Longford's Scéalta Beo Festival to explore local mythology and stories

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Ardagh

The statue outside Ardagh Heritage Centre depicting Midir and Etain as they transform into swans.

It's festival season in Longford and Ardagh village is the place to be this weekend for two days of magic and mythology.

Creative Ardagh will be hosting a unique storytelling and mythology event this August 11 and 12.

The first storytelling festival of its kind in the Midlands, Scéalta Beo will have a diverse programme for adults, teens and families, including workshops and performances.

Some of the panel of international storytellers and mythology experts have been working on new pieces on the local legend of Midir and Etain especially for their appearances.

The wordsmiths have been hammering out the story with their unique skills and from their different perspectives of poetry, archaeology and story performance for months.

After the planning and polishing, Creative Ardagh can finally announce that tickets are on sale for this amazing event.

Thanks to the support of Creative Ireland's Longford Committee the organisers are able to offer this event at the low cost of €10 per adult for one day or €15 for both days (children are free on Sunday, but must be accompanied by an adult).

Tickets for the adults only concert on Saturday night cost €15 or you can get a combination day/evening ticket for €20. Or, if you won't be able to get enough, you can come to all events for €30.

Saturday will be an adult-focused day, as the explorations of some of the themes of the legend are not suitable for younger ears.

John Wilmott of Bards in the Woods (Co Sligo) will set the scene for the Festival at 12pm on Saturday with a prequel of the folklore, landscape and mystery that fed into the Etain and Midir story.

This will be followed by the story of the Three Etains by Gerry Donlon of Bards Aloud (Ipswich) and Kate Corkery (London).

A fascinating examination of morals, impulse control and consequences, performed by celebrated storytellers, it promises to enchant and entertain.

Kate Corkery is a professional storyteller with a background in language teaching and theatre.

Storyteller in Residence at the Irish Cultural Centre, she has toured internationally telling stories in China, Russia and South America as well as appearing in many European festivals.

She won a Fringe First Award for “her outstanding work in regenerating the art of storytelling in today's society”.

The Creative Ardagh crew are honoured to have her attend the inaugural Scéalta Beo festival.

Scéalta Beo means living stories and Kate's workshop, Bringing Stories to Life, will examine storytelling techniques and allow participants to use their own voice and tell their own tale.

The day programme for Saturday will conclude with a presentation on the tasks of Midir by Story Archaeology duo Chris Thompson and Isolde Carmody (Co Leitrim).

Creative Ardagh are incredibly happy to be able to welcome them both to the village, as they offer a unparalleled insight into the depth of the original text and its local connections.

With their usual mix of performance and banter, based on close analysis of the text, they will focus on the wide variety of feats and challenges undertaken in the long and complicated Wooing of Etain and explore the mystery of the causeway over Móin Lámraige built in secret by Midir and its counterpart, the remains of the Iron Age causeway uncovered at Corlea Bog near Kenagh, Co Longford.

A special adult only concert will be held on Saturday 11, at 7.30pm, featuring all of our guests. This promises to be the highlight of the festival with a mix of story, song, poem, magic and mystery.

Gerry Donlon and Kate Corkery have been planning a joint performance, Chris Thompson will present an engaging, detective style look at the Mystery of Midir, while Bards in the Woods team, John Wilmott and Claire Roche, will dazzle with their unique blend of harp music, storytelling, poetry and more.

There are limited tickets available for this online at http://scealtabeo.blogspot.ie.

The special family day on Sunday will have something for all ages.

Sign up for the Open Mic session at 12pm Sunday on the website and perform your own story, song or poem to the audience (children and adults welcome).

Chris Thompson will enthral with her Warriors and Wizards Family Show at 2pm.

There will also be family storytelling sessions featuring Kate Corkery and Bards Aloud throughout the day while John Wilmott will teach the craft or storytelling at adult and children's Find Your Story workshops all building to a special finale.

Come along with all the family for a spectacular day of magic, myth, dressing up, drama and more.

The weekend promises to be an extremely memorable occasion.