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30 years as Wales’ International Storytelling Festival

EARLY bird tickets are now on sale for Beyond the Border – Wales’ International Storytelling Festival, regarded as one of the most successful and leading storytelling festivals across the UK, and internationally.

It nurtures Wales based talent as well as attracting international and diverse storytellers to Wales and showcasing Wales to the world.

Beyond the Border turns 30 this year, and to celebrate there is a packed three day programme (7-9 July 2023) within the magical landscape, castle and stunning woodlands of the National Trust, CADW and Wildlife Trust Cymru’s Dinefwr Estate, Carmarthenshire.

Whether joining for a unique immersive camping experience for the whole weekend, or visiting for the day, families of all ages (and grown-ups too) will delight in a diverse and entertaining programme of stories, music, performances, inspiring talks, arts and crafts activities.

The festival will feature a celebration of stories in English, some Welsh, and some international, and has accessibility at its core, with a commitment to ensuring all audiences are able to experience the festival.

The forthcoming festival’s theme, The Time is Now, encapsulates the past, present and future of storytelling in Wales, through the lens of languages, stories and music from across Europe and the world – with special international guests including Hungary’s ‘supervillain storyteller’ and feminist folklorist Csenge Zalka and Belgium’s ‘anarchic Musketeer’ Joe Baele.

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Festival favourite Daniel Morden with fiddler extraordinaire Oli Wilson-Dickson share their rollickingly riotous blend of folktale fun for families. Plus, epic master wordsmiths, TUUP and Sally Pomme Clayton with atmospheric and sometimes risqué late night stories for adults!

Authentic traditions of music and story from West Africa with Balafon virtuoso N’famady Kouyaté and The Successors of the Mandingue, plus a triple whammy of our Mycelium Contemporary Cyfarwyddion Mair Tomos Ifans, Jo Munton and Deb Winter sharing story morsels gathered from their year-long residencies across Wales.

Citrus Arts will be sharing their special blend of circus, dance and drama and festival go-ers can share their own story on Spoken Word Saturday with People Speak Up.

There are shows for families, early rise and shine play sessions for the little folk, performances inspired by Cad Goddeu: The Battle of the Trees and Carl Gough’s time travelling new piece Nexus, highlighting moments of decision which lead us hopefully towards brighter futures.

All this, plus Cath Little, Alim Kamara, Christine Watkins, and many more artists, musicians and storytellers to be announced in February 2023.

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Headlining the Sunday night music slot will be The Successors of the Mandingue,an impressive seven-piece band, featuring traditional West African instrumentation, infectious rhythms, explosive dance moves, and mesmerising melodies.

Hailing from Guinea, Senegal, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso; their musical vocabularies are rooted in the same shared ancient traditions that spanned the ancient Mandingue Empire.

“The Languages of Storytelling” is a fascinating weaving together of folktales and legends from Québec and Wales and performed in Welsh, French and English.

This will be created and performed by two brilliant fully bilingual story makers, Wales’ Michael Harvey and Canada’s Stéphanie Bénéteau, thanks to funding from the Welsh and Québec governments.

World class founder of France’s first ‘company of storytellers’, Abbi Patrix will make his first visit to Dinefwr to bring an engaging new performance drawing on his experience of travelling and telling stories in China.

‘The Chinese Experience’ includes an invitation to ‘Take Tea with Abbi’, experiencing stories how they are shared in China’s story houses, with audience members chatting and drinking tea in between story sessions.

Alongside the colourful storytelling line up, Beyond the Border Festival offers visitors a chance to unwind and reconnect with nature; to explore the breath-taking grounds of Dinefwr, with woodland walks and its historic Castle, steeped in myths and legends.

The natural environment offers plenty of ways to unwind and relax with friends and family and enjoy delicious food and drink stalls offering the best of local and Welsh cuisine.

Beyond the Border will also include recent highlights from its year round programme. These include:

Mycelium Storytelling Hub – Storytellers and producers involved in developing a new generation of storytellers across Wales – a new collaboration between freelancers and organisations supported by Arts Council Wales’ Connect and Flourish fund.

Leading up to the festival local Contemporary Cyfarwyddion will be engaging with local groups and schools who will participate in the festival.

CASGLU – there will be opportunities to network and build relationships with established as well as those who are starting to think about a pathway into storytelling.

New Directions – Beyond the Border’s New Directions Programme is a gateway for new voices to perform at the festival. In 2021 New Voices included Phil Okwedy’s The Gods Are All Here which has now gone on to tour across Wales and England.

For full information about Beyond the Border Festival – Wales’ International Storytelling Festival please visit: www.beyondtheborder.com