The always innovative Oxford Playhouse team will be hosting an exciting new type of event at their Burton Taylor Studio Theatre this weekend.
Conceived to accompany their daytime family show Bed Time, three evenings will see the venue turned over to the presentation a series of story-telling shows for adults entitled Bed Time Tales.
James Webster, one of the contributors and organisers of this event told me how it came about. "When the children’s show Bed Time was programmed in to the studio, we thought it would be the ideal opportunity to celebrate the rich and diverse storytelling community that we have in Oxfordshire.
"We felt that by showcasing this wealth of talent to adult theatregoers, it would be an exciting experience for both the performers and the audiences."
Oxfordshire is indeed bursting at the seams with many acclaimed spoken word artists. James, himself a successful writer/performer of flash-fiction and other forms, was delighted to fill me in on the vibrant local scene, of which he is very much a part.
"There are so many different things happening throughout the year, with poetry events, the Hammer and Tongue slams, the Catweazle Club, and so much more," he says. "But this event at the Burton Taylor studio will be an opportunity to also reach out to people who more usually go to theatre shows."
I suggest to James that it sounds like a kind of cross-over event – spoken word performance with theatricality. He agrees enthusiastically. "Yes. Bed Time Tales has a nicely theatrical touch, with lighting, some dressing-up, and props to create atmosphere, andn with its intimate ambiencen the Burton Taylor studio is just ideal for weaving stories in.
"Each night will be an assortment of lyrical prose and verse pieces, with some longer tales and others that are brief interludes."
I noted that each evening featured different performers and James explained: "Each show will be different, centring on the specific storytellers' styles.
"They will take the audiences to new worlds of the imagination."
But what sort of tales can we expect?
"Stories that grown-ups can enjoy," he says. "Anyone who loves a ripping yarn or thrilling tale will enjoy this. It is very accessible and fun."
The artists taking part are a veritable constellation of bright young stars, including Dan Holloway, winner of the 100th staging of the world’s most prestigious performance prose event Literary Death Match and whose novel The Company of Fellows was voted favourite Oxford novel by Blackwell’s readers; Kiran Millwood Hargrave (author of the soon to be published The Girl of Ink and Stars); the Rhysling Poetry Award nominee Hel Robin Gurney; Lucy Ayrton (whose solo shows Lullabies to Make Your Children Cry and The Splitting of the Mermaid, received rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe); and Tori Truslow who was nominated for both the James White and Parsec Awards.
Bed Time Tales has assembled some rich talent for this project.
James Webster agrees: "It is a rare opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow," he says.
"The support of the Oxford Playhouse has been essential in bringing this event about. It is an exciting place because they are always open to new projects and the development of new ideas and talent."
Bed Time Tales will be at The Burton Taylor Studio Theatre from Thursday to Saturday - all performances at 7.30pm. Tickets available here or from the Ticket Office on 01865 305305.