from the creative team as well as from the general public. A Stranger Walks into a Bar is a lively, amusing, and occasionally bizarre celebration of people, everyday life, and the undeniable allure of a tale well told.
The project is directed by Shilpa T-Hyland and produced by Sophie McCormack-Gow. It is performed and devised by Jacqueline Thain, William Watt, and Ross Wylie. With additional material developed by Richard Cullen and Anna Nodward-Siegel.
Shilpa T-Hyland – Director/Facilitator
Shilpa is a director and devisor of theatre based in Glasgow, Scotland. She believes that storytelling is what makes us human, helps us to negotiate the complicated thing that is the world, and helps form that slippery thing that is our identities. She is interested in how folk traditions from our pasts interact with our contemporary lives, how these traditions might morph, and what contemporary folklore and folktales might look like. She has directed a range of productions including scripted, devised, and site specific work. These include: Cinders STaG’s mainstage production 2012, Spool a devised production based on the relationship between music and memory which was supported by the ITDP (Institute for exploration in Theatre, Dance, and Performance) at UC Davis, and Bluebeard her final directing project for Advanced Directing at Glasgow University. She recently devised and performed in her installation The Cabinet of Curiosities at the Buzzcut Festival in Glasgow. There is often a research element to her productions, and this is strengthened by her academic training. First and foremost she believes that the act of storytelling is empowering, both for the teller and the listener, and is a means of reaching out to our fellows.
Sophie McCormack-Gow – Producer
Sophie is a junior honours student at the University of Glasgow studying theatre studies and digital media with information studies. This February she was the production manager for STaG’s New Works festival, a festival showcasing six pieces of new writing by STaG’s members with a panel of judges choosing one to be taken to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. She was STaG’s Backstage Manager last year, and has stage managed over a dozen plays with them whilst at university. Last summer Sophie was a venue manager for the Pleasance during the Edinburgh Fringe, her venue was Cabaret Bar which saw a total of twelve shows, with an average of nine performed each day. She will be managing another venue at the Pleasance this year. Sophie also works part time for GBR an events and technical hire company where she is a warehouse technician learning the various aspects of technical theatre and working on various gigs and events, as well as in the warehouse.