The Story so far....

In 1999 I found my way to a Storytelling club in Oxford, of course there is another story about how I found my way there, but for now I will start my story in Oxford, where I discovered that I could tell a story, found in a book, without the book, in a way that was engaging and fun. I was hooked. I trained for three intensive months at Emerson College and moved to Devon with a dream of living closer to the land and developing my new found skills.

25 years on, these are some of the places and people who have been part of my storytelling journey;

I've been employed to tell stories by ;
The Wild Life Trusts, The National Trust, The Quantock AONB, The Blackdown Hills AONB, East Devon AONB, The Forestry Commission, Beaford Arts, West Country River's Trust, RAMM Museum, The Exeter Scrap Store,  WOMAD, The Lamer Tree Festival, Sidmouth Folk Festival, West Country Studies Library, Numerous local Libraries and Museums, Numerous schools, Film and audio work has included the recent documentary 'Veins of the Earth' about West Country Rivers. Many other individuals both for private parties and for projects and events.

Below is more information about some of the projects I've worked on. 

Immediately after lock down the West Country River's Trust commissioned me to find and reinterpret stories about the River Culm. This was part of a bigger project 'Connecting the Culm' for river regeneration. You can read my blogs and about the first three day pilgrimage that I ran walking along the river and telling her stories on the link below.
This project lasted many months and the stories were told both in the local communities and along the banks of the river.

In 2023 I organised a second walk along the River Culm, this time including a stretch of the River Exe. This was a four day walk with over 20 people involved. I included stories about Exeter as well as the River Culm. You can read my article about the pilgrimage here

'Veins of the Earth' is a documentary about West Country Rivers in which I am featured telling one of the Culm stories and also in an interview speaking about my philosophy and understandings about ancient River stories.

Chardstock Eco Group employed me with a grant from Literacy Works to run a series of workshops first with local adults and then with children at the local Primary school. These workshops were all aimed at inspiring and telling stories about the River Kit.

I won the 'Sidwella Re-Written' writing competition with my interpretation of the Patron Saint of Exeter, St Sidwell.This was funded by 'Literacy Works'. I've told my version  of the story at numerous events around Exeter.

The 'Killerton Dragon' story, which was part of the Culm river collection, evolved as a tale when I was invited to tell the story inside a Beaver Lodge installation. This was part of the 'Forest of imagination' Festival 2023 in Bath. I discovered more about the important role that Beavers played in protecting the 'Ladies of the River'.

I wrote a book, 'The Emerald Dragon and Other Magical Tales of the Blackdown and Quantock Hills' in 2010. The AONB's (Area's of Outstanding Natural Beauty) gave me a grant to write this book, following several years of successful Storywalks on the hills. I took groups of people out and reinterpreted local folklore in ways that are celebratory of the landscape. Many of these stories have since been used in Primary schools for local projects and plays.

In the meantime I had also told many other stories in libraries, museums, pubs, village halls, schools, old people's homes and more...

Following 'The Emerald Dragon', I was commissioned by the East Devon AONB to tell a collection of stories based on the writings of the Sidmouth antiquarian Peter Orlando Hutchinson. These are stories of the mysterious landscape north of Sidmouth. Said by some to be more significant than Stone Henge, a nearly lost ancient burial site, a pub with a stone known locally as 'The Witches Stone' and many legends. These stories were told in and around Sidmouth and performed at the Sidmouth Folk Festival.

I received a commission from the West Country Studies Library to research and tell a story about Teignmouth's Pirates. This became a show 'The Pirate's Secret', which was told in many Primary schools.

Beaford Arts commissioned me to work alongside a Romany Storyteller. We worked with children in North Devon and also with the older community. The older people gave us the stories of place and we worked with the children to develop these tales into a performance.

The Scrap Store in Exeter employed me to run ongoing workshops for several months training local teachers, carers and workers in how to tell stories and craft performances using scrap materials (for costumes, sets, etc). 

I worked weekly for a year with a group of adults with learning difficulties helping them to perform stories and share their own ideas about how to shape the narrative. We used song, dance and movement.

Following the 'Emerald Dragon' book, I was employed to work for several weeks at a Primary school in Crowcombe, Somerset, where the Dragon story is set. I took the children up onto the hills and told stories in situ. In the afternoons I ran workshops around the stories. This project culminated in a Performance at Halsway Manor where the children shared their own interpretations of my stories.

I have told stories at numerous festivals around the South West, including WOMAD and The Lammer Tree Festival.

"Clare held the space for our storytelling with such care and encouragement. At one point in the story I was utterly carried away, like a child, totally living the experience.

 She is a dynamic and soulful storyteller." 

Tracey at 'Spirit of Otter' Storytelling Workshop, East Quay, Watchet.

Big Dreams...

I wanted to tell landscape based stories that were about regeneration. In my tale the Dragon is a Guardian of the Quantock Hills. He still protects the hills today and this story tells you how. I dreamed of having a the tale in a small book with other local tales. DEFRA funded me to produce this book.

Telling Stories to the River

Forty Miles walking upstream in 2023. The National Trust allowed us to camp on the Killerton Estate, very close to where King Arthur and his men may have also camped. And now the Beavers have returned to these lands, they were maybe watching over us ....The River Exe and the River Culm listened as many stories were shared.