Taking the Devil to Zurich

Posted: October 9th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

In May of 2019, I had the pleasure of being part of the GESCHICHTENOASE – International Storytelling Festival in Switzerland. It was a beautiful festival, “an urban storytelling oasis”, taking place primarily in a flower filled glasshouse in The Old Botanical Garden.

Film-maker Thomas Radlwimmer was on hand to record things and he’s created this video featuring a story adapted from my show “Rebranding Beelzebub.” 

I do hope you enjoy it!

Mailing List

Posted: October 9th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | No Comments »

Something for the Turning of the Year

Posted: December 29th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

After Bedevere’s second attempt to throw Excalibur into the lake, he returned to his King:

‘Lord, please. It’s impossible for me.’
‘Seems impossible, sweet friend.
Remember that Christmas morning the hawthorn
flowered, the day we found Lancelot.
Seemed impossible. But it happened, as if
by giving ourselves again and again
to the unknown we opened to grace, embraced
whatever makes this world new,
Bedevere, remember, the hawk of may,
and the head that speaks, the leaping hare
and the horse that flies from the spray, the spear
bleeding light and the blaze on the hill,
they called me king of adventures, remember
the stag in the hall and the queen of the hive,
the deerhound’s nose, the silver horn,
the salmon in the well, the thorn in winter
we saw flowering. Seemed impossible
but it all happened, the land held
open and whole and green and free
and it happened through us, as if
it were meant to happen.’

From “Arthur”, by Jamie Crawford


From ITV’s “10 things you may not know about the Glastonbury Holy Thorn”

Sharon Blackie on “Falling out of Myth” and the Mythic Imagination.

Posted: December 16th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

Sharon Blackie at TEDx talking about the Mythic Imagination. I love how her examples of “Post-heroic” stories are all old, old tales.

Storytelling and the Body ~ Michael Harvey ~ Workshop, 12 Sept 2019

Posted: July 15th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | No Comments »

We’re being visited, in September, by the amazing storyteller Michael Harvey. You can read more about his Wednesday night show, Uncaged at the usual Beeston Tales page.

Michael will be staying on with us for an extra day, and spending Thursday running his highly acclaimed training on Storytelling and the Body. Michael has trained extensively with Labo and Abbi Patrix and is a qualified Franklin Technique educator. He draws on all of this in his tuition.


This workshop will introduce you to a number of clear, practical and doable techniques to help you have a better experience of being in your body which will in turn help you become more present, playful, clear, confident and authentic in your storytelling.

Once Michael has you starting to feel freer and more alive in your body, you have more freedom to make interesting decisions about how you tell. We will be getting down to the nitty-gritty of storytelling including looking at information/descriptive/action/dialogue and comment; using gaze; audience contact as well as other important storytelling tools in tandem with the body work.

A fuller flavour of what’s on offer can be found from Michael’s website, here.

Who is it aimed at?
This course is aimed at people who have some experience of storytelling and are looking to improve. It is not aimed at complete beginners. (Speak to me about Beeston Tales own “Introduction to Storytelling” courses if you’re interested there.) The work is based on the kind of movements we do everyday and when we are telling stories – no backflips or other challenging moves.

What do I need to know?
The course runs from 11:00am until 4.30pm at BEESTON VICTORY CLUB, Middle Street, Beeston, NG9 2AW. Wear clothing that you’re comfortable to move around in.

PLEASE BE AWARE! This course was previously advertised as taking place at The White Lion on Middle Street, with lunch included. That is no longer the case. APOLOGIES FOR ANY CONFUSION.

I’m persuaded! How do I book?

Each place on this course costs just £32.50. Places are limited so book soon.

Just use the paypal link below to reserve a place. Don’t use paypal? That’s no problem. Email me to confirm you’re coming and we’ll sort something out.

Hand Pulled History

Posted: February 27th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

One of the most interesting projects of last year was a commission from The Walkley Historians to devise a show based around pub life in Walkley, Sheffield, during the Victorian period. My first thought was to bring on board the wondrous Roo Bramley to provide some music and song. Our grand endeavor culminated in three sell out shows last November in some of the few pubs that are still open, more than a century later.

Massive thanks to Frontier Media for capturing the event, to Bill Bevan for his organisation, to the various landlords who offered us space and hospitality, to the many listeners who crowded inside (and outside) the pubs to sign and celebrate with us, and especially to the Walkley Historians for their detailed and painstaking research.

And if you want to catch the show live, it should feature at the 2019 Walkley Festival.

Ana Lines ~ Reflecting Fridas plus workshop and Mexican Feast ~ 14 November

Posted: October 4th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | No Comments »

Something pretty special is going to be happening on the 14th November at Beeston Tales. It’s the return of one of our most popular tellers, the amazing Ana Lines, with her show Reflecting Fridas.

“Ana Lines does more than tell stories, she animates them through her performances. Her Frida Kahlo biography, intertwined with inter-generational tales, was spun so enchantingly that I didn’t want to be released from the spell.”


But we don’t just have the incredibly charismatic Ana bringing you her show. If you want, you can make this a truly memorable night out. Join us for a festival of sensory delight with a Mexican Feast at The White Lion. Get your appetite for stories whet in advance of the main event with food from the kitchen and wine from the cellar.

