Storytelling and Barbecues…

On Saturday I had the last of the two storytelling evenings for “The (nearly) complete history of the Industrial Revolution”. Unfortunately (for me) it was a Saturday evening with perfect barbecue weather and most people very sensibly decided to go and enjoy themselves outside. Still, I had a few people there and they were most appreciative. I will hopefully be able to post videos and photos soon, as kind people made both for me.

So… thoughts on how this went. It was a deliberate change from the last evening which was based on folk tales: it took a lot longer to prepare, and while I enjoyed doing this, I think that both me and the audiences enjoyed the folk tales more.

In the other hand, I felt that the mix of prepared drawings and drawing as I spoke drawing as I spoke worked pretty well. Most feedback on that was positive as well…

One thing I noticed is that there wasn’t such a clear beginning and end to the stories as there would have been to a set of folk tales and this meant the audiences didn’t have a handle to tell where they were. I also felt that I couldn’t relax like I did with the fictional folk stories. I think that may have been because they were ‘true’ stories, so I felt I couldn’t exaggerate or increase things for comic effect. Certainly in the second evening I was more relaxed when I was speaking about the final inventor, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose stories were probably the funniest and most outrageous.

At the moment, I think I think I’ll keep the set in my story folder but probably concentrate more on folk tales and traditional stories in future. What do you think? Please let me know either in the comments or the contact form, in English or in German…

I also think that next summer the storytelling should be with a barbecue…

Low-tech multimedia

There will have to be a few changes to this presentation.

I said last week that my job is to get rid of all the boring bits in the Industrial Revolution, and stick to the stories of inventors and things blowing up. Thing is, when we are talking about inventions there sometimes have to be some technical details: for example, it is all very well me explaining that James Watt made steam engines useful, but if I don’t explain the reason why a Watt steam engine is different to the previous design, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The reason, of course is that Watt introduced the condensing chamber, a simple but revolutionary addition that…

You’re drifting off already, aren’t you?

So last week I decided we’re going to have a multimedia presentation, or to put it anther way, I’ll be drawing pictures live as I tell stories. This is partly because I have an aversion to high-tech solutions to just about anything, but also because this is a live storytelling evening, so I want to make the drawing live too. If I draw a steam engine, all it takes is a few extra lines to show the changes that altered history, and we can move along before people start snoring…

No pictures of alligators though, sorry about that…

The final straight…

Apologies to George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel...

The new poster: click for a big version…

I’m coming to the final stages of preparation for the Industrial Revolution project: today I sent the posters and postcards to be printed, which is a great relief, and I’ve found time to adapt them for a couple of header images: if you click on the picture above one will appear sooner or later.

More importantly I’ve decided which stories will be included, and which stories won’t, -which is a far harder decision because I want to include all of them- what order to put them in, and now I’m working on making them understandable, exciting, and interesting.

There are some great stories which I’m really looking forward to telling: some are funny, some quite incredible (The incident with the engineer and the alligator comes to mind) and some are simply tragic reminders that the changes were not welcomed by everyone.

All these stories now have to be packaged together, told, retold, and timed so I don’t go over the promised 90 minutes, and presented on the 4th and 11th of July. See you there. If you were at the last presentations and you enjoyed it so much you want to come again, don’t forget to bring a dozen of your friends…

Voting results…

So, the results of the vote are in: thanks thanks to those who voted for taking the time to let me know what you think.

The vote came in as 70% for the Industrial Revolution stories, and 30% for more Folktales, so I know what I’ll be talking about next time. I will come back to Folktales later in the year…

Now the fun part starts: finding stories and knocking them into shape for an evening together. There will be new pictures too, and you’ll see them here first…