Thrilling Story Friday kick starts Bath Film Festival

Published: 16 January 2015 | by Janine Dube
Thrilling Story Friday kick starts Bath Film Festival
Burdall's Yard - photo by OneVybe
The Bath Film Festival and Kilter Theatre's 1980's Film Fest kicked off with Story Friday at Burdall's Yard on the 9th of February 2015.

Story Fridays was started in March 2012 by Clare Reddaway of  'A Word in Your Ear' and Oliver Langdon and Caroline Garland of Kilter Theatre.

Oliver Langdon and Julie Hayman - photo by OneVybe

The event allows story lovers to sit back and listen to a story being read, something that most children would take for granted but adults hardly get a chance to do.

Clare Reddaway says, "as a grown up, you rarely have the time and the space to just to sit down and listen to someone reading you a story. Story Fridays gives the audience that opportunity, and they love it."

Story Fridays was open for writer-performers to submit a story with a theme from the 1980s era and it's fair to say the stories held their own on the night. There was live music from Tracey and Jason during the interval.

Listening to the expressive writers read their captivating stories allowed the audience to sit back, be immersed and go back in time and relive the 1980s or for those born after, imagine what it was like growing up back then.

Below are some of the night's writer-performers' interviews and videos.


Game On by Julie Hayman

I heard about 'Story Fridays' through a friend who is a writer. My 1980s-themed story, 'Game On', grew out of an exploration of the links often made between war and sport - and from knowing someone at the time who actually did get a half-eaten sausage roll thrown at him in the street because he looked 'alternative'!


How did you get involved with Story Fridays?

I heard about Story Fridays through Clare Reddaway. We met while doing the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa.

Emma London - photo by OneVybe

What inspired your story for the 1980s theme?

I was inspired to write my story because I was a teenager at the start of the 1980s. I have very strong memories of going out clubbing in Camden town, but I was actually very punky. I decided to make my narrator a New Romantic (because they were more associated with that time). So I did a lot of research about their look and fashion choices. So although the setting is based on my own experiences, it is not exactly the same. And the plot is not at all autobiographical. For example I have never done drugs and I have never frequented the men's toilets anywhere!!

Cheap Hairspray - Emma London

How would you describe your work in general?

When writing fiction for adults I always use a first person narrative. It tends to be quite humorous, but not exclusively. And my fiction is always set in modern times (e.g 1980s onwards). When I write my children's stories (picture books and for teenagers) I tend to write in the third person. I've been told I'm quite good at evoking a sense of place, which I'm pleased about.

What can we expect from you in the future?

In the future I'd like to do more stories for Story Fridays. It was scary but really exhilarating too. I'm also very excited to be getting one of my picture books illustrated at the moment. I'd like to get that published this year. I'm also hoping to finish my second novel, which I started a long time ago.


How did you get involved with Story Fridays?
I've been hearing good things about Story Fridays for a while now – both from writers and audience members and I kept meaning to submit a story. A fear of performing held me back, but now I wish I'd done it sooner.

Diane Simmons - photo by OneVybe

What inspired your story for the 1980s theme?
As soon as I saw the theme of the 1980s, it took me back to my time in the early 1980s when I worked for an insurance company in the City. Moving from Lancashire to work in London was a culture shock and it took me a while to fit in with my new workmates and their very different outlook on life.
Was the story based on fact or fiction?
Like many of my stories, the idea came from a memory and then I played 'What if' with it.

Office Politics - Diane Simmons

How would you describe your work in general?
I have been writing short stories for eight years, having studied Creative Writing with the Open University. In the last couple of years I have mainly concentrated on writing flash fiction. I feel a sense of freedom writing flash that I don't have when I write longer stories and I feel more able to experiment. I am trying to introduce more humour into my fiction.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I would like to perform more and I think flash lends itself to performance. I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing and to experiment.


How did you get involved with Story Fridays?

I have been doing performance readings for about six months in Bristol. I've really enjoyed them and the feedback from the audience is incredible. I began to search online for other events and that's when I came across A Word In Your Ear and their storytelling events in Bath.

Thomas David Parker - photo by OneVybe

What inspired your story for the 1980s theme?

I was born in the 1980s so I knew I wanted a story that was about childhood. I also knew I wanted to feature a significant event from the 1980s, and the Lockerbie Bombing was the one that tied into my narrative quite well. Ultimately though, it's my relationship with my father that was the main inspiration for the story.

Was the story based on fact or fiction?

It is based on factual events. My father was held prisoner in Libya and it did delay my birthday trip to London. Of course, many of the details may be blurred or forgotten, but it's the events as I remember them. I'm sure my father's view is very different, and I'm sure my mother's is completely different again. However, we often joke that we never let the truth get in the way of a good story and memory is very subjective. I know what I read is a highly edited and stylised version of events, but I want to entertain the audience and my role is to provide the best version of the story I can. I hope I achieved that.

My Sixth Birthday - Thomas David Parker

How would you describe your work in general?

My usual work is very different! I actually write Gothic horror and stories that subvert your expectations. Most of my work is contemporary because I feel the most effective horror stories are the ones where you can identify with the characters. However, my main influence has been the M. R. James short stories that were written a hundred years ago. He truly was the master of the ghost story and I hope that my work follows a similar path.

