Tales of Britain

By Jem Roberts

The finest, funniest stories of England, Scotland & Wales, refreshed for the 21st century. By Brother Bernard, as told to Jem Roberts.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Community Folk Magic From Tintagel to Edinburgh

Merry Folklore Thursday, all in our wonderous community!

Folk magic and community traditions, you say? Hmm, well in specific folktale terms, the one tale of our 77 which most perfectly encapsulates the concept would be THE TIDDY MUN – generally we shy away from such basic superstitions, folklore is awash with that kind of thing, but there's our little concession to it all...

Except, of course, our live shows are their own kind of folk magic, and we've been travelling up and down the country all year, visiting communities and sharing not just folks' own local folktales with them, but at least one tale from every Kingdom of Britain: England, Kernow, Wales and Scotland. Back at the start of 2018, being advised that this book would finally be released by Unbound this year, I vowed to you all to perform TALES OF BRITAIN LIVE in every part of the land… and on Wednesday, thanks to the kind storytellers of Abergavenny, I completed the set!

Cheers to Alison and all at Broadleaf books for a rainy but fun evening of storytelling!

The shows take many forms – the deluxe is Brother Bernard and Sister Sal together, with props and costume and a huge pie filled with sweeties – as a solo Bernard show, I've performed in amany other places this year, including camping out at Freshford, and Abergavenny was a new experience again – a storytelling circle event, with others also adding British folktales in between my own. That they were all distinct and new to me was evidence of just how copious British folklore is…

But in the attached video you will see evidence of the long tour taking in Bath, Ludlow, Tintagel, Edinburgh, and of course, Abergavenny. In some cases, true, the sites are only a few miles beyond the border, but it still counts, and I remain a man of my word!

If only we had actual books to sell in each land, but the good news is… as of January… we will do! Yes, it's probably not wise to name a specific date, but Unbound has assured me that the beginning of the new year will finally see proper papery copies of our collection of 77 British folktales with tourist guides in pledgers' hands, and shops all over the UK! They have apologised for the odd release date (apparently January is not an ideal book release period), but we don't care – we've been writing and performing these tales for 14 years or more, and touring the UK for nearly three years, and all we've wanted is actual books to take to every show! We have even seen a rough cover, which is a nice start, but we're working on getting it right for you all...

So we will have one more YULE TALES OF BRITAIN show here in Bath for 2018, but as for 2019... you name the place, the festival, the bookshop, we will tell stories there, if we can! Of course there will be a book launch in London, and the traditional Bath show and Ludlow Festival, and maybe Edinburgh again... but we really want to hear from you, with offers of places we can mount shows all year long, and beyond! Both solo Brother Bernard and with Sister Sal alongside, we're raring to go...  Poeple come together, hear the tales of their country afresh, or for the first time, and the magic is enjoyed by all...!

So let us bring some folk magic to your community!

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