And for those of you really looking for the deluxe storytelling experience, why not join Ana for a short workshop session earlier in the evening, where she’ll be explaining the meaning of the Death Table in Mexico, leading breathy exercises that help unlock real life stories, and helping us step even more deeply into her enchanted dialogue with Frida Kahlo.

Reflecting Fridas show

Our £5 discount advance ticket for Reflecting Fridas. The life and work of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo are the inspiration for this show created and performed by Beeston Tales’ favourite Brazilian storyteller—Ana Maria Lines. Frida’s soul echos in many of us. Frida’s diversities, love, injuries, suffering were the subject for her work An unique life, an exceptional woman. Upstairs at the White Lion, Middle Street, Beeston. Doors at 7.00 for a 7.30 start.

Tickets no longer available in advance. They may be some on the door. Arrive early to avoid disappointment!

Mexican Feast

For £12 not only do you get access to Reflecting Fridas (see above), you also get to join Ana and the rest of Beeston Tales for a Mexican Buffet from the White Lion’s kitchen. Sergio Rocha will be on hand with wine recommendations. Food should be served around 6:45. THIS TICKET IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN ADVANCE, get it before Monday 12th November of risk missing out. (This tickets is also available at the venue.)

This ticket is no longer on sale through the website. If you want to see if we can squeeze you in, email Mike Payton, [email protected]

Mexican Table- introduction to real life storytelling with craft and song

For the true story connoisseur, join Ana for a short workshop session earlier in the evening, where she’ll be explaining the meaning of the Death Table in Mexico, leading breathy exercises that help unlock real life stories, and helping us step even more deeply into her enchanted dialogue with Frida Kahlo. For £25, this ticket also includes the Mexican Feast and the show. THIS TICKET IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN ADVANCE, get it before Monday 12th November or risk missing out. Gather upstairs at The White Lion for 5:15.

This ticket is no longer on sale through the website. If you want to see if we can squeeze you in, email Mike Payton, [email protected]

Pirate legends will climb wherever they want

Posted: June 27th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | No Comments »

Last Saturday, I was part of Leeds Royal Armouries’ “Legends” programme. They take a character worthy of a whole weekend of events, open up the museum and go to town.

For June, they were looking at “Blackbeard”, with events ranging from cannon demonstrations over the dock to pirate courts abiding by the official regulations.

Here’s me with my world premier of “Treasure Island”.


And my favourite thing about this picture is that you can clearly see the words “Please do not climb” on the side of the stage. ARRR! Do ye think ye can tell a pirate where he can or can not clamber, lubber?

Some of you may be rushing to comment that Blackbeard isn’t in “Treasure Island”. Oh sweet, facetious darlings. Legends are legends. And anyway, Blackbeard was a lamb compared to Captain Flint.

Introduction to Storytelling Workshop – 14 April 2018

Posted: February 28th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | 2 Comments »


Back by popular demand, Beeston Tales will be offering an Introduction to Storytelling course on 14th April, at our usual home, The White Lion. It will run from 10.30 am to around 4pm, with a break for lunch.

Maybe you want to tell better stories to your children or grandchildren – or maybe you want to improve your confidence at public speaking in general. Perhaps you’d like, at some point, to tell a story to a group of friends, or even at a public storytelling night (don’t worry, we won’t force you to do this!)

On this course, we’ll look at a variety of techniques to help you get started. The course will be fun, interactive and challenging, and will cover:

what is storytelling?

how do I choose a tale?

how do I remember a story?

how do I start to bring a story to life?

We will be putting on a further training day – ‘Taking the next step’ later in the Spring, and we very much hope that many participants will feel inspired to attend that course as well.

The course will be run by Mike Payton and Tim Ralphs. Mike has been storytelling professionally for seven years. He is also a trained English teacher with 20 years experience, and has run many storytelling courses for teachers, parents and children of all ages. Tim is a storyteller of international renown, who has run storytelling courses for people of all degrees of experience. He is currently working with PHD students at Sheffield University to improve their presentational skills.

The course costs £35/£30 unwaged. This includes lunch (likely to be home made soup and bread, a hot drink and a cake) provided by Sergio at The White Lion. You can book onto the course by sending a cheque made out to Mike Payton at 45 Hope St, Beeston NG91DR. Or you can pay using the following paypal links:

For the £35 rate, (waged) click below:

For the £30 rate, (unwaged) click below:

From White Lion to LeftLion

Posted: February 6th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | No Comments »

LeftLion ran a recent article on the top literary organisations in Nottingham and we were very excited to see Beeston Tales make the list. Here’s the relevant section in full:

“Think you can spin a yarn? Fancy yourself adept at keeping listeners gripped until the very end? Down at The White Lion in Beeston stands some of the finest storytelling you’ll find out there with Beeston Tales. Events are run regularly by Tim Ralphs and Mike Payton, but open to a plethora of guest speakers. On the ball for over three years, don’t head down expecting your average meandering ramble lined with plot holes and inconsistencies. Often drawing from audience participation and their overall gift of the gab, expect nothing of the usual from this craftspeople of the turning tale.”

– James Kramer, January 2018

You can read the full list here.

Tim and Mike didn't even injure themselves getting it up.

Tim and Mike didn’t even injure themselves getting it up.

Beeston Tales is the second Wednesday of every month. More details are here. We now have a banner adorning the side of the venue—how exciting is that?