What can we expect from you in the future?

There will be more short stories. I love writing and performing them; it's addictive! Creating a world for the audience and taking them on a journey is such a fantastic experience. The dark winter nights are perfect for performing my work, but I'll be taking a hiatus over the summer. Then I'll be working on my first novel, which is a supernatural mystery set in the 1880s. I've spent two years researching the area and the history and I'm very excited about the story. It's called "The Ladies of Walthamstow" and I hope to get in published next year.


How did you get involved with Story Fridays?

I set up Story Fridays in 2012 because I love stories, I love listening to them and I love performing them.

Clare Reddaway - OneVybe screenshot

What inspired your story for the 1980s theme?

The 1980s was a key time for me. I was a student, I grew up, I got my first job. I could have written any number of stories set in that decade. Before starting to write, I spent a long time thinking about the1980s. Iconic items - the walkman, shoulder pads; significant political events - the miner's strike, Mrs Thatcher, Brixton, Toxteth and the poll tax riots, the Falklands war; and, of course, music - Duran Duran, Thriller, Culture Club, the Clash, the Specials. The list got longer and longer! But one of the things that most personally affected me was the AIDS crisis. So that's what I chose for the story. 

Was the story based on fact or fiction?

Triggered by fact, the story was entirely fictional.

The Long Black Coat - Clare Reddaway
Interruption during recording

How would you describe your work in general?

I write short stories and scripts. I like to think that sometimes my work is funny (well, when I read it, people seem to laugh..!). I tend to write about contemporary situations. I like writing about women.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I'll continue to run Story Fridays. I don't always perform - I turn down my own stories if I don't think they are good enough, which makes me stamp around the house crossly for an hour or so. We've got some great themes coming up - the Quilt of Stories Story Friday in March is inspired by my mother's patchwork quilt, and I'm looking forward to that one. And we're taking Story Fridays out and about for a site specific event at the Cleveland Pools in May, which will be fun. Onwards and upwards!

I hope to have my full length play CARE produced in 2015 (nothing wrong with hope!). I expect I will have some more short plays produced. I am looking for a theme for my next play. I need to go for a long walk somewhere (a beach?  Carribean??) and hope that inspiration strikes.

Writers Mark Rutterford and Stephanie Weston


How did you get involved with Story Fridays?

It was love at first listen. I'd met Clare at a writing group and took a chance on the very first event. Great stories read in a kitchen shop, with incense, candles and was enchanting and I was inspired. I kept going back and learned a lot from some fabulous writer-performers, before eventually writing something short enough...and with story perform.

What inspired your story for the 1980s theme?

The 80s was the decade when I went from boy to man and it was great to relive that journey. The details of the time and the feelings of uncertainty and hope - they weren't far from the surface. Perhaps they're never far from the surface and it gave me an opportunity to admit that. And if, like Martin in my story, you suddenly had a reason to reflect on the previous thirty years, you might want to consider what you'd be most proud of.

Was the story based on fact or fiction?

A mix - it's always a mix. But I don't think the audience should know. If they're asking questions, it means they've engaged in the story or the characters - that's a lovely thing. I will admit to the pixie boots though, with an absurd amount of pride.

ManBoyManBoy...Boy - Mark Rutterford

How would you describe your work in general?

Honest, funny, romantic, with a bit of heart-ache and twists you didn't see coming! A collaboration of inspiration from Nick Hornby, Cecelia Ahern, Roald Dahl and a thousand songs. And a sometimes scarily frank expose that, as stupid as we may be, men's hearts break too.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Lots more performances - because it's the best fun ever! I'm reading at Story Friday's event in May - at Bath's soon-to-be restored Georgian lido, Cleveland Pools. But I want to test myself with new audiences too. More short stories featuring declarations of love, tears, rejection, music and my good friend Fate. I want to finish drafting my second novel this year and for it to be polished enough to stand a chance of publication.


How did you get involved with Story Fridays?

I originally saw their website - I think I must have been looking for local writing/performing opportunities - and thought that this looked like something that was worth trying to get involved with.

What inspired your story for the 1980s theme?

Back in the '80's, when I had just finished university, I did some voluntary work at a local arts centre (now long since defunct). It was painfully, painfully "right on" , both as far as the visiting companies and some of the staff who worked there were concerned. On one occasion I was reprimanded for using the terms "Ladies and Gentlemen" and "auditorium" as these were deemed too bourgeois. This got me thinking about the world of small-scale theatre at that time; some of it exciting and ground-breaking, some of it preaching to the converted and simply not very good.

Was the story based on fact or fiction?

The actual story was complete fiction. I now have my own small-scale theatre company and we do visit village halls from time to time, much like the occasion in the story, but we have never set fire to one. Mind you, one did once burn down the day before we arrived...

The Accident - Stephanie Weston

How would you describe your work in general?

Never very long but hopefully entertaining.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I'm trying to write for radio but this is incredibly difficult, both in terms of getting it right and getting it broadcast. So, in all honesty, a lot of half-finished radio plays.

Story Fridays is often open for submissions to writer-performers to come and read a story on a theme. The next Story Friday is on 13th March 2015 and the deadline for submissions is 2nd March 2015. The theme is 'Quilt of Stories'.

For more information:
- OneVybe

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